Dunfermline Athletic

2014-05-28 - Supporters Council Meeting Minutes

Supporters’ Council Meeting No 2 on 28 May 2014 Minutes.
Meeting was held in the Kingdom Suite, East End Park, Dunfermline with approximately 50 supporters in attendance.
1. Welcome and Introduction.
Gennaro Giudice, Chairman, opened the meeting, welcomed all supporters and introduced guests for the evening.
John Russell, taking the minutes for the evening, Joe Graham, Graeme Herd, Donald Adamson from the Council and representing the club David McMorrine, Bob Garmory and Ross McArthur.
Gennaro again stated the Council wishes that all Supporters put themselves forward to take part in the events/actions of the Supporters’ Council including chairing meetings and taking minutes.

2. Minutes of previous meeting.
The minutes had been sent out to all registered Council members and no objections had been received, so the minutes were accepted as a true record of the previous meeting.
3. Working Together for DAFC.
Joe Graham (email to: joe.graham@yahoo.com) then set out some of the work that had already taken place under the auspices of the Supporters’ Council and how these work streams fit into the bigger picture. (Slides will be made available).
Some of the work streams included:
Fans Survey.
Ideas Programme: Brief description on how to submit ideas.
Proposals: Brief description on how to submit proposals.
Volunteers’ Register: Description on the requirements of the register and its’ accompanying policy.
The need to communicate/coordinate work groups to avoid replication of tasks and to ensure priorities are made.

Supporters’ Charter.

Social Media Group and in-house Website Group.

Disabled Supporters Group.

Heritage Group.

Community Programmes Group.

Safe Standing.
Stadium Management Group. This has to be the priority at the moment. There is a lot of manual work to be done, sorting out paper, discarding rubbish, many small jobs that require resource.

4. Review of 2013/14.

Where we are:
Ross McArthur then took the floor and said that questions were welcome throughout his catch up or could be asked at the end and some of the information is already available from the Pars United AGM.
Ross stated that good progress had already been made but more work has to be done to make the football club a viable business. The goal is to cover costs but this means relying on good will and volunteers.
The club’s strategy for success has been shared with all stakeholders.
We are looking for an enhanced match day experience but making planning decisions based on Scottish football can be hard. Transparency and communication with the fans is key and we are nearly clear of all the legacy issues, with the exception of Pitreavie. We seem close to a resolution on that one but we have said and thought that before.
On the financial side an additional £66k has been raised, including £25k from the PST and £10k from Marvyn Stewart, thanks again to Marvyn for her efforts. Discussions are taking place home and abroad with fans regarding financial help.
£190k was raised from the Rangers Cup game, £250k was lodged in the bank account but that will be spent by the end of July. Close to £96k put aside for the coming season to retain the full time status.
There is little credit available to the club due to the administration issue and so the club is operating on a cash basis. A credit agreement is now in place but is limited and monies are not released in advance.
We are encouraging supporters to pay by cash and/or cheque to help the club’s cash flow. 388 season tickets have been paid by cash and cheque so far, which is fantastic. We have budgeted this year for 1600 season tickets and this includes for Rennie and Jock Stein suites.(1800 was last year’s total).
The “We're in this Together” programme is going strong and we’d ask everyone to get behind this.

A ticketing incentive announced is that Under12’s season tickets will be free, with a paying adult ticket holder and there is special season ticket pricing for emergency and military personnel.

The average crowd last year was 2621 and it is hoped that we can achieve 2300 this season.

We will still be making a financial loss even with the centenary club lifeline help but this retains full time status however we must be promoted next season.

Various surveys have been carried out on the stadium however we have a modest income over the summer but we realise that the Stadium Management Group should take priority. Many people are behind this and thanks go to them. We also now have four young men and one young lady from West Fife Enterprise gaining work experience here and helping us to strengthen our community links.

We now also have genuine Pars bars in Legends and Charlie D's.

As from September, we have the first rental payment for the stadium at £40k.
On the commercial side, we are managing to pay for this as best as we can but it is a very challenging market place in general. We are looking at ideas that David will cover.

The Purvis Group, now in their 10th Anniversary year and Macklin Motors (back of shirts) are the shirt sponsors for the upcoming season. Local businesses have shown outstanding loyalty to the club. We pulled in nearly £60k from sponsors and businesses last season alone.

