#BuyTheBuds Deadline of 19th June Announced
St Mirren fans have one month left to sign up to a scheme which could see them become the latest Scottish club to move into fan ownership, after a fundraising deadline was called.
The St Mirren Independent Suppoorters’ Association (SMISA) has teamed up with former club director Gordon Scott with a joint offer already accepted in principle by the consortium selling a majority shareholding.
The trust needs to sign up 1,000 members at a minimum of £12 per month for the deal to be viable – and are more than halfway there, having managed almost 600 since fundraising started in April.
But with other bidders on the scene the deal needs to be completed this summer – and SMISA have now called an end date of Thursday 19 June to hit the target.
The announcement was made last night at a public meeting at The Paisley 2021 Stadium attended by hundreds, at which Gordon and SMISA chair George Adam MSP answered questions from fans.
The joint SMISA/Gordon offer is loosely based on the successful model run by Ann Budge and the Foundation of Hearts.
Gordon is putting up the bulk of the money needed to fund the deal, which would see him become majority shareholder and chairman, while the fans would get a director on the board and a legal agreement giving them exclusive right to buy the shares Gordon buys now within 10 years.
Membership starts at £12 per month, with a £25 per month option, and a premium package offering ten years of membership and other exclusive benefits for a one-off payment of £2,500. For more information, visit www.smisa.net
SMISA chair George Adam MSP said: “We have had a fantastic reaction from fans, with hundreds signing up the first couple of weeks of fundraising, and we want to thank all of those who have done so to date.
“A team of us have been working hard behind the scenes on this bid for a year now – but its success now rests on what happens in the next month.
“We have one month in which to get the numbers we need to make this deal viable. If we don’t we won’t get the chance again.
“For the price of a pint a week, St Mirren fans have it in their hands to take control of the future of their club and everything it means to this community, and preserve it for future generations.”
Gordon Scott said: “The current board deserve a lot of credit for all they have done over the years – but one way or another they are going to sell up and move on.
“St Mirren fans have a simple choice – either be part of what are doing and build the future of our club together, or leave that future entirely to chance.
“It would be a life-defining achievement for me to become chairman of the club I have supported since I was a boy.
“My aim is simple – work with the fans and the community to give St Mirren the fresh ideas it needs, get the club back into the top league where it belongs, and hand it over to the fans to safeguard forever.”
An evening with the Millennium Champions
It was one the most dramatic and memorable seasons in St Mirren’s history – now SMISA members will be able to relive every highlight with the men who made it happen.
Our first exclusive #BuyTheBuds members event will be An Evening With The Millennium Champions, in the corporate hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Friday 2 December, from 7:30pm.
Access to the evening will work as detailed when the #BuyTheBuds campaign launched in the summer, details of which are still on our sign-up webpage.
That means it will initially only be for our Plus (£25-per-month) and Premium members – but any unclaimed places will be made available to other members.
The night will be hosted by broadcaster and Saints fan Colin Kelly, and will see manager Tom Hendrie and members of the squad reminisce about the season, helped by video highlights of key games.
SMISA members will also be able to put their own questions to the team for what we are sure will be a really lively evening.
A pay bar will be available throughout the event but given the licensing restrictions, we are afraid it is available to over-18s only
All Plus members will have until Sunday 13 November to guarantee their free place and have been emailed with details of how to do so.
Those places are only available to those who had a Plus membership as of Thursday 27 October and should not be transferred
On Monday 14 November we will make any remaining tickets available to our other members at a cost of £10 each. All money raised will be donated to St Mirren’s youth development.
This makes sure everybody who is paying a higher membership fee has the option to attend the exclusive event due to them under the terms of their membership , while giving other members the chance to take any unclaimed seats.
We don’t plan to open up the sale to non-members, but reserve the right to do so should we still have spaces close to the time.
As always, if you have any questions, please send them to us at [email protected]. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there on the night for what should be a great evening.
August Membership Update
Welcome to the latest update from the trust committee.
