General SMiSA News

July £2 Spend

Welcome to the latest update from the SMISA committee – we have a few things to update you on but the most important is it’s now time for a vote on the July quarterly spend.

As you know, your £12 monthly membership, £10 goes into a pot which will over the long term be used to buy Gordon Scott’s majority shareholding in St Mirren, while the £2s can be spent every three months on club-related projects as members decide.

In response to feedback from previous votes we are this time offering more choice – projects are split into two tiers, of higher and lower value. Members will be asked to pick one option from each tier, and the one with the most votes from each will happen.

Again, in response to feedback, each tier has two options not to spend – members can either keep the money in the £2 pot for future use, or save it and add to the shares pot.

We would point out the £2 pot is money we had always budgeted to spend, and the trust financial position remains healthy.

At the same time a key part of the #BuyTheBuds deal was to spend the £2s as we go – one of our objectives as a trust is to help the club be successful, and any money we put in is investment in an asset we are due to buy.

But it’s your money – you decide what it goes on, or not.

To briefly explain how projects on the ballot were selected, we see the role of the committee as a filter – the club and our members can suggest ideas, and for each ballot we will explore the logistics, decide what we think is a viable use of the money, and allow the members to pick from there.

We will only put forward those which have been thought-through and costed – so we won’t end up bound to spend money on something which doesn’t work. And, if the money is going into the club, there’s no point spending it on something they don’t need or want.

The projects in this round are a mix direct funding of club activity, and some community projects loosely related to the club, as we wanted to offer a variety.

It’s important to remember the SMISA £2 spend is an original idea of ours – we not aware of another trust doing this in the same way. So there is no template to follow. We are learning as we go, accept all feeedback, and the process will evolve over time.

We welcome all suggestions for the next ballot, which will be in October – please get in touch via [email protected] if you have an idea in mind.

To vote, pick one option from Tier One and one option from Tier Two below. The one in each tier with the most votes wins. Your link to vote in the secure ballot will follow in a separate email. Please remember to check your spam folder for this email. The ballot will run for one week.
 

Tier One (total value - £6,500)

NOTE - if the chosen project is one listed as being less than the sum above, any leftover will stay in the pot for the next vote.

1) Extra hours for the club’s sports scientist and analyst (£5,200)

Earlier in the summer, the club asked if SMISA could help fund the cost of a sports scientist to work with the first-team squad and under-20s, at a cost of £150 per week.

They also asked if we could fund additional hours for the club’s analyst, to work with data from a GPS tracking system the club uses to measure player performance in training, which the sports scientist will be using.

Jack Ross is of the view both would be of great benefit to him and the players.

We agreed to put it on the July ballot, but as the season had started by the time we were able to hold this vote, the club have already brought the sports scientist in.

This led to a bit of confusion at the club’s recent open day when Jack said SMISA had agreed to fund this position. To clarify, we only agreed to put it on the ballot - our members will choose whether it gets funded or not.

We are still putting forward the option for SMISA to meet the costs, which would in turn let the club free up extra budget for the manager. Otherwise, if the club want the arrangement to continue they will need to meet this cost themselves.

The suggested sum of £5,200 will pay for the sports scientist, and the extra hours for the analyst, until January (£200 per week for 26 weeks).

If all involved wanted the arrangement to continue, we would have the option of asking members to support it for the second half of the season in the January ballot.

2) Balls for youth academy and Panda club (£5,000 total - £2,500 for balls, £2,500 for Panda club)

The second option is a combined spend of £5,000 on two separate projects packaged together for the purposes of the vote.

Allan McManus from the club’s youth academy asked if we could fund the £2,500 purchase of a new set of 110 footballs for the club’s youth teams to use in training.

The other £2,500 would allow SMISA to continue to sponsor the Panda Club, where young fans go to the Airdome for an hour of football coaching before getting entry to a home game. The money would allow St Mirren’s Community Department to meet the cost of running the club as they see fit.

SMISA has in previous years spent money on both of the above, but given our spending now comes from the £2 pot, it is now subject to the ballot.

3) Keep £6,500 in pot for future spend

The sum above would roll over to the next vote, meaning we could afford a larger spend next time if we wanted.

