General SMiSA News

The Saint newspaper - online now

SMISA recently teamed up with Saints fan Jack Paterson of Saltire Graphics to produce an edition of The Saint newspaper.

The 12-page publication has a range of SMISA and Saints-related content and is intended to help promote the club to the wider community.

Copies were handed out at recent home games but to make sure fans in further-flung locations are able to see it, we have added a pdf copy here - we hope you enjoy the read.

January 2017 Member's Update

Welcome to our first update of 2017. The committee would like to wish a belated happy new year to all our members.

The start of the new year is a chance to look back on the last one. And while we (sadly) can’t control what happens on the park, 2016 was hugely significant for St Mirren off it.

It will forever be the year where Saints fans gave themselves the chance to take the club’s future into their own hands, when the #BuyTheBuds campaign succeeded in the summer.

SMISA started 2016 with less than 200 members, a 3% shareholding in the club and an annual income of a few thousands pounds.

By the end of it we had more than 1,300 members, a 29% stake in St Mirren, a seat on the board, income of more than £200k a year – and crucially, an exclusive option to buy the majority shareholding from Gordon Scott at a to-be-decided point within the next decade.

The process of getting there was a bit of a roller-coaster ride and a huge amount of work. You can read a detailed account of how that came together on our website.

But while majority fan ownership remains on track over the long term, the few months since the deal completed have been busy. The highlights include:

- creating a procedure to spend the £2 portions of your monthly membership, which helped fund the club’s new disabled platform, and given Jack Ross the chance to strengthen his squad in the January transfer window;

- organising the first-ever election of a director to the club board, with David Nicol chosen to serve as SMISA’s representative for the next two years;

- pulling together a squad of volunteers which has now cleaned up all four stands in the Paisley 2021 Stadium;

- loaning the club the money to fix the broken under-soil heating at the club, which should prevent any winter-related postponements;

- continuing to help support the local community through our sponsorship of the SMISA Panda Club, and a £500 Christmas donation to the local Foodbank;

- running the successful Evening with the Millennium Champions Night in December, looking back on the iconic 1999/2000 title-winning season;

- helped produce an issue of The Saint newspaper, which aims to promote St Mirren-related activity to the fanbase and wider community;

There was also a lot of work behind the scenes to put new processes in place to cope with the influx of new members and money.

Next year will see more of the same as we build on what has been achieved so far. There will be more member events, more opportunities to invest in club-related projects, and hopefully more opportunity to give our members a say in key issues relating to the running of St Mirren.

None of this has been easy – the SMISA committee is a small group of volunteers, most of whom have day jobs, and pulling off a million-pound share purchase and subsequent work in our spare time has been a mammoth effort.

We do it because we care about the club and are excited by the potential of what St Mirren fans can achieve by working together.

We are in the process of building something new here, and are proud to be doing things never done before at St Mirren.

But being in uncharted territory means we may not get everything right, which is why your continued understanding and support will be crucial over the months and years ahead.

The long-term goal of keeping St Mirren in the hands of the people who care about it most can only be achieved if we all stay with it, and we thank you for your support now and in the future.

£2 spend plans

As you know, just before Christmas our members voted to make the October to December income to the £2 pot available to the club to add to the player budget.

We are conscious this sparked a bit of discussion and that future £2 pot spends may do so again, so would like to clear up a few points and explain how we see things working in future.

Firstly, some questioned why we are spending £8,000 every quarter. Remember, #BuyTheBuds was based on the £2s going on club-related projects – so that spending was always budgeted for.

As it stands we are banking a five-figure sum each month for the eventual share purchase, which remains on track. And bear in mind investment in the club is investment in an asset we plan to buy.

However, we don’t have to spend the money each quarter. Leaving it in the pot is an option we can and will offer – as that opens the possibility of a one-off big spend at a future date.

In terms of ballot contents, we ran a member survey in September on your priorities for investment, the results of which are here. While we may do another survey in future, the results of this one will inform our decisions for the time being.

We felt – given the club’s precarious league position – spending on the playing budget would be the best use of the January money, but the survey results suggested this would split opinion.

