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NEXT MEETING
Monday 15th May 2006, 7.30 p.m.
Falkirk Community Stadium

 

 

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Minutes of the Bairns Trust Meeting
Monday 16th June 2005 at the Falkirk Stadium

Present:
W. Anderson, W Sommerville, F Caldwell, P Jack, J Dick, M Fraser, M Cattanach, S Williamson, J Williamson, S Wilson, L Strathearn, D Hill, E McIntyre, J Gardiner, M McIntyre, H Johnston, M Allan & S Bird

Apologies:
S Jackson, B Guthrie, D Robertson, S Adam, K Adam, J Toft and W Toft .

Chairman’s Opening Remarks
Vice Chairman, Bill Anderson welcomed everyone to the meeting.

Minutes of Previous Meeting:
Had been published on the website but no hard copies were available on the night.

Matters Arising:

  • Shirt Sponsorship – The Trust have sponsored Craig Ireland’s shirt at a cost of £350 + VAT.
  • Bar Bistro – Fit out work started today and staff interviews have taken place. Brian Guthrie has been in discussion with Jimmy Black looking at the possibilities of the Trust using this area for social/fundraising functions. It is hoped to have Jimmy Black at the next meeting to take this forward and find out about match day membership arrangements etc.
  • Memorial Trophy – The Special Needs Tournament in memory of Tom Jamieson will go ahead on Thursday 23rd June at Westfield in partnership with Tom Elliot. The trophy and goody bags will be ready for Thursday morning.
  • BT Membership – Forms are now with the club at Reception and also for inclusion in the Season Ticket mailing. It was agreed that the winner of the free prize draw for members registered by 31st August would receive a £100 voucher for the Falkirk shop.
  • As an added incentive to members there will be a monthly draw next season for a registered Trust member to accompany one of the reps as a guest in the FFC Boardroom on a matchday.
  • The suggestion of the provision of BairnsTrust T-shirts to members to raise the profile of the Trust will be carried forward after consultation with Brian.
  • Reserve Games – Bill confirmed that Season Tickets are valid for Reserve games next season.
  • Outstanding Invoice – It was confirmed that £26 was paid to the club for a cartridge some time ago for printing costs as agreed and the second invoice from the club was not legitimate and will be returned. Bill Anderson also confirmed that the invoice was returned first time it was presented as well.
  • Blast Zone – while consultation is still required on this topic, it was felt that there is some relaxation about the issue with the Falkirk Gateway Development.
  • JVC – The relationship between the JVC and club is reported as very good at present and the club is represented on the board of the JVC.
  • Third Stand – The Gateway Development offers a glimmer of hope if new businesses can be attracted in to the area. The North stand remains the responsibility of the club and current estimates are £1.6m.
  • Temporary Seating – A letter has been sent from the club to the SPL requesting the use of temporary seating to be discussed at the first SPL meeting that Falkirk FC is invited to attend.
  • Players in Schools – The response received from the Club is that players do visit local schools on a regular basis. The club are doing a lot to build close links with the community, including arranging primary school festivals during school holidays. The club has a partnership agreement in place with Stenhousemuir which precludes them from undertaking activities with certain schools, particularly in the Stenhousemuir area. It was suggested that it might be a good idea to get Tom Elliot along to a future trust meeting to discuss the club’s plans in this area to see how BairnsTrust could be working closely with him on community activities.
  • Betting Facilities – Is being investigated but holidays and illness have made things difficult. A temporary staff member has now been employed to cover and it is hoped that progress will again be made.
  • Additional Financial Burdens in the SPL – Policing and stewarding will cost more than previously and the attendance of an ambulance on matchdays is an extra financial burden as a result of being in the SPL.
  • BairnsTrust Sign – There would be no problem with a sign to advertise BairnsTrust. However, before we commit ourselves to paying for a sign it was felt that this permission should be sought in written form to prevent any misunderstandings.
  • Banners – The club would like some uniformity of any banner to be displayed and for them to be of good quality with acceptable wording. It is probably best for fans’ groups to submit their designs directly to the club and to seek individual permission for displaying them at the stadium.
    BairnsTrust Website – Bill had already sent information on some of these points for inclusion on the Trust website. Fergus’ feedback email to the committee had also been suggested as worthy of posting for information to fans. Neither appeared on the website. Was this was due to technical problems, an oversight or other reason?

