Killie Trust

July 2021

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Dear Killie Trust member,

Since my last report, there have been a significant number of developments within the Club, with many changes to both the playing and backroom staff. These have been highlighted via the regular communications issued by the Club on social media channels, so I won’t repeat them here. However, information on current squads and staff in various departments is available on the Club website.

The Board’s focus has been on working with Manager Tommy Wright and Head of Football Operations James Fowler to ensure that budget and resources have been made available, as well as pushing ahead with the work in the stadium and the shop relocation. 

We were obviously disappointed to lose the points from the East Kilbride match due to fielding a player who was suspended. This has been a hard lesson for the Club and, following an immediate review of what had happened, measures have been put in place to have an additional check, over and above the tracking system already in place to monitor bookings and red cards. The Club immediately accepted that an error had been made, and accepted the sanctions imposed.

The pre-season training camp in Belfast provided a good opportunity for all the new players and staff to get to know one another. In addition to an intensive training programme, a closed doors match was held against Linfield FC, as well as the friendly against Larne FC, which some Killie fans managed to attend thanks to a very early morning road and ferry trip!    

The trip also allowed the Board to meet and have discussions with the Manager and the Head of Football Operations, as well as getting to know the new backroom team and players having the chance to see what the Board members are trying to do to take the Club forward.

To pre-empt any questions and reassure Trust members who may be concerned about the costs of this, I took annual leave from my day job to make the trip and paid personally for my travel and accommodation. I also continue to pay for my Season Ticket, sponsor the Nil by Mouth advertising board, and a player shirt. 
Football Department
Credit must go the Manager and players for securing top spot in our Premier Sports Cup qualifying group, despite the loss of the three points from the East Kilbride match. Getting the all-important last-minute goal against Morton and then winning the penalty shootout showed something of the character and determination that the manager is trying to instill, and we saw this again in the match against Stranraer, gaining the vital winning goal. We have also seen in these matches how teams are likely to try to play against us in the league.

As the Manager has said in a number of interviews, he is pleased with the way the squad is working together, and he has given opportunity for some of the younger development squad players to be involved. I know fans are keen to hear about a striker signing, and again the Manager has confirmed in various interviews that he and James Fowler are working to make this happen.

So, while there is still some way to go, we should take the positives from the matches so far and move on to face Hibs in the last 16 of the Cup, as well as beginning the League campaign.
League Reconstruction Proposal

The Board looked at all aspects of the proposed reconstruction plan, which has mostly been in the news in relation to Colt Teams. We heard views from the Head of Football Operations and gave very careful consideration to the proposals, but while we felt that there may be some aspects which could be helpful in taking the game forward, the overall package did not deliver the type of reconstruction that would benefit the game as a whole.

I was particularly concerned that the views of supporters’ organisations did not seem to have been sought or included, which was surprising given the work being done by the Scottish Football Alliance (which I have fed in views to) as well as the Scottish Football Supporters Association and Supporters Direct.

The view of KFC Directors was not to support the proposal, and it was conveyed that we would vote against if a vote was called. Ultimately the indicative views of clubs led to the plan not being put formally to a vote.

Tickets and fans returning to the Stadium
First of all, a thank you from the Board to the fans who have renewed or bought season tickets for first time. Getting these funds in early is a huge help for both the Club’s cash flow as well as projecting budget income for the season. 

With in excess of 3,500 season tickets sold, first priority in the ballot for Cup matches was given to Privilege Seat Holders (there are currently just over 60 in that category) and ‘loyalty’ season ticket holders, as restrictions limited numbers to 2,000 in total. Numbers applying in the ballot meant that all loyalty season ticket holders had opportunity to buy tickets for the matches of their choice, and there was then a wider opportunity for all season ticket holders to buy.

I have seen a few comments on social media from fans saying that despite being a season ticket holder they didn’t get cup tickets. If anyone is in that position, can I ask that you email with the details, as in both matches there were tickets available for season ticket holders and if there was a problem with the system we need to know the full information in order to rectify any problems.

Given the exceptionally warm weather, and the fact that restrictions meant the tea bars could not be opened, the Club made representations to Police Scotland regarding the legislation which does not allow drinks in bottles or cans to be brought into football stadiums. Confirmation was received from the Police that the legislation could not be relaxed and therefore the Club arranged to provide plastic tumblers to fans for the Stranraer match. We appreciate that this was not an ideal solution either from a practical or environmental perspective, but felt it was the best solution in the circumstances.

There have been many questions about the process for deciding on numbers in the stadium. The position is that the Local Authority makes the final decision for any number above 2,000. In practice, there is a Safety Advisory Group, which includes representatives from the Council, and Health Board officials, who consider all the information available. The stadium is also inspected and there is a look at the detail of all the safety plans and procedures that the Club has in place. So while on the surface we might think that a simple percentage calculation would be done based on the overall seating capacity, in actual fact there are more complex processes around, for example, the social distancing requirements, and the flow of people entering and exiting the stadium, etc. In the East Stand, the seats and rows being so close together has impacted on this, while in the Frank Beattie Stand there are issues about the access routes to toilets as well as turnstiles.