So part of the reason there was only one option on the ballot is we knew a straight yes-or-no question would give a clear result on a potentially-divisive issue, where multiple options could have diluted the answer.

In the end, there was overwhelming support (88%) for investing the money in the playing budget.

We understand the argument made by some this maybe wasn’t ideal as a long-term use of trust funds– but if there was ever a time for short-term thinking, this was it.

The playing budget remains a possible option for future ballots – but you the members will again have the final say.

There is one other crucial point to consider when it comes to deciding what goes on the ballot – and that is the SMISA committee’s responsibility to make sure your money is well spent.

While SMISA’s money will only be spent as SMISA decides, it would be daft to spend money on St Mirren if it wasn't going on something the club actually needs and wants – thus the club’s investment priorities will remain a key factor in future ballots.

At the same time, we will only put forward projects which have been fully costed and thought through – otherwise we risk committing the trust to something that isn’t viable, or even wasting your money, which we certainly don’t intend to do.

In other words, we aren’t going to put half-baked ideas to a vote just for the sake of offering a choice. We will only ask you to vote on things we are confident will be useful.

And considering all of the above, if in future we feel there is one project which for whatever reason stands out above all others at that time, we will again put it forward as a straight yes-or-no question.

However the September survey saw a number of specific ideas which could be viable options but which due to workload pressures we haven’t yet managed to fully explore.

We are revisiting that list and hopefully will be able to present some of those ideas in the April and/or July ballots. Any further feedback or suggestions can be emailed to [email protected]

Lastly, it’s important to remember this is a new process and – like the director election – we’ve had to create our own path here. The way we spend the £2 pot will probably evolve over time and will be dictated by circumstances.

We don’t know of another trust in Scotland giving their members the chance to directly influence spending on the club in this way – we are proud of that and you should be too.

Hopefully this email makes clear the number of factors we have to consider as we continue to try to do what is right for all involved, as well as the level of thought which has gone into this.

We would ask members to trust the committee to balance all of the above and to be assured we will always make the decisions we feel are best for the organisation. As always, we are grateful for your support and understanding.

The SMISA Committee

SMISA £2 Spend / Undersoil Heating / Club AGM

We are now approaching six months since the #BuyTheBuds campaign completed in the summer (how time flies!), which means the second instalment of our quarterly £2 members discretionary pot spend is now due.

As you know, for every individual #BuyTheBuds monthly membership fee, £2 goes into a pot to be spent on club-related projects each quarter, with the rest set aside for the eventual purchase of the majority shareholding in the club from Gordon Scott.

The first batch of money went towards the building of the new wheelchair platform in the main stand – which means St Mirren’s disabled facilities are now among the best in Scotland.

We are delighted our members were able to help make this very worthwhile project happen and look forward to more similar projects which will make a difference to the club and community in the future.

January spend

We anticipate the total amount due to go into the £2 pot from the Oct to Dec memberships will be around £8,000.

The pot also currently contains £1,252.88 left over from the July to Sept memberships (as the final bill for our contribution to the disabled platform came out around £7,200).

Having taken the views of the St Mirren board on where the club would like extra investment, we are proposing the contents of the £2 pot be added to the club’s playing budget for the January transfer window, to be spent as the manager sees fit.

We are asking members to vote on whether they are happy to endorse this proposal, and if so, how much they want to make available. In doing so, we considered the following -

- clearly the club’s league position remains perilous. Only a sustained improvement in results will stop St Mirren slipping into the third tier and the lowest point in its history, the financial impact of which would be disastrous;

- the sums involved would make a clear difference – they could potentially fund all or at least most of a player’s wage between January and the end of the season;

- we surveyed our members in September over your spending priorities, the results of which can be seen here. At that time, 44% of you ranked the first-team playing budget as an important or very important use of the money, while 30% of you said it wasn’t a suitable use.

There are other types of project we want to and will put before you in future – but we feel if there was ever a time to prioritise investment in the playing budget, it is now.

We appreciate opinions will vary, but members have the option to reject these proposals. Should a majority of members vote not to spend the money, it will stay in the pot for potential future use.

There will be two questions, both of which will run on a yes or no basis. The first will ask whether members are happy to spend the £8,000 from the last three months worth of £2s in this way.

