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 NOTES OF DISCUSSION AT FANS’ MEETING ON SUNDAY 31 JANUARY 2010
               KING ROBERT HOTEL, BANNOCKBURN



Apologies from Steven Leiper



Financial Update and Membership (NR)

2119 members and 125 businesses.
£91,445.88 cash in hand of which £73,325 had to be regarded as “liabilities” – representing
the pledges of paying back £35 to individual members. Thus in round terms, there is a
surplus (assets) of broadly £18,100 although we know many members will not ask for the
£35.
4 local businesses are promising £15k per annum for 3 years.


Marketing (PG)
Marketing of events had to be put on hold as a consequence of Dr Mackay stated intent to
buy out the Chairman.
3 major brands, including Meerkats, had each expressed an interest in the naming rights for
payment of £250k. Meerkats have now pulled out, two other brands are still interested. The
Scottish Football Association has indicated that such an issue would have to go to the
League Management Committee for a decision.


Meetings with Dr McKay (JT and PG)
First heard of Dr. Gordon Mackay through a national football forum where someone
connected with the Club was telling of a deal having been done.
Having listened to his press announcement, especially his views that the Trust has a part to
play in the future of the Club, we were keen to meet Dr McKay.
The Doctor met with 3 trust members (PG,SL & JT) and all 3 directors of SAFC at
Forthbank. He outlined his general plans for the Club plus his plans for a medical clinic at
Forthbank along with a link to the University.
He did not make us aware of anything new. In discussion he suggested that the Trust donate
the money we had accrued to Peter McKenzie in recognition of his efforts over the years in
keeping the club going.
He also suggested we appoint Peter McKenzie as honorary president of the Club. We
agreed to this point but not to the donation.
A second private meeting was held on 23 December between himself and two Trust Exec.
Members (PG and SL). The Doctor reiterated that we should donate our funds to Peter
Mackenzie. We responded that we wanted the fans to have a voice in the running of the
club. It was also pointed out that the Funds belong to the members and was ring-fenced to
buy the Club. We did agree however to ask the members if the money could be used to buy
shares in the Club, as a partnership arrangement was probably acceptable. It was accepted
however that the Doctor would be the majority shareholder.
He said that he would reflect upon the position. A detailed document was then sent to him
covering our business plan, partnership details and proportionate shareholding.
He had told us he expected to have due diligence finalised by 28 December. Further efforts
were made to contact the Doctor, but with no response.
The Doctor was invited to attend tonight’s meeting, the Trust received a text message this
afternoon saying that unfortunately due to due diligence it would be premature to attend the
meeting and he was bound by a confidentiality clause signed with Peter McKenzie not to
discuss anything whilst due diligence was ongoing.


Questioner and Answer session
Q –Issue of role played by John Smith and if this suggested that his actions were designed
to maintain the status quo.
A – Don’t think that is necessarily the case. JS did raise valid point about University
scholarships as proposed by Dr McKay. JS pointed out that the University already has links
with Falkirk FC.


Q – Are his plans valid
A – (JT) Personally, feel it is possible that the Doctor was “outed” publicly too early and he
was caught unawares and has not advanced his plans in any detail.
We were told due diligence would be completed by the end of December and we are now at
the end of January. I suspect that the parties might be in the same position as we were in
June with Peter’s demands for compensation.
(PG) – If the Doctor has a business plan he has not been prepared to share it with us. We
know that others in the football world and media have been asking the same questions.


Q – Can you clarify if John Smith sees the writing on the wall?
A – (JT) My personal view is that there is no place for John Smith or Peter Gardiner if the
Doctor takes over. Possibly Peter McKenzie could be asked (by the Doctor) to participate in
the running of the Club.


Q - What part does the Trust have to play if the club is sold to Mackay?
A - (JT) He could embrace us, take our money and accept our involvement with at least a
directorship.
If he chooses not to, we will give members their money back. The remaining sum would be
used for community initiatives and youths. We have got until 5 May 2010 before a decision
has to be made.
If the Doctor takes over, the club, the team and the community would all benefit if we had an
input. I know that view is all shared by those on this platform. Let’s have show of hands to
see if you feel similarly if the Doctor takes over, should we be involved! (Hands went up in
assent, nem con)


Q – SAFC is important to the City of Stirling. The family should be involved, with the club
having family days and “People of Stirling” days. The club should be part of the bigger
picture.
A – Agree!


Q – Are you going to extend the campaign?
A – (JT) We have to have a Trust AGM by the end of March. That question would be put to
the members at the AGM but it is a sound proposal.


Q – Why not step up activity to try to move things along?
A – (PG) Activities had to suspended pending the situation with the takeover. On 12 March
we had a Billy Bremner Dinner booked for the Dunblane Hydro which would have raised
£15K-£20k. An on-line “Spot the Ball” is proposed which would have raised £50k-£60k.


Q- If the Doctor had been “outed” early, this could have been the Chairman trying to
undermine the campaign?
A – (PG) Discussions with the Chairman in November had reached the point where an all
day meeting had been provisionally agreed to discuss the clubs future, so at that stage it
looked like progress was being made. Dr McKay then got involved so it diverted attention
away from the Trust.
(NR) personally, I was pleased when the Doctor emerged, but am disappointed nothing has
come to fruition yet.