It’s now been around six weeks since our joint bid for the club with Gordon Scott went through and we’ve continued to be busy behind the scenes.
It’s been a massive transition for us, with our member numbers going from 200 to nearly 1,400 and our annual income from four figures to six, but we feel we now have the back-end admin and financial processes we need in place to deal with that increase in workload.
Our member numbers have held pretty steady throughout August and as of the end of the month were sitting at 1,370.
Along the way we have lost a few and gained a few and we expect that is how it will be – we know from our discussions with friends at the Foundation of Hearts that numbers will vary.
Obviously it is important we maintain our numbers as the years go on and we aim to do that by showing members the benefit their money is having on St Mirren and the local community.
The £2 per month members pot
With that in mind, we will soon be in a position to start investing your cash in the club.
As we told you last month, the plan is to spend the £2 ringfenced from each member’s monthly subscription on a quarterly basis.
The September subscriptions will be the third tranche of #BuyTheBuds money, meaning we will have in the region of £8,000 to invest in the club as the members choose at some point soon.
The plan is for the SMISA committee to speak to the club about their priorities for investment, to survey members over their priorities and ideas, and compile all of that into several costed spending options through which members will vote via secure online ballot.
We are still finalising the details of the exact procedure through which we will do this, but will be in touch with members soon regarding the next steps.
SMISA director and club matters
As you know, SMISA committee member David Nicol is now on the board of the club. Dave’s feedback from the first of the board meetings is that they have been really positive and that Gordon Scott in particular has lots of ideas he wants to implement at the club.
On club matters, it is important to again stress that SMISA is not directly responsible for club business – the club board control club operations, as has always been the case.
But the benefit to having a SMISA rep on the board is that we have a man in the room who can raise issues which matter to our members.
If there is something you wish Dave to raise for possible consideration at a club board meeting then let us know via [email protected]
We would also remind you that Dave’s appointment is only temporary for the time being – we plan to hold an election before the end of the year where members will choose who will do the job over the longer-term.
Open meeting – 5 September
To give members a chance to speak directly with the SMISA committee and to raise any issues they wish to discuss, we will be having a drop-in session during one of our regular meetings.
We will be in the back room at Saporito Coffee in Gauze Street, Paisley, on Monday 5 September between 7 and 8pm.
If there is anything you want to talk to us about, please pop by.
Events and benefits update
We ran our first public event since #BuyTheBuds became reality when more than 100 fans joined us for a fan party in the library cafe at the University of the West of Scotland after the Morton game.
Gordon Scott, Alex Rae and Tony Fitzpatrick joined us and addressed the crowd, as did SMISA chair George Adam and director Dave Nicol.
We want to thank everybody for coming along, as well as UWS for hosting and Billy Gray for being DJ on the night.
We have also started to roll out the benefits due to those who signed up the #BuyTheBuds through the £2,500 premium package – with some of those members joining the squad during the official team photo last week.
Some of the £25 per month members have also been picked to enjoy directors guest lounge access at the Paisley 2021 Stadium for home games.
Paul Wycherley was the man chosen from the hat for the Hibs game and we'll announce the winner for the the Queen of the South game on Saturday 10th shortly.
We are also working on plans for the first of the exclusive £25 per month members events, and hope to have more free events for all members at some point too.
In the meantime, you can contact us via [email protected] if there are any queries.
The SMISA Committee
Congratulations St Mirren fans. You just #BoughtTheBuds
Congratulations, you just #BoughtTheBuds
We are delighted to announce that the legal formalities around SMISA’s joint offer for a majority shareholding in the club with Gordon Scott were concluded earlier today, meaning the trust is now the proud part-owner of St Mirren FC.
This means 21 July 2016 can go down as a landmark moment in St Mirren’s long and proud history – today saw the right to decide what happens with our club pass into the hands of the people who care about it most...you.
For those of us on the committee, the past year has involved an incredible amount of work and we are both proud and delighted to have finally seen the deal over the line.
Again, we want to thank the 1,300 of you who signed up to #BuyTheBuds, as without that show of support we would not have been able to make history today.
