General SMiSA News

SMISA - Ten Things We've Achieved So Far

Since our successful Buy The Buds campaign in 2016, SMISA has helped deliver numerous club and community projects as we continue along the path to fan-owned ownership of St Mirren.

As we enter what is shaping up to be a seismic decade for both SMISA and the club, here is a list of some of things we have been involved with over the past three-and-a-half years:

1. Supporter representation on the board

Since 2016 our members have been represented at the heart of the club via the introduction of a SMISA director. David Nicol was the first to take his seat on the board and he has since been succeeded by David Riley. Their presence ensures our members’ needs are always listened to.

2. Wheelchair viewing platform

The creation of a scheme where members get to vote every quarter on how to spend the additional £2 of their monthly fees was the first of its kind. Since then, our members have given their backing to some very worthwhile concepts. One of the earliest was the decision to part-fund a wheelchair platform in the main stand of the stadium, given St Mirren some of the best disabled facilities in the country.

3. Community season tickets

SMISA recognises the importance of building a bond with the local community, whether St Mirren supporters or not. Over the past few years we have bought a block of season tickets and then made them available to local groups to use free of charge, allowing hundreds of people to attend a match when they might not otherwise have been able to. As SMISA grows we want to continue to develop that relationship with the community.

4. Part-funded a new astrograss pitch at Ralston

Recognising the importance of helping the first-team as well as honouring our long-term commitment to supporting the youth academy, SMISA members agreed to make a £50,000 payment to help the club fund the installation of a new astrograss pitch at the training ground. In return, SMISA became title sponsors at Ralston and our members had the chance to take a tour of the facility and play in a friendly match to officially open the new pitch. SMISA also paid for the purchase of portable goals used on the pitch.

5. Stadium murals and pre-match entertainment

As well as supporting club and community projects, the £2 Spend has also been used to enhance the matchday experience for supporters. SMISA put forward the idea of having a local artist paint murals of some of the major trophy wins in the club’s history and members gave it their backing. Fans heading to a match can now see six of these paintings brightening up the walls of the stadium concourse. And SMISA members have also continued to support the pre-match entertainment ran by Paisley Panda, the Fans Council and the SLOs on matchdays for young fans.

6. Helping the relegation fight

Recognising the plight facing the team back in January 2017, SMISA members voted to boost the first-team playing budget to allow then manager Jack Ross to enhance his squad in the transfer market. What unfolded after that was an incredible 16 months that saw the team survive on the final day of the season and then win the Championship the following year. SMISA helped send them on their way!

7. Meet the Manager Q&As

The club has gone through more managers than they would have liked in recent years! But each time there was an appointment, SMISA helped arrange a night that allowed all supporters the chance to meet the new manager and put their questions to them. We are grateful to all of our recent managers and their assistants for agreeing to do this.

8.Meeting our financial commitments ourselves

As part of the deal to help Gordon Scott buy the club in 2016, SMISA agreed to pay its £380,000 share of the cost to the selling consortium within two years. Due to higher-than-expected member numbers we were able to meet that commitment without the need to take on any external borrowing. We continue to pride ourselves in our financial prudency, thanks mainly to our members’ ongoing support.

9.Backing the St Mirren women’s team and youth academy

SMISA played a big part in helping get the women’s team off the ground and then chose to sponsor their strips to also support them financially. We are keen backers of the women’s team and hope to see it flourish in the years ahead. Members also voted to fund the youth academy’s recent trips to play against English opposition, and contributed towards the cost of employing an additional sports scientist.

10. Volunteer squad

Many of our members do a lot of good work that often goes unnoticed or receives little credit. One of these is the volunteer squad who meet regularly to help clean the stadium and run repairs at the training ground. This we believe encapsulates the spirit of a community club, where everyone is willing to pitch in to contribute towards a brighter future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October £2 Spend Results

We emailed members earlier today with the results from the latest £2 Spend ballot. The two projects proposed - Pre-match family entertainment and Festive Friends - were both voted through by an overwhelming majority. Details below. 

Our next quarterly ballot will take place in January and any members wishing to forward projects for consideration can do so by email at [email protected]

 

Last month there was £2700 in the pot for the quarter and we asked you to consider the merits of two projects. Thanks to the 851 members who took the time to vote.

