Killie Trust

Club Director Monthly Update - October 2021

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07/11/2021

 

It’s great to be writing this report on the back of three wins, including the local derby match, and sitting at the top of the league. The life of a Killie fan is always a bit of a rollercoaster, and we all knew that the championship is a tough league where we are going to be one of the teams that everyone wants to beat. We do have a tough schedule ahead, particularly at the end of November / beginning of December when we have Scottish Cup and SPFL Trust Trophy ties, and a league match away at Inverness, in the space of a week.   Once again I’d like to thank the fans, who have shown their support home and away. Hopefully we can keep that going and continue to show how much this club means to all of us.
 

Football Department

With three league wins in three, the manager is pleased to be on track with his points target. He has continued to acknowledge that fans are looking to see good performances but getting points is priority if we are to stay at top of the table.   It was good to see Rory McKenzie play his 300th match for Killie and, as always, give 100% effort in whatever role he is asked to play on the day.   Chris Stokes remains on the injury list but is very much a part of the squad despite being unable to play at present. Hopefully we will see him back in action in the not-too-distant future.   After making an impressive first team debut, Charlie McArthur, along with Bobby Wales, has been a key player in the Scotland Under-17s squad. Charlie has continued as captain and is already a great role model for young players.    Kian Leslie has signed a full-time contract with the Under-18s. Youth Academy   It has been a busy time with Under-18s, Under-16s, Under-15s, Under-14s and Under-13s all involved in full matches, and Under-12s and Under-11s in 7-a-sides. The aim has been to give the boys game time and also have better links with local boys’ clubs, allowing them to be more involved with the club.   Paul Di Giacomo has continued working with Academy staff on future operations and how best to develop the players. The Academy pages on the Club website are being updated and the Killie Trust Logo is now on the strips.   Efforts are being made to raise additional funds for the Youth Academy and a fund raising night will take place on Friday 12th November in the 1869 Suite.  
The Kilmarnock Under-15s in Trust-sponsored Killie shirts!

 

Kilmarnock FC Women’s First Team   It is good to see that the Women’s first team has picked up points and has climbed to third spot in the SWPL 2 league. The Killie Trust has continued to provide volunteers to help with admin, match days operations, and seeking sponsorship for individual players. If anyone would like to sponsor or help with a fundraising idea for the women’s Team, please do get in touch. The Trust was delighted to announce the sponsorship of striker Rebecca Galt!     Kilmarnock Women’s Junior teams   As I reported last month, we have been looking at how we can bring the 'Killie Girls' teams, who have operated as a separate organisation, into a much closer relationship with Kilmarnock FC. Two meetings have now taken place, involving the organisers of Killie Girls teams, Paul di Giacomo and myself, with good progress being made. We hope to have some exciting new developments lined up for the start of 2022.

 

Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust (KCST) 

KCST is continuing with its schools programmes and activities are publicised on social media.   The October Camp at Ayrshire College, in partnership with Vibrant Communities, went well with over 100 children involved. Around 350 children are participating in weekly programmes and 75 came to the Moffat Stand for past three home matches as guests of club, with the Killie Trust and KFCSA donations helping young people in care to attend.   The Walking Football group entered the Glasgow Cup competition, and I'm told that it was all about taking part rather than the outcome!     With covid restrictions having lifted, the Football Memories group has restarted and meets on first Wednesday of the month, with a Christmas lunch planned for December.   A new “Weigh to Go” class for men is also beginning and the Killie Trust is working with KCST to enable a "Weigh to Go" programme for women to be set up. 

