Killie Trust

July 2020

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Dear Killie Trust member,

As we are gradually seeing lockdown easing, I hope that you are all able to be meeting with your family and friends once again.

It will be a strange feeling for the Killie family as we approach the new season without being in the stadium to cheer the team on. But your virtual support makes a big difference to the players so hopefully we can encourage them via social media...until we can be back together in Rugby Park.
 

Return to football


After a frustrating few weeks, when it felt like football was a long way off, it has been good to see players back in the stadium and a return to contact training. Adjustments have been made around the stadium to ensure safety as far as possible for players and staff, and to facilitate the Covid testing that is required. Good news on that front is that the testing requirements will reduce from twice-weekly to once-weekly.

Staff have been utilising the 1869 suite, Legends Lounge and Media Centre as temporary office bases, to ensure social distancing can be put in place.

Calls have continued on a regular basis with the Football Authorities to plan for the start of the new season, and now that the fixtures have been published it feels like the actual return to matches is underway, albeit these will be behind closed doors to begin with.

At this stage we do not know how long the closed doors arrangements will continue but - on the basis of comments from the Scottish Government’s National Clinical Director - it looks unlikely that there will be any change before October. Nonetheless, we are already looking at how limited numbers of fans could be accommodated if and when we are allowed to, taking account what the current two-metre social distancing measures would allow, and also if this was reduced to one metre.

Additional hygiene measures would also be required, including hand sanitisers and waste disposal bins, and the Club is grateful to the Trust for constructive discussions on funding these. Directors are also grateful to for the continued ‘Trust In Killie’ monthly donation of £7,000, in addition to project funding, and once again Billy Bowie and Phyllis McLeish have asked me to thank everyone who has contributed.
 
SPFL

There is little to add to my report from last month on restructuring, other than to say that we continued to maintain our position that it should not be done for expediency and that the proper way to proceed on any restructuring is to look at a range options, using expertise external to SPFL, and to have meaningful dialogue with supporters.  As fans will know, the Court action initiated by Hearts and Partick Thistle has resulted in the matter being put back to the SFA Tribunal process for arbitration, and we await the outcome of those deliberations.

A further proposal has been brought forward by SPFL which would give the SPFL Board additional powers to take action if required as a consequence of further implications of Covid-19 affecting the season ahead, without reference back to Clubs. Our view is that on matters such as this, it is right that all Clubs can have a say and participate in decisions and therefore we do not support the proposal.
 
Finance and Commercial

The last few weeks have seen Directors complete the review of costs across the Club, and set budgets based on what income is likely to be in the season ahead. In order to best protect the football and player budget, we have taken some difficult decision to reduce costs in some areas. This has included reorganising the way that the Club’s Finance function is set up. In future this will be undertaken by our Accountants Wm Duncan & Co, rather than in-house. This has sadly led to several posts being made redundant. The Commercial Department, including Hospitality, has also been reviewed and again, we have had to take some tough decisions to make a small number of posts redundant and have others on reduced working hours as, without events, hospitality and fans in the stadium, and no sign of those being imminent, there is not work for people to do.   

These decisions were not taken lightly, and we thank the staff for their co-operation during the consultation process and for the service they have given the Club.

For fans who sponsored players last season, it hasn’t been possible to organise the usual lunch and handover of strips. However, arrangements will be made to get the strips to you and information on sponsoring players for this season will shortly be communicated now that staff are returning from furlough.
 

Retail


A significant amount of work was required in preparation for the reopening of Club shop. New stock control and till systems have been installed and a new website with an online ordering facility was created. With social distancing requirements still in place, the initial retailing operation will be online only, with fans able to have items posted out.

Unfortunately, there was a technical problem when the site went live on 8th July. For the first hour there was a glitch on the payment system which it appears the developers (MTC) had failed to spot. This resulted in a number of fans being over charged at the checkout. The problem was quickly identified and resolved with the assistance of MTC, and no funds were taken from the accounts of anyone affected

The Head of Marketing and Commercial Operations has spoken to a number of those affected and an apology was issued by email. A number of fans have also complained in very straightforward terms, about the look of the site and the range of merchandise on offer. That feedback has been given to the Commercial team. There will be some changes made to the site and I have asked that we look at how we can better engage with fans on the type of merchandise they would like to see in the shop. Phyllis McLeish has agreed to this, and I hope that Trust members will feel able to become involved in that, in order that a range of products can be made available.

It is still planned that the shop will be open for fans to visit in person from 22nd July.  Further information on how fans can preorder the Home and Away kits will be released by the Club, with anticipated delivery at end of July. On the positive side, the first day of sales saw the KFC-branded face coverings be a popular item. A percentage of the proceeds of face covering sales will go to the Club’s Partner Charity, Crosshouse Children’s Fund.
 