The first project that we proposed was for a continuation of the pre-match family entertainment that takes place outside the stadium on a matchday.

This has proved to be a very popular venture run by Colin Bright, AKA Paisley Panda, and jointly backed by SMISA, the club’s Supporters Liaison Officers (SLOs) and the Fans Council.

The entertainment has grown year on year since it first started with Bung a Baw back in 2016. The aim from the outset has been to encourage the kids of today to attend matches regularly and in turn become the paying adult fan of tomorrow. Feedback has been incredibly positive both from home and away fans.

The organisers want to continue to grow the project and requested £1500 to do so.

Members voted in huge favour of this project: 88% (747 members) gave your support, something that will make a huge difference to Colin and everyone else involved in organising it.  

The second project voted on involved the St Mirren Charitable Foundation and their Festive Friends Christmas dinner.

On Christmas Day last year the Foundation, in conjunction with the SPFL Trust and the Salvation Army, opened the stadium to provide a meal, company and entertainment for a number of local elderly people.

Members from SMISA and the St Mirren women’s football team also pitched in to help make it a day to remember for all involved.

Gayle Brannigan from the Foundation is hosting Festive Friends again this year and asked if SMISA members could contribute £1200 towards the costs involved. 

Again this was supported in massive numbers: 91% (771 members) voted to support the plan to give a Christmas meal to those most in need.

 

October £2 Spend Ballot

We recently wrote to our members with details of the latest £2 Spend options. Details are listed below. Members have until October 30 at 8pm to register their vote.

Members should also know we intend to use Very Connect for the next £2 Spend ballot in January next year. To be able to vote you will need to be registered on the system.

There is £2700 in the pot for this quarter. There are two projects up for consideration this month and members are being asked to vote yes or no to each one, meaning we could end up with both, one or neither.

Option 1 is for a continuation of the pre-match family entertainment that takes place outside the stadium on a matchday.

This has proved to be a very popular venture run by Colin Bright, AKA Paisley Panda, and jointly backed by SMISA, the club’s Supporters Liaison Officers (SLOs) and the Fans Council.

The entertainment has grown year on year since it first started with Bung a Baw back in 2016. Last season they took things to a new level providing entertainment at all Saturday home games with activities including inflatables, live music, face painting, balloon artist, flag displays and much more.

The aim from the outset has been to encourage the kids of today to attend matches regularly and in turn become the paying adult fan of tomorrow. Feedback has been incredibly positive both from home and away fans.

The organisers want to continue to grow and add to the activities they provide throughout the season but need funding to do so. The total cost for this request is £1500.

Option 2 involves the St Mirren Charitable Foundation and their Festive Friends Christmas dinner.

On Christmas Day last year the Foundation, in conjunction with the SPFL Trust and the Salvation Army, opened the stadium to provide a meal, company and entertainment for a number of local elderly people.

Members from SMISA and the St Mirren women’s football team also pitched in to help make it a day to remember for all involved.

Gayle Brannigan from the Foundation wants to host Festive Friends again this year and has asked if SMISA members could contribute £1200 towards the costs involved.

Should one or both projects not receive majority backing the sums will remain in the pot for possible use at a future date.

 

Meet the Manager Night

New St Mirren management duo Jim Goodwin and Lee Sharp will discuss their plans with supporters at a special SMISA-run Meet the Manager night next week.

The Q&A event will take place on Thursday 15 August in the hospitality suite at the Simple Digital Arena and will also see Jim and Lee welcomed into SMISA as honorary members as we continue on the road towards majority fan ownership.

Jim is looking forward to what he hopes will be a regular meeting with the supporters and thanked SMISA for inducting him and his assistant as well as for their ongoing work.

He said: “It’s a fantastic honour for both Lee and me to be inducted as honorary members. What SMISA have done for the club is quite incredible and it’s a great organisation. They’re a group of people who are extremely passionate about the club and desperate for success. And hopefully Lee and I can deliver that for all them and all our supporters.

“I’m looking forward to speaking with the fans on the night. I’ve done similar things before as club captain and I’d love to have regular meetings with the supporters as I think it’s really important.

