General SMiSA News

SMiSA Chair Update Jan '24

Hopefully, unlike 95% of us, you are still on track with your New Year resolutions and reaping the benefits. From a football perspective January got off to the worst possible start. Losing a goal anytime v Celtic is hard enough, losing it after 50 seconds almost makes it impossible to get a win and so it proved. We never reached the performance we have shown in some of our home games this season.

 

A win v QoS in the Scottish Cup saw us then get the draw we wouldn't have been hoping for. Many would be thinking on day trips to Ayr, Bonnyrigg Rose and the like but the balls decided a home tie with Celtic it would be. If you`re going to win the cup then what better way by beating Celtic on the way, League Cup Semi Final 2013 anyone?

 

My biggest hope is that the Saints support come out in numbers to support the team, reinforcing our belief we can sell out 3 stands against either of the Old Firm. It is very noticeable that home matches v Rangers and Celtic are way down compared to games against Kilmarnock, Hearts and the like. Make no mistake, in these one off games the supporters really are the 12th man- why not bring a buddie along and swell the size of the home support.

 

At the start of January we had our latest members meeting that was delayed to coincide with the club AGM and reporting of full year accounts. Considering the extremely poor weather on the night we had another great turnout with many new faces coming along.

 

On the night we had excellent presentations from Alex White [SMFC SMiSA Director], Keith Lasley [C.O.O], Gayle Brannigan [CEO St Mirren Charitable Foundation] and Paul Gilligan, founder of the Mirren Mile initiative. Alex headlined the vastly improved financial position the club is in and great credit to all concerned at the club for this especially Keith and his team. Gayle and Paul signposted all the Community initiatives currently happening and what’s to come. The Charitable Foundation work at Xmas was truly inspiring, and Paul's progress with the Mirren Mile demonstrated the momentum that can be delivered with the passion and focus from 1 persons vision. Keith’s presentation articulated his compelling vision for the club in the coming years and his comment that “whenever people talk about Paisley I want them to think of St Mirren” resonated with many in the room.

 

Another stepping stone to increasing commercial income is the implementation of the new Executive Boxes. The money to build the Executive Boxes was loaned by SMiSA to the club. This investment by the club could realise as much as £400,000 over the next 3 years, a great return on expenditure. SMiSA have been offered use of one of the boxes for our upcoming home game against Dundee on Wednesday 7th February. 8 lucky members have now won a place for this fantastic opportunity and have been notified. We received a huge number of entries for the draw, so it’s great to see the demand is there for any future opportunities we get to utilise the boxes for our members.

 

Towards the end of January we ran another very successful Meet the Manager night. Again it was a near sell-out with some great prizes given out on the night by Stephen Robinson and Dairmuid O'Carroll, both of whom were in great form regaling the audience with stories and anecdotes.

 

Our next legends Q&A night features 2 St Mirren stalwarts, Hugh “Shuggie” Murray and Mark “Boom boom boom let me hear you say” Yardley. We had a date at end of February planned but our away match to Ross County has kyboshed that date. We are working with the guys to get a date early March and it promises to be a great night.

 

Finally, watch this space for an exciting addition to the SMiSA membership structure for our youngest fans. A couple of the SMiSA board in conjunction with members have developed a cracking membership package for our U16 fans, more to follow soon!

 

Hopefully by next time I write we will have progressed in the Cup, improved our league position and maybe added some more players to the squad.

 

Enjoy your football.

 

Alex

SMiSA Chair Update Dec '23

Firstly a Happy New year to all SMISA members and all the best for a great 2024.

The end of the year on the pitch was disappointing with us taking 7 points out of a possible 24. At the start of the month we were in 3rd place and now find ourselves 5th going into the winter break, let's hope the players can use their time away to recharge their batteries and go again.

Mid December saw the SMFC AGM and I'm sure many members who have seen the recent accounts posted will be tremendously encouraged by the performance from the Club. An improvement of nearly £1.5m v last year is no mean feat and testament to the hard work of the Board, Keith Lasley and all the team behind the scenes.

On the playing squad front the Manager has hinted that new faces are needed and to achieve that we will need to do “some wheeling and dealing”. Thierry Small has returned to Southampton, we wish him well and thank him for his service. The next 4 weeks promises to be interesting times and we await to see who will appear in the famous Black and White stripes.