Season Passes and Club shares

As I reported last month, we offered refunds to fans on the unused portion of their last season ticket. We recognise that many fans are in difficult times financially, and are therefore extremely grateful to the fans who felt able to forego the refund. In the end, fewer than 5% of season ticket holders sought a refund, which has been a huge help to Club finances.

Season ticket sales form a significant part of any Club’s budget, particularly for the playing side. In creating the Season Pass for 2020/21, we wanted to balance the need to bring in revenue with a fair deal for supporters. While we were not able to offer an “Early Bird” rate this time, we did freeze adult ticket prices at the rate of last season full price ticket, as well as continuing concessions and the family ticket for the Moffat Stand. We have also given a commitment on the number of matches that fans will physically get for the Season Pass. We are aware that some fans are disappointed that we did not this time offer free children’s tickets. This decision was taken on basis that for streaming of matches, we would be charged per season pass, including children.

At time of writing, 1750 season passes have been purchased.

The offer of shares made to season ticket holders has now amounted to approximately £40,000 in income. I would like to thank fans for their patience whilst share certificates were issued.
 

Football Department


Following on from my report last month, Alex Dyer has been formally confirmed as Manager, with Andy Millen as Assistant and Billy Thomson as Goalkeeping Coach.  Massimo Donati and Marco Garofalo have left the Club, as has Alex McQueen, who was Head of Medical, and we wish them well in their next ventures. 

In addition to the players who have re-signed, Aaron McGowan and Mitch Pinnock have been added to the squad, and several players have come in for trials.  This has not been as easy to facilitate as normally, given initially the lack of contact training, but discussions are at an advanced stage in relation to potential signings. As fans will appreciate, some players who may be under consideration are playing elsewhere as their leagues have not been completed. Young players Ally Taylor, Kyle Connell and Tomas Brindley have been training with the first team squad.

Pre-season has taken a different shape this time, as the usual training camp abroad and sessions at Largs have not been possible due to the limitations of Covid-19. However, the squad will have intensive sessions at Rugby Park in preparation for the opening matches of the season. A number of behind closed doors friendly matches are under discussion, and the go ahead has been given this morning from SFA and Scottish Government for final arrangements to be made.

I had hoped that I would be able to report more on the shape of Academy Football and when that might restart. Unfortunately, there is no further information at this stage but I will keep members updated when I can.
 
Media and Communications

A key focus for the Head of Media has been on the arrangements for broadcasting our home matches. A number of discussions are still ongoing, including in relation to how fans will access Pay Per View for away matches. We await details of the Terms and Conditions covering Pay Per View coming from SPFL. Further information will be communicated as soon as we can, along with detailed information on the streaming of home matches for those with Season Passes.

Some misinformation circulating on social media suggested that Season Passes would not cover our first home match against Celtic, which will be on Sky TV. To clarify, Sky matches will absolutely be part of the offering for Season Pass holders and those with international Killie TV subscriptions. 
 
 The Media Assistant has now returned from furlough, and work has continued on Podcasts, content for Killie Nation, and supporting the Manager and players with media work.

One thing which will make the Media team’s work slightly easier is the new video camera which the Trust purchased, giving additional capacity to cover all aspects of the Club.
 

Head of Media, Scott McClymont, has asked me to convey this message of thanks to Trust members:

“ The funding from the Killie Trust is hugely appreciated and really strengthens the partnership which we’ve built up over the past few years with the Club and our joint effort on Killie Kit Day (April 24) was a definite lockdown highlight.

During pre-season we’ll aim to keep the supporters connected to the team through our regular Killie Nation Digital show as well as our short and long-form video features before the real action starts next month on Killie TV.”
 
Kilmarnock Community Sports Trust

The Club was successful in applying for the funds made available through James Anderson’s newly established charitable trust, designed to assist clubs deal with the impact of Covid and benefit their communities. We took the decision to transfer the £50,000 to KCST to use in community work. Final details are being developed, but the focus will be on working with children and young people in our local communities. 

Thanks also to Trust members who donated to my #Walkdownthelockdown virtual Kiltwalk to benefit KCST.
 
‘On Board In Person’

I am delighted that Alex Dyer has agreed to participate in a virtual ‘On Board in Person’ event later this month. We are in the process of finalising a date and more details will be issued by the Trust on how questions can be submitted.

In the meantime, if you have any questions please send them in and I will do my best to answer!

I can be contacted in the usual ways:

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

 
Best wishes

Cathy

Killie Trust

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Killie Trust

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Killie Trust

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