4) Put £6,500 towards share purchase

The sum above would be banked towards the eventual share purchase.
 

Tier Two (total - £1,500)

NOTE - if the chosen project is one listed as being less than the sum above, any leftover will stay in the pot for the next vote.

1) Training equipment for St Mirren in the Community (£1,350)

We also had a request from Stevie Gallacher, who runs the club’s community programme, who needs new equipment for he and his coaches to run sessions for youngsters across Renfrewshire.

He gave us a list of items they could benefit from, which total £1,350. The list is as follows – 50 x size 3 balls, 100 x size 4 balls, 20 x 50-piece sets of round markers, 5 x 10-piece set of flat markers, and 4 x 10-piece sets of dome markers.

2) Donation to Johnstone Burgh crowdfunding appeal (£500)

Members may well have seen the crowdfunding appeal run over the summer by the committee of Johnstone Burgh FC, who are in need of money to ensure their short-term survival.

Given the historic links between St Mirren and Johnstone Burgh (with a few well-known Saints of yesteryear having started their careers at Keanie Park), we wanted to give our members the option of a one-off donation of funds to help Burgh meet their operating costs.

3) St Mirren Warriors wheelchair basketball team (£500)

We had a suggestion from a member to consider offering support to the St Mirren Warriors wheelchair basketball team.

It costs the Warriors around £10,000 a year to run the club and they are reliant on fundraising and grant applications, with members paying some of the costs from their own pockets.

Again, members have the option to make a one-off donation to support this club with their running costs.

4) Gym equipment for Ralston (£927)

This is a request from management to support the first-team by donating additional items not budgeted for - including new gym and other equipment at the training ground at Ralston, to help first-team and academy players with strength and conditioning work and match preparation.

The items are: Wall-mounted pull-up station (£70), Olympic bar holder (£50), weight tree (£50), stability ball and storage rack (£293), 2 x swiss balls (£30 each), 2 x tactics board (£102 each) and 2 x goal nets (£100 each).

5) Keep £1,500 in the £2 pot for future spend

6) Put £1,500 towards share purchase
 


Other SMISA News

Community season tickets

As members will remember, part of the April £2 spend saw us buy 24 season tickets to distribute to Renfrewshire community groups, as a way of SMiSA and St Mirren bringing the club closer to the everyone.

We now have four rows of six in the main stand for all home league fixtures during season 2017-18 and these seats are being offered free to community groups, third-sector organisations and local charities operating in Renfrewshire.

We have been working closely with Engage Renfrewshire to make contact with groups they already work with, but if any of our members know of or are involved with any local groups who would like to use the tickets please put them forward. 

Notifications of interest for the new season must be made online here. For more information, email [email protected]

#BuyTheBuds one-year anniversary

This week marked the one-year anniversary of the #BuyTheBuds campaign being concluded, meaning the future ownership of St Mirren will lie in the hands of the people who will care for it most – you.

It's been a busy year and we've pulled together a list of what SMISA has achieved in that time, which you can read here.

You can also view a video of our social media highlights which retells the story of how the Buds were bought here.

Member Update & Quiz Reminder

Welcome to the latest update from the trust committee.

St Mirren quiz reminder

Members are reminded tickets are now on sale for our next event – the St Mirren Quiz in the hospitality suite at the stadium on Friday 23 June from 7.30pm.

This will be a chance for all fans to test their Saints knowledge against fellow fans, as well as players and staff past and present.

We are working on having a team of club legends as well as a team of current staff and players – we are hoping Jack Ross will be able to join us on the night.

Tickets are now available on general sale for £5 via this link. All proceeds from the night will go to St Mirren’s youth development.

Plus (£25 per month) and Premium members are entitled to a free place for the event and if you haven’t yet claimed yours, you can still do so by emailing [email protected]

A pay bar will be available on the night and there will be Saints-related prizes to be given out. However the terms of the licence means the event is only open to over-18s.

The exact number of teams will be worked out on the night but you can either form a team with a group of friends, or smaller groups could be combined into bigger teams.

We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there for what should be a great night.

Member numbers

Our membership numbers remain stable, at 1,291 at the end of May. As always, we would stress that while trust finances remain healthy, we need your continued support to achieve the ultimate aim of a majority fan-owned club.

