Fixture Rescheduling Print This Post

Last week, the Livi For Life trust and the Raith Supporters Trust sent a joint letter to Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPFL, regarding the rescheduling of the final set of fixtures in this season’s Championship campaign. Following this, we were pleased to speak to Mr Doncaster to discuss the issues raised in our letter.

L4L RST

The key concerns we raised included:

  • Whether the impact of moving 5 fixtures in order to accommodate 1 fixture in the TV schedule was acceptable or appropriate
  • What consideration was given to the financial impact on clubs of fixture changes, and what consultation takes place with clubs
  • What consideration was given to the impact on the supporters’ matchday experience, and what consultation takes place with supporters
  • What mechanisms are in place for clubs to challenge the rescheduling of their fixtures

Many of the issues we discussed are confidential in nature, relating to the commercial arrangements with various broadcasters. We can report, however, that Mr Doncaster acknowledged the difficulties that the rescheduling of fixtures raised for supporters, particularly those at key points in the football season; and that our concerns were listened to and understood by Mr Doncaster, and in many cases shared. Where we weren’t in total agreement, we were pleased that the constructive tone of the conversation allowed these concerns to be noted for consideration in future.

We will strive to ensure structured dialogue on issues such as these takes place, and would welcome any opportunities for supporter representation in discussions with broadcasters going forward.

We would like to express our gratitude to Andrew Jenkin of Supporters Direct Scotland for helping to arrange this conversation. SDS and the network of Trusts that it supports provide a forum for dialogue and engagement between supporters across Scotland, and with the football authorities, and we appreciate the opportunities that this creates.

2016/17 Season Ticket Pricing Print This Post

Last week, the club announced season ticket prices for next season’s campaign. Whilst we at the Raith Supporters Trust appreciate that developing a pricing policy is a complex task, one for which there is not a single ‘right answer’, we would like to share our thoughts on the newly-announced prices, and the issues that they raise. We requested advance notice of the new pricing structure ahead of its public announcement, but this request was regrettably declined – we are therefore making public the feedback which we had hoped to be able to offer constructively for consideration by the football club’s board before reaching any decisions about pricing.

table

Firstly, we welcome the ‘early bird discounts’ that have been announced, particularly in light of our possible promotion to the Premiership. In the last few seasons these offers have seen the club benefit from significant numbers of season ticket sales prior to the close season, allowing them to set budgets for the coming season, and to support the manager in his efforts to prepare for the coming season. We anticipate that this offer will be similarly successful this summer.

We acknowledge the need to increase revenue to the football club, given the lower than anticipated attendances over recent seasons. This is not a unique situation for Raith Rovers – many clubs across Scotland are faced with the same issue, which is not helped by changes to scheduling to accommodate TV coverage. It has been disappointing to observe that the improvement on the park has not seen significant increases to our attendances. However, we are sceptical as to whether increasing prices will do anything other than further erode our attendances, but accept that it is possible that the increased revenue per supporter will outweigh the impact of declining attendances in the short-term. It is our firmly held view that one of the club’s greatest priorities for the medium- and long-term should be to grow the fanbase, and believe that increasing the price of every category of ticket will make that objective harder to achieve.

Turning to the issue of the different price changes for each category of season ticket, we are particularly disappointed that the smallest increases are for adults’ and senior citizens’ tickets, and that the largest increase is for children’s tickets. A 67% increase in the price of any product or service would be an unusual event, but the fact that the price of one category of ticket has increased by so much more than other categories concerns us. We question the wisdom of this particular decision, how it fits within the club’s strategy, and what consultation took place in order to arrive at it.

Our understanding is that there were around 250 junior season tickets sold this season, and even if every one of them was renewed for 2016/17 the additional revenue to the club would only be £5000. It is our opinion that this revenue would be better found elsewhere.

We note that five Premiership teams currently offer free season tickets for children, and only two clubs have priced their tickets at more than this new £50 price. Of the current Championship teams, there are fewer clubs offering free or low-priced junior season tickets. It is not only on the field of play that we aspire to emulate clubs in the top tier!

