The Team behind The Team – John Ward

Q&A with John Ward

  • Tell us how you first became involved with the club?

I owned a company called Fasteq who were based in Livingston. We had no facilities for meetings so used the club boardroom as it was just around the corner. When Livingston were in administration we noticed they had no shirt sponsor when the season started and we decided to get involved and support the club. It seemed very unfair how Angelo Massone had managed the business at that time.

  • There’s certainly been a few ups and downs in that time but even in your wildest dreams, you couldn’t have predicted that return to the Premiership in May 2018?

No. I was at Firhill for the second-leg of the play-off final and with 10 minutes to go Michael, my son, was saying “we’re going to win this” but even at that stage, I felt something would go wrong and then Thistle were awarded a penalty. When Neil saved it, I felt for the first time that we were going to do it.

  • How would you describe the atmosphere and vibe at the club on a day-to-day basis (prior to the current lockdown circumstances)

I look forward to going into the building. The camaraderie and banter is always funny and the staff all seem to enjoy working there. I try to get along for Maureen’s soup at least once a week! The sheer volume of nonsense discussed over lunchtime always has me smiling. Gary and Davy are always the main culprits.

  • On field, the team continue to go from strength to strength, defying the odds – it must give you an enormous sense of pride watching on from the stands week-to-week?

It does but like any fan, it’s all about that days result. Driving home in the howling wind and rain from Inverness was a real scunner. I love the five o’clock feeling on a Saturday night when we have played well, won and everyone is buzzing!

  • What’s been your highlight/given you most satisfaction in your time with the club to-date?

The way in which we prepared over the summer prior to our return to the Premiership. Every favour we could call in was called in and the response from the business community in and around the town was immensely gratifying. I got in a taxi from the station on the day we played Rangers at home and the taxi guy was saying how much of a boost there had been for him and other businesses in the town through the club getting to the Premiership. That was brilliant feeling!

  • The recent initiatives in terms of supplying free meals and calling elderly fans of the club to check in on them has certainly shown the club to be improving it’s community involvement – is this a key area for a club like ours?

I think it shows what Livingston should be to the community. I love that we have kids coming through the club through the Youth Foundation and the free ticketing arrangements too – that’s our future.

  • Fans have also stepped up during these tough times to help the club financially via the Operating Fund – it must be great to see that backing, especially given current circumstances?

It’s been incredible and immensely humbling. This is what it means to support a club like Livingston. It’s not just about football. It’s pride and passion for something that we value and love. Anyone can support a big team, but to choose your local team and step up to keep them going is wonderful and makes our fans special in my opinion.

  • There’s been a fair few players come and go since your first involvement with the club – has there been any player in particular that has stood out for you or that you’ve enjoyed watching the most?

I have a soft spot for Shaun Byrne. He is a very impressive person on and off the field – his outlook and values are very mature for such a young guy. I was also impressed with Steve Lawson’s musical skills when we were in Portugal last year. But honestly, the players are, and have always been decent, kind guys who make a point of saying hello and yet are able to laugh and take a bit of banter.

  • What do you envisage as the long-term aims for the club?

Premiership football, no debt and a fan base of over 5000 season ticket holders.

  • Away from the club, tell us a bit about your current day-to-day job?

I run a few businesses. Spring is a major warehousing and distribution company and my son, Jonathan, runs Spring Solutions which he set up in 2016. We are key workers at the moment so life is very busy but at the same time, really enjoyable.

  • Likewise, when you’re not working or at the club, what do you get up to in your free time?

I’ve always been a musician and songwriter, so I gig regularly and really enjoy that. I also love to read, always have a couple of books on the go and of course football. I didn’t realise that normal TV still happened until the lockdown kicked in. Been really enjoying programmes like The Nest. That prompted us to watch Sweet Sixteen again which was fabulous.

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