The more members we have, the stronger the trust is. We will be working on a few initiatives over the next few months to spread the word about the benefits of membership and to increase our numbers.

Youth team sponsorship

One of the projects our members voted to spend some of the £2 members pot from April on was for SMISA to sponsor a Renfrewshire-based youth team’s kits for the coming season.

We had a number of teams put themselves forward to go into the draw to receive the £700 sponsorship and the draw – conducted by Jack Ross this week – saw Renfrew BC 2005s come out of the hat. Jack is pictured with SMISA’s Kenny Morrison after the draw

The club will be able to spend the money on new kit which will carry a SMISA sponsor’s logo and we will look to involve them with St Mirren where possible.

We are working on the two other projects agreed as part of the April spend – the replacement of the hall of fame boards in the ground, and a community season ticket scheme – and will update on both soon.

The July spend is almost upon us and we have a number of possible projects we will be able to put before you, with that email to come out in a couple of weeks.

If anybody has an idea they would like us to look into for possible inclusion in this or a future ballot, please send it to [email protected]

Committee changes

The SMISA committee has had a slight reshuffle of roles and responsibilities. The main one is that John White has stepped aside as secretary – a post he has held for a number of years.

John has been involved with SMISA since its start in 2002 and his contribution in that time has been absolutely immeasurable. If not for John and a couple of others who carried the organisation for years, there would have been no SMISA through which #BuyTheBuds could have happened.

Having recently been appointed as one of two Supporter Liaison Officers by the club he has stepped aside from the role of SMISA secretary for workload reasons. However, John will still continue to attend SMISA committee meetings and play a key role in the trust.

The committee have appointed David Riley to replace John as secretary. David has been involved with the committee since last year and brings substantial organisational experience from his role as a senior manager in the airline industry. David can be contacted on [email protected]

The committee have also appointed Louise Swanson to serve as admin secretary and her help to take on some of the group’s workload is greatly appreciated by the others.

The rest of the committee are pleased to have David and Louise on board and look forward to working with both.

As always, if anybody has any questions, please get in touch via [email protected] and we will come back to you.

The SMISA committee

St Mirren Quiz And Youth Team Kits Update

As you know, SMISA is due to hold two events a year for our members, as part of the programme of benefits promised under the #BuyTheBuds campaign.

We can now confirm the next one will be a St Mirren Quiz, in the corporate hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Friday 23 June, from 7.30pm.

Members will be able to test their St Mirren knowledge against fellow fans, with a number of St Mirren staff and ex-players also set to take part.

The exact number of teams will be worked out on the night but you can either form a team with a group of friends, or smaller groups could be combined into bigger teams.

A pay bar will be available on the night and there will be Saints-related prizes to be given out. However the terms of the licence means the event is only open to over-18s.

All Plus and Premium members are entitled to a free ticket for the evening and will be emailed separately with a link allowing them to do so. They can also buy a ticket for a friend for £5.

Plus and Premium members have a one-week exclusive period to do so - as of June 3, all remaining tickets will go on general sale to all fans for the same price (all money raised will be donated to St Mirren’s youth academy).

This way everybody paying a higher membership fee has the option to claim the place due to them, while giving other fans the chance to take any unclaimed places.

As always, if you have any questions, please send them to us at [email protected] We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible there on the night for what should be a great evening.

Youth team sponsorship

As you know, under the April £2 spend vote, members agreed to sponsor a local youth football team for next season.

We are asking interested teams to put their names forward and we will draw the winner, who will be given £700 to buy a set of strips, which will carry the SMISA logo. We will look to involve the team with the club over the next season where possible.

The draw is open to Renfrewshire-based boys or girls clubs, at age levels up to and including under-16s. The funding is for the club’s first-team kit and SMISA will provide branding for the front of the shirts.

If the club has money left from the £700 budget to buy other teamwear they can do so, but these must also be SMISA branded.

We have already made contact with local leagues to ask them to spread the word, but would also like to ask our members to put names forward too.

If any of you are involved with a club who will be interested, please email their name and contact details to [email protected] by May 31.

We hope you have a good summer, and we will be in touch soon with more updates

The SMISA committee

SMISA AGM 2017 Report

As you know the SMISA AGM took place at the weekend. We would like to thank everybody who came along and made a contribution on the day.

