Why is community ownership better

The Killie Trust initiated the Community Ownership Group (COG) in May 2012. The purpose of this initiative is to make Kilmarnock Football Club community owned as soon as possible. 

The Vision for Kilmarnock Football Club

The Killie Trust’s vision for Kilmarnock Football Club is for it to be a well-run club which puts the fans and community at the heart of everything it does.  Fans will own at least 50%+1 of the club with the remaining shareholders understanding and supporting the principles of community ownership.

How do supporters have more control when it is a community owned club?

The members also elect the board of the Killie Trust. If the members disagree with how the Trust is being run then members get an opportunity every year to elect new people onto the board. These elections are carried out on the democratic principles of one person one vote regardless of how much time or money they put into the Trust. This ensures that no individual can hold undue influence over the Trust.

The members of the Trust also decide who should represent them on the club board. This will be decided using the same principles as the Trust Board elections. Those standing for election to the club board would need to meet certain criteria before being eligible to stand. Therefore one of the main strengths of community ownership is that everyone eligible gets one vote.

Community ownership is not about the day to day running of the Club, it is about democratically deciding who should make the strategic decisions about how our club is run. This process ensures that those who take on this role are held accountable for their actions and provide acceptable explanations for those decisions. This is good governance.

Community ownership is not about picking the team on a Saturday, it is not about deciding which player to buy or what is on the menu at hospitality. These are all decisions for employed staff to take. Community ownership is about deciding who should represent your views about how Kilmarnock Football Club engages with its supporters  and the wider community. It is also about deciding the future direction of the Club and ensuring that decisions taken are right for the club as a whole and not individuals within it.

Only genuine community ownership will give the supporters the opportunity to put an asset lock on Rugby Park. This means that our ground cannot be sold without the knowledge or permission of the fans. It also ensures that a reasonable market value is obtained if the fans agree that moving to new ground is in the best interests of the club and it’s supporters.

So how does the current form of ownership at Killie compare to community ownership.

Here are the key differences.

 Category Community Ownership of Kilmarnock FC Current ownership of Kilmarnock FC
Legal Status Co-operative Community Benefit Society

Limited by Shares

Legal Objectives To provide community benefit written into constitution – The trust is committed to supporting local sport in the area.The trust is a not for profit organisation, all profits are reinvested into the club and the community.

Legally constituted to provide value for shareholders.

(Given the current size of the debt this an unlikely occurrence so the model is inappropriate)

Financial Sustainability Financial prudence is written into their constitution, with transparency and  accountability assured by democratic model. There is no such provision in this model of ownership.
Financial Risk Management Unlikely to build up debts from private lenders as these cannot be converted into shares. Sustainable growth The Club has built up debt, including soft loans and floating charges over assets. This is common in this type of ownership model as it can be difficult to access other types of finance.Risky strategy
Voluntary Support Club would be owned by the fans and community therefore evidence from similar clubs is they have a large pool of willing volunteers. Privately owned businesses may reduce the pool of volunteers as the ethos and benefits of volunteering may not be understood.
Network of support Member of Supporters Direct alongside 34 other supporters’ trusts who provide from mutual support/benefits.The Co-operative sector offer extended advice and support.Competition on the pitch – co-operation off the pitch. All other clubs are viewed as competitors.
Grants Non profit distributing Co-operative. Eligible for larger range of grants   including from the co-operative sector. As a privately owned Company KFC will find it very hard to meet eligibility criteria.
Board structure Democratic model with large pool of candidates, all positions will be either elected   from trust membership (open to all) or co-opted for particular skills. For a long time there was only one Board member. In August 2013 Billy Bowie joined the Board.There is the risk of private motivation outweighing community needs and a short-term   perspective.

The Good, the Bad and the Chairman

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Michael Johnston has stated that he cares about the 200 people employed at the Club and the Kilmarnock supporters that have chosen not to attend Rugby Park do not. He blames the reduction in attendances at Killie home games on factories that shut over 30 years ago.

