Archive for July, 2017

Supporters Direct Scotland Announce New Structure

Thursday, July 20th, 2017

Following the Supporters Direct AGM on July 2nd, Supporters Direct Scotland (SD Scotland) are pleased to announce SD members voted unanimously in favour of SD Scotland incorporating locally in Scotland.

The new organisation will be run and.directed from within Scotland and all football activity including SD Scotland’s work supporting Supporters Trusts and organisations, Supporter Liaison Officers and the Scottish Supporters Network will be transferred to this new organisation which is to be established and registered as a Community Benefit Society and owned by its Scottish members.

The new organisation will incorporate a new governance structure which will reflect the wide scope of its current activity and allow SD Scotland to serve its membership and mission with the SD Scotland Council becoming the Board of the new entity. The revised structure will also encourage and allow for individual membership and participation. The SD Scotland Council anticipate incorporation will allow SD Scotland to continue and grow the level of support and representation it offers fans and communities across Scotland.

SD Scotland are the fans representatives on the Board of the Scottish FA Congress and have been working with Scotland since 2003, assisting in the creation of over 30 community sport organisations in the process.

Andrew Jenkin, Head of SD Scotland, said: “This is an exciting time for SD Scotland. We’re undertaking a greater scope of work supporting fans and their representation within clubs than ever before. This decision will enable us to continue to grow the level and quality of activity we’re undertaking on behalf of our members and fans, with our influence and reach never greater”.

SD Scotland will continue to participate in the UK football agenda and will maintain a structured relationship with SD which sees both organisations extract the benefit of working together, but with autonomy. SD Scotland will be working through a transitionary process with the aim of having the new structure in place by the end of 2017.

Raith Rovers Takeover – an update

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Since initially hearing about the proposed takeover of Raith Rovers by Starks Park Properties a fortnight ago, the board of Raith Supporters Trust have participated in further discussions to discover more about the detail of the deal. Whilst nothing concrete has been finalised, we feel that it is important to share as much of this information as we can with our members, and will continue to provide regular updates as we learn more.

The proposals by Starks Park Properties stress the importance of the club operating sustainably within its means, and being an asset for our community. The Trust share these principles entirely, and we welcome the opportunity of exploring how this can happen in practice. Football is not an industry in which financial prudence and responsibility are rewarded in the short-term – in most seasons the leagues are won by the highest spenders, and the culture of “speculate to accumulate” dominates. The proposals from Starks Park Properties do not yet address this challenge, and we look forward to seeing a business plan which demonstrates how Raith Rovers could buck this trend.

We are excited by Starks Park Properties’ ideas for developing our home, and look forward to discovering more about what is planned. Despite its limitations it is a unique football ground, and in any redevelopment we will be keen to see this unique character retained while it is modernised to help the club improve its commercial performance.

We have approached John Sim to initiate discussions that will help us understand more about the takeover proposals and the plans for the club, but have not yet managed to speak directly with him. We believe there is broad alignment between how he would like to see the club operate and what we would like, and also hope there is some scope for flexibility in how any takeover happens. As we made clear in our statement last week, we believe in shared ownership of football clubs and observe that the most common route to clubs’ demise is when a single individual takes control – regardless of their intentions or the robustness of their initial plans. Football can be a precarious business, and we will strive to ensure that permanent structural safeguards are incorporated in any deal that takes place in the coming months.

If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions about the proposed takeover, please post them in the comments section of this post or come and speak to us at the Trust’s information point at our next home match.

Possible takeover at Raith Rovers

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017

The Raith Supporters Trust have been advised of the initial discussions between Starks Park Properties Ltd and New Raith Rovers Ltd regarding the proposed changes of ownership at the football club. We share the concerns of the boards of both companies that the football club must live within its means sustainably and play a long-term active role in the Kirkcaldy community. Relegation has brought additional financial pressure to the club, which was already struggling to thrive in challenging economic circumstances.

We intend to play as active a role as possible in ensuring that Raith Rovers navigates these challenges, and are open to discussing how best to achieve this. Supporters trusts will always be wary of situations where one individual can control the direction of the clubs we love; even with owners who have the best of intentions we have seen the dangers of this model play out in front of us. In our discussions over the coming weeks we will stress the need for permanent safeguards to be built into the structure of the club and its associated companies to protect Raith Rovers against this.

The supporters’ place on the board of the football club exists due to the hard work and generous financial contributions of Raith Rovers fans over the years. The Trust’s shareholding is owned on behalf of all supporters, whether they are members of the Trust, other supporters groups, or just as individual supporters whose contributions helped us to secure our voice in the Starks Park boardroom. We believe that it is imperative that the Raith Rovers supporters’ voice continues to be heard and that the wishes and concerns of the fans are fully considered in any changes to the structure and direction of the football club.

Trust Chair Receives Richard Lillicrap Award

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Alan Russell, chair of the Raith Supporters Trust, recently received the Richard Lillicrap Award for Outstanding Services to the Supporters’ Trust Movement. Alan is the first Scottish recipient of the award which was established to remember the legacy of Richard Lillicrap, a Board member at the Swans Trust who was passionate about helping supporters and Supporters Trusts with their aims and ambitions for representation within their club.

Alan received the award for his work in developing the SD Scotland Index, a document which offers transparency on who owns what within Scottish football and how clubs are engaging with their fans. The Index looks at the breakdown of ownership and governance at every SPFL club.

Alan said, “I was extremely surprised but very honoured to receive the Richard Lillicrap Award. In truth, my main motivation to begin the work on the SDS Index was to satisfy my own curiosity, but I am delighted that it has also proved to be useful to others in Scottish football.”

“Supporters Direct’s input was invaluable in expanding the scope of this work from ownership to also monitor the levels of engagement and transparency at our clubs, and we will continue to refine the Index and keep it up to date as (hopefully) clubs use this as a source of identifying best practice.”