Queen's Park: Staying amateur would have forced us to close our youth academy

By Stefan Bienkowski BBC Sport Scotland
Queen's Park will move in to Lesser Hampden in 2020
Queen's Park will move in to Lesser Hampden in 2020

Queen's Park president Gerry Crawley says the club wouldn't have been able to continue developing youth players if it had stayed amateur.

On Thursday the club's members voted to end the 152-year-old tradition of not offering professional contracts.

The move will change a number of aspects about the Glasgow side.

However, Crawley believes it will safeguard a youth academy that produced talents like Andy Robertson and Lawrence Shankland.

When asked if the club would be able to continue producing youth players if they remained amateur, Crawley told BBC Scotland: "No, I don't believe so.

"It simply was not commercially viable to spend lots of money. The use of the pitch, strips, etc. Parents of the youth players have had to help enormously with fundraising.

"But it becomes more and more difficult for producing players if the club are not remunerated and they can simply go off and leave.

"If you just think it through it makes no sense. We were developing players for other clubs and we want to develop players for this club. That's what we want to do.

"The club is very proud of Andy Robertson. Incredibly proud that he played 36 games. But if we were relegated as an amateur club that wouldn't have saved us. We'd be down in the Lowland league."

Under Scottish FA player registration rules a club is due compensation for a departing youth player if they have made an offer of a professional contract.

However, due to Queen's Park's former amateur status, the club were unable to do so and were therefore due no compensation from the player's next team.

And that is what will improve the club's standing upon turning professional, according to Crawley.

"The move helps us with our youth players," said the 57-year-old former striker. "Upon turning 18 the players are allowed to leave the club.

"So, young and ambitious players come to the club to become footballers and then when they get to 18, basically, if a senior club - or even a Scottish Premiership club - come along then the player can just go.

"And the club is not remunerated. So what this allows us to do is offer those individuals future contacts and even if they say no to those contracts the club is still protected."