Chairman’s Update – September 2018

I hope you all enjoyed the energy and passion that the team showed on Friday night as much as I did. Oran has been a breath of fresh air around the place since he arrived and I sense positivity beginning to grow around the club again.
It’s been a very difficult start to the season, and difficult decisions had to be made, but my fellow directors and I will never shirk away from our responsibilities. You can trust that every decision we make, affecting both on and off field issues, will always be taken with the best interests of the football club at heart.
Your support through your subscriptions to SMiSA, buying season tickets and merchandise and coming along to games in large numbers have given us the financial stability that allows us to make decisions that in the past may have been impossible due to budget restrictions.
We have been on an amazing journey over the last couple of years and we have all worked together to bring us to where we are right now. There’s no doubt that without that togetherness we would not have escaped relegation to League 1, nor would we have been so strong in leading from the front for virtually all of last season.
When we all work together and pull in the same direction we have a proven track record of success and that is something we must continue to do if we are to continue our forward trajectory and establish ourselves again in the top flight.
The atmosphere and home support on Friday night was superb and talking to Stephen McGinn after the game he commented that there were three or four times in the last 10 minutes where the crowd response gave the players a second, third and fourth wind.
That level of support going forward will be vital to the team. Oran himself pointed this out in his post-match interview. The players feed off the energy in the stands.
As usual the atmosphere was heavily influenced by the buddies congregated in W7 who, along with fellow supporters in the West and Main stands, created superb energy which the players responded to.
This atmosphere of positivity was however soured by the production of a banner in W7 which greatly disappointed me. On an evening where we should have been welcoming our new manager and a new era, instead we saw a negative message being displayed.
In the lead up to the game the group in W7 had asked us for permission to display the banner in question which we refused on grounds that the message it carried was absolutely nothing to do with the team, the manager or the club.
I’ve mentioned in my columns before that we have a very good working relationship with the police, which has been built up over many years.
It’s something we work very hard to maintain as it saves us tens of thousands of pounds a year in police free games. We cannot, and will not, risk that relationship being soured for the sake of political point scoring at our stadium.
Having already given clear pre-match advice that the banner was not permitted inside the stadium we had absolutely no option but to instruct the stewards to remove it when it then appeared in W7.
Many fans will have been unaware that this pre-match discussion had taken place.
I’ve seen plenty of social media comments criticising us for the removal of the banner, however we have to create rules, and adhere to those rules, otherwise chaos wins and we revert back to a heavy police presence at all home games and a bill to match.
That’s not something that any level headed St.Mirren fan wants to see as we continue to grow the family friendly experience at the Simple Digital Arena.
As I said in my opening paragraphs, we are far stronger when we all work together and there is no value at all in the W7 group and the club having a negative relationship.
In order to work together we must have trust. It takes a long time to build trust, but it can very quickly be broken.
We absolutely want to work together with the group to ensure that the W7 section continues to grow and to support the club and the team, but this must be done within the overall framework that the football club has to operate within which is governed by our own Safety Officers, the local Council and Police Scotland.
With communication, and a willingness to work together there is no reason why we can’t continue to grow the group and continue the positive impact they have had around the stadium but this is very much a two way street.
The group itself needs to appreciate the pressures that exist around the club and work with us rather than against us. Sometimes we will make unpopular decisions, but as I have already said, those decisions will be taken with the very best interests of the club at heart. We cannot and will not allow individuals to ignore the rules that every other supporter follows.
Each and every supporter who follows our club home or away is an ambassador of St.Mirren FC. Going forward I’d like to see the fans continue to self-police as we have done so successfully over many years.
It should also be a given in this modern age that supporters behaviour online can also reflect on the football club. When erroneous messages are given out they can be shared quickly and it can cause a wave of negativity that is sometimes hard to stop. While we cannot limit free speech we will not accept the individual victimisation of club staff who carry out their work for the benefit of our football club so our intention is to amend our policies to include online abuse of club staff within our unacceptable conduct rules.
We will seek to engage again with the W7 group and hope we can continue to work together going forward but this unfortunate episode has eroded some of our trust and has cast a cloud over what was a very positive night for the club.
Let’s get back to working together to create a positive atmosphere around the club that will help fuel more success going forward.
See you all at Hamilton.
