The traditional method of income and sustainment of the clubs continues to diminish and with attendances reducing the fans have become or are becoming a less important factor in the football business but only from a short term financial perspective. Although the various governing bodies are always telling us how important the fans are to the clubs, but how many of these governing bodies actually engage and provide a forum for the fans to contribute and debate the way forward for football generally and the clubs specifically. The truth is they talk about it but in my opinion they have no desire for genuine engagement or have any intention of implementing any ideas the fans may have, it's their ball and they're keeping it. The situation has been moving this way for years and the need for income from non footballing sources becomes ever more critical, but as the big TV deal or the council grant is being vigorously pursued the repercussions are that they drive away the community that is already there (the fans) further away.
The effect of television on attendances is well debated, but what if government policies change, grants reduce or cease, or the football club becomes a very small part of the 'council community sports venture' and the main asset (the stadium) is deemed to be of greater community interest as council offices, five a side parks, airport car park etc. etc. A football fans nightmare and a bit far fetched ? perhaps, but while the governments interpretation of community should be embraced and live TV saturation is here to stay, if we value our football clubs culture, as I think we do, we need to have our opinions and ideas heard and for everyone to work together to ensure it continues to be the mainstay of our community and that as custodians of of our club, ensure that it doesn't diminish so much that it becomes an irrelevant component of the 'Renfrewshire TV Watching Community'
The club while actively promoting and providing facilities to encourage people to be associated with St.Mirren and attend games, are fighting a losing battle against all the forces that encourage people NOT to attend matches ie kick off times, changing dates (after you've booked a hotel for the weekend of an away game), cost, weather, incompetent authorities, lack of atmosphere, boring games, lack of investment ! it’s a vicious circle.
The SMiSA committee strongly believes that the consolidated future of our club lies with the fans, no matter what direction the club board choose for it !
Everything we do will be geared to make fans want to attend matches and encourage the support to become a bigger part of the club in every sense thus ensuring St.Mirren maintain or improve their status within Scottish Football and the Renfrewshire community. Like previous generations of fans, as a custodian of the club it is your duty to help maintain a strong, healthy club for future generations.
What we as a supporters trust need to do is encourage a larger more active membership and accumulate a bigger percentage of shares in order to be taken seriously. The club has been in stalemate while the consortium wait for their shares to be purchased, which will give whoever buys them the controlling interest in the club and they can pretty much then do what they want. This situation is the root cause of The Supporters Trust, or anyone else, being unable to invest in unissued shares in the club, as selling unissued shares would reduce the 52% of the consortiums stake holding and thus reduce the possibility of the consortium being able to sell their stake.
As a backdrop to this Supporters Direct Scotland are heavily involved in fan ownership initiatives backed by the Government as the way forward in football. The Green Party in Scotland have also issued a consultation with a view to amending the Empowerment Scotland Bill to include Supporters Trusts being given first refusal in the sale of any football club as well as Government support and additional time to compile a bid. It remains to be seen how this transpires over the coming months or years.
Either way The St.Mirren Supporters Trust and every supporter needs to be considering and preparing now for any eventuality, but within those preparations is included the ultimate aim of further investment in the club and fan representation at board level. Something that the status quo does not provide.
The choice is yours.