Killie Trust

Club Director Monthly Update - December 2021

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24/12/2021

Dear Killie Trust member,

We are in the middle of challenging times, both on and off the pitch and it seems that just as soon as I think I've finished my monthly report with all the relevant Club and Trust information, then something else happens which immediately makes it outdated.

So, once again........here goes!
 
Football and Board Update
As members may be aware, this report has been issued later than I had intended however, with the results on the pitch not going as had been hoped, I wanted to wait until the Board was able to meet and take a decision on the management.

While it would have been unrealistic to expect to win every match, we took into account that we were approaching the halfway point of the season without achieving the points target the manager himself had set, the fact that we had been unable to secure victories over the other teams challenging for promotion, and our poor home record.

Even though the match against Dunfermline was abandoned due to fog, we felt we needed to act at this point in order to allow an incoming manager to have the opportunity to use the transfer window and have enough time to turn things round, as the priority remains to secure promotion.

The existing backroom team are still in post and taking training and preparation for our next match, while work continues to recruit a new manager, with James Fowler giving a short interview recently to KillieTV about this.

I appreciate the backing that fans have given, including those who recently travelled to Inverness and Kirkcaldy and understand their frustrations.

At time of writing, we do not have details when the Dunfermline match will be replayed, but the Club will announce this as soon as it's known.

Since my last report, the Board of Directors have also held meetings with Club Heads of Department to review various aspects of Club operations and plans for 2022.

Graeme Bryson, Company Secretary, confirmed that the Auditors are still working on the annual audit and therefore the Club AGM will require to be scheduled into the new year. Given the ongoing uncertainty of the pandemic, this will once again be a virtual meeting and information will be circulated to shareholders as soon as we have a date – this will be done wherever possible by email, so it is important that contact details are fully up to date with the Club.

I represented the Club at an event organised by SPFL for Clubs in South of Scotland area. This was intended directly to offer club boards the opportunity to engage directly with SPFL Chair, Murdoch McLennan and CEO Neil Doncaster.  Picking up on issues raised by fans as well as within the club, topics I raised included the Deloitte Inquiry looking at increasing revenue into Scottish Football, fixture scheduling, particularly in winter months, future TV/PPV rights, VAR, World Cup shut down period next season, Covid restrictions and future formats of cup competitions.

 
Covid-19 

With the rise of the new Omicron variant, and increasing numbers of cases being reported, the emphasis once again has been very much on taking all precautions to avoid spread within the club.

We kept restrictions in place as far as players and club staff were concerned, so the newly announced arrangements from JRG for Clubs to reinstate previous measures, including increased testing, will be straightforward for the Club.

We did have to delay and scale back some of the things we wanted to do on matchdays, including fanzone, match mascots and half-time activities.

Another impact has been that the safe standing areas could not have the rail seats locked up in place as they must be available to use while the stadium is classed as being a seated venue for Covid passport purposes.

Just after drafting the 'final' version of this report, we heard the announcement from Scottish Government that new restrictions would be imposed from Boxing Day.

I was able to take some soundings quickly via the Trust, KFCSA and SLO and fed back fans views into the Club and the various other meetings. We argued for a 'circuit break' postponement of fixtures in similar terms as the premiership however the majority of Championship clubs wanted matches to continue.

With attendances during this period now capped, we are currently examining the best possible solution to allow 500 of our fans to attend matches.
 

Youth Academy
The Under 18s season has now been completed for 2021 and saw the youths secure a victory over Celtic in their last match.  It has been good to see more fans coming along to see the youth teams in action and it is appreciated by the players and coaching staff when fans turn out in the way they have.

Paul di Giacomo has been working with coaching staff to identify players who will be retained and released from the youth academy. Letting players go is never an easy thing to do and various discussions have taken place on how this process can be improved going forward, including regular feedback to players (and parents where appropriate) and supporting young players to find alternatives where possible.

A successful fundraising event was held in the 1869 Suite, with a Q and A hosted by Ray Montgomerie and featuring James Fowler, Paul di Giacomo and Craig Clark.  This event was arranged at relatively short notice but the plan is to have a calendar of events for the season ahead (pandemic restrictions permitting)

 
KFC Women's Teams
The senior women’s team has continued to battle their way through some tough matches and have climbed up the SWFL2 table to third spot behind Dundee Utd and Glasgow Girls, as well as progressing in the Scottish Women’s Cup.

Congratulations to the Killie girls Under 13s and Under 15s who won their League Cups, with the under 15s taking the honours after a penalty shoot-out!

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Commercial
The retail side continues to perform well, and I’d like to thank all the fans who have continued to buy from the shop – especially in the run up to Christmas!

We have welcomed 2 new staff members, Nikitta and Ryan, to the shop alongside Elsie, Josie and Elaine, while Alyson has moved to the ticketing office with Katrina.
  • The Blue Friday Sale generated just under £10k with over 300 units of the home and away jerseys sold. 
  • Half Season Tickets have started well, with over 80 sold so far
  • Hospitality has now sold out for the entire festive period with limited space available for the Morton match. 
  • A small refresh of the Legends Lounge (which had been used as temporary office space while matches were behind closed doors) means fans who have booked hospitality there will be able to enjoy the new surroundings
  • The 2022 Calendar is on sale  
  • Limited additional stock of the 1985 Retro Shirt is available
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I’d also like to thank fans for their patience as we waited for the Loyalty Season Ticket holder shirts to arrive. These were being sent out in batches direct from the supplier and I know that many fans have already received them and the rest should be arriving through doors very soon!