We appreciate there will be few questions about what will happen next, and hopefully these will be answered below...
With the deal completed, Gordon now owns a 50.1% stake in the club, while SMISA own 28%. Crucially, SMISA now has the option to buy the shares Gordon buys now at the price he pays now within the next ten years, and thus achieve majority fan ownership of the club.
Five of the six members of the current board will now step down and we want to pay tribute to them for all they have done for the club over the years, as they can be justifiably proud of their legacy.
Four new directors will be appointed and the new board will include Gordon (as the new chairman), club chief exec Tony Fitzpatrick, and financial advisor Alan Wardrop, while current club director and company secretary Chris Stewart will stay in place.
Gordon has also asked SMISA board member David Nicol to join him as the temporary trust representative on the St Mirren board for the next few months.
The SMISA committee will use that time to finalise a procedure for members to elect one of their own to serve as their voice in the St Mirren boardroom.
At the same time, we have already started work on a procedure through which our members can vote to choose how the £2 portion of their monthly membership will be spent on the club. Once we have firmed up arrangements for both of these issues, we will put the details before members.
We are also working on plans for a fan party to take place in a town centre venue after the Morton game on Saturday 6 August to help usher in the new era, with details of that to be announced soon.
Once again, thank you all for your support and we look forward to writing the next chapter in the history of our club together.
Famous Saints fans sign up to #BuyTheBuds
The bid to take St Mirren into the hands of its supporters has received some big-name backing – with best-selling author Chris Brookmyre issuing a plea to fans to join him in signing up.
Writer Chris and TV acting star Douglas Henshall were among the near-400 fans who signed up to the #BuyTheBuds campaign in its first week.
The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) has had a joint offer with former Saints director Gordon Scott accepted in principle for the majority shareholding in the club – but need 1,000 fans to join this summer before the deal can happen.
And Chris sent a message of support to the trust, saying: “Clubs like St Mirren are all about community.
“As fans we all invest emotionally in the club, so it make sense that we should take that a stage further.”
Chris had initially tweeted to his 14,000 followers that he had joined, posting a link to SMISA’s website, and then retweeting a link to a Paisley Daily Express story about the fan bid.
Actor Douglas – known for his starring roles in TV shows Primeval and Shetland – then tweeted Chris back to say he had signed up too.
Both men are originally from Barrhead and have talked about their support for the club throughout their careers.
Full details of how you can join Chris and Douglas and sign up to #BuyTheBuds are available here – fans can sign up from £12 per month.
If the deal goes through, Gordon would become majority shareholder and chairman of St Mirren and SMISA would get a director on the board – with an option to buy Gordon’s shares and achieve majority fan ownership within the next ten years.
SMISA chair George Adam added: “We have had a fantastic response to our first week of fundraising – we want to thank every one of the near-400 fans who have pledged their support so far.
“We put this deal on the table because we believe it offers the best possible future for St Mirren.
“This is a one-off chance to ensure St Mirren’s next set of owners will be people who will keep the club where it belongs, at the heart of the Paisley community, forever.
“But that chance will be gone if we don’t get 1,000 fans signing up this summer. So I would urge anybody who hasn’t yet signed up to do so online now."
