General SMiSA News

SMISA April update and £2 spend ballot

A lot has changed in the world since our previous update and we hope you are all staying healthy and coping the best you can in difficult circumstances. Although there is sadly no football on the pitch to occupy us for the time being, the SMISA committee is still working away as normal behind the scenes.

Social distancing may mean we can no longer meet in person but we have remained in touch through email, group chat and even held our first-ever committee video call!

We are also still in regular dialogue with the St Mirren board via our two SMISA club directors, David Nicol and David Riley, who have provided an update for members below. 

We will endeavour to keep you as informed the best we can as events progress, either through emails like this one or on our website and social media channels.
April £2 spend ballot

This month we have £2500 available in the pot and two options for members to vote on. The first option is to provide financial support to the St Mirren Charitable Foundation who continue to carry out sterling work in our community.

The money would help chief executive Gayle Brannigan and her team continue to deliver essential community outreach initiatives and services during this time.
These include providing online support to groups through You Tube and Zoom educational seminars and workouts, and also daily support via What’s App groups and one-to-one phone calls.

The Foundation is also working with partner organisations within Renfrewshire to redistribute essential food and hygiene products to vulnerable individuals and families who are most in need.

The second option is to keep the money for possible use at a later date. The club is thankfully on relatively solid financial footing at the moment but there is obviously great uncertainty ahead for everyone.

As we move towards our stated aim of becoming majority owners of St Mirren by the end of 2021, members can vote to hold over this quarter’s money for a time when there may be greater need for it. Voting will close on April 21.

In the meantime, members can also make individual contributions to the Foundation now should they wish to through their JustGiving page.

This month we also made the final instalment of our contribution to the cost of the new artificial pitch at the Ralston training ground. This means the July £2 Spend will be restored to around £7000.

Club directors’ update (from David Riley and David Nicol)

The club’s number one priority will always be the safety and well-being of our staff and players. We are well-positioned to weather the crisis due to sensible sustainable management by this board and the previous board.

Obviously we don't know how long this crisis will continue for but the board is continuing to talk almost every day to ensure the club is reacting appropriately to what is a very fluid situation.

We want to pay particular tribute to the work of the Charitable Foundation and Street Stuff for continuing to support the community during this difficult period. We also want to pay tribute to our media man James Hunter for producing some wonderful content for all of us missing our football fix. As always we will do our best to keep the members – and the support as a whole – updated via news on www.stmirren.com.

Virtual AGM

Having had to unfortunately cancel our proposed AGM on March 28 due to the growing Covid-19 threat, we are now working towards hosting an online process that would give members the chance to vote on matters as they would at a traditional AGM.

Details will follow on how that will work in the coming weeks. In the meantime if you have any questions about this or anything else please get in touch via [email protected]

February update on 2nd club director and AGM

We emailed an update to our members earlier today:

Kibble deal/Second SMISA club director

Thanks once again to all those members who voted on the recent proposal that will now see fan ownership happen by the end of 2021 in conjunction with Kibble.

We strongly believe this is the best way for the club to move forward and were heartened that so many of you (around 92% of those who voted) agreed with us.

As per the terms of the vote, the new shareholders’ agreement with Gordon Scott and Kibble has now been signed, meaning Kibble have purchased their stake from Gordon and the terms outlined as part of the transition phase now apply. 

SMISA, as the largest shareholder, will now be represented by a second director on the club board during the three-way interim period that will run until the end of next year at which point we will purchase the remainder of Gordon’s shareholding and become majority owners.

To ensure continuity, our second representative over the next few months will be David Nicol. David was the first SMISA-elected director when he joined the club board in 2016 and was then asked by Gordon to remain on the board once his two-year term came to an end in 2018 and he was succeeded as SMISA’s representative by David Riley.

The two Davids will continue to represent SMISA’s interests in club matters until the summer at which point David Nicol will stand down from the club board. The SMISA committee will begin the process of sourcing, interviewing and nominating his replacement before then to ensure a smooth transition between David and the new appointee.

AGM and committee election

We are due to hold our annual general meeting this spring and have provisionally scheduled this for Saturday 28 March at 12:30pm at the UWS library in Paisley town centre.

The AGM will look back on what has been achieved in the past year, as well as ahead to what we hope to achieve in 2020/21. A running order for the day, including our annual accounts, will be issued not less than 14 days before the meeting.

