The SMiSA Board would like to take this opportunity to provide members with an update following the quarterly members meeting which took place on 28th February 2023. Minutes for the members meeting can be found at the bottom of this page following the update. We would like to thank everyone for their continued support and look forward to seeing as many as possible at the SMiSA AGM which will be announced shortly.
FINANCIAL REVIEWS WITH CLUB BOARD:
Repeated requests for key financial information has been ongoing from the SMISA Board to the Club Board Directors. We understand that confidentiality is an essential requirement and in the interest of the Club not all information can be circulated at all times. The SMISA Board must however be in a position at any given time to accurately report on the financial position of the club to the membership, this isn’t anything more than a financial health check and is to ensure that members can have peace of mind.
To do this we need a level of information supplied to us to establish our own understanding of the situation. The £1.6m loss reported at the Clubs AGM in January happened, regrettably on SMISA’s watch. It will be difficult for many to comprehend how we were in a position where the Club was spending circa £30,000 a week over budget. Not only that, but clearly all the SMISA Board could not have been informed about this. You may recall a Special General Meeting was called and held on 03rd March 2022 with the financial position of the Club being one of the topics. The membership was informed at that time that there were no major concerns – clearly this was not the case.
That’s done and in the past, moving forwards this sort of uncontrolled spending must not be repeated and we can only report accurately if we have access to information that allows us to ascertain that the Club is operating within the terms of our constitution. A financial sub-committee has now been set up consisting of SMiSA and Club Board members. We hope this will help provide the financial information which SMiSA have been requesting, along with opening a line of communication with the Club Board on this matter. SMiSA are pleased with the progress made on this basis. Following a meeting with SMiSA Club Board directors on Monday 20th March, we can report the club is in a much healthier financial position now compared to last year as a result of several actions taken to reduce costs.
RELATIONSHIP WITH CLUB BOARD:
The working relationship between the SMISA Board and Club Board is a critical one, with both parties committed to working together for the good of the Club. Clearly from the SMISA side there has been a level of frustration around the dialogue regarding finances as noted above. A resolution that satisfies both parties must be found. Moving forwards we will schedule meetings with the Club Board and will report on the progress of these at our future members meetings. While individual members of the SMISA Board have their own views of the Club Board which everyone is entitled to, the collective position is a view to construct a stronger relationship based on mutual respect and trust. This may take some time but it is vital we work towards this and we believe the Club Board share this view so let’s look forward to making this work for everyone’s benefit.
You will be aware of the changes on the SMISA Board. Before we go any further regarding this, it is understood that all of those who have stepped forward to serve have done so out of a sense of duty and a love for St.Mirren, be that in the past or present. Clearly there has been a level of friction between Board members in recent times, while this to a degree is inevitable, it was extremely disappointing to witness a previous Board Member alleging bullying as a reason for their resignation from the Board. The seriousness of this issue is such that we will not comment further until we can fully review and hear further from both parties. Rest assured we will investigate any allegations fully and take any appropriate action which is required.
There are indeed numerous new faces on our Board with different ideas as to how we take SMISA forward. While the bedding in continues we are collectively looking to share tasks and develop skills to ensure too much does not sit with one individual. This will enable us to efficiently cover absences of our fellow Board members, be that planned or otherwise. To increase the collaboration between both boards we are actively pursuing where both boards work together. Already there are board members in finance committees, at the Academy and with the Charitable Foundation. By maximizing the opportunities for both boards working together can only be beneficial for the club in the long term. We will seek to exploit these opportunities whenever possible.
We will continually look to co-opt to supplement the skill set of the SMISA Board where and whenever required. The election process is both fair and proper, however it is also limited to the willingness of individuals prepared to stand for election. As a Board we will seek the support of individuals who can add value in key positions. Anyone being co-opted will then stand for election at the next AGM should they wish to do so. It’s essential that the rules we operate under serve the requirements of the SMISA Board.
For first time from any SMiSA board since SMiSA was formed and to further promote transparency we will continue to publish minutes from SMiSA board meetings on our website. By doing so, it will allow members opportunity to review business being discussed and allow members opportunity to feedback their own opinions to the SMISA board via the website. All feedback would be reviewed for inclusion in subsequent board meetings.
We are seeking to increase our presence on various Social Media platforms to improve our engagement with members. We will shortly carry out a Members Survey and plan to contact our members for their views more frequently. Please engage with us on this by completing the survey when issued.
We are also happy to discuss any aspect of SMISA with our members, should you wish to be contacted directly by phone please email us at [email protected] and we will endeavour to get back to you. Please however keep in mind most of the SMISA Board are also in full time employment and may not always be immediately available. Should members wish to meet with us in person pre or post-match that can also be arranged.
Ideally, the SMISA Board should reflect the demographics of the support. This isn’t something we wish to engineer as such and expect that most of the members electing candidates for Board positions are doing so based on the qualities of the individual and what they can offer. Whilst this approach is proper and democratic it doesn’t always help to form a diverse Board. We do have the option to Co-opt and utilised this to offer places to the 2 younger candidates that stood in the last election. Stuart and Jack have brought another dimension to the Board and are proving invaluable. While having younger SMISA members on the Board helps create a better balance, we cannot claim to reflect the demographic of the support. This is something we aim to improve in the future.
SMISA will, indeed must always strive to increase the membership numbers. The membership has taken small and sometimes major leaps in numbers over the years. We appreciate we all find ourselves in challenging times financially these days and the argument to spend any available surplus monies on football can be a difficult one to justify before considering contributing to an organisation that already owns the controlling interest in their Club. In theory we could tie in free membership of SMISA with the purchase of a season ticket – that would really boost the numbers. It would however create a very different income stream….. that’s to say no income and would result in us being unable to contribute to the areas we currently support. There is a balance there and we seek to find this and to that end we are currently carrying out a complete review of our Membership and Membership Category offerings. Your answers in our survey will be extremely beneficial in shaping this.
It is abundantly clear SMISA needs younger members and we are looking to establish a Junior Membership (U18 probably) option. We understand this has been considered in the past but for whatever reason hasn’t come to fruition. If you are a parent of a younger St.Mirren fan what do you believe they would look for in membership? We would love to know.
SMISA administration processes are being reviewed. This involves an assessment of the operating and support systems we use, along with a review of the policies that supplement the constitution. We will go into a bit more detail on this at the SMISA AGM and where required we will present any proposals to the members for review and approval.
St. MIRREN WOMEN’S TEAM:
Those who attended the Members Meeting will have no doubt been greatly impressed by Kate Cooper who shared her frustrations, disappointment and her hope for the SMW. We have subsequently had a further meeting with Kate and it’s clear a stronger working relationship can be formed between the SMW and SMISA. We are jointly considering how best to develop this for our mutual benefit.
Following a question from a member at the last meeting, Ex Club Board Director Alan Wardrop informed the meeting of a developing situation between the Charity and the Kibble Club Board Directors. This was raised at the Clubs AGM in January. If, as Alan stated there is more to come on this issue we will review any further information if or when it is made available to us. SMISA is the majority shareholder at the Club and all Club business is by default of interest to SMISA.
We acknowledge we find ourselves in a period of transition on the SMISA Board and continue to ask for your support for which we are all extremely grateful. The SMiSA Board are already planning the objectives and vision of SMiSA for the following year, and look forward to presenting these to members at the AGM. We are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the AGM which is currently looking like the 18th May. We will be in touch to announce this in due course.
Members Meeting Minutes 28.02.2023
Minutes from the SMiSA members meeting can be accessed via the following link: 28.02.23 Members Meeting Minutes