Supporters’ Council – 24 May 2018
7pm, 24 May 2018 Purvis Suite, East End Park
Chair: John Russell
Slide Presentations: Adam Shepherd
Online Reporting/Minutes: Lorna Morton
Guess the gate – John Lloyd (Sliema Par)For “Guess the Seasons”, contestants must guess on dafc.net the number of DAFC season tickets sold, with the closing date being two weeks before the end of the season ticket sales. John announced the winners.
Average gate over the 2017/18 season was 5312
Highest attendance was 7585 v Dundee United
Total number of season tickets sold was 3,587
Schools Engagement Programme – Dave DawsonDave gave a brief summary of the four programmes that made up the DAFC Schools Engagement Project, and what had been achieved in 2016/17:
Pars Media Stars (writing and speaking about literacy) – run by Wullie Oliphant, this year’s school visits involved 1081 pupils.
Pars Tackle Health (diet, fitness, health, motivation) – run by Gennaro Giudice, there had been 25 school visits involving 1133 pupils.
Stadium Tours (jobs behind the scenes) – run by Dave Dawson, this year’s school visits involved 391 pupils.
Dave introduced Gennaro who described the feeling of success in winning the SPFL Trust award for “Best Community Project”.
The presentation video was shown. Gennaro explained how the Pars had beaten the competition from Celtic, Hearts and Aberdeen in the final. The idea behind the project is to work in partnership with local schools to provide education, sport and health and wellbeing opportunities. Players visit schools and explain to pupils what it’s like being a footballer and how they lead a fit and healthy lifestyle. The project is also about bringing the football club into the community and bringing the community into the football club.
Chairman - Ross McArthur - Where we areAnother positive season improving upon last season, by finishing fourth, only 3 points off second place. In comparison to 2016/17 season: we gained 11 more points; scored 16 more goals; and conceded 6 less goals. We had the best defensive record in the league, and only Champions, St Mirren scored more goals (3). Results in the second quarter limited our chances of success. We need to be more consistent and resilient. Challenge once again is to improve next season – retain the core of the squad and bring in better quality players if we can. However, the reality is that players will move on.
We will be close to break-even/could be a small profit/loss as at 31 May 2018. Retained capital reserves have not reduced over past 3 seasons, rising from 29th place to 16th place in SPFL, under the management of Allan Johnston. Remarkable achievement as managing and running a full time provincial football club at this level is difficult. The football club is unlike any other business; whereby you RELY on £300,000 of donations and say £200,000 of voluntary time
Rangers League Cup tie was the bonus ball. It allowed us to invest in the playing squad, new equipment, and scouting system & database. We were hit hard by severe weather, with no home game for nearly 2 months. Morton Scottish Cup tie was a blow. Over last two seasons we have made a significant capital investment in and around the Stadium; gym; turnstiles; furniture; upgrading lounges. As a result, we are faced with a significant six figure depreciation. This coming season, we are limiting capital spending. Capital reserves will remain intact.
We still receive fantastic support from so many volunteers with their time and experience on match days and out with match days. We still receive fantastic support from within the Pars Family with their financial support (CCL; 1885; DASC; PST) which is invaluable. Superb support from all our sponsors and advertisers. The supporters continue to follow our club in good numbers, home and away, and the “12th man” does makes a massive difference. Overall attendances slightly ahead of budget, but the number of concessions continue to reduce income per head. We continue to be one of the best supported provincial clubs in Scotland. 93,962 spectators attended East End Park for League fixtures.
Football:Allan Johnston and his back-room staff continue to do a fantastic job and deserve praise. We recovered from a difficult period, during the season, and finished the season with real momentum. So unlucky against Dundee United in play-off matches; got to use that as motivation for next season. We will operate with around 29 full time players next season. Contract discussions are ongoing with existing and new players. New Strength & Conditioning Gym now fully operational and making a difference. We continue to try to learn from other clubs in terms of scouting and recruitment and working more closely together.
Next season’s SPFL Championship will be really challenging. At least 3 clubs will have bigger budgets (Ross County, Dundee United, Partick Thistle). At least 6 or 7 clubs will have ambitions of top four. We will participate in the new reserve league next season (17/18 teams). We’ve recruited several apprentices from FEFA U17 group. They beat Celtic, Hibs x2, Hearts, Kilmarnock, Patrick x2, Motherwell x2 and drew with Rangers. Also beat Sunderland 4-1 at Academy of Light. The plight of the other Fife teams creates uncertainty over the future of FEFA.
Ongoing support of the fans continues to be vital for club. Renewing season tickets for next season will assist the playing budget. Attend home matches and encourage friends and family to come along. Continue to pay or join the Centenary Club Lifeline if you have not done so already. Consider match day hospitality for any friends or family special events. Consider hiring one of the function rooms at club for birthday parties or any special celebrations. Thank you from the board of DAFC for your continued support, it is greatly appreciated.
Q - Crowds coming into East End Park - crowd is announced, but doesn’t seem to be true - how does that work - do you take the season tickets into account even if they are not there?
A - Yes, we do because every other club does the same. Next season, free season tickets for the club for the kids won’t be included in the attendance.
Q - supporting the pars for over 60 years - this season the early bird season ticket, i have done this for myself, my grand kids etc, but I don’t know what I’m going to be watching on the park. Is there a reason players never get 2/3?
