Dunfermline Athletic

Supporters Council 12 May 2016

Supporters’ Council Minutes – 7 pm, 12 May 2016
Purvis Suite, East End Park
Chairman: Eddie Martin
Secretary: Donald Adamson
Note: The Supporters’ Council followed the DAFC Ltd Annual General Meeting.

Chairman’s Welcome – Eddie Martin

The Chairman welcomed rather more than 80 Pars Supporters to the Purvis suite for the Supporters’ Council meeting. He thanked the players, football management, volunteers, employees and the Board of DAFC for all contributing to the success of season 2015/16, but above all Allan Johnston, who he was delighted to welcome to the Supporters’ Council (applause).

Lorna Morton was doing a real-time account of the meeting for the benefit of Pars supporters unable to attend, and especially those members of the Pars family abroad.

View from the Boardroom – Ross McArthur

Ross gave an end of season report. This was a massive season in our Club’s history. The football objectives at the start of the season were to win SFPL League 1, and be competitive in the Cup competitions. Challenging commercial, sponsorship, hospitality, retail and donation targets were set. Pleased to report that all goals, on and off the park were met.

On the football side, the team played with skill, style and flair, as a result of good management and preparation. It was a massive team effort, on and off the park. It is great to have a positive feeling around DAFC. The Club is increasingly embedded in our community. There is a momentum beginning to start, like in the Leishman and Paton eras. Our Club is starting to get its self-respect back.

On the football side, the management and players carried the very heavy weight of expectation with considerable ease. Allan deserves great credit for the successful season, ably supported by the football management team. We are delighted that Allan, Sandy and John have re-signed for the next two years. The core of the existing first team have signed new contracts. Discussions are ongoing with others. All written offers are on the best possible terms that the Club can afford.

As regards Season 2016/17, we intend to be highly competitive in the SPFL Championship. This includes bringing in further quality to the existing playing squad, and the Manager intends working with 18-20 first team players. In addition, some experience will be added to the U20 squad, and some players from here will be pushing for the first team. Dunfermline will continue to play a leading role in the Fife Elite Football Academy. Gary McColl has helped to develop improved fitness and conditioning levels, and will be full time next season. Pars United (EEP) Ltd will be building a strength and conditioning gym at East End Park, and this will also offer flexible working space. Generally, the training facilities will be improved.

The stated intention was to break-even in the year to May 2016, and it now seems likely that we will actually make a small profit. This is a tremendous achievement for a full-time team in League 1, with all the costs that were carried. It is also the first profit in 20 years. This was due to increased attendances, and raised income off the park. It was achieved in spite of two broken legs to first team players, more financial support for backroom facilities and extensive repairs to the stadium. It is stressed that it is vital that we continue to increase our reserves.

The ‘Movin’ On Up’ season ticket campaign was launched on May 6, and again we ask our fans to purchase by cheque or cash if possible to reduce credit card charges. We entreat supporters to sign up for the absolutely vital Centenary Club Lifeline. Attend home matches and bring friends and family. Our fans are asked to consider both match day hospitality in the season, and also family events and parties in the various function rooms and bars.

Ross then ran through a number of key words to match the letters of ‘Champions’.
C is for collective responsibility, contribution of volunteers, community, Centenary Club Lifeline.
H is for hard work, honesty and heart.
A is for attendances, attitude, ambition and Allan Johnston (warm applause).
M is for the management team, the management of cash and club, and momentum.
P is for the playing squad, positivity and passion.
I is for integrity, inclusive nature of the Club and the identity of the Club regained.
O is for ownership, openness and optimism.
N is for a nonstop work ethic, nowt that we cannot do, and no one is bigger than the Club.
S is for the skill of the players, the support of the sponsors, the spirit in the Club, the social media and above all – THE SUPPORTERS (cheers and applause).

Ross concluded by saying that is why we are Champions. The Board of DAFC greatly appreciate the continued support of the fans. The Chairman then invited supporters to ask questions.

John Lloyd paid tribute to the work of the Board. He noted that it had been said that the Championship would not be financially transforming. In view of more away supporters, why not? Ross explained that some of the teams (not yet settled) might be relatively modestly supported; there would be more mid-week games; there were increased costs both in relation to staff and also things like stewarding.

