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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Response to Michael Johnston’s Recent Statement

In response to comments made by KFC Chairman Michael Johnston in todays Daily Record Gary Torbett had this to say on behalf of The Killie (Community) Working Party:

“Further to the announcement by The Killie (Community) Working Party [on the 11th of February 2014] of its intention to offer to purchase the shareholding of Michael Johnston, Chairman of Kilmarnock Football Club, in the event that the club were to become debt free, we are extremely disappointed that Mr Johnston has so swiftly and publicly dismissed our intentions.

“It is disappointing that this proposal has been dismissed so early into the process without any constructive dialogue with Mr Johnston. Mr Johnston has offered our group the opportunity to buy a seat on the board should it purchase circa 10% of the unallocated shares in the football club. It would not be appropriate for this particular group to purchase a tranche of shares at this time to obtain a seat on the board of Kilmarnock FC, given our stated purpose.

“The group would welcome, indeed we would urge for, the opportunity to meet with the football club to establish a mutually agreeable route to genuine community ownership, which has the club’s long term future in mind.

“Our doors remain firmly open to Mr Johnston.”

Supporters Direct Scotland has also reiterated its willingness to work with both parties.

COG Working Party Press Release – 11th February 2014

KILMARNOCK FC SUPPORTERS GROUP MAKE OFFER TO PURCHASE THEIR CLUB

The Killie (Community) Working Party, established with support from  Supporters Direct Scotland, has announced its intention to make an offer  to purchase Kilmarnock FC’s Chairman’s entire shareholding.

garybioGary  Torbett, on behalf of The Killie (Community) Working Party, said: “We  would like to acknowledge the work being undertaken by the Chairman of  Kilmarnock Football Club to make the club debt free and would positively  encourage him to make every effort to come to an agreement with the  club bankers and other significant lenders to reduce the debt to zero.   The Killie (Community) Working Party would like to make an offer to  purchase the Chairman’s entire shareholding if this can be achieved.”

“This  offer would be contingent on a fair valuation of the company and the  completion of a satisfactory due diligence process.  This purchase would  be undertaken by a new Community Interest Company (CIC) with a  democratically elected board.”

Scottish-FansPaul Goodwin, Head of Supporters  Direct Scotland said, “I met with Michael Johnston, on behalf of The  Killie (Community) Working Party, on Friday [7th February] and conveyed  the outline of the supporters’ offer.  I reiterated SDS’ willingness to  assist in progressing this offer to a satisfactory conclusion for both  parties.”

Gary Torbett added: “We see this move as a genuine step forward as we prepare to get our club back.

Unfortunately  there remains concern amongst supporters with the long term position of  the club and we firmly believe that fan and community ownership is  where that lies rather than relying on a single majority shareholder who  won’t be around for ever.  The only constants at any club are the fans  and the community it is based in.”

“We will shortly launch our formal efforts to raise the money to take  the club into community ownership and we hope that the business  community – both private and public – as well as community groups and  supporters will get behind us.”

Kilmarnock fans have a history of successful fundraising and  community involvement. Over £100,000 has been directly raised for the  Club’s youth development programme and a number of initiatives driven by  The Killie Trust have seen financial awards to a many community based  projects in recent years.

The Killie (Community) Working Party is made up, in no particular order, of:

  • The Killie Trust
  • The Kilmarnock FC Supporters Association
  • Minority shareholders in Kilmarnock FC
  • The Business Club
  • Young Kilmarnock

Issued on behalf of The Killie (Community) Working Party by Supporters Direct Scotland.

For further information please contact Paul Goodwin on 07702 252519 or Gary Torbett  on 07905 478179

AGM Q&A – Myth Busters

During our tenth AGM on Monday last (9th December) it was put to the Trust Board that there is a lot of misinformation doing the rounds and it would be a good idea to put to bed some of the myths that appear to be causing division within our support; something we could well do without at this time. We caught up with the Trust chairman after the meeting and asked him directly about some of the more contentious subjects that Killie fans have been discussing of late.

What exactly is happening with the Community Ownership Group? 

