SMiSA News

RCGF Applications - Members Update

At the SMiSA AGM in May 2023 a member raised an issue regarding a Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (RGGF) application submitted to the Scottish Government in or around June 2022.

The application concerned a proposal to build a Wellbeing Centre in Ferguslie Park. We understand the amount of the grant sought was £2.65m and that the application was described as the ”St Mirren Wellbeing and Regeneration Masterplan.”

The application referred to the Kibble Organisation, the St Mirren Charitable Foundation (“the Foundation”) and Renfrewshire Council, as all leading it.

Another member at the end of the debate at the AGM suggested the need for an independent inquiry into the circumstances surrounding this application and members present indicated overwhelmingly in favour of this proposal via a show of hands.

The SMiSA board has since reached out to those involved in the application process receiving varying degrees of cooperation; namely The Foundation, Renfrewshire Council and Kibble representative Mr. Jim Gillespie, (Chief Executive, and Director/Trustee of The Kibble Organisation and director of SMFC) .

We also reached out to Mr. John Needham, Chairman of The St Mirren Football Club Limited and Mr. Alan Wardrop (the SMiSA member referred to above).

Many of you will be aware that, regrettably, a court case has commenced at the instance of Mr Gillespie and Mr MacMillan against Mr Wardrop and we must remain mindful of the importance of those proceedings which impact on the information that can be shared. We have received very little from SMFC board members in contrast to the extensive information received from Mr Wardrop.

 Members should be aware that the court action seeks two orders directed towards SMiSA, although SMiSA has not formally been called in the proceedings.

We are once again having to receive legal advice to protect SMiSA and its members.

There were in fact two applications prepared in connection with the proposed Wellbeing Centre, one in June 2021 and the other in June 2022, referred to above. Only the June 2022 application was actually submitted to the Scottish Government for the funding package. The Foundation’s name was referred to in both applications.

The Foundation insists it was not aware that any application had been submitted.

In May 2021 the Foundation’s CEO was contacted by a Kibble representative about an application for funding but she was subsequently assured that if there were any developments in connection with any such application that she would be kept updated by Kibble. No such update was ever provided to the Foundation. We are advised that the SMFC Charitable foundation subsequently became aware of the June 2022 application but only after it had been contacted by another football club trust in September 2022 to congratulate it on getting through the Stage 1 process and progressing to Stage 2.

Had it not been for this contact they would have been unaware of the application having been submitted using their name.

It is important to recognise there are presently differences of opinion with regards the application submitted in June 2022 between The Kibble organisation and Renfrewshire Council as to who submitted the land development plans as part of the application process. We understand that Kibble have stated that the Council made an error with the land drawings however this was firmly disputed by the Council in emails obtained by SMISA and indeed a senior official stated that the Council: “refutes entirely the suggestion there was an error on our part. It may be of interest to you to note that I have written to Kibble querying their public comments in this regard and requesting that they desist from such further comment”

You will recall the SMFC board issued a statement on 5th May 2023 in which it revealed that neither the Club nor the Foundation “had been engaged prior to the submission” of the application, suggesting that the reason for this was because the application was in “the very early stages of the process”.

At this stage, we are drawing this matter to your attention and look forward to the forthcoming quarterly members’ meeting in the SMiSA Stadium Hospitality Suite on Tuesday 29 August 2023 at 7.00pm.

August Members Meeting

Date:            Tuesday 29th August 2023 
Location:  SMiSA Stadium Hospitality Suite
Time:           Doors 18:30, Start 19:00

 

The second SMiSA members meeting of 2023 is scheduled to take place at the SMiSA Stadium on Tuesday 29th August, with doors opening at 6:30pm.

 

This meeting will allow the SMiSA board to provide an update on developments over the past few months. Members are also encouraged to share any queries, concerns or comments at the meeting, which will be kindly accepted and answered by the board as fully as possible. 

 

Should you wish to attend the meeting, please book your place through the members platform. This can be accessed through the link included in the recent email to all members, or at https://www.members.smisa.net.

 

We hope to see you there!

The SMiSA Board

Third Kit Design Competition

You may recall in the past SMiSA members have had the opportunity to vote for St Mirren’s home and away kit from provided options. This year as the football club goes into the first season with new kit supplier Macron, SMiSA members will be given a special opportunity to design this seasons third kit themselves!

The design can be hand drawn or created on any online drawing tool however you must use the template provided by Macron. This can be accessed by clicking here.

You may also use Macron’s kit design app ‘My Macron Kit’ which you can access here: https://www.macron.com/uk/my-kit

Final designs must be submitted by 5pm on Sunday, August 13th via e-mail to [email protected].

Your design can be anything you like however please bear in mind the restraints the kit supplier may have in creating the kit, therefore anything too detailed or unrealistic may not be put forward for selection. It is important to also note that the kit will be based upon the winning entry as best it can, and some design elements may have to be tweaked for production purposes.

In the week following the deadline to submit your designs SMiSA members will be given the opportunity to choose the third kit! This will be done via e-mail to all members and the voting will be comprised of a shortlist of designs that have been selected to progress to the final stage.

More information regarding the release of the kit and pre-ordering will be announced once the competition is complete.

 

Please note that submissions must be made using the email address associated with your SMiSA account. You must be a registered SMiSA member at the time of submission for your design to be considered.

If you have any queries regarding the design competition please contact [email protected].

 

July Chairman's Update

It hardly seems like yesterday when I last wrote and we were celebrating our first top 6 finish in decades. Due to the World Cup this years close season has been one of the shortest on record meaning players have had less of a break than normal.

Spare a thought too for all those working hard behind the scenes that have had a shorter break. From Keith Lasley to the admin staff and volunteers trying to sort out season tickets etc etc.

