Supporters Council - 14 May 2015
It was a very busy Kingdom Suite that played venue for this Supporters’ Council meeting. John Russell was chair for the evening and Eddie Martin was secretary.
John Russell welcomed everyone to the meeting and there was also a warm welcome to Allan Johnston the new manager of Dunfermline Athletic Football Club. John paid tribute to the players that had just left the club - it was received well and greeted with a round of applause.
Ross McArthur proceeded to give a boardroom update.
Last season there were 2100 Season Ticket holders, Average home attendance 2700
Centenary Lifeline 1050 members
Social Media is going really well
Match day hospitality close to max capacity
Increased interest in commercial activities.
The football club is moving in the right direction and investment was made in the playing squad last year and again investment will be made for next season. It was agreed with the board that John Potter had taken the team as far as he could and a new Manager was to his place. Candidates were invited to apply and 75 people applied for the position. The board were delighted that Allan has stepped up to the mark, he has the same ambition as the board for taking the club forward. John Potter will now continue in his contracted role as Head Coach. Neil McCann decided to leave at the end of the season.
A financial report was then given by Ross. He stated that the budgeted loss of £250,000 will be on target. That loss has eroded, but not wiped out, our investment capital. League position cost us £50,000, and we lost out on £100,000 by not making third round of Scottish Cup.
Centenary Club Lifeline continues to prove a vital role. Matchday attendances have been higher than budget, and matchday hospitality and sponsorship are both ahead of budget.
Next year - after a full year of running the Club there is a much better understanding of the costs involved. Ross stressed that there is a need to encourage early take up of season tickets, more walk ups, more Centenary Club members. Every supporter can help boost revenue stream.
There is an annual £56,000 electricity cost for stadium. Board do not take our fans for granted - as a community club we do need the fans. Bring a Friend, Grow the Centenary Club Lifeline, maintain hospitality, buy stock from the shop, encourage walk ups, all vital roles in maintaining and improving our income stream.
Maximise commercial income opportunities:
1. Match Sponsorship
2. Match Ball Sponsorship
3. Player Sponsorship
4. Playing Training Gear Sponsorship
6. New Sponsorship opportunities
Announcements tomorrow re sponsorships already in place.
Naming rights for East End Park - we are looking for this too.
We need to encourage engagement with the supporters, make everyone feel that is their club, and act in a dignified and open manner.
Transparent Board statement last week
Season Ticket Campaign - "Through Thick and Thin" launched on Friday
Provisional kit launch and Open Day 5 July.
Early bird discount ends end of May
Under 12s free season tickets offered too.
Ross said that it is our club and we want to be open and transparent.
The DAFC Open Day and kit launch will be on 5 July at the Glen Pavilion.
Questions were then taken from the floor
Q from floor - Stuart Arnott – Do enough of the kids at local schools knew about the free under12s season tickets?
A – It is getting hammered home now about the season tickets for the u12s with an adult: this is a great bargain and designed for families.
Willie – In the work that Dave, Gennaro and I do, with a wide range of local schools, we push the message that DAFC is a great place for families and we want young supporters.
Ross - Yes. A focus on the young supporter and especially family groups is a key part of our strategy.
Gennaro – And this includes targeting their parents too!
Q - Stuart Simpson - on change of manager last year. Second change, from Christmas to New Year. JP going to be head coach - no players improved. Is it because of financial reasons that JP stays?
A - Ross - John is under contract. Allan has a budget for the backroom staff, and has worked with John before. John will continue as head coach. We have got to learn from where we are rather than look back.
Q - What is the position regarding the Pitreavie situation?
A – Ross McArthur - The major disputes are over we hope. We hope that we can put this distraction behind us now.
Q - Is there a possibility of a 3G pitch being installed as it could be a revenue generator?
A - Bob Garmory - A 3G pitch is a possibility and a revenue generator; it has been thought about. However, there are loads of 3G pitches in West Fife and the Club has no finances to go towards it so we are not pursuing this at the moment.
John Russell introduced the new football manager Allan Johnston to the meeting, he was warmly greeted by everyone. He stated that he was delighted to be here as it is a massive club, it is ambitious with a massive potential - we need to take the club forward.
"We are going to be working with a smaller squad this year. It is going to be tighter but hopefully we can get better quality. I think that is what we need and probably emphasised by the league position we finished in last year. It just wasn't good enough. We need to freshen up the squad, it is a great opportunity to do that with so many players leaving”.
The questions asked of Allan were covered in the dafc.co.uk report of the evening and can be found here: Official website report
John Russell thanked AJ for answering the questions so fully, and hoped that his time at EEP would be both happy and successful.
Drew Main gave a report back on the Disabled Access Group:
The new platform and facilities for away fans have gone down well, as have the Weather protection screens behind the wheelchair platforms in the Norrie and East Stands. We had a request to provide shelves to put Bovril on - so we spent a wee bit more money on that, to provide something more robust.