It also means the election of members to the SMISA committee. As it stands, three of the nine places will be open for election.

Six committee members previously elected will continue to serve for at least another year. These are Lawrence McCabe, Dougie McMahon, Graeme Macpherson, Janette Swanson, Jim Cumming and Colin Orr.

As the rules state one-third of SMISA’s elected committee members are required to step down each year, that means the members who have served the longest since last being elected – Kenny Docherty, Alan Quinn and George Adam – are required to stand for re-election.

Any other SMISA members who wish to put themselves forward for election can do so. Committee members are expected to attend fortnightly meetings (these are usually held on Monday evenings at the stadium) and be able to make a meaningful contribution, 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 SMISA members and have been a member for at least 90 days prior to the date nominations are due to close - Monday 9 March.

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

Voting will run for two weeks from Thursday 12 March and will be concluded in time for the AGM.

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

As always, if there is anything you wish to speak to us about you can reach us on [email protected]

The SMISA committee

SMISA members give overwhelming backing to Kibble proposal

St Mirren will become fan owned by the end of next year after SMISA members overwhelmingly backed plans to do so via a unique partnership with Kibble.

We thank everyone who cast their vote over the past fortnight on our proposals. Voting closed at noon today and the results are as follows:

YES – 782 votes (91.6%) / NO – 72 votes (8.4%)

Turnout: 854 votes (71.9% of all members, includes nine postal votes)

The results have been verified by Alan Russell, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct Scotland, whom we thank for his assistance.

The proposals on which you voted were developed over many months of discussion between ourselves, Kibble and St Mirren.

We put them forward because of our belief they offer the best possible future for our club – by securing fan ownership in a way which could move St Mirren to the next level, on and off the park, while growing it as a force for good within the Paisley community.

We are proud of and excited by what this deal makes possible for our club, and are pleased it attracted such overwhelming support.

All involved will now look to complete the legal formalities and of the deal, which will allow Kibble to buy their stake in the club from Gordon and start working with the club board to bring their expertise to the club very soon.

SMISA chair and Paisley’s MSP George Adam said: “This is a historic and proud day not just for our club but for everyone in Paisley.

“We started the journey towards fan ownership four years ago because we knew there could be no better people to safeguard St Mirren forever than the ones who will care for it most…the fans.

“This deal agreed today not only delivers that ahead of schedule but it strengthens it – our partners Kibble will help the club grow, as a business and as a force for good in the Paisley community.

“The overwhelming nature of the vote shows the extent to which SMISA’S members have bought into what this partnership will create – and we are excited by the possibilities for St Mirren.”

Kibble chief executive Jim Gillespie said: “With Kibble’s roots in Paisley stretching back almost 200 years, this deal brings together two of Paisley’s oldest organisations.

“We are thrilled SMISA’s members have given us such a show of support and we plan to repay that by working together with SMISA, Gordon and the rest of the St Mirren’s board and staff to see where our expertise can help the club move forward.

“Crucially, this partnership will help change the lives of some of the most vulnerable young people in Scotland – by allowing us to step up our young workforce development programme to provide training and job opportunities based around the club’s facilities and operations.”

St Mirren chairman Gordon Scott said: “When I took over as chairman four years it was always with the aim of passing the shares to the fans when the time was right.

“That day will arrive much sooner than we initially planned – but I believe this the right model, with the right partner, to build on the good work the current board has already done, and take St Mirren to the next level on and off the park.

“The new expertise Kibble will bring will allow us to find new ways to bring income into the club, and I and others on the board can’t wait to get started on working with them to do that.”

             

We thank you again for your ongoing support. As always, we can be reached via [email protected]

The SMISA committee

Prominent figures line up to back Kibble deal

SMISA members are being asked to vote on proposals that would see us form a unique partnership with Kibble, one of Scotland’s largest charities and social enterprises, to help take St Mirren to the next level.

We asked several prominent Saints figures for their thoughts on what this could mean for the club. We've also had backing from prominent figures within the governance of Scottish football.

Jim Goodwin, St Mirren manager and League Cup-winning captain

“Having spent an hour recently in the company of Jim Gillespie and Mark MacMillan from Kibble as they explained their plans to me, I can only see a win-win for everybody. It’s a big decision for the members to allow another organisation to come in and be a part of their club. But I can’t see anything but positives from this kind of partnership.