COGlogoThrough the various mediums we’ve been putting stuff out about COG all year and I’m pretty sure most Killie fans are aware of it at least. The situation regards ownership of the club appears to be a state of constant fluctuation at the moment so it is difficult to pinpoint exactly where we are with COG other than to say that regardless of who is in charge at Rugby Park, the Trust will continue to push for community ownership in the long term.

There has been a lot of publicity on the back of the open meeting held by the Supporters’ Association at the Grand Hall…the upshot of which was the formation of a working party of various groups who also want to deliver community ownership to the club. Obviously the Trust has been heavily involved with that and we have four board members nominated to represent our interests at the table. As seems to be the case these days we had to sign a non-disclosure agreement to be party to the talks and can’t discuss anything in real detail, but as ever we still aim to get as much information out there to our members as possible and see it as one of our duties to encourage the working party to engage with the fans and keep them up to speed with anything that is going on.

To be fair there is not much to report at the moment other than what has appeared in the media already. We asked the Kilmarnock Futures Consortium, who are part of the working party, to give us something for the purposes of the AGM which may make their position clearer and were sent the following statement: “Kilmarnock Futures Consortium is committed to immediate supporter representation on the new Board and believes that community shareholding would have significant benefits to the Club, the supporters and to the wider East Ayrshire community. The Consortium will work with Supporters Direct to build options and plans for greater community ownership over an agreed period”.

That’s where we are at the moment. It has been widely reported that while the club are negotiating with the KF Consortium that they are still working behind the scenes on a plan to get debt reduction from the bank in a similar manner to other Scottish clubs whom have recently almost went to the wall. The one major difference it would seem is that Mr Johnston is only willing to implement some form of “community involvement”, as he calls it, on his own terms and his refusal to engage with the two largest democratically elected supporter’s organisations will make it very difficult for him to make any headway with the bank. We push on with COG regardless and maintain that while debt reduction is a good thing, that the only beneficiary of a deal with the bank should be Kilmarnock Football Club, not any individual.

Is it true that the Killie Trust are in league with the Klin Group and want to sell Rugby Park for housing and move to the new HALO Arena?

In a word, no. The Klin Group had a viable plan to turn things around at the club and introduce community ownership to it over a sustained period of time as their legacy to the people of Kilmarnock. The Trust bought into that and supported it at the time because it was the best viable option on the table to ensure the club not only survived but flourished and it ticked a lot of boxes as far as we were concerned on the community front.

Our primary concern is the club’s future and we are willing to talk to anyone who is looking to restore Kilmarnock FC’s place at the heart of the community where it should be and make it a sustainable entity that we can all continue to be proud of. That is why we are currently in discussions with the Kilmarnock Futures Consortium, their plans also merit consideration and should the current regime come up with a plan that does not involve individuals financially benefiting at the expense of the club then we would certainly look into that too.

Moving the club to the HALO Arena from Rugby Park has never been a topic of discussion at Trust Board Meetings, the Klin Group have previously stated that was not their intention either. We view it for what it is, an impressive plan for a state-of the-art multi-use stadium which our whole community can benefit from. In our case we thought that it would be perfect for bringing team training back to our own area and put a stop to paying for facilities in Glasgow to keep the squad in shape.

Are the Trust behind the “Not a Penny More” movement?

Again, no. At no stage have we ever encouraged fans not to go to Rugby Park or to stop putting money into the club. I never have and never will do that personally and I would have to seriously consider my position with the Trust if at some point that was the road the members chose to take. The sad fact is that attendances in Scottish football have been declining for years now, and we are one of the most affected. The slightly elevated downturn in figures this season can most likely be attributed to the reaction of fans to events on and off the park towards the tail end of last season and into this.

I find it incredulous that anyone would try and lay the blame for falling attendances at our door. People have minds of their own and make decision for themselves based on their own circumstances and what they believe. We are not in the business of telling people what to do, our business is to ensure that the fans get proper representation when it comes to the running of the club and that whoever is in charge is held accountable for their actions. There are many reasons why fans have stopped going, too many to mention, sadly it does not look as if the decline in numbers will stop until there have been some sort of regime change at the club that will make fans feel as if they belong again and its still their club.

Is your plan to force the club into administration to get rid of Michael Johnston?

