General SMiSA News

Director's Q&A with David Riley

DAVID RILEY was elected on to the St Mirren club board by SMISA members towards the end of last year. Here he provides his first update to members on what that experience has been like so far.  


Q: How have you found your first seven months 

on the club board?

A: The first seven months have been surreal but extremely enjoyable. I still can't quite believe that I've been given the opportunity to shape the future of our club. It's not something anyone ever imagines they will have the chance to do. I've been on a very steep learning curve since December but I've had tremendous help and support from everyone at the club as I've gone around finding out how the business functions on a daily basis.


Q: What has been the one thing you’ve learned

 in that time that perhaps surprised you?

A: How few people there are involved in the running of our club. I always assumed there were loads of people, each with their own area of responsibility. The company I work for has almost half a million employees so I'm used to thinking that way but we have a small team of people who do an excellent job every day, sometimes under circumstances that are not easy. My goal during the next 18 months or so is to look at how we do things and try to find ways to improve on them to make life a little easier for everyone; both staff and customers.

Q: What particular projects have you been 

involved in or helped with?

A: There have been a few but the main priority for me was our ticketing system. I know many fans on different devices have had issues of one kind or another over the years and although they're not always avoidable there is certainly a lot of room for improvement. The problem is not always a system issue as such but if I'm not able to buy a ticket or renew my season ticket when I want to do it then that's a problem. I'm working directly with Interstadia and our ticket office staff to address this.

Another thing that wasn’t really a project but an unexpected task was being involved in the recruitment of our new manager. It wasn’t something I expected during my two years on the board but it was great experience as we move towards fan ownership.

Q: What’s been the most enjoyable aspect of 

being a director so far?

A: I can't single out any aspect of the job, I've honestly enjoyed every minute...maybe with the exception of my dear old mum phoning me to tell me my photo was in the Paisley Daily Express and that I really need to go on a diet because they couldn't fit me on one page!

Q: As SMISA’s elected representative how important is it 

to ensure the supporters are taken into consideration where possible?

A: It's my top priority. I'm a supporter first and foremost, as is everyone on the board. I'm focussing on improving the supporter experience in all dealings with the club. Without supporters we wouldn't have a club so we should never stop looking for ways to improve the relationship between the club and those who spend a lot of money supporting us.

Changes won't happen overnight and we won't get everything right first time but I am committed to making improvements in as many areas as possible during my time on the board.

There are, of course, times when what's unpopular with the supporters conflicts with what's best for the club, in a business sense; giving over the South Stand to opposing supporters being a good example of that.

That decision allowed us to bring in two players in January without whom, there is no doubt, we would be preparing for life in the Championship this season. The supporters’ opinions are not being ignored in making decisions such as this but we, on the board, have a duty to act in the best interests of the club and maintaining our place in the Premiership is where our club needs to be and deserves to be.

Q: What are the key attributes a director should 

possess to be able to make a positive contribution

to the running of the club?

A: Social skills are, in my opinion, as important as any business skills you can bring to the role. On match days you host and have conversations with the opposition team's board alongside some well-respected figures from the game so good communication skills are required.

In board dealings, the ability to see both sides of an argument and take a measured approach when making decisions are critical along with good time management skills, genuine desire to get involved and a willingness to go outside your comfort zone. It's not always easy but it's always worthwhile.

Q: What do you think could be done to make the

 club run more efficiently?

A: Generally speaking, in any business you will find that things are done in a certain way because "that's how they've always been done". There is the wise old saying; if it ain't broke don't fix it. That's true to a point but you first have to make sure that it really ain't broke, even a little. In my day job I'm paid to optimise processes and improve efficiency across multiple departments. A big part of my job is asking questions, suggesting alternatives and trying them out.

 It sounds simple and it is. That's what I have started and will continue to do at the club. It helps me get an understanding of the individual jobs and how the departments interact with each other and our customers but it also allows me to look at how everything gets done, without any preconceived ideas and potentially see opportunities to make improvements.