“As a club we want to go to the next level and to do that we need the support of Kibble. Commercially they can help us achieve that. And they are already an organisation that’s part of our town and our community. It’s a charity and a firm you can trust. For this to work, Kibble need to have a successful team on the park and that matches our ambition.      

“It means a lot to me that St Mirren is a proper community club and there’s nothing better than giving something back to kids. And that’s what Kibble is all about. This is a hugely positive move for everyone involved. I hope the members make the right choice and vote them in.”

Alan Russell, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct Scotland

"The St Mirren fans have been working hard for several years on their journey towards community ownership. In Kibble they have found a partner who shares their values, backs them as the ideal custodians for the football club, and have the resources and expertise to build on the solid foundations that community ownership will provide.

 “This partnership brings together two of the oldest social institutions in Paisley and will see the football club owned by the community and working  for the community's benefit.

"It is rare to find such a great fit between two organisations, and fans may wonder where the catch is! But the careful work that has gone on behind the scenes - with the support of Gordon Scott who has fully embraced community ownership as the best long-term model for the club - has given each party confidence that their values and priorities are fully aligned.

“While there are never any guarantees of success, we believe that St Mirren fans can look forward to a long and positive future in partnership with Kibble; and we are confident that the people of Paisley will be proud of the impact that their town's football club will have on the lives of their young people.

"As an organisation whose fundamental purpose is to promote supporter ownership, Supporters Direct Scotland endorses this partnership. Whilst it will lead to majority ownership by SMISA, rather than outright ownership, it will put the fans firmly in control of their club's future - and with a partner who fully supports their ambitions for the club."

Steven Thompson, former St Mirren centre forward and lifelong Buddie

“I have always had a great relationship with SMISA in any of my dealings with them and think they do a brilliant job representing St Mirren fans like myself.

“The new proposal to work in partnership with Kibble to take the club forward seems like an excellent idea. It would deliver fan ownership ahead of schedule in conjunction with a trusted corporate partner who can hopefully help take the club to the next level.”

Jeane Freeman MSP, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

"Football clubs are precious parts of the communities they belong to. And it's clear that St Mirren belongs to the people of Paisley. It is great to see St Mirren becoming the latest Scottish top-league club to move towards majority fan ownership - a model that many other fan groups are keen to explore.
 
"St Mirren's model sees a unique partnership between the fans who will own the club and one of Scotland's biggest oldest social enterprises, Kibble.
"
That partnership's ambition is clearly to enable St Mirren to be much more than a club. Growing its role as a force for good with the Paisley community and looking to change the lives of some of Scotland's most vulnerable young people.
 
"I commend all involved for developing these innovative and forward-thinking proposals and hope SMISA's members will give their support to make them a reality."

Tony Fitzpatrick, St Mirren chief executive and former club captain and manager

“We know that fan ownership is definitely going to happen one day. But I think this is a great opportunity to get us there quicker with Kibble’s support. It’s a chance we cannot miss with the resources they can bring to the club. This is a match made in heaven.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for these two brilliant Paisley institutions with the same mission statements and the same values to work together. We see ourselves as a family, community club and these proposals would take us another step in that direction.

“It’s also a great chance to really empower and change the lives of those young people working with Kibble by allowing them to come into our football club and having hope in their lives.”

Gary Teale, former St Mirren player and manager, and Kibble business associate

“I have been working with Kibble at their largest social enterprise, The Experience, for the past year where we introduced the first fixed Hexagol location. I respect Kibble’s forward-thinking and professional approach but fundamentally that they balance this with the young people at the heart of the charity.

“As a past player and manager of St Mirren I believe this is a solid partnership which creates an exciting opportunity for a promising future for St Mirren and the fans.”

Jim Crawford, lifelong St Mirren fan and club volunteer

“Having digested all the relevant facts on the proposed marriage of SMISA and Kibble I believe this is an opportunity that can’t be missed. It ticks all the boxes to take St Mirren forward for generations to come.”

 

SMISA - Ten Things We've Achieved So Far

Since our successful Buy The Buds campaign in 2016, SMISA has helped deliver numerous club and community projects as we continue along the path to fan-owned ownership of St Mirren.