The second question only applies if a majority of members say yes to question 1, and that is whether you wish to top the total up with the additional £1,252.88 brought forward from the last quarter.

You can vote now via secure online ballot in the email which will follow this one. Please junk check your junk mail for this email. Voting will run until midnight Sunday 18 December.

Undersoil heating

As the club recently confirmed in a detailed statement to fans at the start of December, the undersoil heating at the Paisley 2021 Stadium is not working and needs repaired.

You can read the club’s full statement here.

The club has since approached SMISA to ask if we would be willing to make available to them an interest-free loan of £15,000, to cover the cost of the repairs should they decide to make them.

The club’s annual budget does not make provision for this, meaning external funding is needed if the repairs are to happen.

We were asked to make a quick decision as the club may need to make the repairs quickly – should the game against Morton at Hogmanay be postponed, it would likely lead to a substantial loss of much-needed revenue.

Having debated the issue, the SMISA committee decided to agree to the club’s request.Tthe club and smisa will work together to agree a suitable repayment schedule.

Our reason is we felt it was better to put this money to use for the good of the club, when it would be sitting in the bank otherwise.

We would reassure members we have cash reserves which can comfortably cover the sum in question, and as the money will be paid back in full, our long-term financial planning is not affected.

While we accept it may have been preferable to give the members the chance to vote on this, we hope you would appreciate the timescales and time of year of the request made that very difficult.

We are also aware it has been suggested the undersoil heating repairs could have been put to members as an option in the £2 pot vote, but – notwithstanding the timescales – there isn’t enough money in that pot to do so, plus this makes it possible for the repairs and investment in the playing squad to both happen.

The Saint newspaper

SMISA has teamed up with Saints fan Jack Paterson (the man behind the Black and White Magazine) to produce a trial edition of The Saint free newspaper, which many of you will remember from years gone by.

The 12-page edition – being printed this week – covers some of the things SMISA has been up to during the #BuyTheBuds campaign, as well as a load of other articles about the club, and will be targeted at Saints fans and the wider Paisley community.

Some of our committee will be distributing copies to fans around the stadium immediately after the Ayr game on Saturday and we would appreciate the help of members who were willing to help us hand them out.

We are also hoping some of our members would be willing to take away a pile of papers and would leave them in their local shop, pub or library.

The aim of this is to help promote the club (and SMISA) throughout the local community by reaching some of the people who may not be online.

To register an interest or for more info, just drop a line to SMISA’s John White at [email protected]

St Mirren AGM

You may be aware the club is holding its Annual General Meeting next Monday (19 December) at the Paisley 2021 Stadium at 7pm.

SMISA will be represented by our chairman George Adam, who will be there to vote in respect of the trust’s 29% shareholding in St Mirren FC.

The AGM usually sees shareholders asked to vote to appoint or reappoint the board of directors, and to accept the annual accounts.

We plan to cast our vote in favour of each of the five current directors (Gordon Scott, Tony Fitzpatrick, David Nicol, Chris Stewart and Alan Wardrop) being reappointed.

The board has only recently been assembled and we hope members would agree they should have the chance to continue the work they have started over the next year.

We also intend to vote to accept the club accounts, however we want to give our members the chance to read them for themselves, which you can do through this link.

Should you have any comments or questions relating to the accounts which you want us to raise with the club on your behalf, please email them to [email protected] and we will do so.

The AGM is only open to shareholders of St Mirren FC – meaning any members who have their own personal shareholding can of course attend in a personal capacity.

However if any personal shareholder is unable to be there they could make it possible for another SMISA member to do so in their place.

Just send a signed version of the form already emailed to you by the club to us and we will add the name of a member who does wish to attend.

Any members who are not personal shareholders who would like to come to the AGM should let us know by replying to this email – if there is a place available, we will be in touch to let you as soon as we are able to.

The SMISA Committee

December Members Update

Millennium Champions event

We are holding An Evening with the Millennium Champions this Friday (2 Dec) in the hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

The evening will allow fans to relive one of the most memorable seasons in the club’s history in the company of some of the men who made it happen.

Expect video highlights from the 1999/2000 season, a Q&A with members of the squad, and the chance to get pics taken with the First Division trophy.

