Kenny Miller: Livingston seek investment to boost team boss's 'shoestring' budget

Livingston chief executive officer John Ward (left) and chairman Robert Martin (right) flank Kenny Miller after his unveiling as player-manager
John Ward (left) and chairman Robert Martin (right) flanked Kenny Miller as he was unveiled as player-manager

Livingston are seeking fresh investment to boost the budget available to new player-manager Kenny Miller, says chief executive officer John Ward.

Ward admits Miller will need to work with a similar "shoestring" budget to previous boss David Hopkin.

Hopkin guided the West Lothian club to successive promotions from League One.

"I have said to Kenny that myself and the board's role is to get new investment into the club if that is possible," Ward told BBC Scotland.

"We have created a situation where there are shares available.

"There is a long history of people getting involved in the club for the wrong reasons, but it is now being run by people with the club's and the fans' interests at heart.

"We want to try to keep it as a community club, but there are shares available for the right kind of people to invest in the club and make money available for the team."

Ward admits that "no-one was more surprised than the board" that Livingston were promoted back to the top flight in May, via the play-offs, after finishing second to St Mirren in the Championship.

"We had no plan to be promoted," he said. "Even with 10 minutes left of the second leg of the play-off final, there was still a part of me thinking, 'ah, it was a nice idea'.

"So, from the Monday morning onwards, we were sitting down trying to figure out budgets and prepare for this season.

"What I really like about the success we have had here is we have done it under our own steam, we have done it with the resources we have in place, we have done it on a shoestring.

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Scope to bring players in - Miller

"We are going to have to continue like that. The business community around Livingston has been fabulous and we have really good support from that."

While Ward says advertising revenues at Livingston's 8,716-capacity Tony Macaroni Arena have been "transformed" in the past two seasons, the club is also seeking to create further income by installing a new artificial pitch this summer.

It means three of the Premiership's 12 clubs - including Hamilton Academcial and Kilmarnock - will have synthetic turf next season.

New pitch 'will get people through the door and generate income'

"When I first got involved, I would come here on a Wednesday and be the only person in the building, because the players didn't train here," Ward recalled.

"I always felt it was such a waste of resource. The plan has always been to try to get this to be a community structure.

"We have partnered with the West Lothian Youth Foundation and the council and we are now putting a 3G pitch in.

"That will allow the players to train on it and allow us to have community events and football here most of the day when the team are not training or playing.

"It is going to get people through the door and generate income, which will do the club a lot of good.

"The reality for Livingston is we had two games called off on a Saturday last season because our pitch was waterlogged.

"That probably cost this club £40,000-50,000 in income.

"So I am delighted we are going to be in a position where that shouldn't happen."

Livingston open their campaign with games away to Airdrieonians and Hamilton in the Scottish League Cup before home group games with Annan Athletic on 21 July and Berwick Rangers on 28 July.

Their first Premiership season since 2006 begins away to champions Celtic on 4 August.

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