As we enter what is shaping up to be a seismic decade for both SMISA and the club, here is a list of some of things we have been involved with over the past three-and-a-half years:

1. Supporter representation on the board

Since 2016 our members have been represented at the heart of the club via the introduction of a SMISA director. David Nicol was the first to take his seat on the board and he has since been succeeded by David Riley. Their presence ensures our members’ needs are always listened to.

2. Wheelchair viewing platform

The creation of a scheme where members get to vote every quarter on how to spend the additional £2 of their monthly fees was the first of its kind. Since then, our members have given their backing to some very worthwhile concepts. One of the earliest was the decision to part-fund a wheelchair platform in the main stand of the stadium, given St Mirren some of the best disabled facilities in the country.

3. Community season tickets

SMISA recognises the importance of building a bond with the local community, whether St Mirren supporters or not. Over the past few years we have bought a block of season tickets and then made them available to local groups to use free of charge, allowing hundreds of people to attend a match when they might not otherwise have been able to. As SMISA grows we want to continue to develop that relationship with the community.

4. Part-funded a new astrograss pitch at Ralston

Recognising the importance of helping the first-team as well as honouring our long-term commitment to supporting the youth academy, SMISA members agreed to make a £50,000 payment to help the club fund the installation of a new astrograss pitch at the training ground. In return, SMISA became title sponsors at Ralston and our members had the chance to take a tour of the facility and play in a friendly match to officially open the new pitch. SMISA also paid for the purchase of portable goals used on the pitch.

5. Stadium murals and pre-match entertainment

As well as supporting club and community projects, the £2 Spend has also been used to enhance the matchday experience for supporters. SMISA put forward the idea of having a local artist paint murals of some of the major trophy wins in the club’s history and members gave it their backing. Fans heading to a match can now see six of these paintings brightening up the walls of the stadium concourse. And SMISA members have also continued to support the pre-match entertainment ran by Paisley Panda, the Fans Council and the SLOs on matchdays for young fans.

6. Helping the relegation fight

Recognising the plight facing the team back in January 2017, SMISA members voted to boost the first-team playing budget to allow then manager Jack Ross to enhance his squad in the transfer market. What unfolded after that was an incredible 16 months that saw the team survive on the final day of the season and then win the Championship the following year. SMISA helped send them on their way!

7. Meet the Manager Q&As

The club has gone through more managers than they would have liked in recent years! But each time there was an appointment, SMISA helped arrange a night that allowed all supporters the chance to meet the new manager and put their questions to them. We are grateful to all of our recent managers and their assistants for agreeing to do this.

8.Meeting our financial commitments ourselves

As part of the deal to help Gordon Scott buy the club in 2016, SMISA agreed to pay its £380,000 share of the cost to the selling consortium within two years. Due to higher-than-expected member numbers we were able to meet that commitment without the need to take on any external borrowing. We continue to pride ourselves in our financial prudency, thanks mainly to our members’ ongoing support.

9.Backing the St Mirren women’s team and youth academy

SMISA played a big part in helping get the women’s team off the ground and then chose to sponsor their strips to also support them financially. We are keen backers of the women’s team and hope to see it flourish in the years ahead. Members also voted to fund the youth academy’s recent trips to play against English opposition, and contributed towards the cost of employing an additional sports scientist.

10. Volunteer squad

Many of our members do a lot of good work that often goes unnoticed or receives little credit. One of these is the volunteer squad who meet regularly to help clean the stadium and run repairs at the training ground. This we believe encapsulates the spirit of a community club, where everyone is willing to pitch in to contribute towards a brighter future.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October £2 Spend Results

We emailed members earlier today with the results from the latest £2 Spend ballot. The two projects proposed - Pre-match family entertainment and Festive Friends - were both voted through by an overwhelming majority. Details below. 

Our next quarterly ballot will take place in January and any members wishing to forward projects for consideration can do so by email at [email protected]

 

Last month there was £2700 in the pot for the quarter and we asked you to consider the merits of two projects. Thanks to the 851 members who took the time to vote.

The first project that we proposed was for a continuation of the pre-match family entertainment that takes place outside the stadium on a matchday.

This has proved to be a very popular venture run by Colin Bright, AKA Paisley Panda, and jointly backed by SMISA, the club’s Supporters Liaison Officers (SLOs) and the Fans Council.