We are looking to finalise advertising opportunities around EEP and on website and social media. We are trying to build innovative packages for businesses that aren’t being done at other clubs; programme advertising, website ads, Facebook and social media platforms. We aim to make it as attractive as possible to sponsors. We have 40,000 viewers on our website and up to the Stranraer playoff game we had 135,000 visitors to our Facebook page.

Craig Brown and Mikey Motkiewicz are doing great work on our Facebook page.

The new kit is expected to be in the shop mid to late June. This is the first year in a long time that we have purchased kit, so we can make the effort to sell it and all profits then go to the club.
We are revamping the Club’s Own Website and rebranding ParsTV, all to be ready by late June.

Collectively, the now permanent, board still has a lot of work to be done. We need to maximise the number of opportunities and work on more sponsors and volunteers. We want to move forward with a degree of certainty. We’d like to thank everyone so far who has helped us and we will continue to do so.


David McMorrine then stood to address the floor. He explained that the Board has decided to support:
A full time club,
A full time squad,
An under 20 squad and,
Contributing to the Fife Regional Academy. This last decision will help retain youth development but reduce costs in this area, as it is very expensive to run this as a club on its own.

The Board made a brave decision to keep the club in fans’ ownership. The target for the first period was to ensure that we got to the end of the season without asking for further cash. This was achieved and the Rangers cup game and two playoff games gave us a shot in the arm and good income. Income that covers the first month of the close season.

It is imperative we get promoted as it will be horrible next year if we don't. We would still have a club and we wouldn’t be releasing players en masse as it would be controlled but cuts would inevitably come. Everything is being invested in the team now with two new signings and another on the way.

David explained that until he came into the club he didn’t realise that on average only £136 of the £240 cost of a season ticket actually goes to the club by the time vat and concessions are taken into account.
Income has to be generated from everything else the club does and for example the Centenary Club Lifeline. It's hard to fund full time football, but we're doing it. The club is in good hands and all the money raised is being used to keep the club.
We have good sponsorship from Deep Sea World and Specsavers covering printing and season ticket pass holders.
We receive £15k per month from the Centenary Club Lifeline.
We need to run at a substantial loss to retain full time football at East End so promotion is a necessity next season.
The 1885 Business Club now has 45 members generating cash for the club.
Money needs to be spent close season on the stadium and thanks go to Dave Blackburn for his continuing great work. We have the work experience youngsters with us.
The catering is a challenging market but we are trying innovative ideas like last season with different hospitality.

Next Season:

Bob Garmory then started his section by letting everyone present know that David McMorrine was a very modest individual.
David has pulled apart the budget for this club and he knows where every single penny is. He knows where it goes, what it’s used for and where it will be going. He is a very diligent servant to the club.

Bob then also praised Ross McArthur for all his efforts for the club. There is a lot of work going on around the club under Ross’ stewardship and there is much still to do.

Bob paid tribute to former director, Craig McWhirter, and thanked him for his work on the board. Craig has now stepped down, to focus on the new Fife Academy. Craig has been steeped in the youth development, financially and emotionally, and has invested his own personal wealth in keeping the club going - a lot of players were at the club because of him. Massive thanks to Craig McWhirter.

So, what can we do - this is our club. We now own it. It's our/your responsibility. Our future is something we are creating. We are now going to find a path, make a path for this football club. It's up to us to make the club a better club than it's been in the past.

We all have great memories of what it was, and we all have in our hearts what we can do from now on. Most of the people in this room, I could predict would be here. My problem is we had 8000 fans here against Cowdenbeath - we need them to participate in all the work that is going on. Not to be done by the few, this has to be accomplished by the many. Bring someone along. Drag them kicking and screaming to the Pars.

I see Ishbel Russell here, who had no affinity to the club whatsoever. Now, due to her husband continually going on about the Pars (since 1968,) she is now a key player in the Disabled Access Group and a season ticket holder and fan.

Attend Legends, Charlie Ds, before and after the games. If you have a birthday, book your party here as it brings income to the club. The money no longer goes into a black hole. It keeps the club yours.

We have got to change our own circumstances and get as many people involved and get them to contribute. If we can do that then we can create something very, very special.
Joe mentioned on his chart the community groups. Ross is good with the Young Pars, our own youth set up. Gennaro is going out to the schools. The eastern expansion of Dunfermline is untapped - how many people have an association with the Pars. Let’s get leaflets through doors and get more new fans.

Let's make this club the best community run football club in Britain. People will want to join the Pars family, no matter what allegiances have been in the past.