July Membership Update
Member numbersWe are conscious we haven't updated you on member numbers since our joint bid for the majority stake in the club with Gordon Scott was completed last month.As of 3 August we had 1,373 members of the trust - numbers have actually crept up slightly since the deal was completed. Of that, around 12% are on the £25 per month membership, which is slightly ahead of our initial target of 10%.We had always said 1,000 was the minimum we needed to hit to trigger the deal - we are thrilled to have smashed that and want to thank every one of you for signing up.The more members the trust has, the stronger we are financially and the greater our ability to benefit the club.There is no upper limit on members, so please keep spreading the word to fellow fans that anybody can still sign up now at smisa.netSpending trust incomeAs you know, the bulk of our income is going towards the share purchase and saving up the cash ultimately needed to buy out Gordon and achieve fan ownership.But £2 per month from each member will be ring-fenced to be spent on the club as you choose, and at current membership levels, that is just over £8,000 per quarter.We are still finalising the details of the procedure for spending this but the plan is for us to survey members on where they want to see the money spent, speak to club about where they need investment, and compile the results into a shortlist of options for members to vote on via secure online ballot.We hope to repeat this process every three months, meaning members will get four votes per year. We feel this will be a really good way to keep the membership engaged, while deciding how their money will help the club.SMISA directorAs has already been announced, Gordon Scott has asked SMISA committee member Dave Nicol to join the board of St Mirren as the SMISA representative.Gordon was keen there be some continuity with the guys who had worked with him over the past year, and Dave - who had led on the financial and legal aspects of the deal from SMISA's side - was the obvious choice.
However Dave's appointment was only ever intended to be temporary, as one of the key points of the #BuyTheBuds campaign was that SMISA members elect their own director.We are still working on a procedure through which this will happen, but the plan is to hold an election for members to elect one of their own on to the board before the end of the year.It is important to stress that as things stand SMISA are only the part-owners of the club - ultimately Gordon controls the majority stake.In practice, the club will be run by the board, as it always has been. But the key difference is that board now contains a SMISA rep, who can raise issues on your behalf for potential discussion.If you wish to raise an issue with the SMISA director, you can do so by emailing [email protected]Events and member benefitsWe will have a number of events this coming season - the first being a fan party to celebrate the success of the bid after the Morton game on Saturday in the library at UWS. Entry is free but tickets are required. To sign up and for full details see our Eventbrite page.There will also be a number of events for those of you on the £25 per month and £2,500 premium packages - we are still working on these but will be in touch with details as soon as they are confirmed.We will also be running a draw for each home game this season for a £25 per month member and a guest to watch that game from the director's guest lounge.Cameron Sanderson was the lucky winner for the Morton game. The rest of you in that membership category have around a one in ten chance of winning at some point - we will be in touch if you do!Football Pink Magazine ArticleThe Football Pink Magazine are writing a piece about St Mirren's Scottish Cup win from 1987 and along with some interviews from players from the team they're looking for fans' views and memories of the occasion. If you were there that day and don't mind answering a few questions about the game please drop as an email and we'll forward them on.Contact detailsFinally, we want to ask members to keep us updated with any change in your details using our contact page.If you've changed your email address or phone number, we want to make sure you don't miss out on any events or benefits due to you.All our updates will come from [email protected] so please add this to your address book to ensure our emails to you don't end up in junk mail.ThanksThe SMISA Committee
Next #BuyTheBuds Public Meeting is on Thu 19th May
Our next public meeting will be held with in the hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Thursday the 19th of May at 7pm. The meeting will be a chance to meet us face to face and ask George Adam, Gordon Scott and the rest of the SMISA team your questions on the #BuyTheBuds bid.
There will be a chance to signup on the day and we'll be live streaming the event for Buddies far and wide who can't make it that evening. We'll also be giving away a special something to the fans for your support so head down to the ground so you don't miss out.
October Member Update
Welcome to Jack
The club this week confirmed the appointment of Jack Ross as the new manager and the SMISA committee would like to welcome Jack to the Paisley 2021 Stadium.
SMISA's man on the club board David Nicol was obviously involved in the recruitment process and we know Jack really impressed the board with his vision for the club and that they see him as a good fit for their long-term plans.
It was also encouraging to see him talking up the benefits of fan ownership in his interview on the official website today - for those who missed it, there's a good insight into his approach here.
It goes without saying supporting St Mirren hasn't been easy over the past few years and maybe the atmosphere hasn't always helped matters on the pitch.
But we now have a new manager, a new board and a new opportunity to move forward as a club. We hope all members and fans will give their full support to Jack and the team, and hopefully better days lie ahead.
Latest member numbers
Current membership numbers as of the start of October are 1344. That is slightly down on last month but we always expected that over time numbers would tail off and we budgeted on that basis.