This report is intended to cover the key points for those weren’t there. We apologise in advance for the length, however there are a number of issues we want to cover in detail.

1) Look back at past year

SMISA chair George Adam opened the meeting by looking back on a truly historic year for the trust.

Clearly, the success of the #BuyTheBuds campaign and the fact we are now part-owners of St Mirren and well on the way to majority ownership tops the list of achievements.

But other highlights include:

- creating a process to spend the £2 portions of your memberships, with the part-funding of the new disabled platform and a boost to the first-team budget which we hope helped fuel the incredible resurgence of recent months. We hope the fund can help the club and community in other ways in years ahead. As always, suggestions for future ballots can be sent to [email protected];

- the first-ever election to the St Mirren board of a fan representative. David Nicol continues to work hard as your voice in the boardroom and can be contacted on [email protected];

- the SMISA volunteer squad, led by Jim Crawford, who cleaned every stand at the Paisley 2021 Stadium; the Millennium Champions event, and the SMISA-funded edition of The Saint newspaper;

On the day, we showed a short video of social media highlights which we think quite nicely sums up the journey and you can view that here.

2) Resolutions

Four resolutions were passed at the AGM, with members given the chance to ask questions on each.

That saw the approval of the trust accounts for year-end November 2016, the appointment of an independent financial examiner meaning the requirement for an audit is disapplied for next year; and some changes to the SMISA constitution. You can see the updated version of that here.

There was also confirmation of the formal election of four members to the SMISA committee.

Two were already incumbent – Barry Mitchell, standing for re-election after playing a crucial role as the man looking after our membership admin and digital output, and Alan Quinn, who was co-opted during 2016/7 and whose work helping to manage our finances quickly made him integral.

Two members who have helped the committee in recent months have been elected for the first time – Kenny Morrison and Kenny Docherty. The rest of the committee welcome the Kennys on board and know both have plenty to offer.

The four above join existing committee members George Adam (chair), Jim Cumming, David Nicol, Colin Orr and John White (secretary). Peter Black has now stepped down from the committee and we thank him for all his work over the past couple of years.

3) Look forward – vision and objectives

In the past few weeks the committee has been through a process to look at our operations and identify what works well and what could improve.

From that we produced a vision statement summing up what we want to achieve, and some specific objectives to help us get there. The vision statement is as follows:

We will ensure St Mirren FC is majority owned by its supporters by 2026, by delivering the #BuyTheBuds supporters buyout. In the meantime, we will work closely with the club to be the representative voice of St Mirren fans and to play our role in helping create a successful St Mirren. In order to achieve this vision we will monitor our progress against agreed objectives.

The objectives are listed below, with the thinking behind them underneath. We will report back on progress next year.

1. Target of increasing the SMISA membership to 1,400 by April 2018.

Our membership remains well ahead of the public target of 1,000 set during the #BuyTheBuds campaign, and our finances are healthy. There has been a gradual drop-off from the peak of 1,374 in summer 2016, which we had always expected and had factored into our cashflow forecasts (that said, April did see an increase in members – we went from 1,289 to 1,291). Our target is to increase our numbers if we can and we will be working on ways to do that over the next year. All members can help us by spreading the word to fans who haven’t yet signed up.

2. Events manager to be identified and made responsible for co-ordinating all SMISA events, working closely with the club. To be in place by September 2017.

We are due to hold at least two events a year for members on the £25 per month package, and the first - the Millennium Champions event last December – was well received. While other areas of SMISA operations have appropriately-qualified people devoted to them, events organisation is a gap we need extra help to fill. Anybody with experience in this area interested in helping us run some Saints-related member events can get in touch via [email protected]

3. Drive to ensure trust board better reflects the diversity of the St Mirren support. Objective to have at least two women attend SMISA meetings during 2017-18 and encourage at least two women to stand for election to the SMISA board in 2018.

As you can see from the names above, the SMISA committee is entirely male and has been in recent years, which doesn’t reflect the gender balance in our membership or the fanbase. If any female members feel they have skills and experience which could help the committee, please get in touch.

4. SMISA to have a regular meeting place identified for fans to meet the committee at least once every three months. Target for at least 10 fans to attend and discuss issues. To be in place for September 2017. 