The budgets had been underway since November, and would only be finalised when we knew the make-up of the League. There were also other issues like the traditional derby games at Christmas and New Year being scheduled for Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, rather than Boxing Day and January 2 These dates can only be moved by mutual agreement and we hoped to do something on that front in order to maximise revenues. The income that you get from the SPFL depends on league position, so every place counts.

Gary Williams asked about the level of budgeting for home games. Ross replied that this was cautiously assessed at 3,500 per game. Much will depend on league position of course as to whether large numbers can be relied upon.

Eric Spreng asked if anything could be done as a long time season ticket holder to sit in that seat for cup ties? Ross advised that people should go to the ticket office as early as possible and buy the specific ticket for their own seat, whilst it was still available.

Eddie Martin asked if there could be a specific concessions gate for say the South East enclosure? Ross replied that there was no safety certificate for this enclosure presently for the general public. However, the Board were sympathetic to ideas around concessions, and would listen to specific suggestions.

John Simpson asked about the timing for the new proposed gym? Ross answered that this could be ready by November if there were no delays. In any event the answer was as soon as possible.

Graeme McHarg asked about the possibility of a cryogenics unit such as used by Leicester? Ross replied that everything was subject to affordability, but our eyes were fully opened to the benefits of sports science. Meanwhile we have got and use ice baths, the application of which is based on cryogenic science.

The Manager – Allan Johnston

Allan began by thanking the supporters for their tremendous support. He had come to Dunfermline because he regarded the Club as having great potential. This had been proved, it was very much going in the right direction and that was why he had re-signed for two further years (applause).

Dave Nugent asked what was the greatest challenge going forward? Allan responded that he wanted to see the Club improve in every way possible. This included better players, facilities and results.

Gennaro Giudice asked what was Allan Johnston’s personal goal for next season? Allan said that his own goal was to challenge for a top 4 place. He recognised that it was a massive step up, but felt that this was entirely possible.

Roy Barry noted the improved fitness of the players. How did we get Gary McColl? Alan answered this was a bit of good fortune via a contact who introduced him to us. There is no doubt that sports science as introduced by Gary has been very important in increasing levels of speed, fitness and strength. Next year Gary would be full time and this will be a massive benefit for the Club.

Dave Blackburn asked how many players would be in the first team squad next year. Allan said that he was thinking in terms of 19 players including two goalkeepers. Many of the squad from last year had re-signed. Some contracts would still be on offer to existing players, and there would be some new players to come in. All options were being carefully assessed and it was critical to being in the best calibre of player possible.

John Lloyd noted that AJ was always very respectful to opponents. Did he, however, ever think a particular game would be easy. Allan replied that there was no easy game at this level of football, and pointed to the last few games of the season to show what can happen. It was essential to prepare properly for every game.

The question was asked that because of the new League Cup format the season would start even earlier. What were the challenges of that? Allan said that he was very aware of the fact, as his own holiday plans were impacted. The players would return on 13 June, which was 5 days earlier than last year. It was critical to be ready for the new season, and get off to a good start with assimilating both the new players and existing players into a team which pulled together from the outset.

John Lloyd noted the loss of two players to broken legs. Was there any insurance recompense for this. Allan said that players can self-insure for their own benefit, but it was very unusual to have such serious injuries both together at the start of the season last year. Ryan is now fully back and Callum is making good progress.

A question was asked about pre-season friendlies. Allan said that this was in the course of being firmed up. More announcements would be made soon. A similar (closed-door) game with Partick had been agreed, as last year; there was a game with Alloa and the Club were exploring options for a game on July 9th.

A question was asked about the Faissal position. Allan said that a contract had been offered to Faissal at the end of January, but the player wants to wait and assess his options. It is not a no. The player will be looking at the positon with his agent. A good offer has been made and Allan felt that it would be to his benefit for him to develop himself further at Dunfermline.

A further question was about his not being played much in the final weeks. Allan said that it was all about what was in the best interests of the Club. Other players were very keen to play if they were returning from injury or keen to earn another contract, and needed to show what they could do. It was important to be committed to the Club.

A question was asked about the U 20s squad. Allan noted that there were some exciting talents in the squad, although overall it was a young bunch of players. They had added some quality and experience in Connor Duthie and Evan Horne, and more would be recruited. Some of these players would push for first team appearances, and Allan noted that people like Connor and PJ Crossan had figured towards the end of season.

A question was asked about whether John Potter would continue to play at all, and Allan said this depended on recruitment.