Should any member wish to discuss a club-related issue with David, he can be contacted on [email protected]

Thommo meets Thommo! Legend thanks SMISA for mural

STEVEN THOMPSON has thanked SMISA members for supporting plans to create six new murals around the Simple Digital Arena including one of his famous goal celebration in the 2013 League Cup semi-final win over Celtic.

The former Saints striker, who is now a BBC pundit, stopped by this stadium this week to take a look at the painting by local artist Mark Worst in the concourse of the Family Stand and admitted it was an honour to see one of the highlights of his career commemorated in such a fashion.

SMISA members voted in the January £2 ballot to back a proposal to create murals representing six of the club’s major trophy wins and then were asked to suggest which of those they wanted Mark to recreate on the stadium walls. Mark, with the help of some of the SMISA board, then chose the images he felt would best represent those six celebrations.

The work was completed recently giving Thompson the chance to see it for himself.

He said: “The artist has done really well so I’m really pleased with it. It’s such an honour and I hope the mural is up there for a long, long time.

"It’s a moment I remember incredibly fondly from the League Cup semi-final win over Celtic. You can tell from my face that I might have enjoyed that goal ever so slightly! And you had big Cheesy [Mark McAusland] of all people wide on the right wing to whip in this great ball for me to score.

 “That was one of the best moments of my career, without a doubt – scoring for St Mirren in a semi-final at Hampden. I’m really proud of it. That put us 3-1 up against Celtic and you’re starting to think we might actually make it to the final.

“That was the best team performance we had in my whole time at the club. We were absolutely incredible. You had young Meatball [John McGinn] with his skinhead bossing Victor Wanyama all over the park.”

 Thompson thanked SMISA for suggesting and funding the project. He added: “It’s great that this is something that has come from the fans. Any dealings I’ve had with SMISA they’ve always been absolutely sensational.

"It’s great to have a relationship with them and I’m always more than happy to work with them and feel a part of the club again.

“My son Struan is part of the St Mirren 2007 team so I’m at the training ground almost as much as the first-team players! I don’t get to as many first-team games in the flesh as I would like but I at least get to analyse all our matches for Sportscene. And it’s nice to be able to do that on the team you support.”



Work to begin on stadium murals

In the January £2 ballot, members voted in favour of a proposal to have murals painted on the walls inside the stadium by local artist Mark Worst.

We asked members to choose which of the club's 11 major trophy wins they would like to commemorate and, based on that feedback, Mark and members of the SMISA board have chosen the six images that Mark will now start to recreate. There will be two murals each in the concourses of the Main, Family and West Stands. 
The images selected are:
- the cover of the 1959 Scottish Cup Final match day programme
- Jimmy Bone and team-mates with the 1980 Anglo Scottish Cup 
- Tony Fitzpatrick and Billy Abercromby celebrating the 1987 Scottish Cup win
- Mark Yardley from the Millennium Champions season of 99/00
- Steven Thompson celebrating his goal in the 2013 League Cup semi-final win over Celtic 
- Stephen McGinn waiting in the tunnel to collect the 2017/18 Championship trophy. 
Mark is due to start work this week and will work throughout the summer so that all six murals are finished for the start of the new season. We will keep members updated with his progress. 

May update

We emailed our members recently with an update that included the result of the April £2 ballot, a SMISA AGM report, a chance to play on the pitch for free in Saint For A Day, and details on the first St Mirren women's game due to take place at the Simple Digital Arena. Details are below.

April £2 spend ballot

We wrote to you a couple of weeks ago with details of the £2 spend option for this quarter. It was a single-issue ballot on this occasion with members given the option of supporting the purchase of Community Season Tickets for season 2019/20 to be used free-of-charge by local community, charity or other groups or keeping the money in the pot for possible future use.

We received a total of 885 votes. Thanks to everyone who voted. The results are as follows:

Option 1: Community Season Tickets – 707 votes (80%)
Option 2: Retaining money for possible future use – 178 votes (20%)

We will now move forward with buying the season tickets and invite any groups interested in using them to attend a match next season to email us via [email protected]
SMISA AGM report

We held our annual general meeting in Paisley town centre on March 30 and would like to thank all members who attended.