Yet the population of Kilmarnock has grown in recent years, while crowds at Rugby Park have continued to decline. The greatest risk to all the hard working staff at Kilmarnock Football Club is the loss of customers and the resultant loss of income. There seems to be no plan or strategy to reverse this decline. The chairman’s attitude to fans for many years has been “give me your money and shut up”. Now some supporters have had the temerity to question the quality of his leadership and his ability to attract new customers.

The Chairman has recently brought a new director on to the board; stating that this has been his long term plan, a long term plan that no one had heard of until attendances reached their currently catastrophic levels.

It is curious that the Chairman can now bring new people on to the board when the club is in such a financially perilous state. For many years he said the company’s finances meant it would be too risky for others to join the board because of the strong possibility of an insolvency event.

He has also stated that he intends to get another 3 or 4 investors on to the board in the near future. If each of these investors match Mr Bowie’s contribution this will still leave the club with a debt of £7.75 million. If this is Mr Johnston’s plan to turn the club around, then he will need to find another 31 investors to put in similar amounts. This is assuming that the debt has not risen in the last year as it did in the previous year’s accounts.

We, the supporters of Kilmarnock Football Club, have to hope that these very generous individuals are not expecting a return on their investment in the short to medium term, if ever. We must also hope that this money is being used to reduce the debt and is not being used to maintain cash flow as happened at Heart’s in the dying days of the Romanov regime.  The Board of Hearts FC undertook a share issue that emotionally blackmailed supporters into investing, knowing it would only pay the bills in the short term.

The “angry fans and their ringleaders” have been told that they do not care about the 200 jobs at Kilmarnock Football Club. The Trust sees a far bigger picture where the prosperity of the Club is vital to the town and the prosperity of the town is vital to the Club, a virtuous circle that supports both. Rather than be positive about the club’s home town Mr Johnston perpetuates a view of Kilmarnock as seen in “The Scheme”, a ghost town of high unemployment.

The Chairman blames everyone but himself for the problems faced by our Football Club. Yes he took on a very difficult situation and he has managed to reduce the debt which he is happy to take the credit for.  This was only achieved by selling the clubs assets. Without strong gevernance can we be sure that every opportunity was taken to realise the maximum value of these assets? Some of the young players sold could have generated a far larger transfer fees if they had been given longer to develop in the Kilmarnock first team.

Sadly he has also presided over a massive decline in the number of people coming through the turnstiles. Unfortunately in this world you have to take the good with the bad, so he has to take credit for this as well.

If Mr Johnston had engaged with the supporters in an open and positive manner earlier in his reign, he would have been able to draw upon the skills of fans to develop long term strategies that would have helped build the business.

Being a football fan is about a sense of belonging, a sense of family. This is the most powerful marketing tool any football club can have, but it has to be nurtured.

Kilmarnock’s Chairman appears to know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

Marketing the MJ way

Buy a brick at Rugby Park

It is with a growing sense of disbelief that many supporters of Kilmarnock Football Club look back at the events of September 2013. The Chairman of the Club appears to be developing a new business model for football that requires no fans at all.

At the start of the month the Club informed the Trust that no one would be attending the charity ball to celebrate the Trust’s tenth anniversary. The reason given was they faced a moral dilemma as the ball was not being held at the club’s hotel. The Trust had planned to hold the ball there but were told the chosen date was booked.

A matter of days later the Chairman wrote to the Kilmarnock Supporters’ Association to inform them that the club would no longer provide any member of staff for question and answer sessions at Association meetings, until the democratically elected chairman of the organisation was removed from office.

These Q & A sessions have always been a great way for players and coaching staff to engage and communicate with the supporters. This format permits an open and honest dialogue without any agenda or loaded questions. It allows questions to be answered fully without them being distilled down to a sound bite or a headline. They are heaven sent for a new manager who is trying to mould a team, as he can get across his hopes and fears for the season to a receptive audience. Unfortunately Alan Johnston has now been denied this opportunity by the Chairman.