Secretary’s Report

  • Letter to Club - Following last meeting a letter was written to the club asking permission to have Trust membership forms included in the Season Ticket book mailing. Permission was granted both verbally and then in writing. 5000 forms were then printed and the bulk of them are with the club for the mailing and at Reception. The rest will be used at home games to try to swell our numbers.
  • Communication from ArabTrust - An Email was received from ArabTrust who wanted to feature BairnsTrust as the new boys in the SPL in a newsletter article. As time was short I gave them some general information and referred them to our website. I have also asked for a copy of the newsletter when it is published.
  • Former Players’ Federation – An email was received from Stuart Adam asking the Trust to consider setting up a Former Players’ Federation on the lines of what Everton have (See here) . It was felt that Michael White and the Club have probably got most of the contacts already and that we should invite former players to join BairnsTrust.

Treasurer’s Report

  • Fergus Caldwell reported that reserves stand at about £3,500 at present but that £2,500 of this is allocated for Sharesave and £350 + VAT for the shirt sponsorship. We are not due to pay any tax.
  • A list of shareholders had been obtained. BairnsTrust should have 25000 + 16383 (recorded wrongly on the list but will be sorted out). This makes us the 10th largest shareholders in the club with about 3% of the total (5% is needed to attend Major Shareholder Group Meetings).
  • A large number of shareholders have less than 400 shares and some have only single figure holdings. This incurs administration costs for the club and it has been suggested that we should explore the possibility, in partnership with the club, to see if holders of these shares would transfer them or their voting rights to BairnsTrust.
  • The official address of the Trust is in process of being changed to that of Chairman, Steven Jackson. The second signatory for financial matters is being transferred to Co-Treasurer Peter Jack, who already holds the pay in book for paying in cash to the Trust account.

Social Committee Report

Bar/Bistro discussions already underway through Brian. Jimmy Black is to be invited to the July Trust meeting for further discussion and question session. It was also hoped that this would facilitate the fixing of dates for, and organising of, the proposed Referee Night and Quiz Nights.

Board Members Report

  • New jerseys had been generally well received.
  • The club is in talks with 3 drinks sponsors at the minute.
  • Bar/Bistro underway and aiming to be operational in time for the Cardiff friendly. A membership system is expected to operate on matchdays.
  • 33 Season Ticket holders had to be re-allocated because of increased media requirements for the SPL. It is understood that this difficult situation was resolved in a reasonably amicable manner.
  • The Heritage Trail/Learning Centre, under Michael White on a voluntary basis, is progressing as evidenced by the computers all around the meeting room.
  • Budweiser Video sponsorship was raised and felt to be a matter between the producers of the video and sponsors, and not to be a FFC Board issue as there was no written evidence to substantiate any agreement.
  • John Hughes is still actively pursuing another 3 signing targets for the SPL squad.

Saturday Meetings

Because of holidays there has been no recent Saturday meeting with the club. As soon as George Craig returns from holiday a meeting will be arranged to cover many of the important issues which have arisen since the last meeting.

Junior Bairns Trust Membership

Membership of Junior Bairns to the Trust costs only £1.00 and pursuing this sometimes costs more in administration costs. We already have a concession price of £5 for under 16s and should perhaps look at offering some incentives to junior members who otherwise get nothing for their money and can’t even vote.

ShareSave

While the scheme is a good way for ordinary fans to obtain shares it has been declining in membership since most members now have shares bought for them. It has been administratively difficult to run the scheme as the information passed by the banks does not always make it easy to identify who the shares should be bought for. There has also been an incident recently which makes you question whether it is all worthwhile given that BairnsTrust get very little from the operation of the scheme. The issue raised was whether we should continue to operate the scheme given the problems we have had to date. It was agreed that we should continue the scheme through the current membership campaign and review again after this.
The Treasurer will seek clarification on is whether those members who are in the scheme at the end of May and who have previously bought shares through the scheme can convert their savings at that time into shares. This is important as these shares would be purchased at the price of 61p rather than the generally available price of £1.25.
New savers to the scheme would have to pay £1.25 per share, with the minimum purchase being 200 shares (i.e £250). The Treasuer can provide a view on whether he feels £1.25 is a fair price, but ultimately this can’t be seen as advice to members to buy or not to buy shares in the club. While the Treasurer is capable of providing an opinion on this, he is not authorised to do so, and neither is the Trust. He will provide information, and people can make their own minds up.

