Killie Trust

Club Director Monthly Update - February 2021

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24/02/2021

Football Developments

Since my last report we have welcomed Tommy Wright to the Club as our new Manager, following the departure of Alex Dyer, who we wish well for the future.  

Tommy has brought in Paul Stephenson as his Assistant, with Andy Millen also departing. Paul has previous experience at Killie, and with Tommy having an excellent record in and knowledge of Scottish football, they will give us the leadership needed for the remaining matches. 

The Manager has already had an impact within the Club, and met with the Board last week to discuss his plans for the future in terms of what is needed on the playing side. He is already working closely with James Fowler on this.

He thanked everyone at the Club for making him welcome and the Board and James for responding quickly to secure Kyle Lafferty. Prior to the manager’s arrival, loans were also secured for Zech Medley (Arsenal) and Brandon Pierrick (Crystal Palace), giving added depth to the squad.

It has been good to hear the Manager make reference to the supporters and his commitment to bring back football which will excite the fans. However, he has also been clear that the immediate task is to turn round recent poor results and pick up points. 

 

Youth Academy
The SFA are still in discussions regarding the future shape and criteria for Youth Academies, which has meant some continuing uncertainty for us. With no match programme in place, some Academy staff remain on full furlough, with others on flexible furlough to allow continued contact with players. Academy staff have made it a priority to ensure players and parents have been kept actively involved in some capacity over the last couple of months, building on arrangements which have been in place in previous lockdowns. 

The Academy has an activity diary with something for the players every weekday, whether in the form of fitness classes, Strava group tasks, Hudl skill tests or workshops on various things to do with their general Health and Well Being and Mental Health. They have also had inputs on Show Racism the Red Card and the laws of the game. Five first team players have participated in Player Master Classes, which were described as “brilliant!" 

Academy director Paul McDonald has also arranged various online CPD sessions for Academy staff with clubs such as Ajax, Manchester City, Leicester and Panathinaikos. Full-time Academy players have also recently started an additional online college course, in partnership with Ayrshire College, as a bolt on to the modern apprentice programme, to help upskill them even more during their time with the Academy. 

The school programme is welcoming another six/seven new pupils in August this year from the U12s squad, who already have five currently attending the school. This will increase the number to around 30 players. The Academy was recently asked to present to the staff at Dundee FC, who have now successfully launched their own school programme. 

Last, but not least, congratulations to Academy Director Paul McDonald who has completed his UEFA Pro Licence after two years of study. 

 

Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust

With lockdown restrictions continuing, KCST staff have also been on flexible furlough. During February staff have recommenced the Hexagol activity to school hubs, where children of key workers and vulnerable children attend during the school day. This is done in line with strict Covid protocols, but with plans now in place for a phased return to school for some pupils, it is anticipated that requests will continue.

It is also planned to set up a new “Weigh to Go” programme with the NHS, as soon as restrictions allow.

 

Commercial and Finance
The wider environment for Scottish Football continues to be tough, with present lockdown measures and likely further restrictions making it unlikely that we will see any progress in the near future on fans returning to stadium.

As outlined in my previous report and in the ‘On Board In Person’ Q and A, the Club is developing options on future Season Passes, and the focus groups will take place when initial proposals are drafted. Discussions are taking place within the SPFL regarding future broadcasting and pay-per-view options. 
Applications for the Scottish Government Loan scheme have now closed, and as indicated the Company Secretary Graeme Bryson has submitted an application on behalf of the Club.

I was involved in a number of discussions with SPFL regarding representations to Scottish Government on the current situation facing Scottish Football. 

At this stage we have no further information on when Scottish Cup matches will be played.

Our own Commercial operations continue to go well, with the shop doing brisk business on shirts and other items.

All Blue Bricks ordered before end January are now in place. Anyone still wishing to order can do so via the shop website. A limited number of Champ 1965 and Retro 1985 shirts are still available.

The Killie Face masks have also sold well and at the end of the season a percentage of the profit from these will be given to our partner charity Crosshouse Children’s Fund.

If anyone has any issues regarding shop or commercial operations generally, Gregg McEwan, Head of Marketing and Commercial Operations, is happy to hear directly from supporters. He can be emailed at [email protected]. This may enable a quicker and more personalised resolution of issues than tagging the Club on social media platforms!

Another reminder also that the Killie Cares Fund (formerly Killie Lotto) helps raise funds for youth development at the Club and information on how to join is on the club website.

 

Media and Communications
As outlined earlier, it’s been a month of arrivals and exits at Rugby Park and the media team have been busy covering the start of a new era for the club following Tommy Wright’s appointment.

Killie fans got to hear from their new manager first when he sat down with Killie TV on day one of the job while you also got a look at his first training session.
      
As well as his pre- and post-match media commitments, Tommy has appeared on BBC’s Sportsound programme and given fans a glimpse of the man behind the manager by taking part in the Scottish Sun’s A to Z feature.

It was a busy deadline day with Zech Medley and Brandon Pierrick arriving on the final night of the window while the signing of Kyle Lafferty generated plenty of interest.

Stuart Findlay joined our Killie TV team for Tommy’s debut match against Motherwell while former players Cammy Bell, Tom Brown, Jim Clark, David MacKinnon and Billy Stark have also featured on coverage throughout February.

The first of our Killie Rituals series, telling supporters’ stories as they follow the club from home through the pandemic, was published and featured some lovely tales which reminds us exactly what this club means to us all.

A new episode of the We Are Killie podcast is planned for release in early March.

 

SFA Independent Report
Final Independent Report into non-recent sexual abuse in Scottish football published

The SFA has now published the final report which contains a raft of recommendations on how to improve safeguarding. Many of the recommendations are aimed at the wider football environment and a number of interim steps have already been taken to try to improve safeguarding. 

KFC is reviewing our own policies and procedures in light of the report, to ensure that we are implementing best practice across the Club.

 

Inclusion and Diversity
At KFC we pride ourselves on being an inclusive community club, welcoming people irrespective of their backgrounds, race, gender identity or disabilities.

Following the racist abuse contained in a letter to former manager Alex Dyer, we were angry and disgusted to see a further racist comment aimed at him appear on social media. This was reported  to the police by Killie fans and I understand that the individual has been identified and reports made to Procurator Fiscal. We do not believe the person involved in this incident was a Kilmarnock FC supporter.

We are pleased to be continuing a positive relationship with Show Racism the Red Card, and our players ‘Taking the Knee’ before matches shows our support for Black Lives Matter campaign. 

The Scottish FA, in partnership with LEAP Sports and Football v Homophobia Scotland, has launched the Football Unites; Football v Homophobia Scotland E-Learning course which can be accessed by anyone involved within Scottish Football and beyond.

The 2020 publication of the Scottish Football Supporters Survey showed less than half of fans surveyed feel Scottish football is an inclusive place for people of any sexual orientation.

The launch of the E-Learning module aims to combat this statistic and coincides with Football v Homophobia Month of Action which uses the month of February to promote positive action against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity throughout football.

Scottish FA launches e-learning Homophobia course to educate and raise awareness

 

Contacts
I can be contacted in the usual ways:

Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Cathy Jamieson
Twitter: @cathyjamieson
Instagram: cathyjamiesonkillie

Best wishes

Cathy
 

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