It's down to us folks. We have targets. Let’s get another 200 season tickets sold. The Centenary Club Lifeline is creeping up to 1,000 but is that enough, why not 1200 members. Will we stick with what we are doing in Legends and Charlie D’s? We need bigger targets to retain a full time team.

The responsibility falls on our shoulders - the fans - to pay for it.

Get help, put forward ideas, get people involved.
If you have ideas get hold of Joe and Graeme.

We are all in this together.

5. Question Time:

1. Eric Spreng asking for clarification on under 12’s free tickets?
Ross clarified that these were available with an adult ticket bought.

2. Drew Main thanked Bob Garmory and his long suffering wife and then asked if Danny Grainger had left the club and had he rejected an offer?
David McMorrine explained that Danny’s contract expired on 31 May.

3. Dave Blackburn asked how loanees to club were paid for?
David explained that each case was different e.g. Ryan Scully had a small proportion of his wages paid by the Pars. It is normally decided between the two managers. Watch this space regarding any news on Ryan returning on loan.

4. Dave Clark asked about clearing up after games as he had willing helpers?
Ross asked Dave to talk to Joe after the meeting.

5. Iain Kirk thanked the board for the recent signings and the Under 20’s.There was mention of cutting training costs. How is this to be achieved?
Bob Garmory stated that it was linked to Pitreavie. We want a simple SLA with the operators of Pitreavie but at the moment there is no deal agreed.

6. Galapar from the .net Forum via Lorna Morton, so no plan for any Match packages e.g. 10 matches?

Ross explained that this was not possible as costs are too high and budgets are tight but a half term season ticket will be available. There is now a better understanding of where the money goes because we now know what the costs are and we can work on corporate packages too.

Ross and Kip McBay were at a marketing meeting at the SFL and it’s clear that it’s a myth that Scottish football is expensive. There is not enough coming from the centre, advertising, they should be out marketing that. As a board we will learn lessons from other clubs like Motherwell and Hamilton. We are talking to other Scottish clubs for any initiative to see if they can help us.
Bob stated that in July, the board are meeting with some other clubs including in German football to see what they do, to see what we can learn. We can create our own future and change the way people look at football.

David gave examples of two football clubs in Scotland. St Johnstone, 25 yrs ago, had 466 people watching at Muirton. They now have money in the bank, have won the cup, they had a consistent focus on running their club in the right way, they got promoted, relegated, promoted but invested in the youth system. Ross County chairman said he was saying that Ross County 20 yrs ago in the highland league, have since reached a Scottish Cup final, promoted, relegated, promoted, not one continuous journey forward. Our knock against Cowdenbeath is just another bump in the road.

7. Christine Scott stated that St Johnstone has a great hospitality set up.
Bob agreed and said that Pars have good contacts with Saints through Bob Purvis and the Browns at St Johnstone. We have no qualms about stealing ideas from them and use them to our advantage.

8. Christine Scott asked about plans for the club shop and other merchandise?
David explained that the replica kit should be in at the end of the month, stocking other apparel from Joma, stocking our own apparel. polo shirts, usual stuff from us, kit guys working in the shop at the moment. We took it upon ourselves to increase our margin to 15% - has to be a better shop than last season despite working under restraints.

Ross explained that there was room for the Supporters Club Shop to work alongside the club shop.

Note: Open Day – There is a desire to hold an Open day pre-season but this depends on fixtures and pitch growth.

6. Proposals.
Duncan Simpson - Heritage Group

Duncan gave a quick resume on his background and explained that there was to be a report from this group to the board on 9 June so the group was at an interim stage and future direction will be determined after the report has been received.

Although discussions on this theme have been ongoing since 1985 the proposal for this group came from the first Supporters’ council meeting.
We had an open meeting to attract any interested people and we now have 20-30 volunteers as part of the DAFC Heritage group. We have organised the group into five different work streams.
1. Tangible Heritage - things like cups, medals, trophies etc. We don’t really know what we have got. We have to make sure we have a complete register and catalogue of what the club owns.

2. Oral and Visual Heritage – recordings of stories from players past and present. Supporters’ stories. One project is an oral history - cup finals of 1961 and 68, Harry Melrose can tell future generations about the 6 goals in 1959 to keep the club in the first division.

ParsTV, a complete catalogue.
Old films of DAFC, no ownership of that.

3. Photography - Craig Brown, a tremendous job, he is chairing this little group. As many photos as possible, a complete photographic memory of all games and players.

4. Statistical Heritage - every statistical record for every player, cup competitions etc. We need to make those more available - to find a way to make good databases more accessible. What I have is a collection over many years. We get lots and lots of questions about old players.