Of the handful of cancellations, the feedback we have from those who wrote to us is that their reasons were purely down to finance.
We have been given no indication anybody has left because they are unhappy with the job we are doing or because of results on the park.
As always we would stress the work to take the club into majority fan ownership is a long-term project which will take years to save up for, and that means we need a long-term commitment from as many members to stay the course as possible.
First £2 pot spend
One of the key ways we will be keeping everybody engaged is by spending the £2 proportion of your monthly membership, which we plan to do every three months.
We wrote to you last week with the results of the survey we ran on your priorities and the feedback from that will be used to inform future spending decisions.
As we explained in that update, the bulk of the £8,500 raised through the first three months of #BuyTheBuds money will be used to make up the shortfall (estimated at £6,000-7,000) on the club’s planned disabled platform at the back of the main stand.
But we asked the members to vote on where the remainder of the money should go – either into youth development or to be left in the pot for future investment.
Voting closed earlier in the week and the results were as follows:
Option 1 (Spend on Youth Academy)
Option 2 (Carry funds over)
As you know, one of the key points of the #BuyTheBuds campaign is that you the members can elect one of your own to represent you on the club board.
SMISA committee member David Nicol has been doing this role for the past couple of months but it was always our plan to hold an election to be concluded before the club AGM at the end of the year.
We have now produced a set of election rules, along with a timetable detailing how the process will unfold over the next couple of months.
The first stage of that will be a nomination period where any interested members will be able to put themselves forward to go on to the ballot.
The full set of election rules, including details of how to nominate yourself, will be sent out later this week, along with a job description outlining the expected duties of a SMISA rep on the club board.
Volunteer call to action
Something both the SMISA committee and Gordon Scott are keen to investigate is how to harness the membership’s collective power to volunteer on projects which will help the club and community.
The club have approached us with a couple of projects which they need some extra pairs of hands on and have asked if SMISA members are willing to provide them.
The first project involves the possibility of the club installing an electronic advertising billboard on land at the north end of the stadium, which could be a very lucrative income stream.
However the companies who operate these boards will only install one if they know there will be a certain amount of traffic at that location each day.
So to find out if this idea is feasible, the club is looking for a number of volunteers to work in shifts to help electronically count the vehicles at that spot over the course of one day (note - this is likely to be a weekday).
If you were able to spare an hour or two and would like to register an interest in this or any future volunteering opportunities, please send an email to [email protected] and we will be in touch with more detail when we have it.
If there was sufficient interest, this could be the start of a SMISA volunteer pool of people who use their collective skills to work on various club and community projects as and when required.
This could be ideal for members who are perhaps retired and willing to give up some time to, or those who are looking for something to add to their CV.
One-year anniversary of #BuyTheBuds
This week marked the one-year anniversary of the #BuyTheBuds campaign being concluded, meaning the future ownership of St Mirren will lie in the hands of the people who will care for it most – you.
In that time the SMISA committee have been busy. Sometimes it’s easy to forget what has been achieved, so we thought it was worth recapping on what SMISA has done in that time.
- created a process where member vote on where to spend the £2 portions of your membership, a scheme unlike anything else we know of at other Scottish clubs;
- part-funded the club’s wheelchair platform, helping bring back gold status to the Paisley 2021 Stadium, and giving St MIrren disabled facilities rated among the best in the country;
- made additional funds available to the manager when the club was teetering on the brink of relegation in January, helping fuel an incredible last three months of the season;
- had the first-ever election for a SMISA member to sit on the St Mirren board. David Nicol has done a great job over the last year as the link between the club and SMISA, while making sure fan issues are considered in club decision-making. He can be reached via [email protected];
- helped set up a volunteer squad which has cleaned every seat in the stadium ahead of the new season;
- loaned the club money to repair the undersoil heating;
- helped get an issue of The Saint newspaper up and running and distributed it to fans;
- purchased 24 season tickets to invite local community groups along to games free of charge;
- sponsored a local youth football team (Renfrew Juniors 2005s) for a year, and donated money to Renfrewshire Foodbank;
- set a series of objectives for the next year which include increasing our member numbers, creating a regular place for members to meet the committee, setting up more regular meetings with club directors, and increasing the diversity of the committee to include more female members.