It was confirmed that it was expected that that the U20s would continue to play in the same league as 2015/16. As regards venues, it was likely that some would be played at EEP, but others would be elsewhere in order to maintain the quality of the pitch throughout the season.
Eddie Martin thanked Allan for his contribution which was much appreciated (applause).

The Young Pars/Sammy’s Gang – Jean Nelson, Helen Beard and Christine Scott

Jean started by noting that the same three ladies had been running the Young Pars since 1995. It was then that Sammy the Tammy (a bear in a bunnet) was born. The idea came from Kirsty, Christine’s daughter – hence ‘Sammy’s Granny’ name for Christine.

In all that time there had been lots of fun and great support from 12 Managers, many players and businesses such as Sign Plus, Pink String and Sealing Wax, the PST, Kenny Mitchell and Chris Wishart.

Sammy’s Gang was birth to 6 years, and Young Pars was 7 years to teenage. Membership was over 100 and once they were members they tend to stay with the Pars for life.

Helen took over and outlined what Young Pars could expect from their membership. Everyone gets a membership card (name and number) together with a voucher for the Club shop, an application form to become a mascot and a letter of welcome.

The Club vouchers are very popular, allow personal choice (rather than a gift) and help the Club. Young Pars get a Birthday Card. Younger members have it signed by Sammy, whilst older members have it personally signed by the players. There is a Young Pars page in the programme, and they get a birthday mention there too.

There is a Newsletter which is issued twice a year. This keeps everyone up to date with events and what is happening. This is especially important when the Young Par lives outside Dunfermline.

There are two Club nights a season for the Young Pars, whilst Sammy’s Gang get to go to Sammy’s Birthday Party and another party around Easter. Sammy’s Gang also get a personalised Christmas story whereby they help Sammy to solve a Christmas challenge. The Young Pars have a Christmas Party and an End of Season event.

Members aged 5 or over can be a Mascot. There is a waiting list as very popular but everyone will get their chance eventually.

Any Young Par aged 11 or over is eligible to be a ball-boy or ball-girl if they wish. It is a huge commitment but very enjoyable too.

Christine then explained what Sammy’s Gang and the Young Pars activities can comprise with reference to some great fun over the years.

It is possible to register for Sammy’s Gang from birth, and calls have been made from the maternity hospital! The parties use a great children’s entertainer, who organises lots of games, then a break for party food and then Sammy (the old, mischievous Sammy) appears for more fun. This year Joe Cardle appeared at the Easter Party with his family. Parents get involved and also have a good laugh! Birthday cards are sponsored by Pink String – many thanks!
For the Young Pars Club there are training days which involve the players and break into teams which can get quite competitive! Also events such as ‘I’m a celebrity get me out of here’ with lots of messy challenges. Josh came along this year to help and the kids love getting autographs, chatting to the players and touring the stadium.

The Young Pars regularly have indoor crazy golf events and bowling days which involve lots of players coming along, and which are very popular.

There is a penalty shoot-out competition where we are helped by Stephen Wright, and there is a Fife Academy goalkeeper. This comes in the final stages to East End Park at half-time of a game. The youngest winner was only nine years old.

The Young Pars also have away days which involve a coach party travelling together to a DAFC game. This year it was Airdrie. The driver made a point of saying how well behaved they all were.

The ball-boys/ball-girls are aged 11 and up. They are based in a portacabin which is shared with the First Aiders. It is a responsible job, and they have guidance rules. They represent the Club and are proud to do so. They do their very best, and it can be intimidating for a young person quite close to the crowd and the players. They are all Pars fans and come from the Young Pars to ensure this. They are close to the players and Kenny Murray, John Potter and AJ are great with them. Thanks to SRJ who sponsor and provide the jackets and warm clothing for them. Please support our ball-boys/ball-girls at all times – they could be your family or your neighbour’s family. (Comment from the floor: Our ball-boys and girls were the best in the league; they work very hard in every game).

So that is it from the ‘Golden Girls’ – we are just the facilitators; it is all about the children and their involvement with Dunfermline Athletic. (warm applause) Get in touch if you want more information.

Dunfermline Athletic Disabled Supporters’ Club – Dave Nugent

The Dunfermline Athletic Disabled Supporters’ Club (DADSC) was recently re-launched.
The point is that we must see the person not the disability. Access is a basic human right – a person is only disabled by barriers put in their way.