 

Commercial

Head of Marketing and Commercial Operations Gregg McEwan joined the October Killie Trust Board online meeting and gave information on key commercial activities:   - The sign ups to Fantastic Fanatics have continued to come in, which brings money into the Club when fans do shopping online or in stores. If you haven’t yet signed up for this you can easily do so via this link. - Unfortunately we are still waiting for the loyalty strips with no definite date but we are hopeful that they will be delivered before Christmas. The supply chain issues are impacting not only on this but also on other stock and to avert any future issues work is being done just now with Hummel (months ahead of the usual timescale) for next season’s range. The problems have reached the stage where the issue has been taken up with Alan Brown MP, asking him to raise questions in Parliament on how Government can assist in getting goods into the country more quickly.   - Retail operations have been very successful, with turnover in excess of £750,000, and new lines in leisure wear were unveiled this week. Some changes are being made in staffing with Alyson moving across to the Ticketing Department with Katrina, and a couple of new faces are joining the shop staff as we continue to develop the retail side.  - Season ticket sales are just under 4000, with a welcome increase in the number within the younger age categories. Plans are under way for a half season ticket, to be on sale before Christmas. Details will be announced shortly.  - Within the stadium, the two-storey buildings at rear of the Moffat Stand, which will be used for a players’ lounge, are almost completed. Further work on the cabins at rear of the Moffat Stand will not start until into next year, as the work is being phased over a period of time. The plan is for these to accommodate offices for commercial team staff and academy staff, with facilities which can be used by players families on match days.  - The work on the disabled ramp has also been impacted by supply chain issues and we are awaiting delivery of the special glass required for the shelter.  - The layout plan for the museum/exhibition area/ coffee shop has been drawn up and work will commence shortly on creating the cabinets needed to house memorabilia which was on loan at Hampden for the 150th exhibition.
Euan Murray, Dan Armstrong and Fraser Murray in the latest Killie LTD merchandise

 

Memorial Garden

The Memorial Garden official opening ceremony took place on Friday 1st October, with proceedings led by Club Chaplain Rev. James McNay. Raymond Montgomerie explained the history of the project and thanked East Ayrshire Council for their support in securing funding, and Royal British Legion members who were in attendance. Deputy Lord Lieutenant Matt Smith, grandson of Killie legend Mattha Smith who was part of Killie’s 1920 and 1929 Scottish Cup winning teams, also spoke at the event. Further information on fan memorial plaques is being put together and information will be made available by the Club when finalised. The Club’s Annual Remembrance Service will take place at the Memorial Garden on Sunday 14th November at 1pm and all are welcome to attend.  

 

Media and Communications

Head of Media and Communications, Scott McClymont, has provided the following update:   A hectic and dramatic final week in October rounded off a busy month for the media team.   We couldn’t have written a better script ourselves as a last-minute Oli Shaw penalty secured our first league win at Somerset Park since 1993 and sparked brilliant scenes of celebrations amongst the 3,000 Super Killie Away fans.   Across the month, we hit a season high 4.2 Million impressions on Twitter with the full time tweet at Somerset gathering 250,000 impressions alone.   Our unique angle of Oli Shaw’s goal helped continue our evolution of our YouTube channel with 8,500 views while our match highlights packages continue to prove popular with fans.   Rory McKenzie’s 300th appearance in blue and white was a day to remember and you can find out where he sits in the list of all-time competitive Killie appearances here.   Outside of the first team, we were pleased to help promote last weekend’s Crosshouse Children’s Fund Halloween 5K. There were some fang-tastic costumes on show and participants showed some spook-tacular skills as they tried to beat Zach Hemming and some other stars from our Rugby Park penalty spot.   Look out for the new edition of the Killie Magazine at this weekend’s home game with Partick Thistle and make sure you are across all our social accounts for all the latest Killie news and features   Twitter @KilmarnockFC    Facebook @KilmarnockFC    YouTube - Kilmarnock FC    Instagram - Kilmarnock FC        I was able to respond to an unusual request which came to the club by joining Heart Radio’s Breakfast Show to talk about 'Killieween' and explain to the listeners why Kilmarnock has Halloween on the last Friday in October!  As it was on the morning of the local derby match I was also able to give a good luck shout out to the team ahead of the match!

