Kilmarnock Standard to be Media Partner for Trust Charity Ball

kilmarnock-standardWe are delighted to announce that The Kilmarnock Standard have decided to support our upcoming tenth anniversary Charity Ball at the Fenwick Hotel and have became our official media sponsor.

Editor Craig Robertson was “really keen to get the paper involved in supporting the event” and we have secured coverage in the lead up to the ball as well as on the night itself. “I’m happy to support it as much as we can” he concluded.

Peter Telfer of the Trust added “it’s great that The Standard have came on board and we are delighted to get some more coverage for what will be a great night”.

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We’ll Support You Evermore

This post has been reblogged from Craig Andersons SPLstats blog. You may have caught him on twitter using the @splstats handle, if you havent but do have a twitter account i encourage you to start following him, you wont regret it. It goes without saying that this represents the views of the author and not of the Trust of which he has no connection except perhaps as a paid up member but we feel it is a well written piece on the nature of the current state of the club and the support.

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Supporting a football club is an inherently irrational decision which is more about emotional attachment than solid logic.  Many of us follow our sides across the country week after week, regardless of how the team is performing on the pitch.  Against all logic, we make long journeys to watch run-of-the-mill league games, even if form suggests a victory is unlikely.  Supporters of most clubs will endure far more bad days than they will good ones, but it’s the great ones that make it worth it.

For most, that support is unconditional – they’ll support the team regardless of what happens on or off the pitch.  But many clubs take advantage of this blind loyalty, taking their supporters for granted when making decisions and hoping that people will keep coming back regardless of how they are treated.  Clubs do occasionally listen to their supporters – the Rangers newco vote in the…

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Charity Ball Latest: Special Guests Attending

ballWe are delighted to announce that birthday boy and local legend Garry Hay will be our guest of honour at the upcoming Charity Ball. At the end of the last season Garry was released by the club after many years sterling service, but still voluntarily coaches some of our youth players. We have asked him to come along in appreciation of his dedication to Killie and everything he has done off the park for the fans down the years. Garry will be joining former Killie Scottish Cup winning legends, the 97 club if you will, hookyMark Reilly, Kevin McGowne, Jim McIntyre and Gerry McCabe (more still to confirm) at the Rhett Syndrome Research table which is one of the charities who will be benefiting from the night. Tickets are still available, see details here, this is one not to miss!

Killie Trust statement – 22/07/2013

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In April 2013 Kilmarnock Supporters’ Society Ltd (The Killie Trust) made a formal approach in writing to Mr Johnston, Chairman of Kilmarnock Football Club, to express a desire to enter into dialogue with him regarding the way ahead to community ownership of the Club. This approach was made on The Killie Trust’s behalf by a well respected law firm. In his response Mr Johnston requested that The Killie Trust, through their legal representatives, submit a draft Confidentiality Agreement for his further consideration. A document which, in the opinion of The Killie Trust and their advisors, can be considered suitable and appropriate was duly forwarded to Mr Johnston on 27th May. This document has been neither accepted nor rejected by Mr Johnston. Our legal representatives have contacted Mr Johnston in recent weeks for an update on the matter and have not, as yet, received any response.

The Wisdom of Crowds Part Three

Buy a brick at Rugby Park

Having attended the Supporters Summit 2013 at the English Football Associations new centre of excellence at St Georges Park, which was hosted by Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation. This event was attended by supporters from across all Europe. These supporters came from a wide range of clubs in a variety of situations. Some are simply trying to keep their club alive despite the best efforts of business minded people, others have lost that battle and have started their own phoenix club based on democratic community ownership principles. The Trusts from many of EPL clubs are working to keep their club grounded in their community with a local sense of identity and history.

The very next weekend we met up with an equally diverse group of Scottish football supporters at the Supporters Direct Scotland Club Ownership Summit at Stirling Albion. Here we met supporters who already own their football club or in a very good position to take control of the destiny of their club or believe that community ownership is the only sustainable future for their club.

