General SMiSA News

April £2 spend ballot details

We can reveal the details of the April ballot for the quarterly £2 spend – and this quarter we are doing something slightly different.

While we normally ask you to vote on a number of projects adding up to roughly £8,000, this month we are asking for approval to commit money from this and future £2 spends towards a major infrastructure project.

The astrograss pitch at the club’s training ground at Ralston is nearing the end of its life. While the club have spent money to patch it up, it will need replaced before it becomes unusable.

The club have quotations for the cost at £150,000. They can access external funding to cover around one-third, and can fund one-third themselves. We are proposing to offer – subject to members approval – for SMISA to contribute the other £50,000

The committee have debated the principle and financial practicalities of this at length in recent weeks and have come up with a plan which would allow us to do this.

The proposal – which we would like you to vote on – can be summarised as follows:
- SMISA would – this summer – make £50,000 of existing funds from our share purchase pot (ie the £10 portion of your monthly membership) available to the club.
- we would then ‘reinstate’ that £50,000 by committing £5,000 from each of the next nine quarterly spends – plus £5,000 available now of leftover funds which pre-date the #BuyTheBuds campaign.

So our share of the pitch upgrade at Ralston would – over time – be paid for entirely from £2 and discretionary money – but we would use funds which would otherwise be sitting in the bank to let it happen sooner.

If approved, the next nine £2 quarterly ballots (from this month until April 2020), would be worth around £3,000 per quarter (if membership numbers stay level), rather than the usual £8,000.

This way we would be keeping something back to potentially support other projects and engage you as members – as opposed to committing the whole pot to one project for 18 months.

If not approved, the £5,000 from the April spend will stay in the pot for future use, and future quarterly spends would have the normal amount available for other projects.

As part of our negotiations with the club, we agreed that SMISA’s £50,000 would not be treated as a donation, but as a deal for SMISA to become the main sponsor of the youth academy, with a package of benefits for the trust and its members over the next two seasons. These would be:
- to rename Ralston to the St Mirren/SMISA youth academy;
- SMISA to be the chest sponsor on one of the academy team’s shirts;
- an under-20 player's shirt each season to be drawn among our members;
- a group of our members to be drawn to be given a one-off behind-scenes tour of the facility once the work is done;

We considered the following as reasons to put this proposal to you:
- we have twice carried out surveys of our members asking your spending priorities and on both occasions the youth academy was your top priority by a distance;
- some of our members have suggested we save up for a large project rather than funding small ones each time – this is the large project at the top of the club’s wishlist;
- the first team don’t currently train on the astrograss pitch, as Jack doesn’t believe it is good enough quality - this would give them a surface they could use;
- the pitch is used extensively by many, mainly-local, young people each week. This investment provides a degree of community benefit by improving their facilities;
- money invested in club infrastructure is money invested in an asset we as a trust are committed to buy. When SMISA becomes majority owner of the club, the new pitch will still be in use;
- as detailed above, we have negotiated a sponsorship deal which will promote SMISA and bring some small benefits back to our members;

We appreciate some members may ask whether the club would be in a position to fund the entire project by itself, or whether we could loan the club the money (and be repaid).

The short answer is for the club to find £50,000 from elsewhere - now or over time - would reduce the core budget available for the first team and the club's day-to-day operation.

Ultimately SMISA's £2 pot was created with the intention of helping move our club forward and for that reason – and the others listed above – we are putting this to you.

Members will receive a separate email with a link to the secure online ballot where we will ask you to vote for or against the proposal detailed above.

Community season ticket scheme

There will be one other vote on that ballot as part of the April £2 spend – for what we would do with the £3,000 which would be left should the Ralston proposal be approved.

A year ago, you voted in favour of a community season ticket scheme – where we bought a number of seats in the main stand, and - working with Ferguslie Park-based group Engage Renfrewshire – made them available to a different charity or youth group each home game.

Groups to benefit include: Shelter Scotland, Good Community Relations Project Renfrewshire, Crisis Counselling – Erskine, Star Project, Turning Point Renfrewshire, Cairn Housing Association, Active Communities, Women's Aid – Renfrewshire, Who Cares Scotland Advocacy and RAMH (Recovery Across Mental Health).

We are conscious the stadium sits within an area named the most deprived in Scotland – this scheme has given a free day out at the football for a diverse range of people and local groups who have been disadvantaged in various ways and who may not otherwise have had the chance, while also bringing new fans into the club.

