St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMiSA)
Minutes of Annual General Meeting Saturday 14th April 2018
Held in University of West of Scotland Library 12:30 pm.
George Adam, SMiSA Chairman, welcomed members and opened the meeting
- Provided a brief overview of a very positive year to date and reiterated the need for continued drive by all members and appealed that there is always room for anyone wishing to get involved further in support of the committee and the organisation.
- Presented the agenda for the meeting.
- Handed over to Dave Nicol.
Dave Nicol, SMFC Board Director & SMiSA Committee Member
- Gave an overview of his duties and responsibilities as the SMiSA representative on the club board.
- Gave a positive outlook on where having a fan representative on the board has resulted in improved co-ordination between the club and the fans and thus improving the relationship as a single entity.
- Informed of how SMiSA contributions via the £2 quarterly spend had made a significant difference to the team on the park and to the club as a whole.
- The club board and the manager have on many occasions acknowledged the ‘huge impact’ the members have had on the overall success of the club since Buy the Buds project was launched.
- DN read out a message he had received earlier that day from Jack Ross thanking all SMiSA members for their continued financial support of the club.
Colin Orr, SMISA Committee Member (Communications)
- Explained the background to the £2 spend concept and it having been praised by Supporters Direct Scotland as an excellent and unique initiative.
- Provided some highlights and examples of the £2 spend
- Explained that this funding allowed things to happen at the club that otherwise wouldn’t have. eg. Sports Scientist, Increased Player budget and others.
- Informed of recently implemented policy for £2 spends laying out the criteria and timescales
- Provided overview of survey undertaken which was the basis for the above ‘spend criteria’ eg Youth Academy was indicated as the highest priority by people who responded.
- Explained the principle of how the recent Ralston Astroturf project came about and that having been approached by SMFC the committee devised and submitted the best workable option to the membership for them to decide.
Alan Quinn, SMISA Committee Member (Finance)
- Provided a financial plan of how the Ralston Astroturf project would work in relation to movement of funds over the next financial year and advised that full accounting details are controlled, kept, and monitored on a constant basis.
- Presented graph on membership numbers since the start of Buy The Buds was launched, and although there has been a gradual downturn (as expected) numbers were still healthy and above target and in fact had improved slightly recently (1 new member, 4 upgrades, 2 enquiries about joining)
- Advised of administration of membership being laborious with much of it being based on spreadsheets. It is the finance teams’ objective for this year to get all membership details and communication means onto a single database system ensuring accuracy and efficiency.
- GDPR compliance is required by all UK companies that hold anyone’s personal information. This is currently in hand by the finance team and members will receive notice of their rights relating to the matter. SMiSA already complies to these new regulations but are legally required to formalise.
- Provided a general overview of finance since the year end accounts Nov 2017 and that all finance was healthy and in line with forecasts and in particular highlighted that the final payment to the outgoing directors would be made in July this year, - a major milestone achieved without the need for external funding thanks to the higher than planned member contributions. £385k in total.
- Explained the £4031 debtor being in relation to the final repayment of the Under Soil Heating loan, which had been paid the day after the year end.
- Requested that all members ensure SMiSA is kept up to date information eg changed email addresses etc to ensure communication flow.
- Accounts Issued Previously; Questions were invited from members on the formal accounts to year end Nov 2017 – No questions raised.
- Provided a general overview of finance since the year end accounts Nov 2017 and that all finance was healthy and in line with forecasts.
- Explained that "Unaudited Accounts" doesn't mean we just pick some nice numbers out of the air. The accounts are still subject to a detailed examination by an independent accountant, although this stops short of a full audit.
AQ introduced the formal voting (by show of hands) required for this AGM
- For acceptance of accounts to year end Nov 2017 – unanimous acceptance
- To continue with ‘unaudited accounts’ principle for next year – unanimous acceptance
- Re-appointment of JB Andrew, Chartered Accountants as reviewers - unanimous acceptance
AQ then explained the election of committee members to the Board of SMiSA, in that applications had been invited from all members and that the number of people applying to join was the same number as spaces available, therefore there had been no need for a full postal election. There was however a need for members at the AGM to approve those who were standing.