The new 3rd strip was launched in December to both great feedback and demand. This was the strip selected by SMiSA Members following a fantastic unique competition back in August 2023. The winning design was submitted by Rhys Proctor. This type of unique opportunity is one of the many benefits of being a SMISA member. For his efforts Rhys was rewarded with appearing with some of the first team at the kit launch, as well as getting his own kit from SMISA, well done Rhys!.

It saddens me to report that Colin Bright is moving to pastures new, Australia to be precise! Many will be aware of the superb efforts Colin has put in to develop the match day entertainment programme, making it one of the best in Scotland. An unknown fact is that Colin and his family spend most Fridays nights preparing for the “Bung a Baw” half time competition, true dedication to the cause. Colin has sacrificed much of his personal time and money to provide the opportunity to Young Saints fans to make the most of their match day. In recent times both the club and SMiSA have contributed to help Colin enhance the experience. To mark the effort and dedication Colin has shown to the club he was presented with a SMiSA special recognition award by SMiSA board member, Jim Cumming, at the recent game v Kilmarnock. All at SMiSA wish Colin well in his adventures down under!

Finally a reminder of our members meeting on Tuesday 9th January, doors open at 6.30pm for a 7pm start. The SMISA board looks forward to seeing as many of you there as possible. With a packed agenda it promises to be a great night!

Hopefully this month sees a few new faces to help with the push to get to 4th place or better by season end and that by my next update we see ourselves in the next round of the Scottish Cup, Queen of the South will be no pushovers and will raise their game against us.

 

Enjoy the game

 

Alex

SMiSA Chair Update Nov '23

Who would have thought at the start of the season we would be heading into November, sitting in 3rd place, 2 points ahead of the team in 4th with a game in hand away to Ross County? A very credible away performance to Celtic, where we scored first through Conor McMenamin's first goal for Saints has given us much confidence going into the busy run heading to Xmas. Surely given where we find ourselves in the table Stephen Robinson is a strong contender for manager of the month?

For Stephen Robinson he has a team in the dressing room fully committed to his success. We are now a team that is very difficult to beat at the SMiSA stadium and increasingly stubborn to beat away from home. The fans are loving the product we are seeing on the park at the moment.

Speaking of the fans, the support the team is receiving from the stands has been fantastic. 7500 in the ground for the games v Aberdeen and Hearts with a great support of 5500 v St Johnstone last weekend. Of those attending those games about 5000 were St Mirren supporters and what an atmosphere we are creating. There is no doubt the fans passion is carrying onto the pitch and definitely energises the players. Those who attended the Rangers game, where there were visibly hundreds less Saints fans, were to experience a completely different match day experience. The away fans “song” repertoire was in full flow and could be heard clearly on TV for all.

We have been contacted by a few fans wanting to know what the club are doing regarding this. We met with the SMFC board earlier this week and they informed us both John Needham and Keith Lasley were meeting with representatives from the SPFL CEO Neil Doncaster on Wednesday 1st November and an update will be provided by the club once the matter has been considered further by the SPFL.

Talking of Keith, please check out the excellent piece of work he has completed setting out his vision for St Mirren over the next few years, SMiSA are excited with what the future holds and fully committed to supporting the club deliver this.

Mid-October the club celebrated the 10th Anniversary of our League Cup win over Hearts on St Mirren’s day 2013. The packed event was held at the Normandy Hotel and many of the players from the squad attended on the night. It was a tremendous occasion and a fitting tribute from all in attendance to Manager Danny Lennon and his team. Special mention again to Commercial Manager Campbell Kennedy and his team for pulling the night together.

The extremely late postponement of our away game to Ross County leaves a bitter taste. Many fans were already in Dingwall or more than halfway en route when the game was postponed. It came as no surprise to many, bar Police Scotland, that the weather impact would be so severe as to have the game cancelled. I`ve said many times football fans are treated abysmally yet week after week they part with their hard-earned cash to follow their team. Hopefully, where possible, the club will try to financially support fans having to pay out for 2 long journeys North.

I had a great meeting with Jim Gillespie last month with more frequent meetings planned for the future with Jim and Mark to continue to develop our relationship for the benefit of the club.