We would like to run the scheme again this year and have agreed with the club our £3,000 would get us 24 seats (a mixture of adults and children) – which – if approved – would give even more residents of Renfrewshire the opportunity to get along to watch the (we hope) champions in action.

As always, if there are any questions, we will be happy to take them via [email protected].

SMISA AGM 2018 notice

The SMISA AGM will be on Saturday 14 April at 12.30pm in the library at the University of the West of Scotland (entrance via Storie Street, opposite the new student flats).

We hope for as high a turnout as possible as we discuss what has been a good year for the trust – and the team on the park.

As in previous years, we have chosen a town centre venue on the day of a home game (v Livingston) to make it as easy as possible for people to be there.

The following business will be dealt with on the day:

- a look back at the highlights of the past year

- A vote on whether to accept the annual accounts

- Votes to approve the appointment of an independent financial examiner and to disapply the requirement for an audit for the next year

- Election of new members to the trust committee

- a look back at how we performed against the objectives discussed at last year’s AGM, and forward to new objectives for 2018/19

Members will also have the chance to ask any questions of the SMISA board on the day.

If there is anything members would like clarified in advance please email [email protected]

If any member is unable to attend the meeting, they can nominate a proxy vote to another person. To register for a proxy please email [email protected] no later than Thursday 12 April, stating your name and the person you wish to attend and vote on your behalf.

SMISA committee elections

Members had until Sunday 18 March to put themselves forward for election to the SMISA committee. As only five people applied for the five places, there will be no formal election.

Instead, an affirmative ballot will be held at the AGM where members will be asked to approve the election of the five.

They include two current committee members applying for re-election – George Adam and Jim Cumming – plus three who have been helping the committee over the past year and are standing for election for the first time – Graeme MacPherson, Kevin Park and Janette Swanson.

You can see the profiles of the five candidates here. If elected, they will join the four committee members not up for re-election this year – Kenny Docherty, David Nicol, Colin Orr and Alan Quinn.

 

Download The Saint winter 2017 edition

SMISA recently pulled together the Winter 2017 issue of The Saint newspaper - and many of you will already have seen a copy.

The 16-page paper was produced in partnership with Saints fan and SMISA member Jack Paterson of Saltire Graphics, and is packed with articles promoting SMISA and the club.

We wanted to make sure members and fans further afield had the chance to see it for themselves, so have uploaded a copy to this website.

You can download a copy here.

Enjoy!

January £2 pot vote results

We can now reveal the results of the January ballot to decide where the latest contributions to SMISA’s £2 members pot will be spent – and can confirm all three projects were voted through comfortably.

Vote 1 – proposal to continue funding wage of St Mirren sports scientist and extra hours for club analyst until end of season (£3,200):
Yes – 769 votes (95%) / NO – 42 votes (5%)

Vote 2 – proposal to support new St Mirren Women’s Section by funding new SMISA-sponsored strips, plus other costs (£2,055):
YES – 650 votes (80%) / NO – 161 votes (20%)

Vote 3 – proposal to fund pre-match entertainment in and around Family Stand to help attract more young fans to games (£1,750):
YES – 580 votes (72%) / NO – 231 votes (28%)

Thank you to the 811 of you who voted. As always, any feedback can be sent to [email protected]

Some other snippets of SMISA news….

Next meet-the-committee date: One of SMISA’s objectives for 2017/18 was to create regular meeting places for members to meet the committee.

Some of our committee will be in the Court Bar in St James St before the QotS game on Saturday 3 February between 1 and 2.30pm, so if anybody wants to pop in to give us feedback or raise any issues, we look forward to seeing you.

Women’s team fundraising: Although SMISA is now making a contribution towards the club’s new women’s team, they still have fundraising to do to meet their start-up costs ahead of the season starting in March.

They now have a JustGiving page, so if any of our members wanted to contribute to that, you can do so via the link here.

January £2 spend options

It’s now time for the latest quarterly spend from the members pot – formed from the £2 portion of your monthly memberships. This is of course separate from the £10 portion of your memberships, which is currently being used to fund the share purchase

The committee has considered a number of ideas and costed and put forward a handful of projects we feel are a good use of the money and in line with our objectives – but as always the members will decide if they happen.

As in previous months, we are asking members to vote yes or no to three options, to be decided by simple majority. Should an option be rejected, the money will stay in the pot.

The £2s add up to just over £8,000 per quarter. The three projects suggested here total just over £7,000, meaning a minimum of £1,000 will be left over in this vote for future use.

