General SMiSA News

Support Our Saints

With all the current uncertainty surrounding our club it is down to the supporters to stand up and support the club. Supporting St Mirren has always been a series of challenges and only history will show how we have coped and dealt with the current black cloud over the club.

We can only rely on ourselves and our fellow supporters to do this. No finger pointing, no stepping back leaving it to others, we all have to act as ONE and Support Our Saints.

This is time for action.

Please now:

  • Buy a Season Ticket or bring a friend to the first home game and beyond
  • Buy Club Merchandise, buy that strip.
  • Start buying the programme again or take out the subscription.
  • Get a Car Park Space if you can.

We all must generate cash going in the football club and now is the time when we need to Support Our Saints on and off the park.

Article by SMiSA Chairman Alastair Colquhoun

SMiSA’S VIEW ON CLUB OWNERSHIP

In all of our 135 years, we believe that St. Mirren has never had a majority shareholder. Other clubs with majority shareholders, for example, Rangers, Hearts and Aberdeen, suggest that one majority shareholder is not a healthy arrangement.

The diversity of shareholding has surely been a major strength in St. Mirren avoiding the financial excesses seen elsewhere.

The questions are…

Do St. Mirren fans wish their club to continue as a community based operation under the management of a group of local people?...

Or do they wish it to be taken into the hands of either a single person?...

Or perhaps an organisation created to utilise the assets of our club to develop community facilities?

The last option is no doubt a very admirable objective but not the primary function of our football club. Of course, St. Mirren fans do have the comfort of the firm unconditional undertaking given by the current board that under no circumstances will the consortium sell their shares to an individual who could not prove to them that the club would continue to be run in the best interests of SMFC and its fans.


SMiSA AND THE CIC (10000 HOURS)

When the Community Interest Company 10,000 Hours idea was first floated, the concept of fan ownership and the protection of the club’s assets were very attractive to the SMiSA board. Accordingly, our initial concerns did not relate to the eventual CIC structure but we were focused on two main considerations: -

  1. Was the proposed deal fair to Saints fans?
  2. Did the debt which the CIC planned to use threaten the future financial stability of the club?

Throughout the many months of public meetings and statements from Richard Atkinson, we worked behind the scenes to obtain reassurance on our two main issues to no avail.

In our opinion, the price per share being asked must be close to the highest figure ever paid for St. Mirren shares. As far as the debt was concerned, repayment over ten years from sources not yet in place was totally unrealistic, yet supporters were being asked to pledge their cash. In many ways, it was a relief when the proposal fell through and yet at the same time, it was a missed opportunity.

At that stage, SMiSA members voted to withdrawsupport until all necessary information was provided by the CIC.

As the various versions of the 10000 Hours proposals evolved the complexity seemed to grow. Gordon Scott is to be congratulated on his efforts to inject some realism into the proposals as far as the level of debt is concerned but clearly it will take a huge leap forward in the level of investors to conclude a deal. As matters currently stand, the SMiSA board does not have the information on which to base a recommendation to its members. We have repeatedly asked for a detailed business plan, but this has not been produced.

The SMISA board wishes to stress that the questions and standards it is asking of 10000 Hours are no different to those that would be asked of any prospective majority shareholder.

In summary, as an advocate of fan ownership and as an organisation that has provided substantial permanent funding to the club over the years, SMiSA is supportive of the 10000 Hours concept but those behind the proposals have to earn the support of Saints fans by setting out in a totally transparent manner every detail of the arrangements. They must also in doing so establish their own credibility as people we can trust to run our beloved club.

Alastair Colquhoun
SMiSA Chair

'SMiSA 10 Years On' Article in 'The Saint' Newspaper

To celebrate the fact that SMiSA are 10 years old this year, the free St. Mirren newspaper 'The Saint' have done a two-page article on the association in their Summer 2012 edition.  All at the trust would like to thank Jack Paterson & everyone at The St. Mirren Development Association for giving the trust the space in the paper as well as their ongoing commitment to the club and supporters.

The article includes a piece from SMiSA Chairman, Alastair Colquhoun on Club Ownership and photographs from the site as well as a copy of the trust's application & standing order form.  It also features a full timeline for the trust, which we are happy to annouce is now on this website here, and will be kept updated with all future SMiSA projects and achievements.

A copy of the paper can be picked up from the St Mirren Park Main Reception and Ticket Office, or alternatively can be downloaded from the Official St Mirren Website.

Support Our Saints

At the recent meetings at St Mirren Park for both shareholders of the limited company, and season ticket holders and fans of the club, it was outlined by club chairman Stewart Gilmour that the club may find itself in a very difficult financial situation imminently; due to the decisions pending on the Newco Rangers situation and the potential loss of revenue that the club may face as a result.

In light of this, SMiSA is initiating plans to assist the club by various means of fundraising and also making a facility available for any supporter who wishes to contribute and assist in St Mirren's well-being to ensure the club survives and prospers.  This will be done under the banner of  'Support Our Saints'.

As a first step, anyone who wishes to join SMiSA and have money directed to assist the club during this time of need is invited to do so using the form available from the 'Join SMiSA' page on this site, with the additional amount desired directed to 'SMiSA Projects'.  All of this money, in addition to any raised via upcoming events and/or one-off donations will be recorded as going towards the 'Support Our Saints' campaign, with a register of receipts & names of those contributing kept.

Any supporters & other supporters groups who wish to make or organise contributions, or run events in order to assist the club are also invited to give us details.  We will help to publicise all such events and will encourage more people to help, attend, contribute & participate, as well as recording how much money was raised in all cases so that the total raised by all Saints fans to help the club is known, as well as how the amount raised has been given to the club.