Just as fans recovered from these localised PR disasters, news broke of the Chairman’s offer to drop ticket prices by 20% for Celtic season ticket holders for the game at Rugby Park. This one day only offer was available until the ticket office closed at Celtic Park on the Tuesday before their Cup game. No equivalent offer was announced for Killie fans for more than 24 hours and any Celtic fan that had purchased their ticket before or after Tuesday had no recourse for a rebate.

Mr Johnston has chosen to hide behind rules, a tactic he has used many times before. Rules that were written with no expectation by their authors that a club would ever try to deliberately disadvantage its own supporters. Imagine how long a shop would last if it only ever offered discounts to people that live outside its town. There has been no explanation why the two offers were not announced together. In order to calm the situation the Chairman took to the local paper in order to inform the support that they had over reacted.

Crowds at Rugby Park have been in decline for a number of years and the current chairman seems incapable of reversing this trend, in fact his actions at times seem to be hell bent on chasing away as many home supporters as possible. Many Killie supporters this season have made the incredibly difficult decision to not attend home games as they refuse to prop up the current regime. They have been driven to this by a number of decisions that have alienated fans over the years. This decision in particular seems almost perverse at a time when the Club should be working hard to build stronger bonds between themselves and the supporters.

The Killie Trust believes that the only way to save our Club is to urgently take it into true community ownership. This ownership would draw upon the skills and resources available within the support to develop a club that puts its supporters and its community at the very heart of everything it does. There are a huge number of community owned clubs that are doing amazing things. They have achieved this by fully engaging with their supporters and have incredible levels of participation at all level of the club. There is no room any more for people that believe there is money to be made from exploiting football fans.

As a great Scottish manger once said “without fans football is nothing” apparently Michael Johnston knows better.

A Decade of Trust

How did it come to this?                       Trust10a

The Killie Trust was initated, as many were, after a group of fans attended the launch of Supporters Direct Scotland at Tynecastle in 2002. The Killie Trust was started a year later in 2003. Kilmarnock were in a period of relative success and everything appeared on the surface to be going in the right direction. The club had gained promotion to the Premier League in 1993 under Tommy Burns. The redevelopment of Rugby Park was completed in 1994 making it an all seated stadium with a capacity of just over 18,000. The club won the Scottish Cup in 1997 and was then involved in European competitions in four of the next five years. In order to diversify income streams the club board decided to build a four star hotel on the site of the training pitch at Rugby Park. Most fans could see the logic of this decision when there was a successful hotelier on the club board. The Park Hotel opened in June 2002.  So things appeared to be going well, but fans were already aware of being marginalised and were concerned by the amount of borrowing required to build the hotel.

A change of leadership at the club in 1997 had seen the charismatic Bobby Fleeting leave the club. With him went the sense that fans would be listened to and in its place came a view from the board that fans should be seen and not heard. New income streams and the rise and rise of TV money appeared to fool a lot of clubs into believing that the need to engage with their supporters was no longer important. Kilmarnock was as guilty of this as any other club in Scotland.

In 2005, Jamie Moffat resigned as chairman and sold the club and his 86% shareholding in it to solicitor Michael Johnston for one pound. Part of this deal was that there would be no more money to bolster the club from the Moffat family. Changes to company law in the UK have made it legal to allow the board of Kilmarnock Football Club to dwindle to just one member.

Where are we now?                           COGlogo

Over recent years the chairman of Kilmarnock Football Club and sole board member Michael Johnston has made a number of deeply unpopular decisions, which appeared to have been taken with little or no regard for supporters’ views or wishes.  With no sign of new investment or ownership on the horizon the Trust launched the Community Ownership Group (COG) in June 2012. The principle behind COG is to develop ownership of the club as a partnership between the supporters and the local business community, putting the club at the very heart of the community in every way possible. The long term goal is 51% ownership by the supporters and 49% owned by a range of local businesses.

The sacking of Kenny Sheils, the popular but controversial manager, who had delivered the League Cup for the first time in the club’s history and broke a 57 year spell without a win at Celtic Park was the straw that broke the camel’s back for many.