Increasing the number of children attending regularly was earmarked as a priority several seasons ago, and a lot of time and effort has been expended by a hard-working group of volunteers in order to achieve this. The Roary Club has been running over the past two seasons, with over 460 members, and has been hugely successful. Kids are rewarded for regular attendance at matches, receiving a range of rewards throughout the season, and it is clear from their reactions how much these mean to them. Anecdotally we hear from their parents that ‘the nag factor’ has a knock-on effect on them – on some Saturdays they attend games that they would otherwise have missed, just because their child is determined to get as many Roary stamps on their card as possible! In a survey conducted at the end of last season, 95% of respondents felt that the Roary Club had improved the match day experience for their children, and 75% said it had improved their own match day experience. It also showed 38% identifying cost as a barrier to attending games. This figure rose to 55% amongst non-season ticket holders, and was the biggest factor the club have complete control over – weather and quality of football were stated as the only bigger barriers.

From earlier research that we commissioned through our supporter survey in 2009, and again in 2013 to inform the priorities of a volunteer group tasked with increasing attendances and improving the matchday experience, we mapped the life-cycle of a typical Raith Rovers supporter. This research found that supporters typically begin following Raith Rovers as a child, consolidate their allegiance as teenagers, before establishing themselves as lifetime fans in adulthood. Significant ‘drop-off points’, where fans are most likely to stop attending regularly, were found to be in teenage years (as they find other things to do with their time and money), and in adulthood when starting a family (due to financial pressures and football not being considered a suitable thing to do with young children). Our greatest opportunities to grow the fanbase is therefore to get as many young children as possible to begin their football-supporting life at Starks Park, to make it affordable and desirable for them to continue attending as teenagers and young adults, and to encourage parents of young children to think of an afternoon at the football as a family-friendly environment and price that family activity competitively in comparison with other leisure activities.

In conclusion, we observe that the largest increases in season ticket prices will directly impact supporters (and potential supporters) at these three critical points in the supporter life-cycle, and we would like to offer our support to the football club in finding innovative ways to overcome the detrimental impact of these changes.

Fixture Rescheduling Print This Post

Working closely with our counterparts at the Livi For Life trust, we have sent a joint letter to the SPFL expressing our concerns at the rescheduling of this season’s final set of fixtures. Whilst the financial impact of this particular decision is greater for Livingston than for us, this is part of a greater issue that we would like to see resolved by the football authorities – our final home fixture this Saturday will be similarly impacted, and previous televised fixtures have seen significant reductions in attendance this season.

We will keep you informed of any developments regarding this issue.

Raith Rovers fan to cycle from Kirkcaldy to Contalmaison Print This Post

Well-known Raith fan (and member of the Raith TV commentary team) Davie Hancock is cycling from Starks Park in Kirkcaldy to Contalmaison in France this summer, to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. The ride will take place in June/July 2016 and will allow Davie the opportunity to pay respects to the players and fans who fought as part of the McCrae’s Battalion. The Battalion brought together sportsmen and fans to unite for a common good, and by contributing you can help keep alive their legacy through the memorial Cairn and various educational programmes that are run by the McCrae’s Battalion Trust.

46960478

Please give what you can by visiting Davie’s fundraising page.

Supporters Called Upon To Have Their Say On The Future Of Scottish Football Print This Post

SD_Seats_MasterPropThe Scottish FA, the SPFL, and Supporters Direct Scotland are pleased to today (Saturday 26 March) launch the Scottish Football Supporters Survey 2016 – designed to give supporters across the country their say on the big issues affecting the national game.


Read more, and complete the survey here

Supporters Direct Scotland Launch Club Development Scotland Print This Post

Supporters Direct Scotland announces the launch of a new consultancy unit, “Club Development Scotland”.

The new service will provide legal, financial and governance support to community groups who are seeking involvement in club projects, from grassroots community clubs, through to professional teams competing in the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL).

Club Development Scotland was formed after a recommendation of the Working Group Report into Supporter Involvement in Football Clubs, written by Stephen Morrow. The group included Supporters Direct Scotland, the Scottish FA, SPFL, Scottish Government and sportscotland.

The launch of Club Development Scotland is the first step in what is set to be a period of significant change for Supporters Direct Scotland, with subsequent announcements on its future structure to follow.

Read the rest of this entry »

Supporters Direct launches its ‘Manifesto for the Scottish elections 2016’ Print This Post

Sign the petition at https://www.change.org/p/scottish-government-manifesto-for-change-within-scottish-football to add your support to this campaign.

VMumtndgnbLHUbP-800x450-noPad

Supporters Direct Scotland has been a major force in Scottish football in recent years, successfully challenging the political parties and football authorities to introduce real reform for the benefit of the fans. With these crucial elections in May 2016, we challenge the major parties to adopt our agenda to implement lasting change for Scottish fans.