#COYSI hope you all enjoyed the energy and passion that the team showed on Friday night as much as I did. Oran has been a breath of fresh air around the place since he arrived and I sense positivity beginning to grow around the club again.
It’s been a very difficult start to the season, and difficult decisions had to be made, but my fellow directors and I will never shirk away from our responsibilities. You can trust that every decision we make, affecting both on and off field issues, will always be taken with the best interests of the football club at heart.
Your support through your subscriptions to SMiSA, buying season tickets and merchandise and coming along to games in large numbers have given us the financial stability that allows us to make decisions that in the past may have been impossible due to budget restrictions.
We have been on an amazing journey over the last couple of years and we have all worked together to bring us to where we are right now. There’s no doubt that without that togetherness we would not have escaped relegation to League 1, nor would we have been so strong in leading from the front for virtually all of last season.
When we all work together and pull in the same direction we have a proven track record of success and that is something we must continue to do if we are to continue our forward trajectory and establish ourselves again in the top flight.
The atmosphere and home support on Friday night was superb and talking to Stephen McGinn after the game he commented that there were three or four times in the last 10 minutes where the crowd response gave the players a second, third and fourth wind.
That level of support going forward will be vital to the team. Oran himself pointed this out in his post-match interview. The players feed off the energy in the stands.
As usual the atmosphere was heavily influenced by the buddies congregated in W7 who, along with fellow supporters in the West and Main stands, created superb energy which the players responded to.
This atmosphere of positivity was however soured by the production of a banner in W7 which greatly disappointed me. On an evening where we should have been welcoming our new manager and a new era, instead we saw a negative message being displayed.
In the lead up to the game the group in W7 had asked us for permission to display the banner in question which we refused on grounds that the message it carried was absolutely nothing to do with the team, the manager or the club.
I’ve mentioned in my columns before that we have a very good working relationship with the police, which has been built up over many years.
It’s something we work very hard to maintain as it saves us tens of thousands of pounds a year in police free games. We cannot, and will not, risk that relationship being soured for the sake of political point scoring at our stadium.
Having already given clear pre-match advice that the banner was not permitted inside the stadium we had absolutely no option but to instruct the stewards to remove it when it then appeared in W7.
Many fans will have been unaware that this pre-match discussion had taken place.
I’ve seen plenty of social media comments criticising us for the removal of the banner, however we have to create rules, and adhere to those rules, otherwise chaos wins and we revert back to a heavy police presence at all home games and a bill to match.
That’s not something that any level headed St.Mirren fan wants to see as we continue to grow the family friendly experience at the Simple Digital Arena.
As I said in my opening paragraphs, we are far stronger when we all work together and there is no value at all in the W7 group and the club having a negative relationship.
In order to work together we must have trust. It takes a long time to build trust, but it can very quickly be broken.
We absolutely want to work together with the group to ensure that the W7 section continues to grow and to support the club and the team, but this must be done within the overall framework that the football club has to operate within which is governed by our own Safety Officers, the local Council and Police Scotland.
With communication, and a willingness to work together there is no reason why we can’t continue to grow the group and continue the positive impact they have had around the stadium but this is very much a two way street.
The group itself needs to appreciate the pressures that exist around the club and work with us rather than against us. Sometimes we will make unpopular decisions, but as I have already said, those decisions will be taken with the very best interests of the club at heart. We cannot and will not allow individuals to ignore the rules that every other supporter follows.
Each and every supporter who follows our club home or away is an ambassador of St.Mirren FC. Going forward I’d like to see the fans continue to self-police as we have done so successfully over many years.
It should also be a given in this modern age that supporters behaviour online can also reflect on the football club. When erroneous messages are given out they can be shared quickly and it can cause a wave of negativity that is sometimes hard to stop. While we cannot limit free speech we will not accept the individual victimisation of club staff who carry out their work for the benefit of our football club so our intention is to amend our policies to include online abuse of club staff within our unacceptable conduct rules.
We will seek to engage again with the W7 group and hope we can continue to work together going forward but this unfortunate episode has eroded some of our trust and has cast a cloud over what was a very positive night for the club.
Let’s get back to working together to create a positive atmosphere around the club that will help fuel more success going forward.
See you all at Hamilton.
#COYS