It’s great to see that the club have had a record breaking sales performance for season tickets, over 3800 as we type and heading for 4000. It really does show the impact made by the team’s performance on the park with results helping attract new fans or those deciding to re-join.

It was also brilliant to see SMiSA’s purchase of Community season tickets getting us over the 3500 milestone, thanks again to you for supporting this fantastic initiative. If you know of any kids, youth or community organisations etc that would like to take up the offer of using the tickets please complete the application form at www.smisa.net/community-season-tickets and we will happily consider your request.

To grow our fan base , especially in our younger supporters, the match day experience plays a huge role and it was great to see Colin Bright receive an overwhelming show of support from SMiSA members to be funded to provide this. I’ve long said that football fans are short changed by clubs. Who else would sit in the weather we had for the Forfar game, not fully under cover, and pay upwards of £15 to do so, then come back for more the following week?

 SMiSA never take for granted what our members do, especially in current financial times, so your support for this initiative is greatly appreciated by us as a board and Colin himself.

The win against Forfar ensured we finished top of our league cup group after the traditional shaky start and the home games and performances only give greater belief that we are building a fortress at the SMiSA stadium and all credit to the team and coaching staff for achieving that. Let’s hope that continues into the League campaign.

We have seen a few players move on and some new faces around club and already some are making a very positive impact. As any Manager will tell you though its keeping players fit that is a huge challenge on playing resources. To support the club in the turnaround times for injuries SMiSA was asked to make a contribution, if possible, to new medical equipment that would help with this. Again, thanks to you as members we made more than a contribution, we bought the equipment outright. This will make a huge difference not only to the first team but to the Academy teams and the St Mirren FC Women and girls teams also. It will also save the club £10,000's in medical bills so a huge benefit to the team, with SMiSA leading the way in supporting.

Mentioning the St Mirren FC Women’s team brings me to the support they have received from SMiSA. From the recent vote, we had maybe not surprisingly, the largest “No” response to a funding poll. Attracting both new members to SMiSA and new fans to the club would always be one of our key aims. You will have seen from the Women’s World Cup and the attendances in most of the matches how popular football amongst women has become, and we must support that at St Mirren.

 An interesting fact, the Australian WOMENS team sold MORE world cup tops than the Australian MENS team, could we ever see that happen with Scotland?  I do see more and more girls with St Mirren tops around Paisley out with match days so something is changing and we need to embrace that change, especially if there are commercial benefits to be had.

SMiSA funding of the Women’s team will be more than that by SMFC and Kibble and given our resources versus theirs that’s something we again should be proud of leading the way on.

Our recruitment process to replace Gordon Scott will be underway as you read this. This is an area where as a SMiSA board we have to broaden our horizons with regards board candidates on both boards.

We have set up an account on LinkedIn and would encourage those who currently use this platform to follow us. We need to widen our networks to encourage as many people as possible to consider joining either board at some point in the future, whenever that may be. It would be great to see a time when we are “spoilt for choice” with numbers applying, this can only be good for both boards strength.

Currently many of the SMiSA Directors have full time jobs and so much of our work is done in spare time, days off.

Whilst some of the SMFC board have retired I’m sure both Alex and John would agree it is not a role that can be done on 1 day a week popping in to the ground, these roles need full commitment from the SMiSA appointed directors and that means daily presence at the ground where possible.

With the season underway a SMiSA member will have the opportunity to DESIGN the St Mirren 3rd kit which will hopefully be released before Christmas. More information on this will be released towards the end of this week, so please keep your eyes peeled!

Finally, I was humbled to attend last week, a Volunteer recognition night at the ground organised by Keith Lasley, who deserves great credit for doing.

There were around 30-40 volunteers in attendance. From Josh Magennis and some of the W7 guys, the 'Marching On' volunteers who have done an amazing job revitalizing the West Stand, Jim Crawford and his team who work so hard on cleaning the stadium and sorting season tickets, to the “Doorknobs” of Stewart McIntosh, brother Norrie who are the face of St Mirren at the front door, ably assisted by Eddie and Roddy MacMillan.

It struck me that without the effort from these St Mirren die hards just how difficult it would be to operate our clubs and that much of what goes on behind the scenes is taken for granted by many.

Thank you to all, you’re are a real credit to our club and SMiSA are grateful for the efforts you put in.

Well all that remains is to wish Stephen Robinson and his team all the very best for the coming season. Already with League Cup group winners we are ahead of last season.

Get behind the team and enjoy the game

 

Alex

SMFC Director Applications

As you may be aware SMiSA need to appoint a new director to represent the society on the board of St Mirren Football Club as Gordon Scott has stepped down, meaning a position to be one of our four SMiSA nominated directors on the club board has become available. SMiSA would once again like to thank Gordon Scott for all he has done during his tenure for both SMiSA and St Mirren Football Club.

We are now calling for anyone interested in becoming a candidate for this position to apply.  You can do this by emailing [email protected] to declare your interest. Applicants who declare interest will receive an application pack containing informative documents about the process and role, they will also receive an application form. The closing date for applications to be submitted is July 31st at 5pm.

New SMISA appointments to the club board are subject to the formal recruitment process SMiSA has put in place through which John Needham, Alex White and Paul McNeil were appointed. This will see the SMiSA board shortlist and interview those who best fit the job description, and select a preferred candidate who the members will then be asked to approve. Ideally, they will already be a SMiSA member but all applications will be considered. Interview dates are scheduled for the week beginning August 7th and 14th; however timings will be further discussed with candidates who are successful in the sifting process relating to their application and progress to the interview stage.

The successful candidate will be expected to act as the link between the club and SMiSA boards, ensure member views are considered in club decisions and have the skills and experience to make a positive contribution to the running of the football club.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with: [email protected].

 

Regards,

The SMiSA Board

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