- George Adam – re-election sought as per 3 year rotation rule – unanimous acceptance
- Jim Cumming – re-election sought as per 3 year rotation rule – unanimous acceptance
- Graeme McPherson – election sought - unanimous acceptance
- Kevin Park – election sought - unanimous acceptance
- Janette Swanson – election sought - unanimous acceptance
Kenny Docherty, SMiSA Committee Member (Events & Objectives)
- Provided overview of how objectives were decided upon and reviewed last year’s objectives, outcomes and actions undertaken to improve performance of the committee overall.
- Informed of and explained the reasoning behind the objectives for 2018.
George Adam, SMiSA Chairman invited questions from attendees for response from relevant committee member.
Question; personally voted against Ralston Astroturf project as he felt SMiSA (Committee) were not applying to original processes stated
CO: explained BuyTheBuds was always designed to allow members to invest in the club as we go. We didn’t feel this went against principle of deal and wouldn’t have put it to members if we did. The SMISA committee have put in huge amount of our own time at expense of other things in our lives to make fan ownership possible…we won’t do anything that could risk that
AQ; all the funding for the project will ultimately be coming from the £2 spend and although the question was raised relating to the rights and wrongs of what members were asked to vote on, we have confidence that the accounts are healthy enough to support the method of financing put to members. AQ advised he would not have agreed to the proposal otherwise.
KD: This was an example of the club coming to SMiSA with a large significant project, something that some members have been looking for, and it was only right that the SMiSA committee take consideration of this and try and find the best possible solution and means to finance and to let the membership decide.
Response from original questioner – comfortable with responses given but we should take greater care in the future when embarking on any project or direction when a different intention had been previously stated.
GA; Asked if there were any more questions relating to this specific subject – none were raised.
Question; membership numbers, can we do more now ie with increased interest in the team ?
KD advised that this was the very reason for one particular objective being included in next years plans and that up till now we have reacted to situations or ideas to increase membership on the day, however once a strategy was in place it would be hoped that there would be more focus on increasing membership in an organised manner.
John White, member, responded that in the context of large crowds expected for the remaining home games and the lack of a mass ‘sign-up’ plan for that period, was down to the current workload of the committee and also that in the past, despite appeals for members to assist, eg hand out flyers etc. it tended to be only the same four or five committee members who responded by getting involved.
Further response from another member was that this was the same comment the individual had made at last year’s AGM in that that every SMiSA member is responsible for increasing the membership and everyone should be promoting SMiSA and encouraging other friends and relatives to sign up.
Question; was there concern that the lower than normal recent voting and low activity response from members was due to some form of apathy becoming prevalent ?
Response; It was generally felt that with the vote going out over the Easter weekend accounted for a slightly lower than normal vote. The intention is that part of the ‘increase membership strategy’ will encourage more engagement from members to requests for assistance. Overall membership numbers are still meeting initial expectations but the more members who sign up the more successful SMiSA and SMFC can be.
Question; has SMiSA got any link with the SMFC Community Trust, as in the individuals experience one particular clubs community trust was massive and engages every aspect of the local community through schools, clubs etc and focuses everyone in the area on the football club.
Response; DN advised that unfortunately the clubs community trust had lain somewhat dormant for a couple of years and required regenerating. It was advised the SMFC director Alan Wardrop had taken on the task of regenerating the community trust and it was SMiSAs intention to be involved with that project where possible.
Response from original questioner – would it be considered for SMiSA to have a representative on the community trust once implemented
Response; DN – Yes !
Question; with the discretionary £2 funding several projects directly related to the club, would the SMFC themselves budget for some of these things in future eg balls, sports scientist etc.
Response; DN agreed with this point and explained that any items that the club had requested funding for were unforeseen. eg in the case of new balls this was down to the SPFL changing the ball provider to the league and it made sense for the first team to use the same type even for training.
GA being no further questions, thanked everyone for attending and closed the meeting.