Killie Trust

Club Director Monthly Update - August 2021

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02/09/2021

Dear Killie Trust member,

Writing this report just after the home match against Inverness Caley Thistle highlights once again the roller coaster that is the life of a Killie fan!  After winning the opening three league matches, which Club Historian John Livingston tells us has only happened three times, the most recent being 1964/65, it was disappointing to lose in the top of the table clash. In his post-match interview, Manager Tommy Wright gave an honest and forthright view of the performance and made clear his desire to return to winning ways as quickly as possible.
 
Attendance at the match was 5,004, with a small but vocal away support. Thanks to all our fans who came along and for the fantastic away support we have taken to Queen of the South and Hamilton, and the cup clash against Hibs.  
 
Prior to the match, there was a minute’s applause to remember those we have lost during the pandemic and to recognise and thank NHS and all key workers who have supported our communities through tough times.
 
The suggestion to do this came from fans, and Club was happy to help make it happen.

 

Covid and stadium update
After a series of discussions and inspections, East Ayrshire Council authorised a stadium capacity of 14,743 fans. Although wider Covid restrictions have been relaxed, the Club is still required to operate with various restrictions, including social distancing, and a “Red Zone” as far as players and staff are concerned.  Due to the impact of the Red Zone in the Frank Beattie Stand, and ongoing works in the Moffat Stand, a number of supporters had to be relocated from their usual seats and the Club is grateful to them for their understanding.
 
Thanks to the Killie Trust volunteers who once again stepped up to help prepare the stadium for the match, by removing the seat stickers which were required for the Ayr match, and putting in place season ticket holder ‘reserved’ stickers.  
 
Billy Bowie continues to lead on stadium developments including the installation of the new disabled area and hopes to have further work undertaken in the next month. 
 
The prefabricated units behind the Moffat Stand will provide additional facilities for players to use allowing the 1869 Suite - which is currently used for players meals etc to allow for social distancing - to be available for hospitality and external event bookings again. 
 
With the new Killie superstore now open and fully operational, work is progressing on the adjacent area, which will house a small museum / exhibition area. 
 
Plans are in place to have a formal opening of the memorial garden which is almost fully completed. 

 

Football Department and Youth Academy 

The Manager and Head of Football Operations have continued to work on the squad, bringing in Oli Shaw from Ross County. It had been hoped to bring in another player but this was not possible ahead of the transfer deadline. 

The Manager will continue to look at options to use the loan market, with a further few weeks available to do that.
 
More young players have gone out on loan, to give them opportunities for game time, and it will be good to follow their progress.
 
As Head of Football Operations, James Fowler is overseeing the work relating to the future format of Youth Academy, and how there can be improved pathways for players through to first team. The Board met with James to discuss best way forward and Phyllis McLeish is leading on progressing  work with James on future finances of the Academy and how to create a long-term, sustainable structure.
 
I met with James and Women’s First Team Head Coach, Andy Gardner, to discuss likely future requirements for the team, and how we can work with the Killie Trust to develop a volunteer pool to help them on matchdays, and with raising funds to support individual players.
 
If anyone is interested in sponsoring the women’s first team or a player, please get in touch!

 

Commercial
The new Killie Superstore saw a record breaking first four weeks, selling almost all of the initial batch of home and away tops. The third strip is expected to arrive in the month ahead, and early orders have been placed for Christmas stock to get it into the store in good time. We expect re-stock of the kits to arrive soon, but these have been impacted by various delays caused by Covid-19 and Brexit. We appreciate fans’ patience.
 
Season Ticket sales are now over 3,700, with significant increases in the younger age group categories. There are over 2,200 Loyalty season ticket holder in this number, meaning that we have had over 1,500 new season ticket holders sign up for season 2021/22. Loyalty Season ticket holders will receive their commemorative shirt through the post very soon. Again, these have been impacted by various supply delays caused by the global pandemic.
 
Over 80% of the season tickets purchased were done so online or via smart phones. The system’s capability to store season tickets on these devices has also been well received. Fans wishing a plastic card won’t have long to wait, as these will be sent directly to you from our ticketing partner. We expect these to be with you shortly.
 
Commercial Revenue has been positive with income from Club Title Sponsors, Chairman’s Club Memberships, Perimeter Board Advertising and Player Sponsorship.
 
Player sponsors and advertising boards are managed by Ray Montgomerie and anyone interested should get in touch with him at [email protected].
 
Advance sales of hospitality packages have also been positive, and we expect to be open for private hire events again very soon. If you are interested in discussing options further, please contact the team on [email protected].
 
Ticketing for the opening league match proved more challenging than anticipated due to issues with the upload of data which reallocated season ticket holders to different seats to meet the requirements on social distancing set by the local authority. While TicketCo had been confident in the process despite the short timescale, it quickly became apparent that it was not going smoothly. Emails to season ticket holders did not issue all at once, which understandably caused confusion and concern for fans wanting to know that they had tickets.
 
Approximately 200 season ticket holders were not uploaded to the new seating map and staff then had to manually add the ones that were missed due to a glitch in the TicketCo system.
 
Both the Supporter Liaison Officer and I assisted a number of fans by liaising with ticket office staff to help them get their tickets. Following the match, the club received around half a dozen written complaints from season ticket holders who had been unable to get tickets and these individuals were given an apology and will be welcomed at no cost to a future cup match. The team have carried out a thorough investigation with TicketCo and have been assured this won’t happen again. 
 