Vote 1) – club sports scientist and analyst (£3,200)

Members will remember voting in July to fund a sports scientist to work with St Mirren’s first-team and academy squads, plus extra hours for the club’s analyst to work with data from a GPS tracking system measuring player performance in training.

This was not something the club had budgeted for at the start of the season but SMISA put it to our members after we were approached by Jack Ross, who felt this additional investment would hugely benefit him and the players.

Results to date would back that up and suggest SMISA’s investment has really helped boost the team.

In the summer we agreed to pay £5,200 to fund the £200 per week cost (£150pw for the sports scientist and £50pw for the analyst) for 26 weeks from August until the end of January.

We would now like to give members the option to keep funding this post until the end of the season – another 13 weeks would cover us from February until late May, covering the potential play-off dates.

Vote 2) – St Mirren Women’s section (£2,055)

Members will also be aware St Mirren have now launched a women’s section, who will take to the field for the 2018 SWFL Division 2 West season in the next couple of months.

SMISA helped bring the individuals together with St Mirren and are keen to play a role in helping grow this new section of the club and with it, the St Mirren family.

However the ladies have a large fundraising burden to meet their significant start-up costs, and we believe SMISA can help with some of that. We are asking members to vote on £2,055 funding for the team, broken down as follows:

- a set of away kits and other teamwear (£1,200). These will be the same Joma strips as the men’s team but will carry a SMISA logo as shirt sponsors, helping promote the trust;

- our investment would also cover the team’s registration fees for the season (£455), training equipment (£300), and coach’s tracksuit and training kit (£100).

The ladies are looking for other sources of funds and anybody who could help can contact them via Twitter on @stmirrenwfc.

Vote 3) – funding for pre-match family entertainment (£1,750)

St Mirren’s two Supporter Liasion Officers – SMISA’s John White and Fans Council member John Allison – have been working with Paisley Panda himself on a new initiative aimed at adding to the matchday experience for young fans.

They would like to bring children’s performers and other live entertainment into the Family Stand and stadium grounds from 2pm on matchdays and encourage families to get there early to enjoy the atmosphere and make a day of it. We believe having more young fans at games can only be good for the club in the short and long term.

This would include the following – two children’s entertainers per game (ie puppet  show, magic show, face painting, balloon modelling or a clown), live musicians, and 500 cardboard clappers per game (similar to the ones Leicester City use) to be handed out to let the kids create some noise.

The two Johns have costed this and proposed SMISA fund the above for five home league games between now and the end of the season. We are asking members to approve a spend of £1,750 to cover the costs.

SMISA members are being asked to vote via secure online ballot. Voting will run until Sunday 21 January. As always, we welcome any ideas and feedback on [email protected]

SMISA January update

Welcome to the first update of 2018 from SMISA and the committee would like to wish a happy new year to all our members. Here's an udate on a few things we've been working on.

Supporters Direct podcast

SMISA’s man on the St Mirren board David Nicol recently gave an in-depth interview to Supporters Direct Scotland – of which SMISA is a member – for their new Behind the Goals podcast.

Dave chatted with the head of SD Scotland Andrew Jenkin about the #BuyTheBuds campaign and what has happened over the 18 months since SMISA’s joint purchase of the club with Gordon Scott.

He also talked about how SMISA’s £2 pot has worked to date – with Andrew describing the scheme as ‘brilliant’ and the first of its kind he'd seen from a supporters trust. You can listen to the full thing here.

Community Season Tickets

In the summer, SMISA members agreed to fund the purchase of 24 season tickets in the main stand for the use of local community groups.

Women’s Aid, Men Shed Renfrewshire, Crisis Counselling and Good Community Project Renfrewshire are just a small number of the groups that have taken up the offer to tickets to get along and see our team during the first half of the season.

Not only is this scheme giving the opportunity to people who may not be able to afford a day out at the football, it is letting people who are new to the area see what supporting St Mirren is all about.

If you know a local community group who would be interested in the scheme, they can apply online here.

Club AGM update

SMISA was represented at the St Mirren AGM in December by Kenny Morrison and Louise Swanson.  

The evening itself went very well, each of the club’s directors were voted back into position, the accounts were approved and the amended Articles of Association were adopted.

There were various points of discussion around the room, with the volume of the PA system being highlighted as an issue for some and baby-changing facilities were raised as being not sufficient. It was agreed the club would look in to both of these.