Member Graeme Aitken spoke about his proposed Special Resolution that would have included an option on the quarterly £2 ballot for the money to be banked to be used once SMISA becomes majority owners of the club.

The resolution was defeated by 25 votes (including nine by proxy) to 12 (one by proxy). We are grateful to Graeme for taking the time to travel from London to present his case.

At the meeting there was also confirmation of two new members to the SMISA board – Douglas McMahon and Lawrence McCabe – while Colin Orr was re-elected as per SMISA legislation.

Kevin Park and David Nicol have chosen to stand down from the SMISA board and we thank them both for their contribution in recent years. David will remain on the club board alongside David Riley, the SMISA-elected director.

Anyone interested in reading minutes from the AGM as well as the slides used in the presentations made by SMISA board members, can do so by clicking HERE.
Saint For A Day

Two teams of St Mirren fans will get the chance to "live the dream" by playing on the pitch at the Simple Digital Arena on Sunday May 19 and we have managed to secure places for two of our members to take part in the match for free.

Each of the 32 players involved (two squads of 16) will be given an official team strip that they will be allowed to keep after the match, while there will also be a medal presentation to all players followed by food and refreshments. The match will also be filmed by club staff.

Any SMISA member (aged 18 or over) who wishes to play in the match should email SMISA board member Kenny Docherty ([email protected]) with their details including a contact telephone number by Wednesday May 8th at 5pm. In the event of more than two members wishing to play, we will select two names at random. The winners will be notified shortly afterwards and must be available to play in the game that kicks off at noon on Sunday May 19. The prize is non-transferable.
St Mirren women's team

Immediately after Saint For A Day on May 19, the SMISA-sponsored St Mirren women's team will play their first ever game at the Simple Digital Arena, kick off 4pm. Entry is free and we would encourage all members to try to get along to give the team your support.


The SMISA committee



SMISA AGM minutes

We held our annual general meeting in Paisley town centre on March 30 and would like to thank all members who came along. Here is a summary of what took place with a link to the slides used by board members in their presentation. Any questions please email [email protected] 


Minutes of The 1877 Society Limited, (SMiSA) Annual General Meeting

Saturday 30th March 2019, University of West of Scotland

1.      Introduction (George Adam)

George Adam, Society Chair, opened the meeting by presenting an overview of the agenda for the meeting, and remarking on the highs and lows of the past year for SMiSA and the football club.

In particular he spoke about the recent meeting concerning the behaviour of some fans at, and whilst travelling to, St Mirren games. He advised that Police Scotland had informed the meeting that St Mirren is currently ranked as the fifth most difficult club for them to police. This is not a league table we wish to be near the top of, and George highlighted that all at the meeting had agreed to work together to improve matters.

George also appealed to those present to help out by encouraging more member recruitment and/or assisting the committee with their ideas and time.

2.      Highlights of the past year (Colin Orr)

Colin took the audience through a series of picture slides which highlighted some of the key events on the past year.

3.      Membership & Finance (Alan Quinn)

Alan presented some key numbers regarding membership numbers and finances, together with an update on progress towards the implementation of a new administration platform for the membership database.

4.      Objectives (Lawrence McCabe)

Lawrence updated the meeting regarding progress on last year’s objectives and introduced the committee’s intended objectives for the coming year.

The presentation slides for items 2, 3 and 4 can be viewed HERE

5.      Club Director Update (David Riley)

David spoke briefly about his first few months on the Club board and about what the role entailed. He emphasised the fact that we have a wide range of knowledge, experience and skills within our membership and that these could be valuable assets on the Club board.

It's hoped that our members will consider their own particular attributes and think about joining the SMiSA board then possibly standing for election to the St Mirren board in 2020. David is also carrying out a review of all departmental processes to make sure that they are fit for purpose and help drive growth in the coming years. He is committed to ensuring that the Club is in the best possible shape when SMiSA assumes majority ownership by 2026.

6.      Formal Resolutions

  1. The Society’s accounts for the year to 30th November 2018, which had been previously issued to members, were put forward for acceptance. The accounts were accepted unanimously.
  2. AQ outlined the Society’s responsibilities under the Community Benefit Act 2014 regarding audit of accounting records. No further questions were raised and votes were conducted by a show of hands to :
    1. Disapply the need to appoint an auditor
    2. Re-appoint the Independent Financial

Both votes were passed unanimously.