SMISA’s £25 per month and Premium members are entitled to a free place as part of the benefits promised when they signed up to #BuyTheBuds in the summer – and this can still be claimed by emailing [email protected] for those of you who haven’t yet done so.

Tickets are available to all other fans via this Eventbrite link at a cost of £10, with all ticket proceeds going to the St Mirren youth academy.

A pay bar will be available on the night but due to venue licensing we are afraid the event is only open to over-18s.

Director election

As you know, the election to decide who should sit on the St Mirren board as the SMISA representative has now concluded.

David Nicol – who was temporarily appointed to the board when the #BuyTheBuds campaign concluded in the summer – received 65% of the votes. David Riley received 18% of the vote and Kenny Morrison 17%. Our thanks go to all three guys for putting themselves forward.

David Nicol will serve a two-year term as your voice in the boardoom and as the key link between the club and the trust.

He is there to raise issues with the club on your behalf and can be contacted on [email protected]. Any issues relating to the operation of the trust should go to [email protected]

Latest member numbers

The membership numbers as of end November were 1325

We appreciate this can be a difficult time of year for people financially and we don’t take that lightly – we value the continued support of every one of you.

We would politely reiterate our commitment to take the majority shareholding in the club into fan ownership is a long-term one which can only be realised if St Mirren fans continue to financially back the trust

Disabled platform

As you know, the club has now opened a new disabled platform in the main stand, meaning wheelchair fans now have protection from the winter elements, as well as one of the best views in the stadium.

This project was only made possible because of you, with the first three months’ worth of £2s from the SMISA member money part-funding the building of the platform.

And our members have been thanked by John Clark, chair of the St Mirren Disabled Supporters’ Association, who said: "The disabled set-up at St Mirren is now among the best in Scotland and that speaks well not only of Smisa members, but of the wider fanbase.

“We want to thank SMISA's members for using the first three months of their £2 pot to help fund the platform - it is very much appreciated."

You can read the full text of John’s message to SMISA members on our website.

We look forward to using the £2 pot for lots more projects which could have a similar positive impact on the club and community over the months and years ahead.

January £2 spend

Moving neatly on from the last point, by January we will have another three months’ worth of member contributions in the £2 discretionary pot, and we are already looking at possible uses for that money to put before the members.

The survey we carried out in September provided a very useful and detailed guide to your spending priorities and we will use the results of that to help inform the contents of this and future ballots.

Any ideas you have for specific projects (big or small) we could include in the next or future ballots can be sent to [email protected]

Volunteer squad update

Our SMISA volunteer squad have continued to make great progress with their stadium clean-up over the past few weeks.

The group have braved all weathers to clean the backs of seats, advertising boards and stairs in the Family and West stands, and have now moved on to the Main stand.

Led by SMISA committee member Jim Crawford, the group has at various points included - in no particular order - Ken Docherty, Gordon Black, Bert Downie, Tommy Stirling, Ian McLaren, Margaret Tweedly and David Riley.

A massive thanks goes out to all involved – the difference around the stadium is there for all to see, making it a much nicer place to be for all, although three points would help!

If you could spare a few hours one weekday, the group would be delighted if you would join them. Contact [email protected] for more info.

December fixtures

For all we are proud of what SMISA is achieving around the club, there is a grim irony in that this has been a horrible season to be a Saints fan where it matters most – on the park.

With six fixtures in December the team are heading into a critical month in what has now become a battle to avoid to relegation to the third tier.

Recent results have been frustratingly bad, but there are enough positive signs in some of the overall play of late, particularly from the younger members of the squad, to suggest a change of fortunes could happen any time.

As fans it is easy to let frustrations get the better of us but this is a young team and they need our support now more than ever.

The club’s fate is still very much in our own hands and we would encourage all members to keep getting along to games and backing the team.

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

SMISA director election - results announced

The results can now be announced in the election for a SMISA member to serve on the St Mirren board as the fan representative.

There were three candidates in the election. Voting has now closed and the results are as follows:

David Nicol – 432 votes (65%)
David Riley – 120 votes (18%)
Kenny Morrison – 109 votes (17%)

This means David will serve a two-year term as the SMISA representative on the club board, continuing the role he is already performing after being temporarily appointed this summer on conclusion of the #BuyTheBuds campaign.