So what have learned from meeting all these football supporters?

The position of our football club and the deteriorating relationship between He that “runs it” and its supporters is almost the default position for football clubs today. The single person ownership model is more prevalent than at any other time. A lot of football clubs are run with a cavalier disregard for the fundamentals of economics, business planning, marketing, social responsibility and sound financial planning. Sadly this includes our own club. Most of the clubs that make use of these basic business tools are clubs where fans have a strong voice or they are the outright owners.

Clubs that become community owned know that their most important asset is the supporters because without them there is nothing. A good relationship must be built and maintained with them to ensure sustainability off the pitch which ultimately helps to bring success on the pitch. At the Supporters Summit 2013 Tim Connelly the Vice President of Sales for the Green Bay Packers, the only community owned club in the NFL, said “if our customers are angry with us we have missed the point”. He also observed that Green Bay are in the subscription business “we want people to keep coming back and signing up for longer, to do that we have to give them something they want, they have to have a sense of community with the club”.

Back in Kilmarnock however, our Chairman seems unwilling to engage with the local community. Our attendances are dwindling, a 16% reduction in home attendances last season alone1. The average age of Killie supporters is rising so we are facing a demographic time bomb. We are a club that is in danger of literally dying out in the next 50 years unless we start trying to reverse this trend now. There is no vision or plan to reverse this trend coming from the boardroom. The local community is the biggest and most likely source of new supporters for us. As a football club our very existence depends on developing a long term and comprehensive strategy to bring in new supporters. This means Killie have to be at the very heart of the community.

The Trust has developed a number of projects that promote education, health and well-being in our community that also raise awareness of Kilmarnock Football Club. These projects have all been designed to be sustainable over a long period of time which is vital if the club is to start growing its support again. We realised from the start that we had to use the minimum amount of club resources as these are in very short supply. The K-Steps programme is just one of these projects. We have several others at an advanced stage of readiness, but they have been sitting on the shelf for over 18 months. The key element to going forward with these projects is the engagement of the club. The Trust has made several attempts to engage with Mr Johnston on the subjects of community development, the use of volunteers and community ownership. These were generally rebuffed and those that did move forward took so long to do so that the opportunity was lost or the conditions for club involvement were such that the board of the Killie Trust would have been at risk of breaking its own operating rules.

So where do we go from here? People say that community ownership cannot work at big clubs but the Champion’s League final this year laid that myth to rest once and for all. We, as a community, need to take the destiny of our football club into our own hands.  There are great examples of community ownership across the UK.

There is no quick, easy answer to the difficulties our club faces, but the current chairman has no plan to take our club forwards and is unwilling to accept any support other than cash. Our Football Club should be doing great things in our community right now. Things that would start to reverse the inevitable decline we are in right now. However, short-termism is the order of the day for the Chairman and one man board of Kilmarnock Football Club.

There is no white knight waiting in the wings and anyone that claims to be a white knight needs to answer some very serious questions about their plans.  People keep on asking “where is the alternative”. WE, the supporters of Kilmarnock Football Club, founded in 1869, are the alternative. Fans are always the bank of last resort. When everything has been run into the ground and every line of credit fails and the gates are about to be locked forever, the fans pull together. They find a way to put aside their differences and take that step into the unknown and take control of the football club they love.

It is happening right now at Dunfermline. Pars UNITED have been named the preferred bidder. The only other bidder decided to remain anonymous and this lack of transparency appears to have affected their chances.

It is happening right now at Hearts. The Foundation of Hearts has put in a very strong bid for the club and we will know soon if it has succeeded.

Are Hearts or Dunfermline fans any smarter than Killie fans? No. The only reason we will fail is because we fail ourselves.

What can we do?

