Monday, 21 November 2011

Inside the Box - November

I deliberately delayed compiling this month’s ‘Inside the Box’ article until after the Stenhousemuir game hoping I’d be able to start on a positive note. Unfortunately that is not the case and in common with every Stirling Albion fan, I’m hurting after a run of four straight defeats and no goals scored.

Everyone is entitled to their say as to what should be done differently and I look forward to those, who wish to express their opinion publicly, attending the Fans’ Meeting in the Castle Suite at Doubletree Dunblane Stadium on Sunday 13 November at 4:00 p.m. 

However, without wishing to deflect or detract from the on-field challenges facing us, I have to (again) stress that the Executive Board have other pressing matters that are central to ensuring the foundations for securing the future of Stirling Albion Football Club are firmly in place.

November will see the final crossing of “t’s” and dotting of “i’s” to our Pay As You Play (PAYP) Agreement with Stirling Council / Active Stirling and we hope to complete in time for the final document to be presented for acceptance at the Council meeting at the beginning of December but failing that it will definitely go in front of the January Council meeting. There are many people to thank for getting the Agreement to this point of readiness but I’m particularly indebted to Alan Christie for the countless hours that he has spent, meticulously checking/amending/tweaking every paragraph to ensure everything is as it should be. 

Assuming all goes to plan at Council, I will sign the renunciation document for the current lease and SAFC will, in simple terms, become responsible for only paying when we are using the required facilities at the Stadium. 

Of equal importance to the PAYP Agreement is the detail in respect of the ‘Payment in Kind’ Agreement to service our debt to the Council and the Executive Board will ensure that this agreement is both fair to all parties and achievable for SAFC before signing it off. More detail on this in next month’s Magazine.

Turning to commercial activities, I’m delighted to report that I’ve met with our major sponsors – Prudential and Doubletree Hilton Dunblane Hydro – within the past week and both have agreed to fully commit to their contracts with SAFC and the Club bank account will shortly be credited accordingly! I am sure everyone involved with the Club will join me in expressing our heartfelt thanks and agreeing we are extremely fortunate to have two such high profile and generous sponsors, particularly in light of how difficult things are currently across the financial world. 

With regards to commercial activity within the Club, Dougie Macgowan and his team have made considerable strides in the right direction on a number of fronts, including the advertising boards and hospitality, but there is still a long way to go and much hard work ahead, to get us to where we need to be. Our hospitality numbers in particular must be dramatically increased from last season when there was a lot of talk but in truth not enough action. By way of example of what can be done, at Stenhousemuir they had 58 people in hospitality at yesterday’s game. We need to get up to at least those numbers for every home game.

In closing, I want to make mention of two people – James Smith (aka Mif) and Graham Douglas – the phrase ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ doesn’t even begin to do justice to their unstinting work over the course of the first five weeks of the ‘Albion Lotto’ . To ensure that their dedication is not in vain, it is crucial that this Trust-managed initiative is supported by more people. They would be delighted to hear from anyone who can assist with the weekly collections from Agents but you can help just by selling (or buying!) tickets. Five weeks in and the Lotto is beginning to make a small profit which is good but we’ve got a long way to go to achieve the revenue required to make a real difference. The good news is that unlike hospitality and advertising space, there is no limit to the money that can be derived from the Lotto.

There is so much more that I could write about but space doesn’t permit – why not come along to the Fans Meeting as above and the Executive Board will fill in some more of the detail?!

J Stuart Brown
Operations Director

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