7.      Election of Society Directors

GA introduced the election for directors to the Society Board.  Each year a third of the elected board are required to stand down. This year three board members stood down but two (David Nicol and Kevin Park) did not wish to stand for re-election.

The third person standing down (Colin Orr) was wishing to be re-elected, along with Lawrence McCabe and Douglas McMahon who are standing for the first time.

Votes were held to approve the appointment of these three directors, all being passed unanimously.

8.      Member Resolution

Member Graeme Aitken was then invited to address the meeting regarding his proposal that every quarterly £2 spend ballot should include the option to save the money for when SMISA becomes majority owners.

Graeme explained his reasons for this, and the advantages he believes this would bring.

Colin Orr responded on behalf of SMiSA, principally that it is not necessary to commit £2 spend funds in this way as the Society’s projections and plans are based on accumulating a sizeable cash surplus before completing the purchase of the majority shareholding.

Those present raised a number of questions which were answered by Graeme or members of the SMiSA Committee as appropriate

Q: A member commented that he did not think that adding an additional option in the ballot to save money would make the ballot more complicated.

A: CO explained that including the option Graeme wanted could create anomalies in the vote. If a ballot still included the current option to reject a project but keep the money available for future, it could split the vote - making it possible the option to spend on a project could win a ballot even if a majority of members had voted for one of the options not to do it. But if we didn't include the option to keep unspent money available, any money we choose not to spend would - under Graeme's resolution - be locked away until the buds were bought, even if we wanted to spend it. Thus we would lose flexibility to spend on a big ticket item at a later date.

Graeme admitted he could have worded the resolution differently but agreed members had to vote on the wording he had proposed.

Q: Graeme Aitken referred to the committee having “found some money down the back of the sofa” to donate to the Community Trust Festive Friends event.

A: AQ responded by clarifying that the sofa is actually the £2 spend bank account, that the quarterly ballots do not always spend the full amount available each quarter, and that any surplus is left in the account where it is available for future ballots if required.

 There being no further questions, the meeting proceeded to a vote on Graeme’s resolution, after Graeme had received a warm round of applause for his contribution.

Voting on the resolution was as follows :

For : 11 in the room (plus 1 by proxy)

Against : 16 in the room (plus 9 by proxy)

The motion was therefore defeated. GA thanked Graeme Aitken for his contributions. Graeme responded by saying that he had learned from the experience and would be back next year to try again!

9.      Questions & Answers

The meeting was opened for questions / comments from the members in attendance. A summary of these are listed below.

Q: How will SMiSA continue to raise money after the takeover, to pay unexpected or every day bills?

A: AQ and CO replied that the exact nature of how SMiSA will function post acquisition has not yet been determined, but a paper is currently being prepared by the committee which will propose various options and scenarios. This paper when finished will be sent to all members for their feedback. It is, however, envisaged that members will be able to continue paying subscriptions post acquisition in order to have reserve funds available should the Club need them. But it is not possible to say at this time what that rate might be.   

Q: How many members was the original number of members required to make the buyout proposal viable?

A: 1000

Q: One member commented that he thought Graeme Aitken’s resolution was a great idea, because he doesn’t always approve of the items put forward for the ballots. How does the committee decide which items to include?

A: CO outlined how suggestions can come from the Club, SMiSA members, Community Trust, Youth Academy etc. All suggestions have to be assessed in terms of cost, feasibility, compliance with member priorities (as per the 2017 survey results). This can take time, but all ideas are recorded so not overlooked. He encouraged members if submitting ideas to provide as much information as possible.

Q: Why had the purchase of match balls for the first team, as requested by Jack Ross, been considered a suitable item for the £2 Spend?

A: CO replied that Jack had wanted the first team to be able to train with the new specification match balls which had been introduced for that season, but which had not been budgeted for in the Club budgets for that season.

 There being no further questions, GA then concluded the meeting with a thank you to everyone, and enjoy the match!