We are keen to be more available to meet fans face to face to discuss any issues they have, or want us to take forward on their behalf. We will put something in place at a suitable time and venue.

5. Encourage SMFC directors to attend SMISA meetings once every six months starting September 2017 and continuing indefinitely. As far as possible, encourage a different SMFC director to attend each meeting.

While having a SMISA man on the board gives the trust an important voice in club decision-making, we are keen to build closer links. This will be important in future years as the trust committee works with Gordon Scott and the St Mirren board on a gradual handover to majority fan ownership.

4) AGM questions

There were a number of questions raised from the floor at the AGM. While we can’t list every single point raised, we have picked out the most important ones below for fuller explanation.

£50k credit facility

One of the big questions people had for us in the initial stages of #BuyTheBuds was how the trust could support St Mirren if finances were tight.

As the deal meant only two major shareholders of the club (ourselves and Gordon), we didn’t want a situation where all the pressure was on him to stump up if there was an issue.

Over the years the previous directors occasionally loaned money to the club to cover temporary shortfalls – our plan was always to be able to do the same if needed.

Initially we talked about having £50k in the bank at the time of takeover (to be raised by selling 20 x £2,500 premium membership packages) which could be used to mitigate against club cashflow issues.

The financial picture became more complex as negotiations and fundraising developed – we massively exceeded our target on the premium memberships, but some of that money formed part of the initial instalment.

In the end a key part of our eventual agreement with Gordon was for SMISA to make £50k available to the club as a credit facility, which it could call on if needed.

It was asked at the AGM whether members should vote on this. We explained this isn’t possible because it is already written into the shareholders agreement and we are bound to provide it – refusal to do so would breach the agreement and could jeopardise the whole project.

We had authority to do this by a resolution passed at our special general meeting in March 2016. That night members overwhelmingly approved the outline of the #BuyTheBuds deal and gave us permission to negotiate the detail. The general principle of us lending to the club to cover cashflow issues was discussed at that time.

Ultimately the £50k is a financial safety net for St Mirren and something we signed up to as responsible part-owners. It remains SMISA’s money and will be repaid. If all goes well, St Mirren may never even need it.

We should also be clear there is nothing in our rules which prevents us loaning money to the club. Indeed, it was a financial consultant from Supporters Direct – the body which wrote our rules – who advised us to have a £50k fund available in the first place. We should also be clear we made sure we had extensive legal advice on everything we signed up to.

Undersoil heating loan

A question was also raised about the £15,000 loan made to the club in December to fund repairs to the undersoil heating at the stadium, and why this wasn’t put to a member vote.

The timing of the request made this tricky – we were asked in mid-December to provide the loan, as the club were worried they may lose income if the Hogmanay game against Morton was postponed, with weather forecasts suggesting that was a possibility.

At the time it was debated whether this should go to a vote but it was felt the pressing timescales left little time, and the committee agreed to make the loan.

In the end, issues with the club’s heating suppliers meant it took some time for the repairs to be made, although the club avoided any postponements. The loan is currently being repaid by the club in monthly instalments.

The circumstances here were far from ideal, however, we are learning as we go. We acted on the information we were given, and in good faith. Should there be any similar requests in future, our intention would be to put them to a member vote.

Accelerated payment clause

One other element of the deal briefly touched on at the AGM was around accelerated payments which could be triggered to the consortium over the next year.

Gordon paid his portion of the share purchase up front, and SMISA – having planned to get a loan to cover our share – had initially promised to do the same. When this didn’t go to plan, we had to negotiate a deal for monthly repayments to the consortium.

They agreed to this, but only if we and Gordon added a clause which said if the club came into any unbudgeted income, some of that money be used to get them what they are owed quicker.

So if St Mirren receive funds from the sale of an asset, the club will lend a portion of that money to SMISA to make the accelerated payment to the consortium, and SMISA will repay the club. This only applies up until the date we are due to make the final repayment in summer 2018.

There are three points members should be clear on here. One is that payments only apply up to the sum we still owe them at that time – they won’t get a penny more than they are due.

Second is the club will not lose out as a result – any money which comes out of the club to make the repayments will be repaid by SMISA in full as soon as we can.

