Supporters Direct Scotland 2013 Annual Report
OUR Mission sTATEMENT, “TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE SPECTATOR SPORTS CLUBS BASED ON SUPPORTERS’ INVOLVEMENT AND COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP” HAS BEEN OUR GUIDING PRINCIPLE SINCE WE WERE ESTABLISHED IN SCOTLAND IN 2002. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ON SUPPORTERS DIRECT SCOTLAND, PLEASE VISIT US AT: ROOM 4, BETA HOUSE, INNOVATION PARK, UNIVERSITY OF STIRLING STIRLING, FK9 4NF T: 01786 845 606 OR CONNECT WITH US THROUGH:
THINGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN 2014 SUPPORTERS DIRECT SCOTLAND STRATEGY DAY
COMMUNITY OWNERSHIP WEEK 17th - 23rd feb supporters direct scotland conference may (tbc)
we would also like to take this opportunity to thank the following for their help, assistance and support throughout 2013:
the year that was 2013 As you get older they say the years get faster and I am certain that 2013 falls into the ‘very fast’ category for all of us here at Supporters Direct Scotland. We started off the year with a big office switch, moving from the Co-op building in Glasgow that had served the organisation so well for many years, to offices at Stirling University. The relationship with the University which is Scotland’s leading Sports centre of learning is something that we were keen to develop and was very much part of our plans. I am delighted that since January, this relationship has grown and we have several undergraduates working on projects for us. Indeed by the middle of 2014 we hope to publish much of this work in a booklet of ‘White Papers’ that will look at some of the most important aspects of the game and its’ governance. We plan to distribute these to all interested fans groups, to the SFA, the SPFL and to the Government too. Much of our focus during the year was spent building our Scottish Fans brand through roadshows, events and of course making a lot of debates happen across all our social media channels. The success of having a “Fans Parliament” like this is that we can gather everybody’s views and of course act on them when it is appropriate to do so. Looking ahead, this is something we want to build on and the logical conclusion is to have a major conference where fans can debate important issues further. One such issue will be how effective the new league structure has performed compared to what we had before. I am sure that at that conference we will also be debating the opportunities for community ownership. In 2013, we had Dunfermline Athletic become the 4th club to enter the community ownership club, and by the end of this year we are hopeful that we can
double that to an amazing 8 clubs. Much of our work has been carried out behind the scenes at clubs like Hearts and Dunfermline as we battled through difficulties to make sure fans were at the forefront of any long term solution. Similar work at Ayr United, Annan Athletic and Motherwell will hopefully bear fruit. To support that work we will be holding a community ownership week in April 2014 which we really want you to participate in as there is opportunities out there for fans of all clubs in the years ahead. During 2013 we built good strong working relationships with the Scottish Government our funders, the SFA and of course the SPFL. These relationships are key to the long term health of your organisation and we have to manage these relationships wisely as with any partnership there are times when we do need to be a critical friend. We all of course share the same objective of having a vibrant exciting Scottish game that we can support and I am delighted that from those relationships we will continue to work with the SFA with our roadshows and that through the Scottish Government and with the support of both the SPFL and the SFA we have been awarded additional funding for our Just the colour of our scarves project. We also worked with the SPFA and the SLMA sharing information and knowledge as well as many of the other footballing bodies. Much has been achieved in 2013 and we do hope you will all join us in making 2014 even more successful for the belief in having football at the heart of our communities.
Paul Goodwin Head of Supporters Direct Scotland
hearts lift first Supporters Direct Scotland Cup Agnis aut am aci
Saturday 13th of July saw two of Scotland’sesmost doluptibus troubled clubs take a respite fromqui theirnis financial trum woes to challenge for the Supporters Direct Scotland Fans’ Cup, a competition to celebrate fan involvement and desires for community ownership. Dunfermline hosted Hearts at East End Park for the fixture, which the clubs agreed to split the gate money for. The game was well attended with 4,538 fans turning out for the occassion, bringing in some much needed revenue in the process. Hearts took the spoils after two first half goals and managed to hold off a second half come back from the Pars, eventually victoring 1-2. Goals by Brad McKay and a Jamie Hamill penalty put Hearts 2-0 ahead early
on, and Ryan Thomson reduced the deficit during a much-improved second half by the hosts. At full-time, Hamill was presented the cup by Supporters Direct Scotland head Paul Goodwin. Hamill held the cup aloft to tumultuous cheers and admitted the occasion provided some light relief for all connected with Tynecastle. “It was good for the fans and I think it lifted their spirits given it’s only our second pre-season game. They stayed right to the end and that was magnificent. It was a massive
turnout and it was good to see the Dunfermline supporters there as well. Obviously, it was more important our fans came out and it was a magnificent support. The Cup was sponsored by QTS with the sponsorship money going to each club’s respective Fans Groups for their takeover efforts. Supporters Direct Scotland have worked with both clubs since their recent crises and were happy to help support the fans of each club with the Cup fixture.
