Trust Members’ EveningPrint This Post

At last week’s AGM we talked about an event we are planning to hold next month. This would be an informal get-together for Trust members one evening (or possibly on a Sunday afternoon) to give you all the opportunity to set the future direction of the Trust.

The evening will have a more interactive format than we have at our AGMs, so instead of structuring it around a presentation and Q&A session we’ll pick 3 or 4 topics and have an exhibition stand manned by a couple of Trust board members for each one.

The topics for this event might be things like “Fundraising”, “Community”, “RRFC Governance”, but we’d like to find out what you’d be interested in talking about. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and let us know!

17 Comments

  • Conz says:

    I’d like to discuss options to try and increase supporters %age ownership of the club. We still run the risk of another Anelka or McGowan coming in and taking over. At the moment the trust’s effective interest in the club is only about 7% though it would be over 10% if we include the Supporters Club and other individuals with shares in the holding company. I think we should try and get this up to at least 25% to prevent anyone ever getting the 75% needed to pretty much do what they like. I appreciate that given the actual no. of shareholders the chance of anyone getting 75% is remote but it’s still there.

  • Nigel Beaton says:

    I’d like some thought given as to how we can get the ownership of the the ground back into the club’s or the supporters’ hands. I’d also like to know the sum required to do this.

  • Alan Russell says:

    Both very good questions!

  • Tam Cunningham says:

    Agree, our main objective has to be an increase in the shares to at least 25% and then we can help to build the clubs professional side within Scottish Football and within the local community. Carying on the great work of the Trust, support the Fans Rep on the board fully and with the Fans Forum.

    I think the forthcoming meeting could also be used to highlight the importanace of fans joining the Trust. to meet the aims and showing pride of our club.

  • Graeme Meldrum says:

    Interesting thoughts on increasing the shareholding, however in which company do we need to increase this in, Raith Rovers FC / Raith Rovers Holdings / New Raith Rovers ?

    i.e. an increased shareholding in which one would stop another Anelka ?

    Can we also ask for more openess re the clubs finances, statements saying ‘we’re not of the woods yet’ aren’t IMHO (given the money invested by Joe Punter) good enough anymore.

  • Conz says:

    Another area I thought might be interesting to discuss is around a fit and proper person test for directors of the club. It would be interesting to discuss what such a test might involve. It could pull in ideas from what they have in England and I remember UEFA talking about something similar which I haven’t heard about for a while.

    It would be another way of protecting the club from directors who might not have the clubs best interests at heart beyond what is already provided for in law. If we came up with a list of requirements we could take that to the club for consideration.

  • How about looking at the actual ‘remit’ for the fans forum? Last year there was a fundraising target, but for me there is an extra responsibility for the supporters groups that goes beyond just the fundraising.
    What about looking at an agreed vision between the groups and the club for the role of the supporters groups, and of its members, within the setup. It’s maybe important we have a clear line in the sand as to what is the responsibility of the club, and what is the responsibility of the fans so the supporters groups don’t simply end up with the hand-downs the club can’t (or won’t) do. Just think we need a remit and a bit of accountability to give us a collective direction as I fear the individual groups may start going off on their own tangents again.

  • Conz says:

    I think that’s a fair subject to discuss though I think perhaps it needs to happen with all the groups present rather than just the trust. I think your point about individual groups doing their own thing already exists but I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing as each group is different in that they were formed for their own reasons and do slightly different things. They are also better at different things. What I certainly agree with is that the role of the forum may need to be set out more clearly. In terms of fundraising it is more a co-ordinator of fundraising between the groups. The open day is probably the first thing we’ve done collevtively. I also agree that the links between the supporters activities and the clubs may need better defined. This was kindof discussed at the last forum meeting around the 125th Anniversary next year in that we acknowledged that the boards priorities were quite rightly in dealing with the finances of the club so we asked if we could get on and start planning for the anniversary even though the board would like to be more involved in these things. I think some kind of memorandum of understanding around the forum wouldn’t be a bad thing as it’s been a while since it was formed and some might have forgotten what it’s about.