Lastly, the power of the club board is in no way affected – they don’t have to sell anything unless they choose to.

A compromise was negotiated where this clause did not apply in January 2017 – so it wasn’t triggered by the transfers of Kyle McAllister or Jason Naismith. But it may kick in if a player is sold this summer.

Again, the clause was part of the share purchase agreement, which we had authority to conclude, and which was approved by our lawyers.

This was a clause we were reluctant to agree to. However, we were negotiating a million-pound share purchase and this was a highly complex situation in which none of the three parties (us, Gordon and the consortium) got everything they wanted – as with any deal, everybody made compromises.

As explained at the time, there was a reason the deal took a year to happen and this is because we negotiated hard over a long period to get the best deal we could for you, the fans.

To conclude, there are a few general points we would like to stress. Firstly, the committee are all volunteers, some of us balancing demanding day jobs and busy family lives.

Being on the committee of SMISA over the past two years has involved a punishing amount of work, and while none of us need to air our woes in public, it has taken a heavy toll on people’s personal and professional lives at times.

There is nothing for any of us to gain from this other than the satisfaction of knowing we have helped make history and are now helping take forward the club we love.

Ultimately SMISA’s money is your money and we have always aimed to keep members well informed – hopefully the length of this update shows that.

We need to balance our duty for openness with the considerable responsibility of being part-owners of a multi-million-pound business operating in a high-pressure commercial environment. That isn’t an easy thing to do.

All we ask is for the trust of members that we are factoring in all of the above and acting in the best interests of the organisation when making decisions in your name, as is our job to do.

We are proud of what has been achieved to date and feel the committee is in a good place, with the right professional expertise, to continue to take SMISA forward as we work towards majority fan ownership of St Mirren.

As always, we are happy to clarify any points by email on [email protected]

 

The SMISA committee

Formal notice of SMISA AGM

As well as being crunch-time for the team on the park, April is a big month for SMISA, with a few big things happening at the moment. Read on to find out more...

Notice of AGM

As we had indicated in a previous email, the SMISA AGM will be on Saturday 29 April, before the Raith game. This email is formal notice of that AGM.

It will take place at 12.30pm in the cafe of the University of the West of Scotland library on Storie Street, across from the new student flats and multi-storey car park.

The time and venue have been chosen to make it easy for members to make it along pre-match. 

It has been a historic year for SMISA and St Mirren and there are some important things matters to be covered as a result of that.

The following business will be covered on the day and we would appreciate a good turnout.

1) A look back at the achievements of the past year and forward to what we hope to do in 2017/8

2) A vote on whether to accept the annual accounts

3) Election of new members to trust committee 

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

5) A vote on whether to accept the proposed changes to the SMISA constitution

Members will of course have the chance to ask questions on each item before any vote takes place.

copy of the annual accounts is attached for members to read in advance of the AGM. If there is anything you would like clarified in advance of the AGM please email [email protected]

Also attached is a copy of the SMISA constitution, which is based on the model rules for societies like ours written by Supporters Direct.

As SMISA’s circumstances have changed dramatically in the past year there are a few tweaks we need to make to the constitution, which can only be done with approval of a general meeting.

The attached version shows the proposed changes in red, and the accompanying note explains the reasons. Again, any questions should be sent to [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 27 April, stating your name and the person you wish to attend and vote on your behalf.

SMISA committee elections

As you know, members had until Sunday 9 April to put themselves forward for election to the SMISA committee. In the end, only four people applied for the seven places, meaning 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 four.

They include one current committee member applying for re-election - Barry Mitchell – plus three who have been involved in various capacities in the past year standing for formal election for the first time - Kenny Docherty, Kenny Morrison and Alan Quinn.

Two long-standing committee members - Jim Crawford and Tony Dorris - have reached the end of their elected term and chose not to stand again, although both have offered to continue to help the committee in future.

Both have made a big contribution to SMISA over the years and the rest of the committee would like to publicly thank them for all their efforts and hard work.

This of course means there are spare seats on the committee going forward - any other members who feel they have skills and experience which could help the running of SMISA are welcome to get in touch via [email protected]

Results of April £2 spend

Results of April £2 spend

As you know, a ballot has been running over the past week and a half on the April £2 pot quarterly spend and voting has now closed. A reminder of the proposed projects is here.

