We held our annual general meeting in Paisley town centre on March 30 and would like to thank all members who came along. Here is a summary of what took place with a link to the slides used by board members in their presentation. Any questions please email [email protected]
Minutes of The 1877 Society Limited, (SMiSA) Annual General Meeting
Saturday 30th March 2019, University of West of Scotland
1. Introduction (George Adam)
George Adam, Society Chair, opened the meeting by presenting an overview of the agenda for the meeting, and remarking on the highs and lows of the past year for SMiSA and the football club.
In particular he spoke about the recent meeting concerning the behaviour of some fans at, and whilst travelling to, St Mirren games. He advised that Police Scotland had informed the meeting that St Mirren is currently ranked as the fifth most difficult club for them to police. This is not a league table we wish to be near the top of, and George highlighted that all at the meeting had agreed to work together to improve matters.
George also appealed to those present to help out by encouraging more member recruitment and/or assisting the committee with their ideas and time.
2. Highlights of the past year (Colin Orr)
Colin took the audience through a series of picture slides which highlighted some of the key events on the past year.
3. Membership & Finance (Alan Quinn)
Alan presented some key numbers regarding membership numbers and finances, together with an update on progress towards the implementation of a new administration platform for the membership database.
4. Objectives (Lawrence McCabe)
Lawrence updated the meeting regarding progress on last year’s objectives and introduced the committee’s intended objectives for the coming year.
The presentation slides for items 2, 3 and 4 can be viewed HERE
5. Club Director Update (David Riley)
David spoke briefly about his first few months on the Club board and about what the role entailed. He emphasised the fact that we have a wide range of knowledge, experience and skills within our membership and that these could be valuable assets on the Club board.
It's hoped that our members will consider their own particular attributes and think about joining the SMiSA board then possibly standing for election to the St Mirren board in 2020. David is also carrying out a review of all departmental processes to make sure that they are fit for purpose and help drive growth in the coming years. He is committed to ensuring that the Club is in the best possible shape when SMiSA assumes majority ownership by 2026.
6. Formal Resolutions
- The Society’s accounts for the year to 30th November 2018, which had been previously issued to members, were put forward for acceptance. The accounts were accepted unanimously.
- AQ outlined the Society’s responsibilities under the Community Benefit Act 2014 regarding audit of accounting records. No further questions were raised and votes were conducted by a show of hands to :
- Disapply the need to appoint an auditor
- Re-appoint the Independent Financial
Both votes were passed unanimously.
7. Election of Society Directors
GA introduced the election for directors to the Society Board. Each year a third of the elected board are required to stand down. This year three board members stood down but two (David Nicol and Kevin Park) did not wish to stand for re-election.
The third person standing down (Colin Orr) was wishing to be re-elected, along with Lawrence McCabe and Douglas McMahon who are standing for the first time.
Votes were held to approve the appointment of these three directors, all being passed unanimously.
8. Member Resolution
Member Graeme Aitken was then invited to address the meeting regarding his proposal that every quarterly £2 spend ballot should include the option to save the money for when SMISA becomes majority owners.
Graeme explained his reasons for this, and the advantages he believes this would bring.
Colin Orr responded on behalf of SMiSA, principally that it is not necessary to commit £2 spend funds in this way as the Society’s projections and plans are based on accumulating a sizeable cash surplus before completing the purchase of the majority shareholding.
Those present raised a number of questions which were answered by Graeme or members of the SMiSA Committee as appropriate
Q: A member commented that he did not think that adding an additional option in the ballot to save money would make the ballot more complicated.
A: CO explained that including the option Graeme wanted could create anomalies in the vote. If a ballot still included the current option to reject a project but keep the money available for future, it could split the vote - making it possible the option to spend on a project could win a ballot even if a majority of members had voted for one of the options not to do it. But if we didn't include the option to keep unspent money available, any money we choose not to spend would - under Graeme's resolution - be locked away until the buds were bought, even if we wanted to spend it. Thus we would lose flexibility to spend on a big ticket item at a later date.
Graeme admitted he could have worded the resolution differently but agreed members had to vote on the wording he had proposed.
Q: Graeme Aitken referred to the committee having “found some money down the back of the sofa” to donate to the Community Trust Festive Friends event.
A: AQ responded by clarifying that the sofa is actually the £2 spend bank account, that the quarterly ballots do not always spend the full amount available each quarter, and that any surplus is left in the account where it is available for future ballots if required.
There being no further questions, the meeting proceeded to a vote on Graeme’s resolution, after Graeme had received a warm round of applause for his contribution.
Voting on the resolution was as follows :
For : 11 in the room (plus 1 by proxy)
Against : 16 in the room (plus 9 by proxy)
The motion was therefore defeated. GA thanked Graeme Aitken for his contributions. Graeme responded by saying that he had learned from the experience and would be back next year to try again!
9. Questions & Answers
The meeting was opened for questions / comments from the members in attendance. A summary of these are listed below.
Q: How will SMiSA continue to raise money after the takeover, to pay unexpected or every day bills?
A: AQ and CO replied that the exact nature of how SMiSA will function post acquisition has not yet been determined, but a paper is currently being prepared by the committee which will propose various options and scenarios. This paper when finished will be sent to all members for their feedback. It is, however, envisaged that members will be able to continue paying subscriptions post acquisition in order to have reserve funds available should the Club need them. But it is not possible to say at this time what that rate might be.
Q: How many members was the original number of members required to make the buyout proposal viable?
Q: One member commented that he thought Graeme Aitken’s resolution was a great idea, because he doesn’t always approve of the items put forward for the ballots. How does the committee decide which items to include?
A: CO outlined how suggestions can come from the Club, SMiSA members, Community Trust, Youth Academy etc. All suggestions have to be assessed in terms of cost, feasibility, compliance with member priorities (as per the 2017 survey results). This can take time, but all ideas are recorded so not overlooked. He encouraged members if submitting ideas to provide as much information as possible.
Q: Why had the purchase of match balls for the first team, as requested by Jack Ross, been considered a suitable item for the £2 Spend?
A: CO replied that Jack had wanted the first team to be able to train with the new specification match balls which had been introduced for that season, but which had not been budgeted for in the Club budgets for that season.
There being no further questions, GA then concluded the meeting with a thank you to everyone, and enjoy the match!