Venue: Raith Suite, Stark’s Park, Pratt Street, Kirkcaldy
Present: T Cunningham, E Doig, I Ferguson, K Fraser, G Fyfe, A Gourlay, D Gourlay, D Hossack, G Howie, J Knight, N Langtree, M Melville, D Morrison, A Nicholson, T Phillips, J Proctor, J Rowbotham, B Smith, B White.
In attendance: E Drysdale.
Apologies: G Aitken, G Anderson, A Beedie, A Cameron, J Drysdale, E Heron, J Lindsay, J Mainland, G Meldrum, G Purvis, S Wallace, D Webster
James Proctor (JP) thanked everyone for attending the meeting and noted the apologies.
JP stated that Eric Drysdale (ED) had been invited along to act as an observer for RRFC.
JP introduced the Steering Group who had been looking after the administration of the proposed trust since the open meeting held on 15 February 2001:
E Doig, G Fyffe, G Howie, N Langtree, M Melville, T Phillips, J Proctor, B White
Update since open meeting (15 Feb 2001)
Trusts in general – JP stated that in recent months there had been several well publicised Trust initiatives in the UK. Chesterfield fans had organised themselves and had managed to take control of their club under the auspices of a Trust. In Scotland, the Morton Trust had raised a significant amount of money using a loan scheme similar to the model developed by Crystal Palace. Throughout the UK more fan groups were organising themselves into Trusts with objectives pertinent to their circumstances.
Raith Rovers trust – JP said that since the open meeting the Steering Group had devoted much of its time to:
- Taking forward the constitutional issues
- Increasing the membership and refining the joining process
- Raising the profile of the Trust
Blair White (BW) provided a breakdown on the membership numbers and status:
- 35 people were paying their membership fees by monthly standing orders
- 8 people had paid the annual fee by a one-off payment
- 27 people had given a one-off contribution to the Trust
- 14 people had asked for standing order forms with the intention of signing up to monthly payment
Jim Rowbotham asked if people who had paid an annual fee could be sent a letter confirming the payment and stating when the membership would expire. BW agreed that this would be done.
BW noted that interest in the Trust was ever-increasing. During the close season it was intended to initiate a concerted membership drive.
BW stated that two groups would be targeted initially:
- Those who had given a one-off donation which was less than the annual membership would be contacted and encouraged to take out full membership
- The people who were contributing to the Friends of the Rovers scheme (which was ending n the close season) would be asked if they wanted to become members of the Trust
Garry Fyfe (GF) reported that:
- The balance of the account stood at £3002.18
- The monthly income from standing orders was £395.00
- The average standing order contribution was £11.00
GF stated there had been three items of expenditure since the open meeting:
- Purchase of shares in RR Holding Company £2,500
- Shaun Dennis shirt sponsorship £50
- PO Box number £52
- = Total expenditure £2,602
Constitution – update and acceptance proposal
George Howie (GH) stated that at the 15 Feb 2001 open meeting there had been a general concensus that the organisation would wish to adopt the constitution pertaining to an Industrial and Provident Society.
GH explained that the Steering Group had formed a small sub-group of three to look at a set of “model rules” and how they could be adapted to suit the aspirations of the supporters who were keen to form a Trust.
GH provided a detailed run-through of the rules extract which had been sent to everyone who had expressed an interest in forming a Trust. He highlighted some of the paragraphs and explained their significance in terms of a Raith Rovers supporters’ trust.
a. Name – This had been agreed at the 15th February meeting and was officially the Raith Rovers Independent Supporters’ Trust Limited.
b. Objects – GH explained that the sub-group had spent a considerable amount of time on the objectives and he felt that these encompassed the ideas and sentiments which had been expressed by supporters in the preceding months. [The meeting was content with the objects]
c. Powers – It was acknowledged that the powers might seem quite wide-ranging and there was every chance that some would never be used. However, it was deemed prudent to have them as a Trust may wish to use them at some future date. [A comment from the floor said that it was surprising that the Trust could employ people. GH responded that it was possible that in the future the Trust might have such a large membership that there needed to be a full-time administrator.]