It has taken much longer than anticipated to have these with fans but unfortunately this was due various implications related to supply side including Covid/Brexit. Despite the delay, I hope that supporters will be pleased with the shirt!

 
 
Media

Another busy period for the media team has seen involvement of the Club in a number of initiatives including: 

  • Supporting  NHS Ayrshire and Arran raise awareness of Oral Health Month
  • PoppyScotland x MatchwornShirt auction for shirts worn v Partick Thistle
  • Oli Shaw cinch Championship Player of the Month award win
  • 18s coverage of Kian Leslie’s new deal and thrilling 4-3 win over Rangers, as well as other matches across the month
  • Half Season Ticket launch
  • Festive edition of Killie Magazine - now in store
  • Virtual visits with patients at Crosshouse and Ayrshire Hospice

 

Neil Hobson, who has been Media Assistant for past three years, is leaving the Club to take up another post and we wish him well for the future.  Given the range of activities and content creation the Club is now involved in, the decision was taken to change the role and recruit for a videographer who can build on the work that Neil has commenced in increasing video content.

 

Stadium Works
The new facility for players has now been completed in the two-storey building behind the Moffat Stand. This provides kitchen/food preparation/dining areas for players to have meals during the week when training, along with space for meetings/briefings etc. On match days it is being used as a base for players families who are being seated in the Moffat Stand.
 
As mentioned in previous reports, the portacabin buildings at the rear of Moffat Stand will have further work done in the spring, most likely from April onwards. As also previously mentioned, this is scheduled to include cladding at the front and will provide much needed office space for club and academy staff. I mention this again as there still seems to be some confusion about this, but at present there is very limited office space within the stadium and this is intended to provide a way of keeping staff on site rather than scattered across different locations.
 
While some additional work has been carried out towards completion of the disabled ramp, the special glass required for finishing is still awaited.
 
Working with Stadium Manager, Billy Bowie has an ongoing maintenance programme planned for the stadium and the Killie Trust has committed volunteer time to assist with some of the routine tasks to keep the stadium clean and tidy.
 
With the memorial garden now finished, further information will be available on plaques in the new year.
Work on the museum area adjacent to the shop is also almost completed.

 
Killie Trust update
The Killie Trust AGM will take place on Monday 24 January 2022, at 7:30pm, via Zoom. This is an opportunity for members to hear from the Trust Board about activities in the past year and forward plans for the year ahead.

It’s been good to see members signing up to our new Killie Trust Community platform supported by Very Connect, as this is intended to improve communications with members and will allow us to develop different ways of providing information – including this report!

For Trust members who haven’t yet joined the platform, you can do so HERE and, as a reminder, membership of the Trust is separate from donating to our Trust in Killie initiative. Details of how to join the Trust can be found here

While Killie Trust members get regular Financial Updates sent directly to them, I know that fans who are not Trust members also read this report, so here are some facts and figures which may help those thinking about joining see the impact of our contributions:
  • Approximately £7-8k per month is being donated via the ‘Trust in Killie’ initiative.
  • Over £370k has been raised from members and other fans contributing. 
  • The Trust and Club have an agreement whereby shares are allocated to the Trust in return for the investment
  • Funds have been used to support major projects  such as the safe standing areas, wheelchair viewing ramp, sanitising stations as well as investing in the youth academy and donating a substantial amount to the club at the outset of the pandemic.
The monies received from membership goes towards meeting the running costs of the Trust, including the website and the new Community platform.

It’s been good to have our regular monthly draws for members and subscribers back in action and to have players announcing the winners in a special video message!
I was pleased to welcome Alistair Cochrane and his guest Billy Jess (pictured below with Emma Wyper, our Hospitality Manager) to the Boardroom for the Partick Thistle match in November and look forward to hosting Richie Boyle and his guest at a future match.
The next winners will be announced soon!

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The generosity of our supporters is well known and our local community also play a role in supporting 'Trust in Killie', with a number of shops and pubs having collecting cans on their premises. Recent donations have come from Ralph’s Newsagent and the Burns Inn in Kilmarnock and Pete’s Store in Dreghorn, while the Saltire Bar in Kilmarnock is the most recent venue to start raising funds.

Thanks also to donations which have come via East of Scotland KFC Supporters Club, who collected money from their members to sponsor Liam Polworth’s first team shirt and donated the £120 remainder to TiK.  Local businesses, Night Design and Rainbow Ink, also donated profits from a T-shirt created for the matches against our rivals in South Ayrshire!

Along with Trust Chair Jim Thomson, I plan to hold further zoom calls with Trust members in the new year to give an opportunity for members to speak to me directly about Club/Trust issues.  While we have previously done this for new members, I’m keen to broaden this to others to encourage views and ideas.

I’d also be grateful for feedback and thoughts on whether this monthly reporting format is useful or receive suggestions on other ways members would like to receive information.

 
KFCDSA
After a break during pandemic lockdowns, the 1869 Suite was once again the venue for KFCDSA Christmas lunch. Continuing restrictions meant limited numbers and less involvement of players than previously but as always members enjoyed a great meal and fantastic raffle!

The Trust is working with KFCDSA to update the equipment they have for providing match day commentary for visually impaired fans at home matches.
 
KFCSA
The annual 'Bring a Gift Day' organised by KFCSA in conjunction with EACHA took place on Saturday 18th December ahead of the home match against Dunfermline.

Once again there was a fantastic response from supporters with well over 600 parcels donated, which will directly benefit children and young people in families who may otherwise have little Christmas cheer.  

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Festive Greetings
Last but not least, I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported the Club through the ups and downs of the season so far, and wish you all a Merry Christmas and happy New Year!
 
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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