Annual General Meeting, 4th October 2001Print This Post

Venue: Raith Suite, Stark’s Park, Pratt Street, Kirkcaldy

Present: A Beedie, R Budd, A Condie, G Condie, T Cunningham, E Doig, I Ferguson, D Gourlay, G Howie, J Knight, J Mainland, C McFarlane, M Melville, D Morrison, A Nicholson, G Peattie, M Penman, T Phillips, J Proctor, A Proctor, R Robson, J Rowbotham, B White, M Wilson.

In attendance: E Drysdale.

Apologies: G Aitken, G Anderson, J Drysdale, K Fraser, N Langtree, E Lawther, S Lawther, G Mayes, G Meldrum, D Pearson

Introduction / Welcome

James Proctor (JP) thanked everyone for attending the meeting and noted the apologies. JP thanked the Club for the use of the venue and noted that Eric Drysdale (ED) had been invited along to act as observer for the Club

Update on Trusts in general

There were now a significant number of Trusts operating throughout the UK. These were at various stages of development. JP noted that there were still no start-up funds available to Trusts in Scotland, unlike England. However, pressure was being brought to bear within the Scottish Executive and there may be some movement on this issue. However, the Raith Trust was beyond the start up stage and would not benefit.

Membership update

Blair White (BW) stated that prior to the meeting, membership stood at 62. He noted there was steady growth. 13 members paid by annual subscription 49 paid by monthly standing order 23 members lived in Kirkcaldy 19 came from rest of Fife 14 were from rest of Scotland 5 from rest of UK 1 overseas member [Afternote: the Trust now has its first female member]

Question from floor (QFF): Had the Trust approached former “Friends of the Rovers” members?
Society Board Response (SBR): The Board was still waiting to receive a “FotR” members list. Eric Drysdale promised to provide the Trust with a list.

QFF: Had the Trust approached any members of the business community?
SBR: Not yet. The Society Board (SB) was conscious that this was a possible fertile area. However, it was aware that it needed to have concrete proposals to offer any would-be investors from the business community and as such these hadn’t really been defined.

QFF: Had the Trust approached any former players?
SBR: The SB had written to one player as a “trial” but had not received a response.

Treasurer’s statement / Election of new Treasurer

JP reported that:

  • a. The balance of the account stood at £4,900
  • b. The average monthly income was £577 (NB: the monthly income comprises of the standing orders plus an average of the annual fee payments)

JP noted the major items of expenditure since the last meeting:

  • Trust banner £59
  • Nacho Novo shirt sponsorship £150
  • Trackside board £177
  • Total expenditure £280

JP reminded the meeting that approximately £1,000 would be required from the funds to pay the one-off legal fees associated with the registration of the Trust as an Industrial and Provident Society.

JP asked the membership if there were any volunteers for the vacant post of Treasurer. The Chairman thanked the previous incumbent (Garry Fyfe) for his hard work in setting up the bank account and the overall scrutiny of the Trust’s financial affairs.

Chris McFarlane volunteered for the post of Treasurer. He was duly accepted.

Constitution update

JP gave a brief update on the current position with the constitution and registration process.

  • The Trust now had a letter from RRFC authorising the use of the name Raith Rovers.
  • The Trust had written to three local solicitors enquiring about the use of their premises as the Registered Office for the Trust. JP indicated that we were close to formal registration and he hoped the process would be completed within the next two months.

QFF: Why the change of name from “Trust” to “Society”?
SBR: It is a legal requirement. However, “Trust” is still an acceptable common-name term and most members probably feel more comfortable talking about the “Trust”.

QFF: Has a local councillor been approached to sit on the Society Board?
SBR: Yes. The SB wrote to the council but has received no response. A follow up letter would be sent.

QFF: What is the benefit of having a councillor on the Board?
SBR: It was felt that a councillor might be able to bring some insight as to how the local political system could be used to the Trust’s advantage. [A comment from the floor indicated that the Trust would be extremely unlikely to get a councillor to participate] Investment proposals [A wide-ranging discussion on the various proposals took place. The following minutes capture the main points, the alternative proposals, the voting and the concerns]

The members had been sent details of the three investment proposals and were able to immediately enter into enthusiastic debate.

Youth development:

  • It was felt by many that this was a critical area and at present RR was unable to fund its youth teams to the same extent as other clubs.
  • It was acknowledged that RR had benefited greatly from its youth teams in the past. The future was about youth.
  • A business case could probably be written to demonstrate that the transfer fees from former youth team players outweighed the costs.
  • Concern expressed that any investment in this might be too open-ended.

Commercial / marketing manager:

  • Several people felt that this was a priority as RR were under represented in aspects of PR, marketing and commercial outlook.
  • A commercial manager could act as the driver for all the good ideas coming out of the Commercial Committee.
  • Investing in a commercial manager could be viewed as “seed” money, ie fund the necessary once, and then the role becomes self-financing.
  • Felt that at the moment, the Trust did not have enough funds to adequately provide for this.

Opening Railway Stand as a family viewing area:

  • Felt that this would be good PR for the Trust, as the initial closure was not popular.
  • Investing in this might encourage more adult/children to attend, but would probably need an attractive pricing regime as well
  • Might be possible to do it for a limited period and create robust business case based on evidence.

The Chairman asked the members if there were any other ideas. Two more were proposed.

Paying the wages of one (or more) players:

  • Would be excellent PR for the Trust and would encourage more members
  • Would enable player(s) to be kept at Stark’s Park
  • However, concern that this would create a dangerous precedent and that the Club might view the Trust as a straightforward wage provider

Funding free-entry for kids into games:

  • Again, would be excellent PR for the Trust and might encourage more members
  • Might create an attendance habit amongst the youngsters
  • Concern about the potential cost to the Trust

The Chairman brought the discussion to a close and thanked everyone for their contributions. There was general agreement that all five proposals had merit. There was also acknowledgement that the Trust could not at present fully fund any of the proposals. However the members were keen to invest partially in one of the ideas: to demonstrate to the club that it was serious about its intentions, and also to establish some good PR which would hopefully attract new members to the Trust.

A straightforward hand vote was taken to determine which proposal had the support of the members. The Secretary stated the Trust had received 6 letters from members who wanted to express support for particular proposals. These would be added to the floor’s votes.

  • a. Youth development 17 plus 2 letters = 19
  • b. Commercial manager 1 plus 4 = 5
  • c. Railway stand 1 = 1
  • d. Paying player wages 0 = 0
  • e. Subsidising kids’ entrance 2 = 2

The decision to invest in Youth Development was fairly clear-cut.

Some members were concerned that the potential funding was too open-ended.

The Chairman accepted two proposals from the floor regarding the investment in Youth Development:

  • a. The Trust should invest £1,000 now and £300 per month from Oct to end of season, May (8 months)
  • b. As above, but £400 per month.

A hand vote was taken:

  • a. £1,000 + £300 pcm = 7 votes
  • b. £1,000 + £400 pcm = 15 votes

This was duly carried. The total investment cost to the Trust would be £4,200.

The membership requested that the Society Board ensure that the money was invested in the Youth Programme.

Any other business

There was concern that public awareness of the U-18s was being hampered because they did not have a consistent home venue. Several members stated that the U-18s were playing excellent football, but were not getting due recognition.

Several members asked if information re the decision to invest in youth could be handed out to the crowd at the Hibs CIS game on the Tuesday. The Chairman though the timetable might be tight to get something organised. [Afternote: the Trust in conjunction with the club managed to distribute 1,500 leaflets at the Hibs game.]

Date of next meeting

No firm date set, but Chairman thought that Jan-Feb 2002 looked a favourable period

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