Trust Statement 19/4/2014

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Following the announcement made by Kilmarnock FC before the Celtic match on Friday night, The Killie Trust would like to issue the following statement:

Kilmarnock Supporters’ Society Ltd (The Killie Trust) would like to welcome Billy Bowie, Jim Mann, David Moran and Russel Smith to the board of Kilmarnock Football Club. These appointments along with much needed investment will see the club become “debt free” and have a more stable boardroom structure. We hope this change signals the start of a new era for Scotland’s oldest professional club and is a sign of things to come, the link between a football club and its supporters is vital to its survival and a club’s relationship with its community must be nurtured. To that end the Killie Trust would urge fans to return to Rugby Park in numbers to support the team at this crucial time.

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COG Update – 4th March 2014

COGlogoSince the Killie (Community) Working Party lodged its Letter of Intent with Michael Johnston, Chairman of Kilmarnock FC, we at The Killie Trust have been working hard behind the scenes to ensure that the proposition is given due consideration by the club and is understood by the wider community. It is encouraging that all parties we speak to directly both understand the concept and agree that the working party are right to actively seek meaningful community involvement in the club and that community ownership should be the desired position on Mr Johnston’s exit from the club.

Whilst communication with the club has been disappointing to date, we have engaged with the local MP, MSP and council leader, all of whom have agreed to encourage Kilmarnock FC to meet either the working party or Killie Trust, as representatives of that group. An excerpt of a recent e-mail to the politicians follows. This helps to explain the views of the working party which resulted in the Letter of Intent being issued and why the Killie Trust is committed to taking this forward.

Many thanks for your help over the last few weeks with the Killie (Community) Working Party and also taking the time to learn a bit more about the Killie Trust. I am aware that you were all going to suggest to Michael Johnston that he meet with the working party to enable us to explain our Letter of Intent more fully. Despite this, and his comments in last week’s Standard that Michael would welcome a meeting, there has been no communication from the club. Indeed, Billy Bowie had indicated he would be in touch w/c 17th to arrange a meeting with me, and despite chasing this up, I have had no further communication from him either. I also note that there has been no formal response to the Letter of Intent.

You will appreciate that  it is extremely difficult to try to build any meaningful working relationship with an organisation who cannot communicate effectively. You will  recall that we mentioned the Trust has had an unsigned NDA sitting with the club for the best part of a year after Michael requested this. Sadly, the club do not appear to want to engage with either the working party or the Trust. As you know, the Trust is the second largest shareholder in the club and is a properly constituted community driven organisation with circa 400 members.The working party the Trust is represented on is keen to move down the road of meaningful community involvement with the goal of ultimate community ownership.The club has mentioned publicly its desire for community involvement yet does not even want to discuss this vision with these bodies, both of whom could certainly offer constructive guidance and support.

My only conclusion is that the Community Involvement Board the club is planning is their preferred vehicle for community involvement. I imagine that this is in the hope of satisfying the club’s bankers in negotiations during a review of their debt. I assume this board will not be endorsed by the Scottish Government as it does not, as far as I  understand, meet the co-operative values of one person/one vote. I believe this is why  Paul Goodwin of Supporters Direct cannot back the idea as it stands. I am intrigued as to how any lender will afford debt forgiveness to a window dressing style of community involvement in a private limited company with one major (80%+) shareholder. However, I genuinely hope a suitable deal can be done to ensure the survival of the club.The bank’s stakeholders and many SMEs in Scotland may have their own opinion on that though.

As you know, the purpose of the Letter of Intent was to seek a route to ensure that, on Michael’s exit from the club, the fans and community are given the opportunity to own the majority stake in the club. It was neither a formal bid for the club nor a suggestion that the club be passed to the fans for no financial consideration. We would be dismayed if the club ended up in the hands on an individual or group who had no real understanding of the importance of the organisation to the community and who might, as we have seen elsewhere, use the club for their own purposes thus creating a greater divide than we see presently. I suppose the greater fear is that Kilmarnock FC then slips into an insolvency event as that type of owner has no passion or true vision for the club and community.”

FAO All Trust Members

Following on from yesterday’s email to our members, the Board wish to seek approval to donate £1,000 to the Ellie & Laurie charity.

The charity has been set up to raise £70,000 to secure the appropriate treatment to help young Killie fan Laurie, who needs further orthopedic surgery to help him walk.  Initially the charity needs to secure an amount of £8,400 and they have already raised £2,138, leaving a further £6,262 to be raised as soon as possible.

We propose to donate £1,000 towards the charity funded by our profit from the next Comedy Night.  However, given the charity needs this money now, we propose to utilise existing Trust Funds to make the £1,000 donation, which will then be reimbursed immediately following the Comedy Night.

Unless we hear from you to the contrary by Friday 7th March, we will assume you are in agreement with this proposal.

Additionally, to help support the charity, we have also contacted the club to seek approval that we can do a bucket collection at the Hearts game. The club do not normally allow bucket collections but they’ve done quite a bit for Ellie and Laurie in the past so hopefully we can get the go ahead for that, at which point we will be looking for some trustworthy volunteers to help out on the day.

We hope you share our views on helping this worthy cause.