April £2 ballot

We have emailed our members with details of the projects for the April £2 ballot. See below for details....

The pot this time is again £3,000 and, with the project we are putting forward for consideration taking up the entirety of our budget, on this occasion we are giving members the option of either voting in favour or electing to keep the sum in the pot for possible future use.     

The project we are proposing is the purchase of Community Season Tickets. In each of the last two seasons, SMISA has bought from the club a block of season ticket seats at the Simple Digital Arena and made them available free-of-charge for use by community, charity and other local groups who otherwise might not be able to attend a match.

Given the positivity of the feedback we have received from groups who have used these tickets in the past, we are keen to offer the scheme again for season 2019/20. We believe such a project serves a number of purposes including supporting the club financially, fostering goodwill among the wider Renfrewshire community, and letting people experience a St Mirren game, often for the first time.

Groups that have benefited from the scheme so far are: Turning Point Scotland, Home Start Renfrewshire, Men's Shed Renfrewshire, Chest Heart & Stroke Scotland, Cairn Housing Association, Turnaround Scotland, Star Project, Crisis Counselling Erskine, Who Cares Scotland, Charleston Square Support Association, Renfrewshire Carers, Ralston Skills Centre, Renfrew Boys Club 05s, St Mirren Community Trust, Ralston Day Centre, Renfrew Day Centre and Active Schools Renfrewshire.

The Ralston Skills Centre took a group of young supporters along to the match against Hearts in November and enjoyed the experience: “We must be St Mirren’s lucky charm, first win for Oran Kearney today. Huge thanks to St Mirren Independent Supporters Association for the tickets, we had a great time.”

Last year this proposal was backed overwhelmingly by the majority of you (92%), although members will again have the option of banking the money for future possible use.

St Mirren amputee team

In October 2017 members voted in the £2 ballot to provide £1000 of funding towards the establishment of a St Mirren team that would play in a proposed Scottish amputee football league.

With the team, however, not going ahead for the foreseeable future, that sum will return to the pot for possible use in future spends, although we may put this project to members again if the situation changes.

AGM and committee election update

SMISA is due to hold its annual general meeting this spring and we have provisionally scheduled this for Saturday 30 March (before the Dundee game) at lunchtime 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 2019/20. 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 trust 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 – Alan Quinn, Kenny Docherty, Graeme MacPherson, Janette Swanson, Jim Cumming and George Adam.
As it stands, two of the group – David Nicol and Kevin Park – are planning to step down from the committee at the AGM, although both will continue to play an active role in SMISA’s work. David remains a director of St Mirren FC, having been asked to stay on the club board after his two-year term as your elected fan representative ended last year, when David Riley was elected to replace him.
As the rules state one-third of SMISA’s elected committee members are required to step down each year, that means the member who has served the longest since last being elected – Colin Orr – is required to stand for re-election. There are other members who have been helping out over the past year who now plan to stand. However any other members who wish to put themselves forward can do so.
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 3 March.
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 Wednesday 13 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.

Smisa January £2 ballot results

We wrote to you our members a couple of weeks back with the options for the January ballot to choose where to spend the last three months worth of the £2 part of their SMISA membership.

We had a total of 917 votes – the most we’ve ever had in a quarterly ballot. Thanks to everyone who voted. The results are as follows:
Option 1 – Stadium murals – 526 votes (57%)
Option 2 – Maintenance equipment for Ralston pitch – 307 votes (34%)
Option 3 – Neither of the above – 82 votes (9%)

We will now take forward the murals project in partnership with local artist Mark Worst – as we outlined in the initial email, there will be up to six murals, each depicting a scene from one of the club’s 11 major trophy wins. We would like you to choose which of these you would most like to see brought to life on the walls of the stadium – you can do that via this link.

Once that is decided, Mark and the SMISA committee will choose a suitable image for each mural. On the advice of the artist, this will likely be a portrait of a relevant individual(s) (for example, winning goalscorer or captain/manager/player with trophy). If you have an iconic image in mind you would like us to consider we'd like to see it, so please get in touch via [email protected]