A total of 845 people voted and results were as follows:

Project one – community season tickets – 673 (80%) voted yes and 172 (20%) voted no.

Project two – hall of fame boards – 589 (70%) voted yes and 256 (30%) voted no.

Project three – youth team sponsorship – 610 (72%) voted yes and 235 (28%) voted no.

The vote is structured in way which gives a decisive answer over whether members are happy with what is being proposed – and again, each project has met with the approval of a sizeable majority.

The SMISA committee will now take forward all three projects and will keep you updated on progress.

As always, we welcome any suggestions for future projects and would ask these be sent to [email protected]

SMISA April £2 spend proposals

As we are now into April, it’s time for the next quarterly spend from the members £2 discretionary pot.

The SMISA committee have been busy behind the scenes looking into a number of projects.

As we have explained in previous emails to members we follow a process before we put options forward to be voted on, intended to make sure your money is well spent.

Part of that is in making sure any money spent on St Mirren is on a project the club actually needs and wants, but also to ensure proposed projects are fully thought through, costed and financially viable, and consistent with the spending priorities you collectively expressed in our last members survey. Indeed some of the projects proposed below have been down to suggestions made by members at that time.

The amount available from the January to March subscriptions is £8,249.01. This quarter, we are putting forward three suggested projects which total £8,200 when added together.

However these are three separate projects and we are asking members to cast three votes – yes or no – for each one, with results decided by simple majority.

So rather than asking you to vote for Project A or Project B with the result one must happen and one doesn’t, this gives greater flexibility, as – depending on how you vote – all, none, or some of the proposed options could be passed.

If members vote against any of the projects, the sum of money allocated to it it will stay in the pot for future use. The projects we are asking you to vote on – along with proposed spend – are as follows –

1) Community season tickets (£6,000)

Over the years the club have run many free-tickets-for-kids schemes to get more young fans along to games. A couple of our members had suggested SMISA subsidise the cost of this and it was one the committee were keen to look into, although we felt it shouldn’t just be restricted to kids.

Our research uncovered a simple scheme initially run by the Portsmouth Supporters Trust – where the trust buys a block of season tickets and invites community or youth groups to apply to use them, with a different group getting the block of tickets, free of charge, for each game.

We propose setting aside £6,000 for this scheme, which would buy a block of 24 adult season tickets for 2017/18 (we negotiated a bulk discount with the club).

We chose adult season tickets so we could open up the scheme to other groups, for example, charities working with disabled or elderly adults. Even if the tickets were being used by a youth group, a number of adult tickets would be needed for helpers, so this keeps the arithmetic simple.

We see this as an all-round win – SMISA benefits the Renfrewshire community, up to 19 community or youth groups get a free day out at the football, and the club gets guaranteed income and people through the gate who may come back as paying customers.

If members voted in favour, we would produce a more detailed application process and criteria, but as a general principle we would open the scheme up to any local charity, youth or school group.

2) Hall of Fame boards (£1,500)

As members will know, the Hall of Fame boards around the ground have not been updated in some time. Also, they still carry JD Sports branding, who will no longer supply club kits after this season.

We have costed the replacement of these boards at £1,500 and would ask members to vote for or against that spend.

If approved, the new boards would include players added to the Hall of Fame since the boards first went up and would carry SMISA branding, meaning less JD Sports presence around the stadium.

3) Youth team sponsorship (£700)

We have also been looking into various ways SMISA could bring the club and local youth football community closer together. While we weren’t able to make all our ideas happen in the timescale we had, there is one we think will work.

We are proposing SMISA sponsors a local youth team for next season. We would set aside a £700 budget for the team to buy a set of new kit – which would carry SMISA’s logo as the main sponsor.

If the spend is approved by members, interested youth clubs could put their names forward and we would draw the winner from a hat.

We would then keep members up to date with our adopted team’s progress over the season – and would involve St Mirren’s staff and players with the youth team where their commitments allowed.

Voting and next steps

We are asking members to consider each project and vote yes or no to each. Members have been emailed with a link to the secure online ballot, which will run until Wednesday 12 April.