The entertainment has grown year on year since it first started with Bung a Baw back in 2016. The aim from the outset has been to encourage the kids of today to attend matches regularly and in turn become the paying adult fan of tomorrow. Feedback has been incredibly positive both from home and away fans.

The organisers want to continue to grow the project and requested £1500 to do so.

Members voted in huge favour of this project: 88% (747 members) gave your support, something that will make a huge difference to Colin and everyone else involved in organising it.  

The second project voted on involved the St Mirren Charitable Foundation and their Festive Friends Christmas dinner.

On Christmas Day last year the Foundation, in conjunction with the SPFL Trust and the Salvation Army, opened the stadium to provide a meal, company and entertainment for a number of local elderly people.

Members from SMISA and the St Mirren women’s football team also pitched in to help make it a day to remember for all involved.

Gayle Brannigan from the Foundation is hosting Festive Friends again this year and asked if SMISA members could contribute £1200 towards the costs involved. 

Again this was supported in massive numbers: 91% (771 members) voted to support the plan to give a Christmas meal to those most in need.

 

October £2 Spend Ballot

We recently wrote to our members with details of the latest £2 Spend options. Details are listed below. Members have until October 30 at 8pm to register their vote.

Members should also know we intend to use Very Connect for the next £2 Spend ballot in January next year. To be able to vote you will need to be registered on the system.

There is £2700 in the pot for this quarter. There are two projects up for consideration this month and members are being asked to vote yes or no to each one, meaning we could end up with both, one or neither.

Option 1 is for a continuation of the pre-match family entertainment that takes place outside the stadium on a matchday.

This has proved to be a very popular venture run by Colin Bright, AKA Paisley Panda, and jointly backed by SMISA, the club’s Supporters Liaison Officers (SLOs) and the Fans Council.

The entertainment has grown year on year since it first started with Bung a Baw back in 2016. Last season they took things to a new level providing entertainment at all Saturday home games with activities including inflatables, live music, face painting, balloon artist, flag displays and much more.

The aim from the outset has been to encourage the kids of today to attend matches regularly and in turn become the paying adult fan of tomorrow. Feedback has been incredibly positive both from home and away fans.

The organisers want to continue to grow and add to the activities they provide throughout the season but need funding to do so. The total cost for this request is £1500.

Option 2 involves the St Mirren Charitable Foundation and their Festive Friends Christmas dinner.

On Christmas Day last year the Foundation, in conjunction with the SPFL Trust and the Salvation Army, opened the stadium to provide a meal, company and entertainment for a number of local elderly people.

Members from SMISA and the St Mirren women’s football team also pitched in to help make it a day to remember for all involved.

Gayle Brannigan from the Foundation wants to host Festive Friends again this year and has asked if SMISA members could contribute £1200 towards the costs involved.

Should one or both projects not receive majority backing the sums will remain in the pot for possible use at a future date.

 

Meet the Manager Night

New St Mirren management duo Jim Goodwin and Lee Sharp will discuss their plans with supporters at a special SMISA-run Meet the Manager night next week.

The Q&A event will take place on Thursday 15 August in the hospitality suite at the Simple Digital Arena and will also see Jim and Lee welcomed into SMISA as honorary members as we continue on the road towards majority fan ownership.

Jim is looking forward to what he hopes will be a regular meeting with the supporters and thanked SMISA for inducting him and his assistant as well as for their ongoing work.

He said: “It’s a fantastic honour for both Lee and me to be inducted as honorary members. What SMISA have done for the club is quite incredible and it’s a great organisation. They’re a group of people who are extremely passionate about the club and desperate for success. And hopefully Lee and I can deliver that for all them and all our supporters.

“I’m looking forward to speaking with the fans on the night. I’ve done similar things before as club captain and I’d love to have regular meetings with the supporters as I think it’s really important.

“That level of interaction always has to be there at any club. There can’t be any division between the club, from board level, through the manager, the staff, the players, the youth academy and the fans as well. We’re all in it together. So I look forward to meeting the supporters and answering their questions on the night.”

The event is free and open to all St Mirren fans but due to the capacity of the venue, places must be booked in advance via Eventbrite link below and will be first-come, first-served. One ticket per application.

Please note that due to the terms of the club's licence, the event is for over-18s only. Doors will open on the night from 6.30pm, and the event will start at 7pm.

You can book your place HERE