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.