supporters direct scotland’s 2013 in numbers follow us at @scottishfans
17 clubs worked with
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12 sfa meetings attended 45 fan group meetings attended
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Fans from a variety of Supporters Trusts across Scotland met at the Supporters Direct Scotland Community Ownership Summit on the 29th of June at Forthbank Stadium, Stirling
community ownership summit Supporters Direct Scotland were proud to host the Fan Ownership Summit at Forthbank Stadium last Saturday. The event was arranged to help Supporters Trust currently in ownership or interested in taking ownership of their respective clubs to network, share ideas and learn more about how Supporters Direct could help them with their ambitions. Sharing their stories of fan ownership were Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct Scotland, Fraser MacDonald, Director at Dundee and Allan Wilson of Clyde FC. Also represented at the Summit were the Supporters Trusts of Ayr United, Dumbarton, Dunfermline, Hearts, Kilmarnock, Mother-
well and Rangers.
Supporters Direct Scotland were delighted to be awarded funding for ‘The Colour Of Our Scarves’ anti-sectarianism project.
years. We’ll be delivering a photography exhibition highlighting the fact there is more that unites us as football fans, whilst working in association with partners to deliver anti-sectarianism workshops and curriculum based programmes within communities.
SDS’ affinity partners Insuredirect.co.uk and Create and Prosper were also present and gave presentations on how they function as a business and how they can help manage the finances of Trust and/or club, as well as providing information to any Trust who sought it afterwards. Mark Reid, Supporters Direct Scotland’s Project Manager said “We at Supporters Direct Scotland are delighted to be given the opportunity to assist in addressing the issue of sectarianism within Scotland. We hope to use football as a vehicle and platform through our series of workshops, On Monday 16th Septem- events and exhibitions to adber the Scottish Minister of dress the issue. Along with Community Safety, Rosanna our key partners we hope to Cunningham MSP officially contribute in a positive and announced that Supporters meaningful way to make Direct Scotland have been communities in Scotland awarded funding for the “Just more inclusive understandThe Colour Of Our Scarves” ing and tolerant”. project which will bring in additional funding of around £145,000 over the next two
colour of our scarves
PARS ALIVE 2013 was another turbulent year for Scottish football in which the longevity of several of the national game’s institutions was placed under scrutiny. Out of a year of more doom and gloom came the uplifting story of Dunfermline Athletic and the takeover by local businesses and fans group Pars United who Supporters Direct Scotland were pleased to assist throughout their takeover bid. Dunfermline finally exited administration in December after six months of financial limbo and uncertainty. The fan-backed Pars United group have taken control of the club after their CVA offer was accepted by creditors and the purchase was finalised. Pars United also completed the purchase of East End Park, which was in administration under a separate company. The announcement brings to an end months of uncertainty for fans, who feared Dunfermline
could be liquidated under their debt burden. A CVA was put in place, and on the back of gaining the support of 75 per cent of creditors, Bryan Jackson of joint administrators BDO LLP, explained it was “a great result for the club and for the supporters which sees Dunfermline fans given genuine power and consultation about how the club develops with a long term strategy and short term support”.
their desire to keep football alive in Dunfermline we would not be where we are. They should be proud of what they have achieved over the last few months.”
“I would also like to thank the creditors who, it should not be forgotten, have lost money as a result of this decision.
“There is still a lot of work to be done but the decision is clearly an important step toward the ultimate goal of the club coming out of administration,” he said.