1) Structured dialogue
Supporter involvement within the game is critical. SDS wishes to see clubs engage with supporters through a range of structured means including quarterly meetings with Supporters Trusts and embracing supporter on to the board of clubs. Supporters contribute time, emotional effort and, over a lifetime, a huge sum of money to support their clubs. Clubs should make a more concentrated effort to embrace their views.

2) Funding for fans to own their clubs
We are pushing for the creation of a new ‘Community Sports Fund’ for supporter groups to have a bigger stake in their club. SDS believes community groups and community owned clubs offer greater social value and could bring larger net benefit if they had access to affordable capital to transfer assets into community ownership.

3) Tackling prejudice
Football is a universally loved sport which can unite people and create positive change in the community. SDS can continue to play a key role in eradicating sectarianism, sexism, homophobia and racism which still exists around sport. SDS is committed to championing equality through sport and will continue to work with the key stakeholders to tackle discrimination.

4) Fair ticketing
The commodification of football has meant that too often, supporters have been viewed as cash cows rather than the lifeblood and valued stakeholders they are. SDS will continue to campaign for a ‘Football is Fair’ ticket price limit for Scottish FA & SPFL games to ensure that football remains accessible and affordable to families and future generations.

5) A living wage at clubs
SDS is passionate about equality at every level of the game, including financial equality. We would like to see those who work within clubs, some of which are multi-million pound companies, pay all their staff a living wage. SDS believe that if clubs can afford to pay players significant sums of money, they can afford to give staff an appropriate salary.

RRFC Supporter-Director: Election Result Print This Post

Voting for the position of Supporter-nominated Director closed at 10pm on Friday 26th February 2016, and the results have been counted and verified.

Election Result

The candidates received the following number of votes:

  • Gordon Adamson 180 (equivalent to 51.28% of votes cast)
  • Alan Russell 168 (equivalent to 47.86% of votes cast)
  • There were 3 Spoilt Ballots (0.85% of votes cast)

Accordingly, Gordon Adamson has been appointed to the board of the football club’s holding company, New Raith Rovers.

The Role

The successful candidate will be appointed to the board of the football club’s holding company, New Raith Rovers. It may also lead to the person being appointed to the board of the football club. The position exists because of the ongoing collective investment that fans make through their supporters’ organisations.

Electorate

There was a total electorate eligible to vote (on a one person, one vote basis) of 1100 people, made up of adult members of the Raith Forum of Supporters Groups plus Raith Rovers adult season ticket holders:

806 voters were eligible to vote online

294 voters were eligible to vote by post

Turnout

Total turnout for the election numbered 351, equivalent to 31.91% of the total electorate.

226 votes were cast online (equivalent to 28.04% of the online electorate)

125 votes were cast by post (equivalent to 42.52% of the postal electorate)

There were 3 spoiled ballots, equivalent to 0.85% of the total electorate.

Comment

Secretary of the Raith Trust – James Proctor – said “I’d like to place on record my congratulations to Gordon Adamson on winning the election to become the latest Supporter – Director of Raith Rovers. I look forward to him continuing the good work done by his predecessors Dave Wann, Tom Phillips, Alex Condie and Ali More.

Throughout the election process Gordon and his rival for the role, Alan Russell, presented themselves very well, particularly at the hustings event where they outlined their ideas on how the role should be carried out and conducted themselves in a manner befitting the role of Supporter – Director”

Additionally, the record turnout in this election demonstrated that supporters have a part to play in shaping the future of their football club”.

Trust Board Meeting, 24th October 2015 Print This Post

Venue: The Boathouse, Aberdour

Present: Graeme Condie (GC), James Proctor (JP), Niall Russell (NR), Steven Lawther (SL) & Alan Russell (AR)
Apologies: Tam Cunningham (TC) & Steve Wallace (SW),

Read the rest of this entry »

RRFC Supporter-Director: Hustings Event Print This Post

Yesterday evening, a hustings event was held for the election of the RRFC Supporters-Director in the 200 Club. There was a lively discussion and a lot of great questions for Gordon Adamson and Alan Russell to answer.

The full recording of the session is available here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The session was chaired by Steven Lawther from the Raith Supporters Trust. Thanks to all who came along and submitted questions.