“That level of interaction always has to be there at any club. There can’t be any division between the club, from board level, through the manager, the staff, the players, the youth academy and the fans as well. We’re all in it together. So I look forward to meeting the supporters and answering their questions on the night.”

The event is free and open to all St Mirren fans but due to the capacity of the venue, places must be booked in advance via Eventbrite link below and will be first-come, first-served. One ticket per application.

Please note that due to the terms of the club's licence, the event is for over-18s only. Doors will open on the night from 6.30pm, and the event will start at 7pm.

You can book your place HERE

July £2 spend results

SMISA members have voted in favour of two projects that will help both the St Mirren Women's team and the St Mirren Youth Academy in the latest £2 spend ballot.

Membes were asked to chose whether they wished to spend £1000 to buy a set of away strips and BALA Sport Fairtrade Footballs for Kate Cooper's squad, and whether to provide Head of Youth Allan McManus with £3000 to pay for taking Academy squads down to England to take on Premier League and Championship opposition.

Both proposals got the overwhelming support of the members. Around 73% (620 members) backed the suggestion to give the women's team financial support and 89% (749 members) opted to provide the youth academy with much-needed funds.

Both are pivotal parts of our club and hopefuly this money will help them continue to grow.

Our next quarterly ballot will take place in October and any members wishing to forward projects for consideration can do so by email at [email protected]

Director's Q&A with David Riley

DAVID RILEY was elected on to the St Mirren club board by SMISA members towards the end of last year. Here he provides his first update to members on what that experience has been like so far.  

 

Q: How have you found your first seven months 

on the club board?

A: The first seven months have been surreal but extremely enjoyable. I still can't quite believe that I've been given the opportunity to shape the future of our club. It's not something anyone ever imagines they will have the chance to do. I've been on a very steep learning curve since December but I've had tremendous help and support from everyone at the club as I've gone around finding out how the business functions on a daily basis.

 

Q: What has been the one thing you’ve learned

 in that time that perhaps surprised you?

A: How few people there are involved in the running of our club. I always assumed there were loads of people, each with their own area of responsibility. The company I work for has almost half a million employees so I'm used to thinking that way but we have a small team of people who do an excellent job every day, sometimes under circumstances that are not easy. My goal during the next 18 months or so is to look at how we do things and try to find ways to improve on them to make life a little easier for everyone; both staff and customers.


Q: What particular projects have you been 

involved in or helped with?

A: There have been a few but the main priority for me was our ticketing system. I know many fans on different devices have had issues of one kind or another over the years and although they're not always avoidable there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. The problem is not always a system issue as such but if I'm not able to buy a ticket or renew my season ticket when I want to do it then that's a problem. I'm working directly with Interstadia and our ticket office staff to address this.

Another thing that wasn’t really a project but an unexpected task was being involved in the recruitment of our new manager. It wasn’t something I expected during my two years on the board but it was great experience as we move towards fan ownership.


Q: What’s been the most enjoyable aspect of 

being a director so far?

A: I can't single out any aspect of the job, I've honestly enjoyed every minute...maybe with the exception of my dear old mum phoning me to tell me my photo was in the Paisley Daily Express and that I really need to go on a diet because they couldn't fit me on one page!


Q: As SMISA’s elected representative how important is it 

to ensure the supporters are taken into consideration where possible?

A: It's my top priority. I'm a supporter first and foremost, as is everyone on the board. I'm focussing on improving the supporter experience in all dealings with the club. Without supporters we wouldn't have a club so we should never stop looking for ways to improve the relationship between the club and those who spend a lot of money supporting us.

Changes won't happen overnight and we won't get everything right first time but I am committed to making improvements in as many areas as possible during my time on the board.

There are, of course, times when what's unpopular with the supporters conflicts with what's best for the club, in a business sense; giving over the South Stand to opposing supporters being a good example of that.

That decision allowed us to bring in two players in January without whom, there is no doubt, we would be preparing for life in the Championship this season. The supporters’ opinions are not being ignored in making decisions such as this but we, on the board, have a duty to act in the best interests of the club and maintaining our place in the Premiership is where our club needs to be and deserves to be.


Q: What are the key attributes a director should 

possess to be able to make a positive contribution

to the running of the club?


