Club Director's Report - February 2020

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Introduction


As members may be aware, we are now in the process of revamping the Killie Trust website and social media presence. In addition, I look forward to being able to give monthly updates to Trust members on the work I’ve being doing.


As shareholders in the Club, the Killie Trust are effectively “part owners”. This means that as well as feeding-in views from fans, we are also now part of the fabric of the Club, with increased involvement by Trust Directors and members in a range of activities including attendance at monthly meetings on future plans for the Fanzone and Football Club Open Day and meetings on the environmental champion initiative involving KFC, KCST and East Ayrshire Council. 

In this update I have tried to give information which may be helpful for new Trust members (welcome to the 15 new members who joined in January!), as well as address points raised by fans in recent weeks.

 

Football Department

It is understandable that fans have been concerned and have had questions following the recent run of poor results – I’m glad to be updating you after our win against Ross County!  I know it is frustrating, but I hope that supporters will appreciate that we cannot comment on matters relating to individual contracts.

There has been a lot of comment on the transfer window, and lack of transfer deadline day activity.  However, it’s worth remembering that we did some business early in the window: Nicke Kabamba and Harry Bunn joining, and Greg Kiltie returning from loan. It would be fair to say that Directors and the Football Department were disappointed that some players who were targeted opted at a late stage to go elsewhere. The reality of the way the window operates is that players, agents and clubs are trying to get the best possible deals for themselves and many wait until a late stage to make a decision on where to go. While it can be frustrating for fans, that’s why we don’t do a running commentary on negotiations and only make announcements when deals are signed.   

The Club Board doesn’t interfere in who the Manager and Head of Football Operations are looking to bring in, as they have to make the judgement on the type of players they want and the needs of the overall squad - but the Board does agree the overall budget for the Football Department.

Since he came into post, Head of Football Operations James Fowler has been looking across the whole range of football activities within the Club and scoping what we need to do in future to bring players through from Academy into reserves and ultimately first team.

Another key role for James Fowler is rebuilding a scouting and recruitment network to ensure that we have people on the ground identifying potential players for us, and ensuring that we are keeping track on progress of the young players we loan out to gain experience and match time.

While I generally go to all home and away first team matches, I don’t always get along to reserve and youth games due to work commitments. However, I did manage to catch the second half of the recent reserve match against Aberdeen - it was disappointing that we lost by a late goal after a spirited comeback. It’s well worth trying to get along to these matches if you can. 

We are also integrating the Killie Ladies team into our overall football structure, and new Head Coach Andy Gardner, formerly Assistant Manager at Rangers Women’s FC has been appointed ahead of their season starting.

 

Club Operations
 

Keeping the wheels of the Club in motion requires a lot of input in the background and a number of operational and commercial areas have seen changes made.  Key areas I have recently been involved in include:
 

  • Regular Heads of Department meetings which discuss business issues. 
  • Post-match debrief sessions which bring together key personnel to review match day operations and pick up on any problems.
  • Working with our external HR Consultant on updating all non-football staff contracts and HR policies and procedures. 
  • Sorting and archiving of historical club files and identifying memorabilia for Club Historian to retain.
  • Working with Club Secretary on development of volunteer scheme which will build on the trial of match day volunteering set up by the Trust.
  • Liaising with Company Secretary on AGM arrangements. 
  • Working with Club Secretary on ensuring updated Child Protection Policy is in place.
 

Commercial and Marketing Operations

The Commercial Department has continued to work with TicketCo on resolving initial issues and ensuring that the system works more smoothly. It was good to receive positive feedback from the various authorities following the last match against Celtic FC that the matchday operations were extremely smooth.  It was also good to hear favourable comment from Killie fans on how much safer they felt by having the Moffat as a family stand. This decision by the Club Board came about as a result of supporters’ views being represented. It does have financial implications: those can be partially offset if we get good crowds at every home match, and I would encourage Killie fans to come along and help create a great Killie atmosphere.

Work is currently under way on: 

  • Securing Shirt Sponsors for next season
  • Securing sponsors for training wear
  • Kit manufacturer for next season
  • Ticketing database



The first of the long-anticipated limited edition retro strips has now been launched. 

Once the future kit supplier is agreed, there will be further discussion on how the shop will be run in future. 

The Killie Club and 1869 Suite are now fully under the auspices of the Club, with income going directly to the Club. The Killie Club provides the venue for players meals on training days as well as a match day experience for fans. Going forward we would be keen to know what type of events fans would like to see there – for example, former players Q and A after matches?

Going forward we would also like to undertake a Club survey to get feedback on fan experience.

