It’s been a busy time working in the background for both the Killie Trust and Kilmarnock FC Board, while the Manager and Team do their stuff on the park! Starting off with Kilmarnock FC Board meetings, it has taken some time to settle down into a routine of regular meetings, partly due to Directors having work and business commitments, meaning that we have had to schedule meetings when we can.
Going forward, that should settle down, which will make it easier to do more regular updates to Trust members. With both Phyllis McLeish and myself being new to the Board, it has also taken a bit of time for all the Directors to get to know each other’s style of working and form up as a team. We have now taken on distinct areas to focus on...
Billy Bowie – Strategy and overall direction
Phyllis McLeish – Commercial
Bill White- Finance
John Kiltie – Stadium and Facilities
Cathy Jamieson – Fan and Community engagement
For me, fan involvement is central to every aspect of the Club, so there is a lot to be involved in! Here is a summary of some of the areas the Club Board has been working on:
The Board has been discussing a number of area where we want to make improvements to the commercial and marketing side and has begun a review of this and the administrative side of the Club, to make sure that things work more efficiently in future. This includes looking at hospitality and overall match day operations and experience, including merchandise, tea bars and fanzone. It is planned that the Club will consult with fans as part of the process, but meantime I am happy to hear views and ideas informally.
As Trust members will have seen in Club publicity, Phyllis McLeish has committed additional funding to enable a new ticketing system to be put in place and a number of options for this have been explored, with a decision to be made shortly. I have represented the views of fans that the new system should allow easier purchasing of tickets, the opportunity to “bolt on” cup matches etc. to season tickets, and to allow for offers and incentives where possible. From a Trust perspective, it would be ideal if the system allowed for Trust membership to be offered as an option to pay alongside season tickets.
Another area for improvement is the Club website, which isn’t as easy to navigate and update as we would like, and the Club has put out to tender for a completely new website. Again, the idea is to have this be much more interactive an improve fans experience. Once the new website is in place, it will give an opportunity to provide fans with information following Club Board meetings.
Several options have been discussed regarding how best to secure a new training facility, and the costs of this. Talks have taken place with the Council about possible options as well as looking at what could be developed on site at Rugby Park. All the options examined so far would require £millions of investment. Costings are also being looked at regarding what will be needed to keep the pitch up to standard next season. A schedule of general maintenance for the stadium is in place, and paintwork in Frank Beattie stand will be picked up next season, following on from the work done in East Stand at the beginning of this season.
An overall budget for running the Club has been put in place, with an agreed budget for the playing side, which the Manager is working within, to bring in players of his choice. As members will know, several players have also gone out on loan.
I had a meeting with Paul di Giacomo to discuss options for additional funding - one idea was that we could take a small percentage of income from sponsors, or offer sponsors option to add a donation to KCST, and direct this towards youth and community programmes. This was picked up at a joint meeting of KCST and KFC Board and will be followed up further. There is a huge amount of good work going on, but more young people could be reached if more funding was available.
I have also had meetings and regular contact with KFCSA, SLO and KFCDSA. KFC Board agreed to support the initiative by SLO to get discounted Stagecoach fares for fans on match days, which hopefully will be well used!
Following up issues raised by KFCSA regarding policing and security at Old Firm matches, the Club Board agreed to meet with KFCSA and hear the results of their fan survey. A number of issues raised are now to be followed up with police and security company.
The Club has agreed to support KFCSA led “Bring a Gift“ event in the lead up to Christmas.
Concerns about slow progress on 150th Anniversary celebrations were fed back via the Board, and a programme of events is now expected to be produced in near future.
Board agreed that John Kiltie take forward discussions with Kaiserslautern FC regarding possibility of a match during 150th anniversary year, and to involve fans who have kept up links with Kaiserslautern in planning.
I think it would be fair to say that we have seen a major improvement in communications between the Trust and Club, and the value of having a direct involvement in the Boardroom. Immediate priorities have been taken forward, including a Killie Trust page in every home programme, and the installation of the History Board. As a result of fan feedback, the Board agreed to continue the lunch event for shirt sponsors and ensure that match day mascot places are available for children whose families couldn’t afford the cost, as well as for those who can. It was fantastic to see Trust members support this by offering to pay for places, as well as offering up family season tickets. We are now pressing ahead with other initiatives including...
Safe standing - Club has agreed to attend presentation and discussion on safe standing.
Disabled facilities - During discussions with KFCDSA, it was identified that as well as the current facility needing improvement, there a waiting list for wheelchair users who need disabled spaces. With support from the Club, the Trust is now looking at options and costings for new and improved facilities.
Sports Bar - The Trust initiated discussions with the Club regarding future of the Sports Bar, and how this could provide a better experience for fans on match days and at other times, with various events taking place. A joint working group involving Trust and Club is now meeting again to pursue options.
Foodbank Collection - Club is actively supporting the Trust led collaboration with the Foodbank, to have a collection at the ground.
I am grateful to Trust members for their patience as the new look Club Board settles in, and those who have shown support on social media (always share and retweet if you can please). This is an exciting new era for the Trust and the Club, with real opportunities to co-operate. There is plenty of work to go around, so I hope that we will see some new Trust Board members join us, as some of the stalwarts step down. I look forward to seeing Trust members at upcoming events, including our AGM. Meantime, I am happy to speak to anyone who has queries or ideas and suggestions for the future.