A: Social skills are, in my opinion, as important as any business skills you can bring to the role. On match days you host and have conversations with the opposition team's board alongside some well-respected figures from the game so good communication skills are required.

In board dealings, the ability to see both sides of an argument and take a measured approach when making decisions are critical along with good time management skills, genuine desire to get involved and a willingness to go outside your comfort zone. It's not always easy but it's always worthwhile.

Q: What do you think could be done to make the

 club run more efficiently?


A: Generally speaking, in any business you will find that things are done in a certain way because "that's how they've always been done". There is the wise old saying; if it ain't broke don't fix it. That's true to a point but you first have to make sure that it really ain't broke, even a little. In my day job I'm paid to optimise processes and improve efficiency across multiple departments. A big part of my job is asking questions, suggesting alternatives and trying them out.

 It sounds simple and it is. That's what I have started and will continue to do at the club. It helps me get an understanding of the individual jobs and how the departments interact with each other and our customers but it also allows me to look at how everything gets done, without any preconceived ideas and potentially see opportunities to make improvements.

Should any member wish to discuss a club-related issue with David, he can be contacted on [email protected]

Thommo meets Thommo! Legend thanks SMISA for mural

STEVEN THOMPSON has thanked SMISA members for supporting plans to create six new murals around the Simple Digital Arena including one of his famous goal celebration in the 2013 League Cup semi-final win over Celtic.

The former Saints striker, who is now a BBC pundit, stopped by this stadium this week to take a look at the painting by local artist Mark Worst in the concourse of the Family Stand and admitted it was an honour to see one of the highlights of his career commemorated in such a fashion.

SMISA members voted in the January £2 ballot to back a proposal to create murals representing six of the club’s major trophy wins and then were asked to suggest which of those they wanted Mark to recreate on the stadium walls. Mark, with the help of some of the SMISA board, then chose the images he felt would best represent those six celebrations.

The work was completed recently giving Thompson the chance to see it for himself.

He said: “The artist has done really well so I’m really pleased with it. It’s such an honour and I hope the mural is up there for a long, long time.

"It’s a moment I remember incredibly fondly from the League Cup semi-final win over Celtic. You can tell from my face that I might have enjoyed that goal ever so slightly! And you had big Cheesy [Mark McAusland] of all people wide on the right wing to whip in this great ball for me to score.

 “That was one of the best moments of my career, without a doubt – scoring for St Mirren in a semi-final at Hampden. I’m really proud of it. That put us 3-1 up against Celtic and you’re starting to think we might actually make it to the final.

“That was the best team performance we had in my whole time at the club. We were absolutely incredible. You had young Meatball [John McGinn] with his skinhead bossing Victor Wanyama all over the park.”

 Thompson thanked SMISA for suggesting and funding the project. He added: “It’s great that this is something that has come from the fans. Any dealings I’ve had with SMISA they’ve always been absolutely sensational.

"It’s great to have a relationship with them and I’m always more than happy to work with them and feel a part of the club again.

“My son Struan is part of the St Mirren 2007 team so I’m at the training ground almost as much as the first-team players! I don’t get to as many first-team games in the flesh as I would like but I at least get to analyse all our matches for Sportscene. And it’s nice to be able to do that on the team you support.”

 

 

Work to begin on stadium murals

In the January £2 ballot, members voted in favour of a proposal to have murals painted on the walls inside the stadium by local artist Mark Worst.

We asked members to choose which of the club's 11 major trophy wins they would like to commemorate and, based on that feedback, Mark and members of the SMISA board have chosen the six images that Mark will now start to recreate. There will be two murals each in the concourses of the Main, Family and West Stands. 
 
The images selected are:
 
- the cover of the 1959 Scottish Cup Final match day programme
 
- Jimmy Bone and team-mates with the 1980 Anglo Scottish Cup 
 
- Tony Fitzpatrick and Billy Abercromby celebrating the 1987 Scottish Cup win
 
- Mark Yardley from the Millennium Champions season of 99/00
 
- Steven Thompson celebrating his goal in the 2013 League Cup semi-final win over Celtic 
 
- Stephen McGinn waiting in the tunnel to collect the 2017/18 Championship trophy. 
 
Mark is due to start work this week and will work throughout the summer so that all six murals are finished for the start of the new season. We will keep members updated with his progress.