5. Historic DAFC - this group is currently looking at the First World War. Donald will speak of this about WW1 and people from the town. A piece of research we are currently looking at.

We have visited the Scottish Football Museum. We met with Hibernian Football Club who have a brilliant trust and are very helpful. Getting free legal advice, thanks to Donald and his office for that.

Where we are now - Proposing to the board that a trust should be formed called the Dunfermline Athletic HeritageTrust to acquire preserve maintain records.
The benefits of having a trust are several. One is that the board does not need to be concerned about that kind of thing. The Trust will ensure the safekeeping of items, not one individual.

The Trust would be able to access money that the club can't. We would be able to access grants around the whole idea of heritage e.g. exhibitions for fans. There are also trading and tax advantages available as part of a trust.

The plan would be to have around 10 working trustees, 7 from that group of 20/30 and invite 3 others. Very interested to have someone from the board, Bob said he would be interested, a former player from the former players association, and a third from the fans themselves. We agreed that the nomination for the trustee should come from this Supporters' Council. Joe will tell us about what that process will be.

Long term view is to be able to have some stuff available online, pictures, stats, a player, a famous game, hear a little bit of a story of what it was like to play in that game. Is there space within a museum where people can see exhibits? A lot of the bigger clubs have their own set ups. We are not being overly grand about this as there is a lot of work involved in this.

We have been in discussion about a Pars Memory Day, to try to help people with dementia and alzheimers by using football as an aide memoire.
On 9th June, there is a film about Jock Stein. The BBC came to us and asked us to round up a few people about Jock Stein in a bit of a hurry. The trust could have a real impact on that in the future. We have been contacted by the new Dunfermline Museum about exhibitions about Dunfermline Athletic. There are countless enquiries from people on a daily basis. The Heritage Group would be of benefit to so many.
Dave Nugent - Facilities for the Disabled Supporters

"See the person, NOT the disability”.

Access is a basic human right - a person is only disabled by barriers put in their way."

Statistics: - 28% of adults in Scotland have a limiting long term illness or disability. 8% use wheelchairs, 92% have impairments you can't see.

48% of disabled people in Scotland are economically inactive.

38% of people believe disabled people are a burden on society - based on a researched project in 2011.

The Vision is for:

DAFC to be a market leader in facilities for disabled supporters. The aim is to go BEYOND the minimum standards and be a club we can be proud of and,

Compliance to the Equality Act 2010 and adhere to UEFA Standards.

The working group has been set up and has tremendous expertise and is chaired by Peter Lockhart. There are various work streams that are exploring the following:

Functionality of lifts, ironically Peter and Kenny couldn’t be here tonight because the lift is out of order in the Kingdom Suite.
Access to Legends and Charlie Ds.
Weather protection in the viewing platforms. East and west stands are exposed to the elements with prevailing winds from the sides.
Match day parking arrangements to ensure that people with disabilities don’t have to park too far away.
Match Buddy system will make it easier and more enjoyable for people to come to the games.
Employment of workers with Disabilities

Funding. There is not a lot of money to implement recommendations and some might take a lot of money. There are other ways of funding. Already a number of maintenance audits have been done by Fife Council looking at the plans when the stadium was modified. Also this week, again through Ishbel Russell making contact with an organisation in Livingston, a full access audit will be done for free, with consultation.

Drawings showing stands have been submitted to working group with some costs for implementing that.
Some faults identified are:

Steps between Legends and Charlie Ds - extremely steep.
Steps from main road into Stadium - through to Legends, very steep, must have a lift; a chairlift coming up the stairwell would be an idea.
Whole end of stand needs protection for wheelchair users.
Car parking at end of main stand had a first site survey when Kenny Cowan’s electric chair turned over and he has been hospitalised since then. Surface has to be looked at.

The Way Ahead?

Requirements recognised. Funding, quotations and proposals to the board. Prioritise, easy to implement tasks with the biggest impact.
Disability Champion required for DAFC.

Draft Volunteer Policy for DAFC.

Benefits are for all fans - supporters, employees, pregnant supporters, emergency services.

Increased attendance to those currently inhibited by barriers.

We have a moral and legal responsibility to be inclusive. Total Football = Total Access.

Donald Adamson: Supporters Charter

Graeme and a group of 4/5 people are looking at Charters and what that means.