A - We are offering more than one year contracts. Age of player, injury record, playing at a higher level who may have not made it at a higher level. Two young players who were valuable at the end of last season - Lee and Tom - have been offered 2 year contracts. Some players we might offer them a one year contract, we have to attract good players, some players might not like a 3 year contract, because they want to play at a higher level. Not all players will get 2 year contracts, depends on the individuals. A 3 year contract is a massive variable. The difference in income depending on our final league position could be related to 10% of our overall turnover.
Q - Playoffs - crowds were quite good here - money goes to the SPFL - it`s not shared with the Pars?
A - Of the home crowd we get 42.5% of the income figure. the other percentage goes to the SPFL which goes to the parachute payment towards the club going down (!)
We are looking at the play off system, the team set ups etc. Championship clubs are looking into this as everything is placed at the feet of the premiership clubs, which is wrong.
Manager - Allan Johnston
Allan started by saying he thought we had a rollercoaster season. He personally thanked everyone for the support. He said, “it`s great to re sign for two more years”.
Q – Firstly, thank you for last season and I’m sure everyone feels that we didn’t deserve to go out by Dundee United. The players now are my concern.
A - Last season we were trying to sign Callum Morris and we wanted to sign for 2 years but he only wanted 1 year - we want the security, potential to go higher, they listen to their agents, don’t know about their future, maybe they can earn money elsewhere, move somewhere else, so are not committed to sign 2 year contracts, it makes it especially difficult at this time of year.
Q - You`ve signed on how about the backroom staff - does this also include JP and Sandy -
A - John still to sign his contract but he is staying; Sandy too.
Q - Difficult spell – what’s the one thing you take from that?
A - It was very hard, you look at the fixtures, try to handle defeat, you’ve got to remain positive, you’ve got to make sure you don’t get on a run like that, whether thats tactical and players form, pure confidence when you start losing confidence, how it affects players, staying positive from the fans, its times like that we need everyone sticking together; in january you have to bring in more energy and more players.
Q - Two players - not offering Jason Talbot now, but it may happen - reason? Every home game JT starts - one of the best defenders in the championship. Is it because we are not offering a two year contract?
A - Jason has been consistent over the last couple of seasons, as a team we would like to try and strengthen in that area. Jason Talbot may yet be offered a new contract, depending on the outcome of other moves/deals.
- AJ would not discount more loan deals but explained that they were difficult to negotiate early in the window, as they were usually dependent on other moves in and out of clubs.
- we will aim to be more effective in attack next season - chances/conversion rate must improve.
- Sandy Clark and John Potter will be signing new contracts very soon.
- Callum Smith will not be going on loan next season. Cammy Gill might be loaned out, depending on Sean Murdoch`s recovery from injury.
- AJ prefers not to use a target man in attack, instead looking for quick, exciting attackers; he did say that using a taller striker as a Plan B could be considered.
Aird - he had agreed a contract - 2 years - 2 hours before he was going to do that he has joined Dundee United.
Ross commented - don`t believe everything you read in the paper - they came in and deliberately did that when they knew he was due to sign with us.
Q - What`s with Jack Ross going to Sunderland? A wee rumour going around about Potts going there too.
A - We want him to stay here and hopefully he will sign his new contract with us tomorrow.
Q - Social media - as a manager you tell players not to read forums etc - but do they actually read about them? What`s their reaction?
A - Yes, they do. I can go on social media, but I don’t tend to. Young lads will read, will see the negativity and it does affect them, personally i wish they stayed off it but that`s part of football these days, they just have to handle that.
Q - is Callum Smith coming back in for next season?
A - Yes, he went to Alloa on loan there, he is coming back here. He has a lot of talent.
Q - New players?
A - When some contracts are finished, and they stop getting paid thats when to catch them!
Q - Any specific arrangements with clubs down south - Falkirk getting players from England - they do seem to cast the net?
A - We have been trying to improve, we never had anything in place before, spoke to Sunderland, Leeds United, make them first port of call, trying to put this in place, not just bring players up that aren`t good enough, good trust and relationships
Q - Diamond is Tom Beadling!
A - Yes i know contacts at Sunderland and we have scouts watching them.
Q - What on earth happens in Scotland re a corner kick - shirts being tugged, held, Declan McManus knocked off the ball easily, Leigh Griffiths effect when the player blocks the corner completely in the goal area.
A - I think it happened with Falkirk, Bobby Madden gave a penalty and it was the wrong decision for holding after a corner. it`s the lack of consistency. Can’t hold in the box, it does happen, it happens in other countries as well.
Q – I’ve watched a lot of games, and we go with Robinson in goals, take Higgy off that park and Robinson goes nowhere.
A - I don’t think we are the biggest team in the world biggest players up front, Higgy beats the front men of all other teams, Lee has been consistent. Delighted to have him sign up.
Q - Varying things - if Lee takes a bad kick, it`s going to Higgy all the time - if I was the opposing manager….
A - Then it`s the opposing manager that needs to think about it!
Q - On behalf of’ NeverTenYairds’ - Big Faissal is he coming back?
A - Would love him to come back, best player I have worked with, surprised he hasn’t gotten a lot of play at Dundee, but I’m not the Dundee manager.
Q - New players?
A - We are looking to bring in some 19 first team players. We need cover for all areas, best quality that we can, we want to go further next year, try to keep the nucleus to the squad, and push us on a bit further.
Q - Is there any more news on James Vincent?
A - Boys like that are contracted at other clubs, not always in our hands, we would like to know if we can bring him back, but it remains to be seen.