Another major topic of discussion was parking provision adjacent to the ground, with Gordon Scott highlighting the club have to act under direction of the council.

Away from the off-field matters, Jack Ross covered his intention to loan some players out as we progress through January. Alongside this, Jack also stated he is looking to strengthen a few areas of the squad.

Saint newspaper

At the end of 2017, SMISA partnered up with Saints fan Jack Paterson and his firm Saltire Graphics to produce another edition of The Saint newspaper, which has 16 pages of Saints-related articles.

We’ve handed out printed copies at recent home games, and left bundles at many supermarkets and businesses around the area to help spread the word.

Volunteer squad update

Last year SMISA helped bring together a volunteer squad of members to help keep the Paisley 2021 Stadium look at its best and the group continues to do an amazing job in all weathers.

The group is led by SMISA’s Jim Crawford and recently completed a litter pick of the stadium ahead of the recent round of festive fixtures. Jim was joined by Ken Docherty, Gordon Black, Bert Downie and Ian MacLaren and we are sure members will join us in applauding the guys for their work.

If you could spare a few hours and would like to help, email [email protected]

 

SMISA and St Mirren Ladies update

 

Many fans will have spotted that St Mirren are launching a new women’s team for the 2018 season – SMISA is proud to be part of that and can provide an update on what our role may be.

 

SMiSA initially brought the club together with the individuals making up the women’s team and were involved in various discussions behind the scenes before the club’s official announcement last week.

 

The team will be managed by Kate Cooper, who has experience of playing and coached Glasgow City for a few years, and will start at the lowest tier within the Scottish Women’s Football (SWF) structure (SWFL Division 2 – West), with fixtures starting in late February/early March 2018. You can learn more about the Scottish women’s football structure on their website.

 

The women’s team still have some work to do to be ready for the start of their season and there are still some aspects of their operation to be agreed, for example where they will train and play. It is also currently planned for the players to pay monthly subs to cover rental and match day fees, a practice the team hope to move away from as they progress – hopefully up the leagues.

 

SMISA believe the new women’s team will benefit St Mirren and the wider community by promoting the club’s name and creating an obvious route through which to bring more people into the club structure. We will be working with the women’s team to help them in various ways, which will likely include giving members the option to provide support as part of the next or future £2 spend ballots.

 

In the short term, anyone interested in making donations or providing sponsorship, for example team or player sponsorship, can get in touch with SMISA committee member Kenny Morrison via [email protected]

 

The SMISA committee

 

October £2 spend vote results

We recently asked members to vote on where they would like to spend the £2 portion of your membership fees for the last quarter. We put five projects on the ballot and the results were as follows:

1. Equipment for St Mirren Youth Academy (£3,000)

YES: 724 (86%) / NO: 115 (14%)

2. quipment for St Mirren in the Community (£1,325)

YES: 652 (78%) / NO: 187 (22%)

3. Funding to subsidise youth coaching sessions run by Glenvale FC (£1,820)

YES: 444 (53%) / NO: 395 (47%)

4. Donation towards running costs of St Mirren FC amputee football team (£1,000)

YES: 656 (78%) / NO 183 (22%)

5. Matchday-quality footballs for St Mirren first team (£855)

YES: 613 (73%) / NO: 226 (27%)

All projects were approved by members and we thank the 839 of you who took the time to vote.

Some members will have noticed that the Glenvale BC project stimulated a bit of debate, with concerns raised this could be seen as in competition with the club's own community programme.

To explain how this came about, SMISA were approached by Glenvale weeks ago with a good presentation on their plans to provide coaching for youngsters who may not otherwise have been able to afford it.

As a community benefit society, SMISA felt this was in keeping with our purpose and agreed to put the project to members as part of the ballot. The club's concerns were put to us and taken on board, however it was decided we should let our members choose if they wanted to support the project or not.

We have talked it through with Gordon Scott and the club, and all parties have agreed to work together to minimise any impact on the club's community sessions. Part of Glenvale's proposal is to host sessions in the Airdome, meaning there will be rental income for the club.

SMISA is very supportive of the excellent work done by the club's own community team, who we are pleased our members also this month agreed to support through the purchase of new equipment.

SMISA remains proud of the investments our members have made and are making in support of the good work the board are doing to take St Mirren forward, and we will continue to work in partnership around all future £2 spends.

As always, if there are any questions for the committee, we can be reached on [email protected]

The SMISA committee