Kenny had publicly stated that he had a vision for youth development at the club and a five year plan to make that vision a reality. In contrast the chairman stated at the club AGM in January 2013 that he “did not have a business plan as the environment was too dynamic”. Most football supporters understand the importance of youth develop to their clubs and the loss of someone with a long term strategic view was very hard to take.

However it is unlikely that this event alone could have caused the reaction it has with the majority of supporters. It is the cumulative effect of the chairman’s poor decisions over the years that has generated it. As a result a grassroots campaign sprang up to oust the chairman. Supporters’ protests have taken many forms: some have not purchased season tickets and will not attend any home games; some have cancelled gym membership; others will not spend a penny at KFC, the Park Hotel or the club shop until the club is in new ownership (#notapennymore). These are drastic and painful decisions that are being taken by life-long Killie supporters. The protest has been symbolised by Blue and Yellow scarfs and T-shirts with a variety of polite slogans asking Mr Johnston to move on.

Short and long term objectives

The Killie Trust, The KFCSA and supporters’ short term aims are to persuade Mr Johnston to do what is best for the club before it is too late. Offers have been made but they have been rejected for reasons that are not entirely clear. In the longer term the Trust aims to initiate and develop a process that will take the club into a genuinely democratic form of community ownership. This model will ultimately lead to a stronger more sustainable club that considers the community in everything it does.  Without the community the club is nothing.

Where do we go from here               Buy a brick at Rugby Park

The Trust has had representatives at a number of events in recent weeks: the Supporters’ Summit 2013 held at St Georges Park; the Scottish Fans’ Summit on Club Ownership and the Supporters Direct Scotland Cup at East End Park. At all of these events we discovered that you will never get all the supporters to agree (football is all about opinions after all). You can only hope to work with the active supporters that are able to put their shoulder to the wheel to help save their club. However when the crisis strikes the vast majority of fans will give what they can to help save their club and that is what makes the difference. Despite what they have been told, fans hold all the power at any football club.

The Killie Trust’s greatest hope is that Kilmarnock Football Club can avoid the same fate as Dunfermline and Hearts and transition to a new ownership model that will bring community ownership without the need for administration, as this is a messy, expensive and uncertain business.

What’s going on?

It is expected that Killie supporters will make their feelings felt about the chairman peacefully but loudly at away games across the country, and protest outside (and inside) Rugby Park. Hopefully the Killie support will become a sea of Blue and Yellow at every game this season.

The other big event coming up on the 7th of September is the Killie Trust Charity Ball to celebrate the first decade of the Killie Trust. We have been working on this event for some time. It was decided many months ago that the profits from this event should be split between the Rett UK and the Ayrshire Hospice. Later in the year we will no doubt hold another of our very successful comedy nights.

A Decade of Trust

The last ten years have been quietly dramatic for the Killie Trust. We started as a way of working with the club to promote the views of supporters. Over the years we developed a number of community based projects to help promote the Club and Trust.  Now the Trust finds itself standing side by side with the other supporters’ organisations working to bring a change to Rugby Park and start the journey into Community ownership. The only constant at any football club are the supporters.

You can donate to the Community Ownership Group here

You can keep up to date with our journey with the Killie Trust on Facebook, Twitter and our Blog site.

Update. Local businessman Billy Bowie joined the board of Kilmarnock football club in August 2013. The details of this investmehttps%3A%2F%2Fs2.wp.com%t.

First publish by Scottish Fans in August 2013.

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.

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.

Killie Trust Board Member Interviewed at Supporters Summit 2013

Killie Trust board member Andy Millar was interviewed by the Co-Op news channel at the Supporters Summit 2013 which was held at St Georges Park on the 22nd June.  He appears about 1 minute 20 seconds. There are a lot very interesting comments made about community ownership in the video.

A report on the whole summit can be found here on Supporters Direct website.