The next spend will be in July and there are a few ideas we are already looking into but which weren’t fully developed in time to be included here.

As always, if there are any suggestions, send them to us via [email protected]

Member Update – March 2017

Welcome to the March update from the trust. We are conscious this has been the first update in a while but things have been busy behind the scenes and there will be a few key dates coming up over the next couple of months.

AGM and committee election

The trust is due to hold its annual general meeting this spring and we plan to hold this on Saturday 29 April, before the Raith Rovers home game (time and venue to be confirmed).

The AGM will look back on what has been an historic year for the trust as it was the one we we set St Mirren supporters on the route to owning their own club.

We will also look ahead to what we hope to achieve in 2017/18. Papers, including our annual accounts, will be issued not less than 14 days in advance of the meeting.

It also means there will be an election for new members to the trust committee. Currently there are seven places on the 12-member board open for election.

Five committee members elected in previous years will continue to serve for at least another year - George Adam, Peter Black, Jim Cumming, David Nicol and Colin Orr. The board is supplemented by John White, who was appointed to serve as secretary.

As one third of the elected board members each year must stand down and apply for re-election, three previously-elected committee members will have to stand again – Jim Crawford, Tony Dorris and Barry Mitchell.

There are other members who have either been co-opted on to the committee or who have been helping the board over the past year who may now also run for election.

However any other members who wish to stand can now put themselves forward.

Committee members are expected to attend fortnightly meetings (these are usually held on Monday evenings in Paisley town centre) and be able to make a meaningful contribution to the trust, both in terms of their time and the quality of their input.

Anybody who would like to stand should email [email protected] and request an application form.

To stand, you will need to be nominated by two members of the trust and to have been a member of SMISA for at least 90 days prior to the date nominations are due to close, which is Sunday 9 April 2017.

You will also need to submit a 500-word statement explaining why you would like to be elected and to submit a photograph, both of which will be used on the election webpage on the SMISA website.

Voting will run for two weeks from Thursday 13 April and will be concluded in time for the AGM.

The election will be administered by an election management group made up of the six members of the SMISA committee who are not up for election, who will verify all nominations.

Latest member updates

Our membership numbers at end February stood at 1,300. So while our numbers have declined from the peak of 1,374 last summer, we had always factored in we would lose some in the first year. In that time some people have left or stopped paying, but new people have joined too.

We remain ahead of our initial target and our finances are healthy but as always, we would remind you the long-term goal of fan ownership can only be realised if we retain a large number of members over the years ahead.

April £2 spend

We are soon due to ask our members what they would like to do with the contents of the £2 discretionary pot from the first three months of the year.

The committee have been working away behind the scenes on a number of projects to put before you in the next couple of weeks, which we are finalising the details of now.

We have a varied selection of projects in mind, some of which were inspired by member suggestions, and we will get the ballot and voting link out to you soon.

Member benefits update

We are continuing to deliver the member benefits promised when people signed up to #BuyThe Buds last year.

A group of our Premium members enjoyed a meal at the stadium in the company of some former players before getting boardroom access for the recent game against Dunfermline.

A number of our Plus (£25 per month) members have been able to watch a game from the directors guest lounge, with a different member drawn for each home league game.

And we are currently planning our next Plus member event, which has been pencilled in for near the end of the season. More details will follow once we have them

The Saint newspaper and match giveaways

Some of the SMISA committee have been out before recent games handing out plastic hand clappers to young fans as a way of helping them generate a bit more noise around the ground.

We have also been handing out copies of the Saint newspaper which was published at Christmas-time with major contribution from SMISA.

While those of you based locally or who come to games will likely have seen the paper by now, any members based further afield can read a pdf copy on our website.

Next two games

It has been a grim season at times but the transformation in the team since January has been remarkable and the momentum is there now.

We would like to think the money our members chose to put into the playing budget at that time has made a real difference – certainly none of our rivals had that sort of direct financial backing from their supporters.

The next two games, against Ayr and Dumbarton, are massive – two of the biggest the club has faced in years.

The club have reduced prices for those games and we would appeal to all members to get down to the Paisley 2021 Stadium, bring a friend, and make some noise.

That’s all for now and as always, if there are any issues you want to raise with us, you can do so via [email protected]

The SMISA committee