The big English clubs talk about charters that generally state what fans can and can’t do, mainly to avoid bad press for the club. Other mainly smaller clubs draw up charters about rights. There has to be a balance struck between Behaviours and Rights.

Graeme and his group have been drafting up the charter that seeks to reach that balance and it will be brought up to the board at a later point.

The type of thing that it might pick up on is safe standing, something that Dave Lemon has raised in the past. A substantial number of our support wants to stand but this has to be set against realistic issues such as available budget.

We will discuss with the board in principle about the cash being made available to do that and problems surrounding regulations. If it cannot be achieved short term then at least it can be included in the club’s long term vision.
Joe Graham: Proposals.

Three of the proposals now have work streams attached: Safe Standing within the Supporters Charter, Heritage group and the Disabled facilities group.

New proposals: we have had five “proposals” enquiries from Niall Shaw, who has unfortunately not been able to attend tonight. They seem to be more ideas than proposals and have been forwarded on to the ideas programme.
7. Any other business.

Donald Adamson talking on behalf of Marvyn Stewart regarding the Cairneyhill local meeting and John Russell talking on behalf of Niall Shaw regarding the Kelty local meeting.

Cairneyhill. The Maltings saw an excellent meeting in March with the launch of the local Pars club there. Marv was excellent - we had Josh, Faissal, Callum and Alex Whittle. Marvyn will be attending the fresh air gala, the Cairneyhill gala and the Crossford gala. The Pars will be represented; seeking to sign people up, with Marv's skills we will have a new club at the start of next season.

Kelty. Around 20 people that night despite a Champions League game on, including Stephen Husband, Danny Grainger and Alex Whittle. A quick review includes: paying tribute to the fans raising money, keeping the club going; the lifeline; the shop and Marv; money coming through from the turnstiles; history of the supporters clubs and the link with Kelty, with a federation that had 26 buses from 26 different supporters clubs. Hoping to recreate this by sharing buses again. The Kelty group have since formed the Kelty & Kinross Branch and the Lizzie are sharing buses with them.

Getting players along to the local meetings is key, get them involved. Get the adults to bring kids along. They want to meet the players while the adults discuss other Supporters issues.

Let’s look at other communities to hold these - Inverkeithing, Oakley, Lothian68, Cowdenbeath, other local mining villages, reach out to the communities in Fife. Rosyth Civil Service club are tentatively interested too. Get the kids involved.

Various ideas were put forward and passed on to the board. Jim Leishman had a Q&A with the players and Marv, as tonight, had a free raffle.

Niall is hoping to have a future meeting within the catchment area. Look at the Facebook page. Please add your ideas for other communities.

Stephen Taylor: 1885 Business Club

The Pars are fortunate, as they are a well known club. Business has always been a fabric of the club e.g. with the Braisbys, Woodrows, etc. However, during the last administration the business community lost faith and money in the club. It was pushed to one side. Pars United saw that early and approached individuals to set up a business club to get money back in to the club, to re-engage with sponsors and businesses.

1885 copied the model that St Johnstone uses. It’s open to all local businesses, retired business people, employers and employees in order to raise funds for the football club on and off the field and support the community and charities. Launched in February, Bill Leckie from the Sun spoke at the first breakfast meeting and Ruth Davidson spoke at the second meeting about her life and career in politics and journalism. Stuart Dougall is planned to talk at the next meeting and we now have around 45 members.
There are many benefits to being a member. There are 5-6 networking meetings planned per year, along with other social events.
We had hospitality for 40 at the Forfar game and two places have been made available in the Directors’ box at home games.
There is an away day being organised and a one-off big night too.
Any information can be found on the website< http://1885club.co.uk/> or from any of the members. We want new businesses to join and we want the club to be fun. Interest so far is looking quite good. There is a joining fee of £50 then a monthly fee of £25.

Donald Adamson - World War 1 Event.

Note in the diaries for a free event on Sunday August 10th.

A day - both thoughtful and fun, to remember those that fought in the great war, many from Dunfermline.

There will be an Antiques Road show type event with World War 1 memorabilia on show ready to have their story told and some experts to give advice on the items.

There will be three short talks on the day. Stories to tell of VCs won including our own board member Ian Hunter’s grandfather David winning his in 1918.

There will be music and pipe playing and a High tea will be served.
The raffle tickets were drawn and Dave Nugent won the signed ball and John Braybrooke won the signed shirt.
Gennaro then thanked everyone for coming along. There is a feel good factor around the club, despite that last game, so let’s get behind the club.
Date of next meeting - TBC in August.

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