Reference

1. Kilmarnock Standard 12.07.2013, page 103, John Livingston.

Fans Groups Statement: 15/7/13

Trust10aThe Killie Trust, Young Killie, KFC Supporters’ Association and affiliated clubs would like to encourage all Kilmarnock FC Supporters to attend Wednesday’s friendly match against East Fife to show our support for the new management team of Alan Johnston and Sandy Clark. In what has been a pre-season of unrest for many of the Kilmarnock faithful, all the organisations want fans to turn out in numbers to support the team and to show that despite any planned protests against the current regime, the team will get our moral and vocal support from the outset.

At the match, we would encourage fans to wear scarfblue and yellow scarves and t-shirts, the colours that now symbolise the majority of supporters lack of confidence in current chairman Michael Johnston. For those not kitted out already, there will be scarves available at the match in return for a donation to the Trust’s Community Ownership Group (COG) initiative. T-Shirts can be purchased online at rainbowink.co.uk or at Rainbow Ink’s shop in Bank Street, Kilmarnock.

Killie Trust Board member Peter Telfer said, “Wednesday is a great opportunity for the supporters to show their backing for our new manager, he needs to know that our ‘We are Killie – Johnston Must Go’ banners are not aimed at him! Alan had a successful playing career with us and I think it is safe to say that we all hope that his managerial career follows suit. Kenny Sheils may not have been everyone’s cup of tea but in general he was well liked and respected and his dismissal and the way it was handled was shocking. The last thing we would like to see now is another promising manager lose his job on a technicality in the same manner, that is not how the Killie family treat our own.”

Peter added “The blue and yellow idea came from the fans forum on the internet and I think it is important to remember that the fans are the only constant at any football club as without us clubs simply would not exist, which is something that the current chairman has literally not taken on board. Sadly Michael Johnston has not been representing our views or running the club in the best interests of the fans or the local community and that has ultimately cost him our support. While we remain 100% behind the manager and his squad we cannot stand by and watch as the club we love is systematically eroded by the one man board, if he was a true Killie fan he would do the honourable thing and walk away.”

The match kicks off at 7:45pm at New Bayview in Methil with admission prices £6 for adults and £4 for concessions.

The Wisdom of Crowds Part Two

DSC_0195Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS) held a one day summit for Scottish Trusts on fan ownership on the 29th of July 2013 at Stirling Albion football stadium.

This event was attended by Elaine Millar, Barry Richmond and Andy Millar from the Killie Trust board. This was an opportunity for supporters to discuss common issues and to share experiences on a number of subjects.

The Stirling Albion story

First we had a presentation on Stirling Albion’s move into community ownership. This change of ownership took place in order to prevent the heavily in debt club going into administration. The debt stood at £1.3 million with no real plan to reduce this figure.  A situation very similar to the one at Killie but on a slightly smaller scale. The long term strategy for Stirling Albion was to deal with the debt and have a sustainable football club.

The Dundee story

The story of Dundee’s various administration events and dubious owners is well documented. The crucial part of the story is how much more difficult the purchase of the club was while in administration. The time scales for taking action can be very short indeed.

The Clyde story

Finally we told about the day to day operations of Clyde FC which is a Community Interest Company (CIC). This included the work and democratic process that has been undertaken around the proposed move to East Kilbride. Clyde have been working with in a sustainable budget since they became a CIC as the rules that cover CICs do allow them to work any other way.

DSC_0192We then took part in workshops about two different subject themes.

  • In which areas could community clubs work together to reduce overheads and increase income.
  • What governmental and governing bodies legislative changes could be made to benefit clubs moving toward or in community ownership.

Finally we had an opportunity to update the other attendees about what was happening at our respective clubs and trusts.

It was very interesting to hear what has been happening at other Trusts in Scotland, and in particular to hear from Clubs that are now in community ownership.

We came away with a lot of very good ideas that we will be adapting for our use and a lot of good contacts. There is no reason that football clubs cannot help and support each other off the pitch and still compete on it. If all scottish football fans work together we can start to improve that situation our game is in for everyone and community owned clubs are leading the way.