There is still much to be done but we start our second year in a strong position and have high hopes for the future of SMISA and St Mirren, on and off the park.
Of course to see through the long-term goal of fan ownership we need as many members as possible.
If you have Saints-supporting friends or relatives who haven’t yet signed up, tell them what we have achieved and be proud of your role in making it happen.
You can check out our video of our social media highlights from 2016/7 which tells the story of #BuyTheBuds, at the top of the article.
SMiSA Members Discretionary Spend Ballot
As you know we wrote to a few weeks back with a link to an online survey asking where you would like to see SMISA invest the £2 proportion of your monthly membership fee.
The plan is to spend the pot every three months and what you told us in the survey will help inform future decisions over how we do that.
The survey is now closed but more than 550 of you took the time to fill it out – and your feedback was hugely helpful.
There were a couple of questions – the first one asked you to rank a number of areas by importance and the second to submit any ideas you had for specific projects.
We’ve now been through the results and you can see the full answers to the first question through this link.
As you can see, the youth academy was your top priority, but there was also broad support for investment in club facilities of different kinds.
On the whole, members are happy to see money spent on St Mirren-related community projects although other areas were given higher priority.
Investment in the first-team squad was the one area which split opinion – 31% of you didn’t feel it was a suitable use of the money but almost 70% did, with 44% calling it important or very important.
Clearly we won’t be able to keep everybody happy on that point, but we could in future suggest first-team investment alongside other options and ask members to vote – that way the membership as a whole decide if the money goes there or not.
The second question saw some interesting feedback and some really good ideas and we have already had an initial chat with Gordon about how some of them might work in future.
We grouped the answers to those questions together to pick out key themes and three came out as the most mentioned.
As you might expect, youth development and the first team budget were two, and the other which repeatedly came up was investment in disabled facilities.
Leaving the money in the pot to allow bigger investment in the future was another suggestion some of you made and that may be an option we offer at various points.
But for now we have the question of what to do with the first three months of money – there is £8,500 available from the July, August and September income.
As part of the process we asked the club where they wanted investment – and their number one priority is for us to make a contribution towards the disabled platform they plan to build at the back of the main stand.
Currently, wheelchair-bound fans are housed at the front of the stands, and there is a lack of shelter during bad weather – a long-standing issue the new board have committed to fix.
This work would also allow the stadium to regain UEFA Gold Licence status – an honour it lost when the criteria for a raised disabled platform was added.
The club has the necessary permissions in place and has managed to secure some of the funding for this project but not all.
The total project cost is yet to be finalised but they reckon the shortfall will be around £6,000-7,000 and have asked if SMISA can meet that.
All things considered it seems the obvious place for this first tranche of #BuyTheBuds money to go – we want member money to go into visible projects which will make a difference to fans and this strikes us as a perfect example.
There will be points in the future where we will offer members a choice of projects and ask you to pick between them – but in this case we felt that wasn’t needed when there was only one thing the club asked us to fund and lots of our members are telling us they want that very project.
So we are proposing to make the full £8,500 available to the club to cover as much as they need to complete the platform – however we would like the members to decide what should happen with however much of that is left over.
There are two choices we would invite you to vote on –
1) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and put any leftover sum into the St Mirren youth academy budget
2) Make £8,500 available for the disabled platform and keep any leftover sum in the SMISA £2 pot for spending at a future date.
You will be able to cast your vote via secure online ballot and you will receive a separate email with a link allowing you to do so. If you have any issues accessing the ballot or didn't receive it please contact us.
Voting will close at midnight on Sunday 2 October and we will email members with the results.
We and the club will be working behind the scenes to cost some other projects for possible inclusion in future spending rounds – the next one will likely be in January.
As always, if you have any questions you can contact us via [email protected]