The SMISA committee would like to thank all three candidates for putting themselves and their ideas forward.

While David is already part of the SMISA committee, both of the other candidates have been attending our meetings in recent weeks, and we would welcome their contributions towards the running of SMISA in the future, as the trust needs people who can help take it forward.

In terms of David Nicol’s role, he is there to be your voice in the boardroom on all important decisions as well as on the day-to-day running of the club.

If there are any issues related to the club you would like to raise with him, he can be contacted on [email protected]. Any queries around general SMISA business should be sent to [email protected]

David will also be the key link between the committee of SMISA and the club itself, giving him an essential role as we continue to build on the work we have done so far.

Millennium Champions night - ticket sales open to all

St Mirren fans can relive one of the most dramatic seasons in the club's history in the company of the men who made it happen - and tickets are now available to all Saints fans.

SMISA's An Evening with the Millennium Champions night will see Tom Hendrie and members of the 1999/2000 First Division winning squad look back on the season with the aid of video highlights and a Q&A with fans.

It will take place in the hospitality suite in the Paisley 2021 Stadium on Friday 2 December from 7.30pm. A pay bar will be available. Please note the event is only open to over-18s.

The event was originally only open to SMISA's members as one of the rewards for those who signed up for the #BuyTheBuds campaign durining the summer.

However as some tickets still remain, we have now opened up sales to all Saints fans via this link. Cost is £10, with all ticket proceeds going to the club's youth academy.

SMISA's Plus (£25 per month) and Premium members can still claim their free place at the event by emailing [email protected]

We look forward to you joining us for what looks set to be an unforgettable night.

Disabled platform - a thank you

SMISA members have been thanked for their crucial role in helping to build St Mirren's new disabled platform by the group who will be using it.

The Ayr game last week saw a debut for the new disabled platform in the main stand of the Paisley 2021 Stadium - part-funded by SMISA through our £2 discretionary pot, where our members help decide which projects they want their money to go on.

Previously disabled fans had to sit at the front of the stand, where they didn't have full protection from the elements - but now they have one of the best views in the stadium.

When we surveyed our members earlier this year, improving disabled facilities at the stadium came out as one of the top priorities.

Gordon Scott and the new SMFC board were already well down the line with plans for the platform - and SMISA's contribution helped get the project over the line.

And we were contacted during the week by John Clark, chair of the St Mirren Disabled Supporters Association, who had this message for our members:

John said "The disabled set-up at St Mirren is now among the best in Scotland and that speaks well not only of Smisa members, but of the wider fanbase.

"As co-secretary of the Scottish Disabled Supporters Association I will will seek to share the good practices and example set at St Mirren.

"This represents phase 1 of the development of the stadium as we seek to further improve the accessibility of our stadium.

"We are now UEFA compliant unlike the majority of rich English premier league clubs. When we shared the story with Cafe, the UEFA disabled organisation, they are keen to share it Europe wide as an excellent exemplar of good practice.

"We want to thank SMISA's members for using the first three months of their £2 pot to help fund the platform - it is very much appreciated."

The pictures shows SMFC chairman Gordon Scott and SMISA's fan rep director David Nicol with young fan Kyle Gunn, along with members of the SMDSA as the platform was opened at the weekend.

November Member Update

Dear SMISA member

Welcome to the latest SMISA member update, this one for the month of November. The committee have been as busy as ever and there’s a round-up of the latest below.

Director election

As you know, one of the most significant things we are working on is the election of the SMISA director to the St Mirren board.

The deadline has now passed for members to submit their applications to be a candidate. Each candidate must be nominated by at least ten members to get on the ballot and we are currently verifying the nominations we received.

The plan is for voting to start on Monday 7 November and run for two weeks. We will email you with details of how you can vote via secure online ballot once everything has been finalised.

All candidate statements will be posted on the SMISA website along with the job description, which lists in detail the responsibilities of the role.

It also lays out the skills and experience we feel someone will need in order to be effective as a fan representative and as the key link between the trust and the club.