 

Killie Trust updates

The On Board In Person event with Manager Tommy Wright took place on 13th October and we were delighted to 'sell out' the 1869 Suite, with 80 fans in attendance, and hundreds more watching live online or in the days after the event.   Tommy gave an open and frank account of life at Killie covering topics on the football side and match preparation and management, working with James Fowler on recruiting and signing players, the current squad and his thoughts on January transfer window, his player budget and how he is working with the Board, and his approach to including and developing young players.   Trust Chair Jim Thomson updated on Trust projects and I gave additional information following on from my September Director’s Report on the upcoming derby match and commercial matters.   For those who could not follow live, the recording can be accessed on Facebook.       The Killie Trust Board held its October meeting on 21st October, where we discussed ongoing projects including: - The new Killie Trust membership through “Very Connect” being ready to launch. With the Trust having increased membership numbers and wishing to engage members more directly, the new system will be a huge step forward as for the first time we will have everything on one system to enable direct mailings, blogs, event management, member polls and a database of members’ interests and volunteering opportunities. Full details will be coming out shortly from the Killie Trust on how the system will work and how to set up member profiles.   - The branded training wear with both Club and Trust logos for the Goalkeeping Academy has now arrived, and initial sessions have begun. - A subcommittee has been meeting to lay out plans for Junior Trust membership and full details will be announced – watch this space!     - The Trust Board also held a strategy session on 28th October to begin to develop vision and priorities the next few years. This is still at an early stage but the plan is to engage with Trust members on this as we proceed.     Other activities: - I met with KFC SLO Allen Kyle to discuss issues fans have brought to him and myself. In the lead up to the match against Ayr Utd, we had regular contact regarding some of the problems which were emerging, in relation to the arrangements for fans arriving at the match and timings of bus arrivals, with representation being made to Ayr via our safety team. Our Health and Safety Officer acted as assistant on the night, and a number of ‘our’ stewards were also in attendance to try to ensure our fans had some familiar faces. A number of issues were picked up post-match, mostly in relation to ticketing, turnstiles, queuing and bus parking, which will hopefully lead to a smoother experience for fans on the next visit.   It was disappointing that one of the Killie team buses was damaged when leaving after the match. Thankfully no one was hurt but with a window smashed there could easily have been casualties.   - The issue relating to the wording of the “Super Killie” song was yet again raised in the match delegate's report as being offensive. I have relayed this to the SLO, KFCSA and the Killie Trust in the hope that we can avoid any further issues in relation to this by persuading fans to drop the word causing offence.   - The use of pyrotechnics (by both sets of fans) was also highlighted. I would expect this means we will be under close scrutiny at the home fixture in January. - The second meeting of the Club’s Child Welfare and Protection Group was held on 20th October and I am grateful to the members who are giving up their time to help us develop our approach to wellbeing.   The group heard from Club Child Welfare and Protection Officer Charlie Adams on his role and responsibilities, and we had an in depth discussion which included Paul di Giacomo and Jim McLeod from the Youth Academy on how we can improve our ‘exit’ strategy and support for young players when they are released. This is an issue which the SFA is currently working on, but as a Club we are keen to move forward our own approach while awaiting the new SFA guidance. - Jim Thomson and I met with Helen McCabe, East Ayrshire CVO Partnership Manager for Volunteering, to discuss how we can create an accredited volunteering programme for the Killie Trust.   - I joined Club Secretary Karen Costello for her discussion with KFCDSA , which is primarily to keep in touch and deal with any issues as they arise. I am delighted that with Covid restrictions relaxing, the KFCDSA annual Christmas party can take place again on Friday 10th December in the 1869 Suite.  
Future Reports
With the new Very Connect system in place it will be possible for me to share my updates directly to Trust members without the need for emails to be sent, although we will still share the links via social media.   I would be grateful for any feedback on both format and content of these reports. I appreciate that as we have improved Club communications there will be information contained in my update which some members may already have seen on social media or been in touch with me directly about and received answers to questions.   But it would be useful to know if there are areas not currently covered which members would like to see included.
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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