Access to Home Games for Non-Season Ticket Holders

At present there are only a very limited number of seats in the West stand and the North Stand is reportedly to be given over fully for visiting fans of certain teams. There are rumours of a temporary stand which may alleviate the situation. The overwhelming feeling of the meeting was that BairnsTrust should write to the Club and Central Scotland Police for clarification and to put the case for putting Falkirk supporters first.

Spreading the Cost of Season Tickets

  • Apart from paying by credit card there is no way of spreading the cost of the season ticket. Credit companies appear reluctant to deal with football clubs, especially if they have been in administration.
  • A suggestion was made that the club or BairnsTrust could run a TicketSave scheme for those who find it difficult to put money away on a regular basis. An admin fee would probably be required to cover bank charges etc. Should be discussed with the club as a possible future option.
  • An allegation that some people had been given an opportunity to pay £70 followed by four payments of £50 was brought to the Trust’s attention. This is to be investigated with the club as a matter of urgency, since, if true, it impinges on the rights of all fans to expect equal treatment.

Issues Relating to Third Stand

A suggestion had been made that fans could invest money in an attempt to speed up the third stand being built and that this could be run by BairnsTrust. While not dismissing the idea totally, it is clear that the Trust as a voluntary organisation is not a suitable vehicle for this idea. A debenture scheme of this type, with all its legal implications, would have to be organised through the JVC or FFC in partnership with a financial institution. However, it is worth checking if the club has considered this as a possibility.

Parking

While it was felt that charging for parking at the stadium was almost inevitable, there was some debate about the sum of £50 coming as it does on top of the season ticket increase and an unknown Bar/Bistro membership.
More importantly, the statement on the club website made no reference to parking for disabled supporters, either home supporters or visitors. Are disabled fans to be charged for using disabled spaces? If over 300 apply and a lottery is drawn will disabled fans be exempt from the draw and be charged £50? Will arrangements be in place to allow dropping off at the stadium for disabled fans from vehicles without permits? This has to be addressed and clarified as soon as possible, along with the issue of parking spaces being taken up by stewards, police and catering staff.
Euan McIntyre confirmed that club employees have been contacted to say they will not have preferential treatment for parking on match days.

Unused Season Tickets

The club is actively taking this on board and we look forward to details when available.
Concern was raised that if someone caused trouble while temporarily in a season ticket holder’s seat that this would not count against the usual occupant. Furthermore, in the event of a game being postponed and tickets re-sold there was a query over who would have a right to the seat on the date of the rearranged match.
The anomaly of why people buying tickets over the counter don’t need to provide personal details when season ticket holders do, apparently so the Police know who sits where, also needs to be investigated.

AOCB

  • Communication – It is essential that good communication is maintained between the club and the Trust. Holidays and illnesses have made this difficult recently at a time when many matters of concern to fans have arisen. As a result of past experience, agreements and decisions between the club and Trust should be in writing to prevent misunderstandings later.
  • Blind Club – at least 5 people have expressed an interest in using the proposed loop system. Estimates and information were being coordinated and decisions would be made sometime soon.
  • Bar/Bistro – a concern was raised that the fine dining experience sounds a long way from the cheap and cheerful system wanted by fans.
  • Sarah Scott – The Trust was asked for its viewpoint on the Sarah Scott case. The Trust members present felt that this was an internal club matter and as such not appropriate for the Trust to comment on.

Next Meeting

The next meeting of BairnsTrust will be at 7.30pm on Monday July 18th (the evening before the friendly at Berwick Rangers) at the Falkirk Community Stadium.