The mission of DADSC is for Dunfermline Athletic to be a market leader in facilities for the disabled supporter. Currently this is going very well, and we are one of the very best in Scotland. We aim to work with DAFC Ltd to deliver continuous improvement in the facilities and arrangements at East End Park for anyone who has a disability.

Chair is Peter Lockhart, with Roger Hynd as Treasurer, John Simpson as Secretary and Dave Nugent as Vice-Chair. People actively involved include Nicola Campbell, Alistair Carstairs, Kenny Cowan, Jim Henderson, Drew Main, Linda Milne, Ishbel Russell (Disability Access Officer), Gillian Cosgrove, Stuart Shanks, Bob Adams and Kenny MacLachlan. Please join and become active!

Specifically, the aim is to give disabled supporters a voice when speaking with the management of DAFC, and other supporter groups. We aim to make all areas of DAFC fully accessible to anyone who has a disability. We will work to make East End Park fully compliant with all current legislation and UEFA/SFA guidance on facilities and arrangements for those with disabilities. We aim to raise the funds to provide wheelchair access to the 1st Floor function suites, and to provide an accessible toilet at the Purvis Suite level. We will raise awareness of accessibility issues among management and supporter groups linked to DAFC.

We will participate in the work of the Scottish Disabled Supporters’ Association. We will work with local organisations supporting disabled people.
We have launched both a website
http://dadsc.fife.net/
and also a Facebook page, with already 4,000 users,
https://www.facebook.com/DADisabledSupportersClub
please go and look, and stay up to date with what we are doing.

A major project is the raising of funds for first floor access for wheelchair users into the Main Stand. The target is £55,000. We have raised £4,000 in a matter of weeks – and many thanks to Billy George and those at Leroy Day who donated £1,000 last week. (applause)

DADSC is already getting lots of good comments at a Scottish level (Scottish Disability Supporters’ Association), and we are one of only four clubs to have a Disability Access Officer.
We are fundraising through a range of activities including badges, membership subscriptions, merchandise, sponsorship, events, company grants, auctions and quizzes. Please help where you can. Kenny MacLachlan is actively working on fund raising ideas such as the Magnum of Champagne which raised £130 a few days ago.

We run a much valued match buddy scheme, with people like Clover who is much appreciated. We need more people to volunteer. It is very rewarding.

Finally thanks for all the support we have had from our fellow supporters. (applause)

Dunfermline Athletic Schools’ Engagement Programme – Dave Dawson

The Schools’ Engagement Programme is developing well. Inverkeithing Primary much enjoyed their visit to East End Park on Wednesday, which included a look at the League 1 trophy.
There are three main workstreams being Pars Tackle Health (Gennaro Giudice) – 25 school visits involving 766 pupils; Tours for Schools (Dave Dawson) with 18 school visits and 504 pupils and Pars Media Stars (Wullie Oliphant) – 33 school visits and involved 839 pupils.
What are these about? ‘Pars Tackle Health’ centres on diet, fitness, motivation, having the right mental state to overcome adversity, and the lessons that can be drawn for life.

The players’ experiences are used to illustrate and reinforce these aspects. ‘Tours for Schools’ uses the Club to show the range of jobs in a business, and how pupils might fit into those. It uses the Club and its players and staff to look at career options. A tour of the stadium looks at all aspects of the business, including the history of DAFC. Finally, ‘Pars Media Stars’ is about getting the pupils to enhance their literacy and numeracy skills by writing reports and considering problems which arise in the context of a football club.

An impressive list of schools has been engaged in the past season – in total 35 primary schools. We would like to develop our relationship with High Schools too.
In September we won an award from the Scottish Football Partnership. This was recognition for the hard work of our volunteers and the support of our players.

We have worked with the Heritage Trust to produce ‘The Truly Horrific History of Dunfermline Athletic’. All schools in the area have copies and it can be viewed (together with its interactive resources) on the Heritage Trust website.

Bonar Mercer helped Wullie with the Canmore Primary Centenary celebrations, and a design a strip competition.
Wullie has worked with Gregor Tennant of the Pars Foundation on teaching materials for Malawi. The package also included Pars Programmes to help teach English.
We have worked with challenging pupils to engage with them on a subject that they like (football) and help their wider development.

We have developed a Case Study on Community Interest Companies (CICs) for the Higher in Business Management. This is aimed at S5/6 pupils. It uses the DAFC recent experience, with its parent company being a CIC. Ross McArthur and Donald Adamson provided assistance in this.