I understand the frustration of fans who are seeing other events where there is seemingly little regard for social distancing or attending other stadiums where it appears rules have been interpreted differently. Our Safety Officers have been in constant dialogue with the authorities to help maximise the numbers allowed in safely, which is what we all want to see.

Following an application made to East Ayrshire Council for an increase to the capacity of 2,000 allowed by the Scottish Government under Level 0, approval was given for a capacity of 3,692 Season Ticket holders. This was arrived at following a number of discussions with the Safety Advisory Group and was the maximum the Local Authority would grant.

The match will be open to home supporters only, with all four stands in use, including a small portion of the Frank Beattie Stand in order to maximise the capacity for this match.

The Club appreciates that those who normally walk up and pay at the gate will not be able to attend but the permission granted only allows for Kilmarnock supporters who have purchased a season ticket to access to this match. All supporters who purchased a Season Ticket by 6pm on Tuesday 27th July 2021 will be guaranteed a ticket to the match.

In order to prioritise space for season ticket holders, the Club took the decision that there will be no match hospitality outwith Chairman’s Club seasonal members, which totals 50 people.

Due to safety reporting requirements for the Test and Protect system, a one-off digital ticket will be provided to season ticket holders, and the normal season pass will not be valid on this occasion. Anyone not able to use a digital pass or print out at home should contact the ticket office to have arrangements made for collection. 

Season Ticket holders will be allocated a socially distanced seat in the stadium, with a family section created to ensure parents and young children can sit together.

Further safety information and details around entry times for all stands will be provided ahead of the match.

I appreciate that these arrangements will not satisfy all supporters, but this has been a lengthy process during which time staff have focussed on getting as many fans into the stadium as possible, while abiding by the various regulations and requirements of the Local Authority and Safety Advisory Group.

I do appreciate that it is frustrating for fans who want different arrangements, and it is frustrating for me when I can’t give positive responses or have to convey information that I don’t particularly like myself! 

Hopefully, all being well, we will be able to look forward to everyone back in the stadium if restrictions ease again on 9th August. 
Commercial and Stadium
The shop move was completed on schedule and feedback from supporters has been very positive. The first day of opening saw excellent sales and this has continued with the new season home and away tops being very popular. The ‘tartan’ training top was deliberately styled to be different, and seems to be very much in the ‘love it or hate it’ bracket. However, going by the sales and numbers in evidence at matches, it seems to be attracting a good following!
Shop opening hours are currently restricted on match days but will return to previous hours when the covid restrictions allow. The shop will be open right up until kick off on Monday night as a one-off test event, but fans must abide with social distancing guidelines and maximum capacity numbers at any given time, so queueing is to be expected.
Work is continuing on the area adjacent to the shop which will house the small museum area. This will see a number of items relocated from where they are currently displayed in the main entrance foyer and will offer the opportunity to put on special exhibitions and rotate the displays.

Last month, I updated you on the works in the Moffat Stand and explained that this was to create new office space for the staff. I understand that there has been some continued confusion around that, so thought it might be helpful to explain in slightly more detail. As I explained in the last monthly report, these offices are for staff use and not for letting out to external companies or organisations.

Within the stadium itself there was previously very limited office space, with one office used by the Club Secretary and another used by the Manager. Additional office space for the Manager, the Head of Football Operations and the Assistant Manager and backroom team has been created in what was the Premier Club, which adjoins the Manager’s Office. This means that all football department staff are located within easy access of each other.

Since the pandemic began, the Commercial and Media teams have been working from temporary bases in the Legends Lounge, Boardroom and Media Centre, while Academy staff have continued to operate, when not on furlough, from the old gym building.
The new offices in the Moffat Stand will provide office space for staff including Academy and Community staff, providing a better working environment and bringing them closer together rather than being dispersed. The old gym building is being leased out, as it no longer meets the needs of the Club. The old shop building will be removed.

It is planned to install a further large cabin at rear of the Moffat Stand to house facilities for players, who have been using the 1869 Suite during the pandemic. The Moffat stand walls and turnstiles will remain in place, which is slightly different to the pre-pandemic plans.

The Memorial Garden work is progressing, and it is hoped that the next phase of work on the wheelchair user access ramp can commence shortly.
Sponsorship and advertising continue to progress well, and there has been a fantastic response on individual player sponsorships. If anyone is still looking to do this, there are a few options left so please contact Ray Montgomerie directly if interested: [email protected]
Media and Killie TV
The media team spent a few days with the squad during the pre-season trip to Northern Ireland, using the time to cover our training and friendly matches as well as introduce new strands of content including the First Mates feature, with episodes one and two available to view on YouTube.

Over the close season, the guys have worked to make our YouTube channel more appealing with more personality-driven content in development throughout the campaign. If you don’t already subscribe the channel, then you can do so here

While there have been plenty of new signings this close season, Killie TV have made one of their own with John Barnes becoming our new commentator for home matches.

