General SMiSA News

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

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