If you have any proposals or ideas how we as St Mirren supporters can help to raise money for the club, please do not hesitate to contact us either by email at [email protected] or by writing to us at our address:
 

The St Mirren Supporters Trust
10 Deanston Avenue
Barrhead
East Renfrewshire
G78 2BP

SMiSA Statement on SPL Rule Change

From the outset of the CIC proposals being announced we have been led to believe that one of the strengths in the deal was the debt generated to fund the purchase would be held by the CIC and not St. Mirren FC therefore the club would not be at risk in any way.

We have been aware for some time that the introduction of tougher financial fair play rules being considered by the SPL would, in the event that a Parent Company of an SPL club suffers an insolvency event, such as entering administration, result in sanctions being applied to the SPL club in question.

We raised this with Richard Atkinson at the last public meeting on 19th April 2012 and we were disappointed although no longer surprised to learn he seemed unaware of the pending changes and potential impact this could have.

This ruling amongst other came into effect on Wednesday 30th May. The CIC proposal in our opinion does indeed create potential risk for our club more so as this model is untried and untested. Every situation at every club differs to some degree so comparisons are rarely fully applicable anyway.

It is such uncertain economic times when Scottish football is in state of meltdown that we find our football club (which has been to the edge of the cliff and hauled back from oblivion) debt free. We fully understand the Consortium's desire to stand down having carried out a fantastic shift for St.Mirren but clearly selling to this CIC will be a gamble and as supporters we have to question if the risk is worth it at this time.
 

SMiSA Request for 10000 Hours Direction on Rangers

We have heard from day one that the 10000 Hours proposal is about the fans, their opinions and how this will influence the decision making process at the club. However to date we have seen very little from 10000 Hours to suggest this is anything other than telling the fans what they want to hear.
Given that 10000 Hours could very soon be in control of the club we have today asked Richard Atkinson by way of a demonstration of intent to contact the members (either those who have pledged or those who have submitted a Direct Debit Mandate form) of 10000 Hours and seek direction on establishing a position on the NewCo Rangers issue.

You may be aware that the method stated in 10000 Hours Articles for members to instruct the board is by way of generating ‘Directions’ (Clause 66 in their document if you care to have a look). We understand this exercise is not exactly the way things will operate in practice but we believe in executing this 10000 Hours will at least be a making a start and demonstrating intent by way of consulting with supporters.

We would envisage this need only take the form of a simple yes or no question on the issue - 'Should a NewCo Rangers be permitted entry into the SPL?'

We would then expect 10000 Hours to make public the outcome and maintain that position should they successfully conclude the purchase of the 52% shareholding or at least until further Direction is given from the membership.

We welcome your support in this request. We see no reason why this exercise should not be taken on if 10000 Hours do in fact believe in supporter involvement at St.Mirren. We also look forward to understanding how St. Mirren supporters see this issue.

SMiSA update on New 10000 Hours Proposals

Following from our statement dated 11th May 2012 announcing our withdrawal of support in principle for 10000 Hours we would like to update St.Mirren supporters on recent developments relating to the current remodelled proposal.

We would like to record Gordon Scott has been good enough to meet with us on a number of occasions and we would like to thank him for making the effort in engaging with the Trust in a manner that had previously been sadly lacking. We are encouraged to learn that the purchase price has been challenged however 10000 Hours remain unable to offer us anything in writing confirming this and no further detail other than the information publicly available on their website has been supplied. Our position therefore has not changed.

Having reviewed what is currently available we have to ask how this model genuinely empowers St.Mirren fans joining the CIC. Board positions are already being filled. How can this be the case in a co-operative? Co-operative principles state that ‘Co-operatives are democratic organisations controlled by their members, who actively participate in setting their policies and making decisions Men and women serving as elected representatives are accountable to the membership’. When were the elections?

Are St.Mirren fans being empowered? You could be forgiven for thinking this is merely a method for transferring power from one board at the club to another ……. And using supporters money to fund it.

SMiSA Comments on 10000 Hours Articles of Association

We have been reviewing 10000 Hours Articles of Association which have been available on their website. This version of the articles is incomplete and contains no information relating to the borrowing in the proposal therefore a full review is not possible although it is accepted that this document has been issued as a draft. We would hope that all St.Mirren fans considering joining the CIC have a good read over the Articles and debate with other St.Mirren fans on their worth.
There are some similarities with the SMiSA constitution however the procedure for decision making in the 10000 Hours proposal is very different. In SMiSA it is the members who make the decisions, the Trust Board (Committee) run the Trust on behalf of the members and all key decisions are made by members by way of a vote. This has both its plus and minus points. On the positive side this is very democratic but the drawback is this can be slow and there are times when members do not return votes so we have to do things twice.

In the CIC proposals the decisions will be made by the CIC Board and Directors powers can only be restricted by members passing specific resolutions on a particular subject (Clause 9.1).This is in our opinion less democratic than the rules SMiSA operate under. It would certainly speed up the decision making process but could be exploited unless the members are fully aware at all times of the decisions being taken. How will the CIC board demonstrate transparency in their decision making process?  To balance this the CIC Board will take instructions termed as ‘Directions’ (Clause 66) from the members. It is noted that a two thirds majority will be required to approve a Direction – we would request that this should be amended to 51% which is in line with the majority ruling as noted in Clause 14.1 on how Directors make decisions.

There appears to be little to protect the St.Mirren supporters Annual Subscription being set at whatever the CIC Board choose (Clause 37.1). We believe that the current minimum of £10 a month should be reduced however Richard Atkinson has ignored this request so far and has been unable to inform why the minimum amount is being set at £10. We would insist on some clause being written in to cap the minimum monthly payment at the time of joining being maintained until the debt is fully cleared. By doing this it means supporters capable of joining the CIC will not be priced out of being members in the future. This should not have to depend on Directions from the members it should be set into the rules from the outset.