Finally, we met with the SMiSA Directors on the SMFC board on Monday 30th October and we had an extremely productive meeting of both boards. We received a financial update from Alex White and can report the club is in a much more stable financial position than this time last year. It is to the credit of the Directors, Keith Lasley and all the staff that we find ourselves in this position. The recruitment of Eilidh McKerry our new club accountant has allowed even more clarity around performance so far this year. The club will update on the financial year ending May 2023 in due course.

For a variety of reasons October has been a busy month. As a SMiSA board we are pushing on with a few initiatives that can only benefit our members further. Off the park we continue to build relationships with our SMFC board, with our partners Kibble and are planning meeting in the coming weeks with the Academy team, the St Mirren Charitable Foundation as well as our SMFC Women’s team. On the park we go from strength to strength, and it is great to see so many new fans coming to games.

Nothing is more pleasing to look at a sea of Black and White across our 3 stands and YOUR support is never taken for granted.

Get behind the team and enjoy the game.

Alex

SMiSA Chair Update Oct '23

It has been a busy few weeks on a number of fronts since i last wrote to you all, both on and off the pitch.

On the park we find ourselves in the well deserved heady heights of 2nd place. 7 games into the season and still undefeated in the league is a terrific achievement and both the players and Directors of the club deserve much credit for this.

The support and their numbers at the SMISA stadium has been terrific and over 7500 at home to Hearts is testament to the way the team is performing.

We were very unlucky through in Edinburgh against Hibs. A great start to the game, leading at half time, came to an abrupt halt early in the second half. Even in defeat we hope the players can take positives from the performance.

The performances both home and away this year have been very encouraging and the manner in which we are winning games is both pleasing on the eye as well as demonstrating how much effort the players are giving for the jersey, Alex Gogic at Motherwell being a great example.

The early form is on the back of increased season tickets sales, again very encouraging for the club finances and for the support of the team. It is great to see the 3 stands full for our home games and long may it continue.

Whilst the home support is increasing at SMISA we need your help to continue to grow our membership. The more people we can attract to SMiSA the more we are able to support Stephen Robinson and the club.

If you have a friend or family member who is not a SMiSA member then have a conversation with them to join.

We are currently conducting a review of the membership tiers, to ensure benefits are proportionate to their contribution. More information will be disclosed on this in the near future.

At the end of August we had our quarterly members meeting with club update from John Needham and an update from Womens team manager Kate Cooper.

The great news from Johns update was the much improved financial position our club is in. There has been a lot of great work behind the scenes over the last year and SMISA continue to be part of that ensuring the appropriate governance is in place to support the club.

Kate highlighted the commercial opportunity that exists by embracing women's football and it was brilliant to see SMiSA become the largest sponsor of the women’s team thus giving our commitment to the development of our relationship.

 

At the meeting I expressed my disappointment at the discovery of court actions taken out by the Kibble representatives on the SMFC board against SMiSA.

I said that I was waiting on dates to meet up with Jim Gillespie & Mark McMillan to develop the relationship between the 2 main owners of the club.

The good news was Jim and I finally caught up and spent a couple of hours starting to build a relationship that can work in the best interests of St Mirren. We have agreed to having regular meetings and where appropriate work collaboratively on projects for the club.

As we acknowledged on the night of the event, we are in what John Needham has accurately described as an arranged marriage. We have found that the Shareholders Agreement would make it extremely difficult for SMiSA should we wish to get out of it at this time, so we need to work alongside the Kibble Directors and create a more productive future for the club.

 

In September we had our first Legends Q&A night and what a night it was. 2 legends of the club, Danny Lennon and Tony Fitzpatrick were superb company.  For over 2 hours they entertained us with stories and anecdotes of their playing and management days.

Both stayed behind and spent time chatting to fans as well as signing autographs for many. We appreciated the time they gave to do this. Other clubs may do similar but will charge a huge amount for the privilege, again a huge benefit of being a SMiSA member.

 

Member voting is now open for the next SMiSA appointed SMFC Director, and i'm delighted that Jim Irvine is SMiSA's preferred candidate.

Jim has a wealth of commercial and financial experience and I wish him well in his role, should his appointment be endorsed by our members.

Jim joins John, Alex and Paul and together i'm sure they will continue to support all at the club to continue the great start we have made to the season.

 

This weekend brings our latest test with our first game against one of the Old Firm this season.

 

Get behind the team from the off and enjoy the game

 

Alex