d. Membership – GH noted that the membership policy was open and in keeping with what would be expected of a Raith Rovers supporters’ trust. [A question from the floor asked if Directors of Raith Rovers could join. GH responded yes]
e. The society board – GH explained that the term “society” was a general term used to cover any organisation established under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act. The Society Board would be responsible for the day to day running of the Trust. The Society Board is to have not less than 8 and not more than 12 members (see below for more details), and will meet at least 4 times per year.
f. The society’s registered office – This has still to be confirmed. GH stated that advice will be taken as to the type of premises which would satisfy the requirements.
GH explained that if the rules were agreed by the meeting, then the next stage would be to engage a solicitor and get them legally approved and registered with the Registrar. GH estimated that the total cost of the approval / registration process would be £1000. JP stated that it had been the intention to use a local solicitor, but the experience of the Morton Trust had shown that there was a genuine benefit in using the recognised expert in the field. In this case it was Paull and Williamson, Cobett’s agents in Scotland.
GH proposed that the rules be adopted as the constitution for the society and be used as the basis for registering the Trust as an Industrial and Provident Society . This was unanimously accepted. [Prior to the meeting, a further eight people had indicated by proxy that they were content to adopt the proposed set of rules.]
JP stated that the organisation could now be formally recognised as the Raith Rovers Independent Supporters’ Trust Ltd. Agreement of membership fees
BW stated that at the 15 Feb open meeting the membership fees had been agreed as a minimum of £60 per annum. Now that the Trust was formally constituted it was important to have the annual membership fee agreed by a general meeting. The fees would also be established once per year, at the Trust’s AGM. The meeting accepted the present fee structure as being fair and inclusive.
Election of office bearers
At this point, the Chair JP handed over to an Independent Chair (Jim Knight).
The Independent Chair indicated that the seven people who had been on the Steering Group were prepared to stand for election to the Society Board, but membership of the Board was open to all members.
Eddie Doig proposed James Proctor as Chair. This was seconded and he was duly elected.
Adam Nicholson proposed Blair White as Secretary. This was seconded and he was duly elected.
Jim Rowbotham proposed that the other five members of the Steering Group be nominated to the Society Board. This was seconded and Mike Melville, Garry Fyfe, Neil Langtree, Tom Phillips and George Howie were duly elected as Society Board members.
The elected members then proposed the co-option of Eddie Doig (RRFCSC) onto the Board.
There were no further nominations for membership of the Society Board.
JP intimated that the Society Board could co-opt another three members.
MM suggested that consideration be given to:
- A local councillor
- An employee of Raith Rovers
- A member of the business community
The Society Board would nominate the co-opted members at a later date.
Way forward – open discussion
JP opened the meeting to the floor.
A general discussion ensued as to how to heighten the profile of the Trust and increase the membership. Presence in other areas (eg stall in the Mercat). Acknowledged as having merit but at present it was felt that the effort should still be concentrated at Stark’s Park.
High profile members
Agreed that there were opportunities, eg the Chancellor, former players. Exiled fans.
BW stated that he was in email discussion with an individual in the USA in an effort to establish the most convenient way for overseas fans to become members.
Mike Melville had spent a considerable amount of effort in establishing the site at www.raithtrust.org.uk
This would be extremely useful for posting information for fans/trust members.
BW estimated that approximately 50% of the trust members had access to email/the web.
It may be possible to organise a leafleting operation in Kirkcaldy.
ED offered the use of an advertising board at Stark’s Park at a much reduced rate.
The membership also expressed a desire to initiate a dialogue with the Board of Raith Rovers FC.
Tom Phillips proposed that the priorities over the close season should be:
- Pursue registration of the Trust open a dialogue with the RRFC Board
- Decide on a membership campaign / strategy
These priorities were accepted as being realistic.
Date of next meeting
No firm date was set, but it would be within 3 months and would probably be the Trust’s first AGM.