For more details visit the Scottish fans page about the summit.

The Wisdom of Crowds Part One

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Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation held their first Supporters’ Summit at the English FA’s new Centre of Excellence, St George’s Park near Burton upon Trent on the 22nd of June.

Two volunteers from the Killie Trust made time to attend the summit on behalf of the board. Events like this are very interesting and well worthwhile attending. The speakers were very informative and the workshops were very relevant. The best thing about the trip to Burton upon Trent was the opportunity to meet supporters from other football clubs and Trusts from across the UK and Europe. The most striking thing about speaking to other supporters is how much we have in common. Our situation is not unique. This is very unfortunate for the health of football but is fortunate for us as supporters, as it provides us with a wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on in our efforts to bring our club into community ownership in a sustainable way that is valued by everyone in our community.

The format of the day was fairly straight forward. During the opening session we heard from the Andy Burnham MP and David Bernstein the Chairman of the English FA. Andy Burnham was instrumental in getting Supporters Direct established back in 2000. David Bernstein was the chairman of Manchester City FC but he still sees himself as a fan first.

The rest of the day was split into workshops so our intrepid volunteers spilt up in order to cover as much ground as possible, gather as much information and hear the views of as many people as they could. The workshops they went to were as follows (for more details please check out the Supporters direct page about the summit.):

Sustainability or Bust. This workshop covered how community owned football clubs must to have a sustainable business model and how this can be achieved by having a long term financial plan.

Reclaim our game. This gave practical guidance on how fans can get involved in their clubs and make a real difference in how it is run and ensure that good governance takes place.

Improving football governance. There are great examples from all across Europe where fans are making a real difference to how football is being run. In Sweden fans ensured the 50+1 rule was kept for all sports clubs in the country despite the wishes of a few powerful individuals.

Fan engagement: Why it works for clubs and fans. This was a fascinating presentation from Tim Connolly the Vice president of sales for the Green Bay Packers. Green bay is the only community owned club in the NFL. Tim gave some great examples of how the community ownership model really works for them. Green Bay have a waiting list for tickets but only charge the league average for their tickets. For every dollar spent at the Green Bay’s stadium $5 are spent in the teams local community.

Transparency and Vigilance. Micah Hall from Portsmouth gave an account of his search for the truth about the ownership of his club Portsmouth FC on his Hall Right Now Blog and how transparency is vital to the health of every organisation. The owners of Pompey tried to sue Micah over the content of his blog. As he said “you know you are asking the right questions when that happens”.

They also bumped in to some of the people running the Shelbourne FC Trust (The 1895 Trust) and had a chat about the good old days of Killie in Europe.

The Trust Movement in Ireland has had a great boost in recent months with the launch of the ‘Heart of the Game’ handbook. A new ‘how to’ guide for League of Ireland supporters. This handbook has received government backing and was launched at Dáil Éireann by Minister of State for Sport, Michael Ring TD. – See more at: http://heartofthegame.ie/

By all accounts it was well worth the long journey to St Georges Park. Which for the record is so new it is not on Sat Nav yet. For the purposes of full disclosure our volunteers paid for the entire trip themselves.

Trust Ball Kilt Deal at Ayrshire Kilt Shop

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Have you got your tickets yet for The Killie Trust Charity Ball in September? If so and you are about to start looking for what you are going to wear on the big night why not have a look in The Ayrshire Kilt Shop who have got in contact with the Trust and offered 10% off the hire of a full kilt outfit for the Trust Ball!
 
pascaTheir shop is situated out at the Moorfield Estate in their McCallum Bagpipes premise and they have a great range of tartans and highlandwear.
 
They do the official Killie tartan and normal price is £100 so anyone hiring would save £10.
 
McCallum Bagpipes can be found on facebook and twitter also at @mccallumbagpipe