Chairman Responds

The Scottish Daily Mail has run with a story today with quotes from our Chairman about our Trust writing to Michael Johnston as part of a takeover bid. He responded to the article on the fans forum so we thought our members might be interested in what was behind the article.

bazbio“Community ownership is a long term process and plans have to be made, so this is just a small piece of the jigsaw so to speak. We have been having discussions with local business people about COG and reacting to the feedback…and the general consensus was that our previous meeting with the chairman, which came to no conclusion, should be followed up with an official letter to try and clarify the position regards the majority shareholding and what it would take to procure that.

It is really no biggie and nothing we have not done already, only in writing this time so there can be no dubiety about what has been said, it just looks like news because it is in the newspaper. I was surprised at the call, the journalist seemed to know a lot about it and it would appear that the call emanated from a conversation with a Killie fan in Serbia…but it is not like there was anything to hide or anything to shock anyone here, so there was no point in being secretive. Anyone who pays their money and joins the Trust can come to a board meeting and hear the exact same.

On a positive note, other feedback suggests that we really have to ramp up the publicity about the Trust and COG as despite everything we do there are still fans out there who do not know what its all about and some who just do not get what we have done and are trying to achieve. I dare say that if we had gone to the papers with something as trivial as this it would have been roundly ignored so maybe not issuing press releases about every single thing we do is the way to get them interested enough to give us some coverage!”

It does appear to be a bit of a non-story but if nothing else it highlights that there are positive steps being taken behind the scenes on the COG front and the media attention would suggest that at long last community ownership is on the agenda, and not before time. Hopefully the establishment and the Scottish public are finally waking up to the fact that the way our game is run is what is killing it and that any hope of survival for us all is to ensure that if we are not running our clubs ourselves for the benefit of the community then at the very least those who are should be better regulated and made accountable for their actions.

COGblogYou can follow the progress of our COG initiative here – https://thekillietrust.wordpress.com/

COG moves up a gear with the launch of The Killie Trust Business Network Meetings

The Killie Trust held the first of many Business Network Meetings(BNM) on the 7th of February 2013 at the Coffee Press in Bank Street, Kilmarnock. These meetings are part of the the Trust’s Community Ownership Group initiative, their aim is to build closer relationships between local businesses and the Trust. These relationships will be vital for the long term sustainability of Kilmarnock Football Club and the local community.

The Coffee Press in Bank street, Kilmarnock

The Coffee Press in Bank street, Kilmarnock

We invited a wide variety of local businesses to this meeting and after everyone had settled down with some tea or coffee and a bite to eat the evening got started.  Nigel Fitzsimmons from the Trust Board outlined the format for the evening and gave a brief presentation followed by a question and answer session. Nigel’s talk covered the history of the Trust, it’s objectives and recent activities. These activities include the Community Ownership Group or COG as it is known.  There is an ever growing list of football clubs in community ownership across Europe, the UK and Scotland. Some of these include Dundee in the SPL, Swansea City in the EPL and most of the Bundesliga clubs; Germany provides some of the best examples of sound financial management, fan involvement and community ownership.

Nigel then moved on to explain the Trust’s Community Partnership initiative.

This initiative aims to promote local businesses which have similar aims and objectives to the trust and which have worked in partnership with us on a project or event.

Finally we had a question and answer session with a wide ranging discussion about the Trust movement, COG and the partnership initiative.

This was a very positive meeting and it was great to speak to so many people who have similar objectives and have the good of Kilmarnock the football club, the town and the community at heart.  Everyone understands that COG  will not be a quick fix but we must start somewhere.  This meeting confirmed to the Trust that we have to build a greater understanding of our aims across all parts of the community. We agreed to give everyone regular updates on progress.

There will be many more of these meetings. We are also more than happy to speak to any local group as well.  If you are interested in attending a BNM meeting or you would like us to give a talk about the Killie Trust and COG,  please email the thechairman@killietrust.org.

Remember to look out for #COG and #killietrustbnm on twitter.

http://www.thecoffeepress.co.uk/Default.asp