“Their forbearance in allowing this CVA to be approved is to be welcomed and they should be recognised for their generosity. “I have to thank the fans, the manager, team and staff at the club as well as the wider Dunfermline community who have made this day happen. “Without their faith in the club and
Trouble initially arose regarding the finances of the club due to an unpaid tax bill and the administrator Mr Jackson explained there will remain difficult challenges that require addressing for the club’s new owners.
“We now need to ensure that the new management team is ready for the considerable challenges that all clubs in Scotland face in the current economic climate.” The Pars United group are comprised of a cross section of the local community with individual investors or “patrons” as they are
known working hand in hand with the Pars Supporters Trust to provide a safe and secure long term future for the football club. Many challenges both on and off the field still lie ahead however it must be regarded as a positive step that a 128 year old historic club will, in the near future have a democratically elected supporters body in the heart of the football club business . Speaking only two weeks after that decision, The Pars United club board member and Pars Supporters Trust chairperson Margaret Ross said “The Pars Supporters Trust are delighted that after all their hard work we have managed to get to this point. We have gone through some terrible times, but with the support of all the fans we were able to set up a Staff Support Fund which helped both playing and non-playing staff when no salaries were being paid. Our attendances increased and fundraising ensured that BDO was able to manage the club through to the end of the season and throughout the closed season. In addition to all the months of support we are currently working with Pars United during the ‘Buy the Pars’ campaign. Our initial target for raising £100,000 has been well ex-
ceeded; our current total of £120k proves that the fans are determined to keep this club alive. Now that we know there is a lot of hard work still to come for us, but we are all positive about the future of our club now that the fans will have their voice heard in the boardroom”. Supporters Direct Scotland have been delighted to assist the efforts thus far and will continue to offer help and assistance in any way possible in what will be a challenging and exciting future for Dunfermline Athletic FC. Around the country Scottish football continues to deal with the tough financial times, but there is now at least the very real possibility that another senior club and its local community will be embracing shared supporter ownership in their local football club with sustainability and supporter consultation as its cornerstone securing the long-term future of Dunfermline Athletic FC.
120 trust members
5 visits to club
820 trust members
with scottish government
prior to administration
prior to acquistion
foundation firmly in hearts Throughout 2013, Supporters Direct Scotland has played a significant role in helping Heart of Midlothian in their attempts to move out of administration and towards a community ownership model. 2014 will see a continuation of that help and support in moving the club towards solvency and a community-focused model of ownership. Heartâ€™s fan base, led by The Foundation of Hearts and all affiliated supporters groups, along with Supporters Direct Scotland have worked tirelessly to help generate the finances required to make fan-ownership of the club the most realistic and sustainable long-term solution.
Heartsâ€™ financial health has been a source of concern since the controversial takeover by RussianLithuanian businessman Vladimir Romanov in 2004, with debt being quickly accumulated by the club in their attempts to compete with the Old Firm for domestic success and qualification for the UEFA Champions League. The consequences of which became increasingly serious; the club were unable to pay their players in late 2011, and were served with a winding up order by HMRC in the same period; an issue
that would repeat itself in November of 2012. Supporters Direct Scotland has maintained a close relationship with The Foundation of Hearts throughout 2013, providing support and advice on how best to achieve the organisation’s stated goals – to acquire a majority share of Heart of Midlothian FC. SDS has also held formal discussions with the club’s Board itself, which have been welcomed welcomed by both parties and allowed all stakeholders a greater sense of perspective for what is best for the club and its fans. As SD is, and must remain, an independent body, the sole remit that SDS has assumed has that of an impartial facilitator; to help bring both the club and the supporters together to generate an increased
and improved dialogue and understanding about what has to be done to help save Hearts. With SDS now having a greater presence than ever before, particularly through social media and the Scottish Fans website, the opportunity has also been there to help raise awareness of the club’s plight and educate supporters of all clubs of the merits of community ownership and how it can benefit both Hearts and Scottish football as a whole. In August of this year, The Foundation of Hearts were named by current administrators BDO as the preferred bidder for the club. This was followed in November of last year by a conditional approval of a company voluntary agreement for the
club – dependent on the purchase of the club’s majority shareholding. This has represented two significant steps forward for the Hearts fans in securing a sustainable future for their club. Supporters Direct Scotland will continue to support The Foundation and all Hearts of Midlothian supporters in helping to ensure that they become a secure and sustainable football club from 2014 onwards.
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