I appreciate that there has been some dissatisfaction over arrangements for away tickets. Unfortunately, clubs do not all have the same ticketing systems and hence there has been no consistency, with some online sales and others being paper tickets. KFC is therefore not always able to be in control of away ticket sales but staff will do their best to provide information to fans and try to improve things where possible. Fans will notice that we are selling all of our tickets online as well as from the ticket office.

The Supporter Liaison Officer travels to away matches and is always keen to assist with arrangements to ensure fans get their tickets.
 
With a few new partnerships in the wings, stay tuned to the club social media channels and website for more information.

 

Media
The Media Team have been working to bring you closer to the action, capturing some wonderful moments so far including this father and son celebration at Queen of the South as well as the collective Killie roar at Hamilton as Scott Robinson opened the scoring.
 
 
The third episode of “First Mates”, giving an insight into the personalities in our squad, is now online, and the second of the new format monthly magazines is in preparation. Martin Boyle, a new Trust Board member will be collating the two pages the Trust has been allocated in the magazine, and we hope that this will help take the Trust message to a wider audience.

As was the case last season, an agreement between the SPFL, Sky Sports and the BBC allows the live streaming of league matches by clubs through a virtual season ticket and pay per view basis, subject to conditions.
 
However, unlike last year, the English FA has applied for and has been granted ‘blocked hours’ by UEFA between 2.45pm and 5.15pm on Saturday afternoons for the majority of dates this season, meaning supporters in England won’t be able to watch games.
 
Any home matches played outside this time period will not be impacted and Saturday’s SPFL Trust Trophy match v Falkirk will be available to view in all parts of the UK. We will continue to include which games are impacted in our regular matchday broadcast information articles.

 

Other recent activity
As we have continued to see Trust membership rise, I thought it might be helpful to summarise the key things I have been working on and involved with in the past few weeks, to give a flavour of the range of issues:
 
- Providing an update on Club activity and reporting back on issues previously raised to monthly Killie Trust Board meeting.

- Several meetings with Killie Trust Board Chair to take forward plans for identifying future projects including KFC volunteer scheme and Junior Trust. 

- Arranged and participated in meeting with Gregg McEwan, Head of Marketing and Commercial Operations and Trust Chair Jim Thomson to take forward discussions, including on match mascots, volunteering, Junior Trust and fundraising activities.

- Meeting with SLO to discuss issues raised by fans, which need actioned or fed back to KFC Board. Now that restrictions lifted we hope this will become a regular monthly meeting.   

- Meeting with Sandy Armour to discuss Killie Hippo fanzine plans for raising funds for defibrillators and future plans for season tickets for disadvantaged and low income families. A number of fans have highlighted the way in which Motherwell FC was able to raise cash to buy season tickets for unemployed supporters, and suggested that rather than various schemes operating under different groups, a coordinated approach would be useful. I will convene a meeting to take this forward. 

- I have again received representations from some Killie fans about the wording which some supporters are still using in the “Super Killie Away” song, despite previous efforts by supporters’ groups to have this changed. I spoke out about this on a recent podcast, explaining why the wording is not appropriate, and have recommenced communications with KFCSA, SLO and the Trust on how best we can work together on this. 
 
- Discussion with Child Welfare and Protection Officer Charlie Adams on his future role now that SFA policy is for this role to work across the Club and not only in the Academy. 

- Regular meetings with Club Directors and staff, including Club Secretary, Head of Media and Head of Marketing and Commercial Operations. 

- Meetings with club HR Consultant to finalise a review of Club policies and updates to employment contracts. 

- Liaising with Killie Trust and KCST regarding possible funding opportunities, specifically around creation of volunteer project. There are a number of potential opportunities for volunteering, both on matchdays and at other times, so if anyone is interested, please get in touch. 

- Keeping in touch with the Scottish Football Supporters Association on current developments with Scottish Football Alliance review. 

- Keeping in touch with Supporters Direct Scotland on current issues. An online meeting has been set up for Supporter Directors in September which I will participate in. 

- Various meetings and discussions relating to SFA Chid Protection working Group and sub Groups.

 

Future engagement with fans
Now that restrictions have relaxed, we are keen to set up another On Board in Person event, and are looking for a time which works for the Manager to attend. The Club is also committed to bringing the focus group which helped with the season ticket offer back together to review progress and look at future.
 
I would be keen to build on the engagement we have already through various channels, but also think about what would be best going forward.  If any Trust members have thoughts on this please get in touch.
 
Some suggestions are:
 
  • Zoom calls for new Trust members to fund out more about the Trust and Club working together.
  • Meet and Greet type events in person or online for all Trust members.
  • Trust Board members, SLO and I to be available on some matchdays for informal discussion or as a point of contact.
  • Short video updates in addition to this written report.

 

Contacts
I can be contacted in a number of ways: 

Email : [email protected]
Twitter: @cathyjamieson
Instagram: cathyjamiesonkillie
Facebook: cathy jamieson 

While I am happy to engage on social media when I can, I’m sure members will understand that I am not monitoring that round the clock, so may not be able to instantly reply, and an email to me is often a better way of dealing with more complex issues.

Supporters Liaison Officer Allen Kyle is also happy to deal with queries from fans and he will let me know of any issues that need to be raised at Board level.

Club staff, the Child Wellbeing and Protection Officer and Kilmarnock Football Club Disabled Supporters Association can be contacted directly with details available on the club website.

Best wishes,

Cathy

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