 

Mascot

 

Following a competition for children run via KCST, a mascot costume was designed and is in production.  Interviews for people wanting to be the mascot are imminent and a proper launch will then take place. KFCSA and the Killie Trust are paying for the mascot costume. The process of choosing the mascot attracted attention of the BBC, so we are hoping for some good footage!

 

Media

I meet up with the Head of Media on a weekly basis. The introduction of Podcasts and the new “Killie Nation” is proving popular, in addition to Killie TV, website and social media output, as well as producing the  match day programme. The media team comprise the Head of Media and Media Assistant, who are also responsible for organising pre-match press conferences and post-match interviews, in addition to working with the Commercial and Marketing staff on advertising. In addition to coverage of first team matches, the team are also working on increased output on the reserve and youth teams, and we will see more on the women’s team in the season ahead. 

The Club and Trust have featured in a number of national media articles, involving me and Trust Chair Jim Thomson, on our safe standing areas. These have given Kilmarnock and the Killie Trust credit for being first club in the UK to have a safe standing area in a family stand. It has been good to see and hear the section in the East Stand being so vocal!

 

Community

As a Club committed to working in the community, there are a number of ways that the Club supports the local community, and a regular newsletter is now going out to community groups and organisations.  

Tickets are given to Community Groups and Clubs for every home match and we have recently had the opportunity to welcome ex-service veterans as well as groups of children.

We now have active Kilmarnock Supporters Clubs in our secondary schools and the banners starting to appear in the Moffat Stand are a welcome addition! 

The partnerships with Crosshouse Children’s Fund and our own KCST are the main ways the club supports charities. That said, requests for items for fundraisers for other charities are dealt with on a case by case basis, and the club normally provides complimentary match tickets.

The Club, Killie Trust, KFCSA and KCST are partnering with East Ayrshire Council on an initiative to keep communities clear of litter. The Club has given the Council a number of match tickets to reward local community environmental champions. Going forward we will be working with the Council on how to keep the stadium and surrounding area litter free, as well as improving recycling facilities. 

The Former Players Association is now up and running and we hope to see them become more involved in club and community activities.

 

Director’s role

From time to time questions arise about the role of the Club Director appointed via the Killie Trust and if this is different to the other Club Directors. 
This role is a full Directorship and I carry the same legal responsibilities as any Company Director, including the other Club Directors, but with the additional responsibility of representing the Trust - which has invested and holds shares in the club. 

Between the three Club Directors, we have divided the lead roles under various headings:

Football and Stadium – Billy Bowie
Finance and Commercial – Phyllis McLeish
Community, Media and HR – Cathy Jamieson

However, all Directors take an interest across the various Departments and every effort is made to arrive at decisions by consensus. There is regular communication between Directors on day to day issues, as well as formal meetings. 

My history with Supporters Trusts goes back pre-2000 when I was involved in campaigning through the co-operative movement for fan involvement and ownership of clubs. I was part of the Scottish Cabinet which first funded Supporters Direct in Scotland, attended the first event at Tynecastle - and joined the Killie Trust at the outset in 2003. Prior to being appointed as a Club Director, I was on the Board of the Scottish Football Supporters Association. So my interest in fan representation and ownership has been a long-term commitment, as has my support for Killie! 

I took the decision to reduce the time I work in paid employment to three days per week and I give time and experience to the Club and Trust on an entirely voluntary basis. In my (other) day job, I moved from being the Chief Executive Officer to Executive Chair of the Board of an organisation that provides services for young people in care. I am also on the Board of Scotwest Credit Union, which is one of the largest in the UK. I am a founding Trustee of the Why Not? Trust, a charity for care experienced young people, and have joined the Board of Partners for Inclusion, a locally based social care organisation.  I have also agreed to be a Trustee for newly-established charity Lochlan’s Legacy. Trust members will be aware of young Killie fan Lochlan Murdoch who has Type 1 diabetes and is starting a new round of stadium marathons!  

Being first and foremost a Killie fan, I continue to pay for my season ticket and am a shirt sponsor for a player. 

As part of the arrangements with the Club, the Trust has the opportunity to have two places in the Chairman’s Club at home matches, which can be used for Trust guests. We have a monthly Trust in Killie draw for places. It has been good to welcome Trust members along and look forward to more having the opportunity in future.  

 

Getting in touch


I am always happy to hear from Trust members and supporters who have feedback and suggestions. I can be contacted at cathyjamieson@kilmarnockfc.co.uk and you can follow me on social media.


twitter - @cathyjamieson        
facebook - Cathy Jamieson      
instagram -  cathyjamiesonkillie


Best wishes,

Cathy


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