A distinguished broadcaster with BBC Scotland, John will be well known to Killie fans, and we look forward to him making his debut at our opening league match against Ayr United.

Head of Media, Scott McClymont, wanted to give some details about the planned coverage for the new season and, rather than me summarise, here are his own words: 

“When Killie TV started back in January 2019, it was primarily as a way to give Killie fans based outside the UK and Ireland to feel close to the club and watch our matches wherever they found themselves in the world.

“The pandemic propelled Killie TV as the main way to take in games last season and as we approach a greater sense of normality, we hope fans have enjoyed taking in the first few games of the season with us.

“We’re committed to covering all Killie’s home matches in both the league and cup competitions on Killie TV. Not only will this mean that international fans can continue to watch the team, but we also know that we have some supporters here who may still be unable or who may feel anxious about returning to the stadium during these times.

“All matches in the Scottish Premiership are filmed with a minimum number of cameras to fulfill the contract for Sportscene and other programmes but this is not the case for the Scottish Championship. We have hired QTV, to handle our matchday production for home league matches. 

“In the top flight, 11 of the 12 teams shared the same streaming partner and so both clubs benefitted from the availability of match pictures from the league’s production partner.

“Things are slightly trickier in the Championship, which moves me on to our plans for away matches, which we are still finalising. If our away matches are selected for live broadcast by BBC Scotland then we will be able to broadcast both pictures and commentary for subscribers. 

“If an away match is not selected by the BBC and the home club uses the Pixellot AI camera system, then Killie TV will simply provide live commentary for subscribers. Fans who wish to watch the match would have the option of buying pay per view from the home club.

“As well as thanking all our subscribers, I want to say a heartfelt thanks to our original commentary team of Andy Bargh and Alan Cochrane as well as John Boyd, who acted as both a co-commentator and summariser throughout last season, for their work on Killie TV.”

The media team will be overseeing social media for the Youth Academy in future. Trust members may also have noticed increased social media output on the activities of the Women’s first team, which is another welcome development. 
Youth Academy
Last week saw Academy Director Paul McDonald depart the Club. Paul has served the club with distinction, firstly as Head of Community for ten years and then Academy Director, a position he held from 2013. The Club news release covered Paul’s varied career and achievements and we all wish him well for the future.

It was a pleasure to see Killie’s U17s lift the Club Academy Scotland Cup after beating St Johnstone 4- 0 in the final, and we will hopefully see more of these young players in the future.

Club Academy Scotland will have a one year cycle from January 2022 and then a new three year cycle from 2023. Discussion is taking place on the best approach for us to ensure that our young players get every opportunity for success through nurturing talent, and ensuring good links with first team. James Fowler will be engaging with players and parents of young players on the detail of this. As there will not be a UEFA solidarity payment for the coming season, there will be a funding gap to be filled. The Club is grateful for the Trust’s support as Academy partner and we can play a huge role supporting fundraising and sponsorship activities going forward. In the season ahead, the Killie Trust Logo will be on the players’ shirts, so very visible as a key partner.
Killie Trust activity
I joined Trust Chair Jim Thomson in a Zoom call with new members of the Trust. This was the first time we have tried this way of engaging with new members and it was good to see that members from further afield were able to actively join in. We plan to have further online events like this in addition to face to face meetings.

We are also planning to have another ‘On Board In Person’ event as soon as restrictions are relaxed enough to allow us to have some members attend a face to face event. 

I enjoy participating in the podcasts run by Trust members, most recently joining 2Clubs1Love podcast talking about the Trust and the Club, how football can support mental health and wellbeing, the impact of online abuse and the challenges of tackling racism in football. You can find the episode on Twitter: @2Clubs1Love.

I have regular meetings with the Trust Chair as well as attending Trust Board meetings and there are numerous plans in place for future developments, including some new members joining the Trust Board. 

Thanks to the members who have volunteered their services for the Child Protection and Welfare group. It was great to have enough people to allow them to be split between those with professional child protection experience for the advisory work, and those with current experience of working with young people who can help develop a safe approach to setting up Junior Trust membership. I will shortly be in touch with those who volunteered about next steps.

The Club Board would also like to thank the Trust volunteers who responded at short notice, literally rolled up their sleeves, and gave their time to help staff clean seating in the stadium and ensure stickers on seats ready for fans returning. The hand sanitising stations also provided by the Trust proved their worth at the matches.

Last, but definitely not least, I dropped in to the Killie Masters Golf Day organised by the Trust at Ballochmyle Golf Club. It was a great opportunity for fans and former players to get together and enjoy the day. There was no doubt that the former players would welcome being involved in other events, which is something the Trust is keen to take forward when restrictions are lifted.

There are still plenty of volunteer roles available within the Trust, all of which will contribute to the overall benefit of the Club as a whole, so please don’t be shy! 

Fans who had flags placed in the stadium last season will be able to collect these – information will be shortly issued by the Trust and SLO on this. 
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,


Killie Trust

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