I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their messages of encouragement and support following my appointment as Chair of the Kilmarnock Supporters Society Limited (the Killie Trust to you and I). I am extremely proud to follow in the footsteps of Stevie Lockhart, Colin Hargreaves and Barry Richmond, all of whom have done a tremendous job for us over the past eleven years, and I shall endeavour to follow suit.
As we welcome in a new year I thought it apt to reassure our members that the Trust will continue to pursue community ownership for Kilmarnock Football Club, with the first stage towards that being meaningful and democratic fan representation on the club’s board. As was reported at our recent AGM, we are in dialogue with the Club in regards this matter and have offered to source significant and continued investment in an effort to kick start proceedings.
It was great to see Hibernian Chairman Rod Petrie echo the thoughts of so many others in the higher echelons of Scottish football by admitting the landscape of Scottish football is changing and that clubs will have to embrace community ownership and that Hibs would strive to be “a progressive, forward thinking and modern” club by now pursuing this avenue themselves. Many more will surely embrace said ethos soon if Scottish clubs are to survive and flourish, and we should be taking a lead on this.
In the coming year our focus will be to increase our membership significantly, and also persuade more local businesses to support our vision. Marie Macklin CBE of the Klin Group showed her support of the Trust and our aims by donating to us a significant number of her own shares in Kilmarnock FC which saw the Trust become the club’s second largest shareholder at the time; of course we do not expect such generosity from everyone, but it was still fantastic to see her being recognised in the New Year’s honours list for her services to local economic regeneration and entrepreneurship, well done Marie!
A few of our long serving board members stood down at our recent AGM and we are extremely grateful for their valued contribution over the years. While there are more than enough to ensure continuity, we have approached a few replacements already to keep the numbers up and work load manageable, the announcements will follow shortly and I am sure that our members will not be disappointed. 2015 will be a big year for the Killie Trust and rest assured that the Board are all fully committed to our club and community and will continue to press for what is best for both. Here’s to us all having a Happy New Year!
Last night the Killie Trust Board appointed our new chairman to replace Barry Richmond, who stepped down at the recent AGM after seven years in the role. Jim Thomson, a “weel kent” face in the world of all things Killie, has agreed to take on the role for the next year at least. Jim retired from the police force in 2008 after 30 years of service before joining the Trust Board in 2009. He was instrumental in setting up and operating the K-STEP Programme for local school children which led to the Trust being awarded a large grant from the Royal Bank of Scotland, among many other achievements. Jim is also a dedicated committee member of the Young Kilmarnock coaching organisation, which is the envy of every football club in the country.
A lifelong Killie fan and a shareholder in the Killie Trust since our formation over a decade ago, Jim embraces the Trust’s ideals and philosophies and recognises “the only sustainable future for Kilmarnock Football Club is through some form of community ownership” and hopes to oversee progress on all Trust fronts over the next year. The man he is replacing said: “I am delighted to be passing the baton to someone as capable as Jim, his drive, enthusiasm and ability to shoulder responsibility is exactly what we need right now. If he gets the same support afforded myself then I have no doubt that the Trust will continue to flourish and serve the club and the community well”.
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.
“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.