I’ve honestly never heard anything quite so ridiculous, but it is another popular myth doing the rounds, and one which the chairman himself has recently suggested. It is simply not true and has never crossed our minds, despite being advised by some parties that a “newco” club would be a much easier solution to our problems. We want to avoid the club going into administration at all costs. We have learned a lot from the mistakes of other clubs and other Trusts and we would never want to put our proud history at risk by flirting with financial skulduggery to achieve our aims.

If we were in favour of an administration event why would we be accumulating shares in the club which would ultimately prove worthless? We doubled our holding this season, albeit courtesy of a generous benefactor, and are constantly on the lookout for more; in fact if anyone out there feels that their shares would be of more use as part of a collective run in a democratic fashion then please feel free to get in touch. Setting up shell corporations and selling or transferring assets while hiding behind a myriad of non-disclosure agreements is not the way we want to operate; we have and always will be open and transparent and if we really thought that administration was an option then we would come right out and say it.

 

Have you got anything to ask the Trust Chairman or the Trust Board? We believe in transparency and honesty and are keen to dispel any dodgy rumours doing the rounds. Send your questions directly to thechairman@killietrust.org if you would like a personal reply or indeed just post them on our Twitter or Facebook pages and we will do our best to make sure that you get an answer.

KillieTrustLiga 6: Fantasy Football Returns

KillieTrustLiga is back for a sixth season, if you don’t know what it is then here is a brief run down. The Killie Trust has played administrator in a mini league on fantasy.premierleague.com site for the past five years. You pick your fifteen players from the English Premier League and week on week gain points due to their performances or lack there of on the park thats just the basics, a full list of the rules is available on the site.

managersYou might think that Gary Hooper’s horrible miss when clean through on Cammy Bell in the league cup final two seasons ago was just a blip and he could fire you to victory by banging them in for Norwich this year. Or you could think that Kenny Shiels was right in his thoughts about Victor Wanyama and steer clear of him for Southampton. Will ex Killie players Steven Naismith or Matthew Kennedy play a prominant role for Martinez’ Everton side, is it worth having a punt on them? Or are you anxiously hoping that Conor Sammon gets a move back to the big league for Hull perhaps and you can slot him into your forward line beside RvP and Aguero?

Over the years we have had some close run contests, but the history books show that Colin Syme won it in its inagural year followed by Greg Wilson in year two. Steven Murray won it the next year and in year four, well in year four we seem to have lost the notes on who won (if it was you or you know who it was please let us know on facebook or twitter). Which brings us to last season and Greg Wilson won his second title, beating David Freeland and Brian Chambers as well as all the rest of us who entered to the title.

WAGNFL_1The league is now live so if you entered last season then when you re register for this season you will be automatically added, if not……here is the official line on how to do it.

I’ve created a league in Fantasy Premier League called The KillieTrustLiga6.

Joining the league couldn’t be easier. Simply use this link and you’ll be added
automatically after you’ve entered the game:
http://fantasy.premierleague.com/my-leagues/121525/join/?autojoin-code=485622-121525.

You shouldn’t need the league code, but just in case here it is: 485622-121525.

Enjoy the game!
The Killie Trust

Best of luck to all who enter.

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.

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.

Statement on Behalf of Ayrshire Businesses

Statement from John Gall (MD of Brownings the Bakers), on behalf of Ayrshire businesses regarding KFC:-

BrowningsLogo2TRANSTonight a group of like-minded business people from Kilmarnock met to discuss their concerns about the current state of affairs at Kilmarnock Football Club.

The local businesses represented were Braehead Foods, Brownings the Bakers, The Coffee Press, Costley & Costley Hoteliers, Fortress Security & Alarms, Hamilton Tarmac, The Klin Group, Microtech Support, Modway and the QTS Group.

The group has unanimously agreed that the only way they can continue to fully support the Club is if there is a change in regime.

A spokesperson has been appointed to request a meeting with Michael Johnston to clarify his position and discuss the way forward in the best interest of Kilmarnock Football Club.

John Gall
Managing Director
Browning’s the Bakers
Block 1
Bonnyton Ind Estate
Kilmarnock
Ayrshire
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