  • A couple of interesting points – agree that reps from other groups should be present at this type of discussion, but then can the same not be said for the other suggested topics? (fundraising, rrfc governance, community) Or perhaps there needs to be a clarity on where the forum ends and the trusts role begins?
    Agree that each club has its role to play and was formed for different reasons, but all the groups should be a member of the forum for the same reason (and working together in that capacity).

  • conz says:

    Rightly or wrongly my observations so far is that things like governance, share ownership, company structures and to some extent community are the things that interests the trust more than the other groups and vice versa general fundraising seems to be more easily suited to the other groups than the trust. Also the other groups are much more socially orientated than the trust. At the end of the day it’s the members of the trust that define what the trust does and it’s the members of the forum who decide what it does. I agree that this is an intersting subject and one the trust board has discussed in the past and it’s worth discussing at the meeting. Given how few suggestions have been made so far it’s certainly likely to be in the top 3 or 4 subjects for the meeting.

  • Tam Cunningham says:

    Good points Alan. Sticking my head on the block I do think if fans are so inclined then they should be encouraged to raise funds and I would hope that every fans group would do the same.

    For the Trust members night perhaps another topic to discuss is do we need another membership drive? I think the answer is yes.

  • Paul Cunningham says:

    While everyone seems to agree an increase in Fans ownership is desirable how can we be expected to meet a target of fundraising to support the club each year and increase our shareholding?
    Arent the two objectives fighting against each other?
    is the £30k and/or paying players wages not better spent increasing our ownership and say in the running of the club?
    Just seems to contradict our aim and objective?

    regards

    Paul

  • Alan Russell says:

    Paul, the two objectives don’t fight against each other at all. The funds that we raise each year are put in to the club in the form of an investment, in return for shares. The club then put that money towards running the club, i.e. paying the wages, maintaining/improving the facilities, etc. There is no conflict between these two things.
    If the time ever comes that the available share capital in the club has all been issued then we’ll have a conflict, as the club will be unable to issue shares in return for our investment, but we’re some way off that at the moment.

  • Conz says:

    I would also add that there are other ways of increasing fans ownership than just buying new shares. There are a lot of people/fans out there that have shares in the holding co. for example that might be willing to pool them together and/or donate them. There are also a number of key shareholders in the football club whose views are unknown and currently aren’t involved. I think now is a particularly good time to be considering these things given the view from the club that they may wish to restructure soon. We should see if the fans can benefit from the restructure. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me but if we took what the fans currently have and add up all the minority interests in the other companies (ie excluding Sim, Hutton, Caira for example) we could end up with a majority shareholding.

  • Paul Cunningham says:

    I’ve just been told that Alan, I never knew we received shares in exchange.

    Albeit all thats happening is diluting everyones share in the club by increasing share capital as opposed to purchasing current share availabilty.

    Albeit I agree with Conz that getting current shareholders on board would be a better option.

    I doubt some of the major shareholders would be willing to give up their %say for a diluted Trust say? I only have £500 share or something like that and would be willing to hand them over if that was the status quo?

    The fact that people feel the club is safe changes their need to contribute to urgently helping the trust own the biggest share %in the club.

    It is that view that has to be put across and that there is an urgent need to keep raising these funds for “our” objective?

    Just a thought
    Paul

  • Conz says:

    You may be right about shareholders not willing to give up their %say but first we have to ask and give them a convincing reason why it would benefit the club and them. I would suggest to them that at the moment that % they have isn’t really being used at all. We could argue that the trust works on a single vote regardless of the amount of shares you own (in the trust) and so they would have an equal voice on the majority shareholding rather than a minority voice in a minority shareholding.

  • Alan Russell says:

    As I’ve written in this post, our plan is to have a very informal session before the Brechin game next weekend to talk about the ownership structure of the club. We’ll then follow this up with a series of events throughout next year on other topics (possibly the same one again if we’ve left a lot of questions unanswered!)
    Thank you all for your input to this discussion so far, it is really encouraging to get this level of debate going.

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