Kenny MacLachlan enabled us to get sponsorship from Dunfermline Co-operative Funeralcare to sponsor a full set of strips for a primary school. This involved a competition which was won by Canmore Primary, after twenty schools entered.

Equally the Memory Box has proved a great hit with school pupils, with its collection of old strips, balls, gloves and programmes.

Over the season we worked with over 1,000 pupils, and the majority of primary schools in West Fife are now engaged with Dunfermline Athletic. This helps to fulfil one of the Club’s stated aims which is to provide benefit to the community.

Thank you to all those who have supported us, and if any more volunteers (we are delighted to have one new signing) would like to contact me, this would be welcomed. We have all signed pre-contracts for 2016/17, and we hope to expand into a new programme which is a ‘Pars World Tour’, which will use pennants, trophies and artefacts to teach history and geography, as well as numeracy skills. We look forward to 2016/17!

Dunfermline Athletic Ladies Football Club – Penny Aitken

We started seventeen years ago as Hawkcraig United, then Aberdour and in 2003 became Dunfermline Athletic Ladies FC.

We run a range of senior and youth teams. The growth in interest is tremendous. Women’s football is the fastest growing team sport in the world, and is getting more recognition year by year. We started with one team, and now we have two senior teams and a youth set-up which feeds the senior teams.

The senior teams play at Humbug Park, Crossgates. We train there, at Pitreavie and at QAHS on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Match day is normally Sunday afternoon.
We are currently running with a 1st Team and reserves at the senior level. Then we have U17, U15, U13, U12, U11 x 3 and U9 x 2 teams at youth level. There is great and growing interest, and more coaches are needed.

Thus far we have won promotion from the 3rd division to the 2nd division, and thence to the 1st division. We were 2nd Division Champions in 2012. We have played in the Scottish Cup quarter finals, as well as the League Cup finals. We play March to November. We travelled to Caithness last week in the Scottish Cup and won 16-2 in front of 300 people.
DALFC is part of Scottish Women’s Football (SWF). This season there are a record number of 71 teams affiliated to SWF.

We are a very active part of the Pars family. We have received coaching support from some of the players including John Potter, Josh, Smithy and Ryan Goodfellow. Paul Gallacher still supports us. We have been given kit. In return the DALFC team works turnstiles at EEP on match days. We also sell programmes, sometimes provide the volunteer for Sammy the Tammy, and provide the ‘Kit Chick’ assistant for Mo Hutton.

We are a registered charity and are broadly self-funding. Our income comes from player fees, sponsorship, donations, bucket collections, race nights, bag packing and even a Ben Nevis challenge.
What is next – we have been invited to participate in South West Fife Sports Village which will redevelop the Fleet Ground at Rosyth.

Summer Maintenance Work – Dave Blackburn

Now that the season has ended, we are working on ground maintenance. Anyone who has any time is invited to contact Dave Blackburn via the Club, or pop into the Club Shop to leave contact details.

Handrails are being stripped and re-painted. We are washing and brushing every seat.
Any good solutions for ridding us of pigeons would be gratefully received.
Retired tradesmen would have plenty of jobs, especially painters and plumbers, but everyone would be welcome.

We work during the week, but also occasionally at weekends.
We would be interested in borrowing mobile scaffolding, and a high lifter. Details will appear shortly on the Club website. We are gradually improving the maintenance condition of East End Park.

Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust trip to the Somme and Belgium – Donald Adamson

A party of 24 will leave East End Park on 29 June to visit the World War 1 battlefields and take part in the McCrae Battalion Trust commemorations on the Somme for the centenary of 1 July 1916, when thousands were killed in one day, including Davie Izatt and Jimmy Morton of DAFC with McCrae’s Battalion (16 Royal Scots). We will also lay five wreaths in France and Belgium at sites associated with Dunfermline men, and attend the Menin Gate ceremony at Ypres.

We will take two soldiers from the Army Personnel Recovery Centre in Edinburgh with us free of charge. We are having a sponsored skydive on Saturday 28 May at Fife Airport, where a soldier who has been through the recovery process has volunteered to help his comrades. Dunfermline Athletic supporters are invited to back this and sponsor Corporal James Morell of 5 Scots, and people can do so tonight, or on-line at
http://www.justgiving.com/Dunfermline-Athletic

Closing Remarks – Eddie Martin
The Club is in good heart and a momentum is being built through the efforts of many. Thank you for coming, and showing your support for the Pars.



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