The whole stadium - the steps have all been painted yellow for sight impaired fans, and for those with hearing disabilities we have purchased five induction loop systems.
We have also got some fleece blankets (helped by DASC) for wheelchair spectators - cold place to sit.
Match Buddy Scheme was launched last season – the volunteers (Erin and Clover) can help with getting tickets or food and drink, assist when going to the toilet and provide some company. We need more volunteers, so please get in touch.
In the main reception, when you come down on the lift, there was a large ramp (Forth Bridge engineered!), but we now have a small lightweight ramp which is much easier to use.
Things have been done on the back of a free audit by ESL Services (who deserve great credit), which gave us a list of things that we needed to do and that's where a lot of this has come from. Along with the DAFC Directors, they also sponsored a box for hospitality for disabled supporters. Next season this will happen again. Many thanks to ESL Services
Also, all these things mentioned couldn't have been done without the help of Purvis Group, A K Moyes, Stevie Vaughan, PST, the stadium management group, donations from individuals (some coming through requests from DAFC.net). It has been a fantastic response.
Stuart Shanks, one of our wheelchair fans, and part of our group, has a blog in the programme about his experiences. This will provide a bit of an insight into our group, and a new perspective on supporting the Pars
Looking forward - we have a requirement to provide more parking spaces for disabled fans. Consequently there will be a new disabled parking area by the East stand – work to be carried out in the Close Season.
We've all gone down the steps to the club shop - needs a handrail. The group will get this sorted.
There are now two seating areas for ambulant disabled people in the Norrie. This seating will allow supporters with a vision impairment attend matches with their assistance dogs. In addition to this, ambulant disabled toilet facilities in the Norrie have also been recently created.
We hope to work with volunteers from Fife College going forward to assist in a variety of capacities.
The original proposal from Feb 2014 Supporters’ Council was to provide disabled access to Legends / Charlie Ds / Rennie Suite. Jim Henderson and I have worked very hard on access to Legends. Internal and external lifts have been investigated and also the use of a motorised stair climber capable of taking manual and electric wheelchairs. We presented their proposal to the Board. Whilst the external lift is the access group’s preferred option, it is recognised that there are significant costs associated with undertaking such a project. Therefore Ishbel Russell and Jason Barber (from the stadium management group) are looking at different options for this project.
Shiresmill Therapy Centre (formerly Dunfermline District Riding for the Disabled) - open day in August, to be supported by the Pars this year (like last year).
Duncan Simpson from the DAFC Heritage Group gave a rousing and entertaining report back which started off with some questions
1. Q: Is AJ - 15th, 22nd or 29th manager? a - 29th manager
2. Q: AJ was a former Scotland player - how many Pars managers were full internationals? a - 10!
3. Q: Which of these former managers were appointed at a younger age than AJ?
a - all of them!
Now that Duncan had everyone's attention it was explained that the Dunfermline Athletic Heritage Trust has come a long way in a short period of time:
Charitable status - that has been an enormous mountain to climb, but has now been obtained.
Our own website, which will be developed over time.
Photographs of all known artefacts that the Club had in its possession, and which were transferred to the Trust.
Organised three temporary exhibitions before recent home matches (in the foyer by the Club Shop).
We now have a database with full profiles of every single player between 2000 and 2015, and we are starting work now to go back progressively further.
Archived thousands of action, head and team photographs – work done by club photographer Craig Brown.
Developed links with Dunfermline Museum, McCrae's Battalion Trust and some local heritage groups.
Carried out fund raising.
Recruited new volunteers to the Heritage Trust.
We are trying to link the club to the community through the Heritage Trust – though it is worth noting that a recent volunteer is based in New Zealand!
Next, we have ambitious plans:
Now that we have got the website - it will be populated soon.
Develop the display of DAFC artefacts in order to tell the story of Dunfermline Athletic.
In six months’ time, we intend to hold an important exhibition – it being 20 years after the death of Norrie McCathie.
Next summer – we plan a trip to Contalmaison in France to remember the deaths of Pars players and supporters in WW1.
Carry out a series of interviews with old players and supporters. This will develop we hope with visits to pensioner groups, including an increasing contact with Alzheimer's Scotland.
All volunteers would be warmly welcomed. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
John Russell then asked if there were any new proposals.
In Niall Shaw’s absence Donald Adamson put forward a proposal on AMA (“ ask me anything”)
Volunteers will work with Ross McArthur to build a platform - a blitz system - online for say an hour - and anyone anywhere can throw questions. This is essentially for the club to talk on an ongoing and regular basis to the supporters and vice versa.
The meeting were reminded that Volunteers are needed to help the club with stadium maintenance.
The meeting was then closed by John Russell.