The choice of SMISA representative on the board is obviously of crucial importance for the future operation of both the club and the trust, and we would encourage you to read all of that information fully before you cast your vote.

Latest membership numbers

The membership numbers at end October are 1,340, a very slight drop on September but a figure that continues to give us a healthy monthly income and keeps us on track to achieve the long-term goal of fan ownership of St Mirren.

In the last month we lost a few members and gained a few – it will be important we continue to pick up new members to offset any drop-outs.

We are working on some schemes which we think will help do that – but would also appeal to all members to keep spreading the word to any fellow fans who haven’t yet signed up to #BuyTheBuds about the benefits of membership and what we are trying to achieve.

People can sign up online and read five reasons to join SMISA on our website.

Disabled platform update

As you are already aware, SMISA plan to spend the contents of the members pot (containing the £2 proportion of your monthly membership) every three months.

We agreed for the first three months’ worth to part-fund the building of a project which featured prominently in our survey of member spending priorities – the disabled platform at the back of the main stand.

Work is already well under way and the platform is expected to open in the next couple of weeks, meaning disabled fans will be protected from the worst of the weather by the time the winter fixtures kick in.

The aim of the members pot is for your money to be spent on projects which make a visible difference to the club and community, and for you to decide where that money goes.

We are not aware of any fan group in Scotland doing anything else like this on such a regular basis, and are excited by what St Mirren fans will be able to achieve through this fund in the future.

Millennium champions event

When we launched the #BuyTheBuds campaign back in April one of the benefits offered to the Plus (£25 per month) members was an invite to an exclusive SMISA-run event every six months.

The first one will take place on Friday 2 December when we host An Evening with the Millennium Champions in the hospitality suite at the Paisley 2021 Stadium.

The night will look back on one of the most memorable seasons in St Mirren’s history – the 1999/2000 title win, in the company of Tom Hendrie and members of the squad, helped by some video highlights from key games.

Our Plus and Premium members have already been emailed with details of how to claim their free place for the night, but all remaining tickets will go on sale to all members from Monday 14 November at a cost of £10 (all money raised will go to youth development).

It is shaping up to be a great night and we would encourage you to make sure you don’t miss out.

Stadium clean-up

Over the past few weeks a hardy group of volunteers from within SMISA’s membership have been down at the Paisley 2021 Stadium cleaning up the Family Stand.

While the fronts of the seats are cleaned by the club each year, the backs are not, and our guys have blasted them with power-washers, as well as cleaning the stairs, banisters and the backs of the advertising boards.

Anybody sitting in that stand for the Dumbarton game on Saturday will be able to able to see the difference – there are some pictures on our Facebook page.

Our thanks go to volunteer squad members Bert Downie, Ian Mclaren, Ken Docherty, Gordon Black and SMISA committee member Jim Crawford for all their hard work.

The guys are keen to expand their numbers and if anybody has a few hours to spare and would like to join them, your help will be hugely appreciated.

The guys are now tackling the West Stand. If you would like more information about getting involved, email [email protected]

Youth academy dinner

The annual St Mirren youth academy dinner takes place on Friday 25 November at the stadium. Full details for the event are on the club website.

This year’s speakers include broadcasters Alan Rough and Peter Martin and as always, funds raised will go to support the club’s youth development.

As in previous years, SMISA has agreed to take a table for ten at the event and will meet half of the £500 cost of this from existing funds.

That means if any members want to come along, they will be able to buy a seat for £25, rather than the usual £50.

If you would like a seat, please contact [email protected] and we will put your name down on the list.

Next few games

The defeat at Morton on Tuesday was a particularly depressing one for us all – a poor performance by the team, and one they will know themselves they need to improve on.

Looking at the fixture list for November and December the team is heading for a season-defining run, with home games looming against the teams directly above us in the league.

Sometimes bad results breed bad results and the players are clearly lacking in confidence at the moment – so now more than ever they need your support to break that cycle.

We would encourage all fans to get down to the Paisley 2021 Stadium for the next couple of games and give Jack Ross and the team the backing they need to help turn the season around.

As always, if anybody has any questions or issues they want to raise, please do so via [email protected]

The SMISA committee