Q – Has the Trust been misled by Peter McKenzie?
A – (JT) In 2002 the Trust, along with representatives of Supporters Direct and Stirling
Council met with the Board of SAFC. We thought we had agreement on how the Trust
would be involved, for example, in running the Club shop. Then a short time later he said
that he was not interested in the Trust movement.
Then on campaign launch day he announced that he supported the campaign.
We thought we had an agreement on the price (£300k), then he upped the price.
He runs the club his way and his way only. Suspect that the Doctor is finding that out.
Q – If the Doctor backs off, what does the Trust do then?
A –(PG) The debt owed by the club to the Council is possibly over £90k now. I anticipate
they will act on that imminently. I suspect that the Doctor does not know about that! If he
goes, we could be facing Armageddon – administration/liquidation. Likely the latter as there
are few assets to administer. Our potential cash sources could be turned on quite quickly
and we will need to be ready.


Q – Is the mystery benefactor still around?
A – (PG) Unsure, we have not spoken to him for a couple of months. He felt that he was
messed around by Peter McKenzie.


Q – Does the Doctor have money behind him?
A – (PG) He is the leading sports surgeon in his field. He might also have other backers.
JT then referred to Profit & Loss Account for the club, copies circulated. 2008/9 (latest
figures) shows a loss of £113k, with a bank overdraft of £257k, the Chairman’s loan is
£1.13m. Estimate that the outstanding debt for 2009-10 is circa £400k-£450k. If Peter is
seeking £450k for his shares and with continued losses of £115K per annum, I suspect that
could be the stumbling block with Dr Mackay.


Q – Sought clarification of the £250k offer by the Trust, and its repayment terms (to the
benefactor)
A - (JT) It was £300k – to be repaid over a long period, interest free.


Q – Is there a higher figure we could offer?
A – (JT) We believe the starting point is back to zero!


Q – Are you not going to put in another offer?
A – (JT) No. Peter is talking with Dr. Mackay so no point.


Q – Why not put in an offer in any event (to compete with Mackay)?
A – (JT & PG) With the cash promised to us, we have £150k guaranteed. We need that
money to run the club for one year, if not 2 years. The Club incurs £120k per annum in debt.
That gap (between expenditure and income) has to be gotten under control. We can
increase attendances, etc but our plan foresees this being achieved over a five-year period.
We cannot therefore offer Peter money that is needed to stabilise the Club.


Q - Perhaps Peter McKenzie is biding his time and waiting to see if the club gets promotion?
If promoted he would get a higher price.
A – (PG) Agree with the proposition, but if promoted it would be with a part time squad up
against 1st Division opposition with every chance of being back in the 2nd Division after one
season. What could he expect for the club? Ayr United is up for sale at £650k and that
includes the ground!
We know that Albion wages are way above others in the Division. Manager is well paid
compared to other managers.


Q - Can we afford the Trust to tread water for 3-4 months. The Trust needs to be the “game
in town”, not the Doctor?
A – (PG) Will Peter really hold off until May to see if promoted? We need to consider where
we are going. Do we continue to engage with the Doctor?


Q – Is the Doctor reluctant to be seen to be engaging with the Trust because that might
jeopardise any deal he has with McKenzie?
A – (JT) Possibly!


Q – Could the Council push the club into administration?
A – (PG) My feeling following a recent meeting with Stirling Council is that they have had
enough and will seek recovery of the debt.


Q - If that happens it could mean the club being relegated rather than promoted?
A – (PG) Yes.


Comment – The Trust should give it a final shot – a one-off meeting involving
SAFC/Council/Mackay/Trust.
Comment – The Trust should continue to fund-raise, boost funds.
A – (JT) A one off meeting is a good idea in my view and we will take it forward. (PG) We will
look to step up our plans for fundraising.


Q - The Doctor should have done his homework on the Trust as to what it is about. There is
plenty of information available on-line which he could have accessed.
A (JT & PG) Agree – but he is probably getting advise from others. He is probably sincere in
his intentions to buy the majority shareholding. Agree that we should seek to try to get the
four parties together.


Q – On administration, is it our belief that we could just start the club up again?
A – (JT) SL has met Donald McGrouther (Livingston administrator). Thus we know the
process. Agree that there is a distinct difference between administration and liquidation, but
with no assets, liquidation is more likely.
So, I think the message which has to go out from this meeting tonight is that we continue to
raise funds!


Q - You referred to the Billy Bremner Dinner being on hold. Can you resurrect this?
A – (PG) Too little time to reinstate. Best option is to run it in close season or next season.


Q - Why not have an alternative – a Sportsmen’s Dinner in the Golden Lion for a couple of
hundred people. I’m sure local firms would fill the tables.
A – (JT) The Rugby Club might be a good venue for a Sportsmen’s Dinner.


Q – These events all need organising – e.g. race nights/quiz nights. We need helpers to
come forward.
A – (GH) That is agreed – more help would be welcome.


                               -   Chairman closed the meeting       -




GH - Graham Hamilton (Chair)

NR - Nelson Robertson (Treasurer)

JT – Jim Thomson (Secretary)

PG – Paul Goodwin (Campaign Organiser)

				
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