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Stronger Together


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The Supporters Trust launched Stronger Together today at the Fans Meeting at the Caley Club. Full details are on our website (see the link below), but this is the announcement released today:

 

Fan investment is the way forward for a stronger and community focused ICT

An initiative that aims to increase the shareholding of Inverness Caledonian Thistle fans has been launched by the ICT Supporters Trust. 
 
The group aims to achieve the greatest possible supporter and community influence in the running and ownership of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC.
 
The Trust has called on fans to invest in the Stronger Together Fund, which aims to increase their shareholding of the football club and assist in creating a sustainable football club with supporters at its heart. 
 
A longer-term goal of ensuring that a democratically elected fans’ representative sits on Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC’s Board of Directors is also key to the plans. 
 
The Trust aims to make sure that the voice of ICT supporters is heard and that fans are communicated to with honesty and transparency. 
 
The Supporters Trust already hold 108 Ordinary Shares which carry an enhanced voting right totalling a minimum of 10 per cent. The Trust also holds a further 13,658 Ordinary Shares which carry normal voting rights.
 
Investment in the football club by the Stronger Together Fund will be made at the discretion of the Trust Board, with the prime objective being to increase their shareholding in the football club. 
 
The Trust aim to bridge the perceived gap between the club and its supporters, using any income generated by the Stronger Together Fund to purchase shares in the club, with a view to gaining a seat on the Board. They believe that supporter’s issues can then be raised at board level, ensuring fans are properly represented and have a say in the running of their club. 
 
Jennifer Aitchison, Chairperson, ICT Supporter’s Trust said: “This is a crucial time for the football club, both on and off the pitch. We must come together in order to ensure the future of the club for generations to come. 
 
“One of the most common and regular pieces of feedback we receive is that fans have become disengaged with the club and no longer feel a local affinity. We have already highlighted some instances where the club could be engaging better with fans, through affordable hospitality, season ticket deals, stewarding at games, and where we feel they could be driving better income streams from match, match-ball and man of the match sponsorships as well as player sponsorships. 
 
“The club has rightfully been chasing the pounds lately to ensure the long-term future of the club but we also feel that ICT is missing out on contributions that derive largely from engaged supporters who feel they have a real stake in the club. The Stronger Together Fund provides an opportunity for Caley Thistle fans, both locally and around the world, to directly influence the running of the football club.” 
 
The initiative gives supporters the opportunity to donate as much or as little as they can afford, either as a one-off payment or by regular monthly contributions. Payments will be made to the Supporters Trust, not to the club. 

 

The Supporters Trust launched Stronger Together with a brochure which explains the initiative in detail, and includes details of how to make a donation to Stronger Together. The brochure is available here:

https://www.ictsupporterstrust.org/stronger-together

The launch was very well received by the many fans present at the meeting.

The Club Chairman and SLO had been briefed on the initiative during the week, and were supportive of it too.

We hope that many fans, whether located locally or afar, will see the merit in supporting this initiative.

If anyone has any questions, either post them in this thread, e-mail us at info@ictsupporterstrust.org or by completing the form on our "contact us" page:

https://www.ictsupporterstrust.org/contact

Activity like this has worked successfully for clubs like Falkirk, Morton and Hearts, and we hope to make this scheme similarly successfully over time.

An update on the other issues at today's Fans Meeting will be posted in the next couple of days.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, STFU said:

What's the maths, and how much needs to be raised to achieve to goal?

The company currently has £4.9 million issued shares so it depends what percentage of that would be needed for it to be thought fit for a supporters’ director to be appointed. On that basis, I think the 10% Supporters’ Trust entitlement would put it in third place behind the approx 20% if you aggregate the holdings of the Muirfield Mills group and the 14.9% of the Community Trust, with the likes of Alan Savage/Orion and the Sutherland interest probably next in line along with the McGilvrays. However I don’t think there’s a specified number of shares. As far as I know, board composition is matter force current board and shareholders, in accordance with whatever it says on the Articles of Association.

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Another way fans can help to increase the Trust's shareholdings is to bequeath their shareholding to the the Trust.  Let's face it, many shareholders (myself included) are getting to the age where the beneficiaries of their wills may well be benefitting sooner rather than later.

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8 hours ago, DoofersDad said:

Another way fans can help to increase the Trust's shareholdings is to bequeath their shareholding to the the Trust.  Let's face it, many shareholders (myself included) are getting to the age where the beneficiaries of their wills may well be benefitting sooner rather than later.

Sad but true. It'll happen to us all one day. 

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12 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

The company currently has £4.9 million issued shares so it depends what percentage of that would be needed for it to be thought fit for a supporters’ director to be appointed. On that basis, I think the 10% Supporters’ Trust entitlement would put it in third place behind the approx 20% if you aggregate the holdings of the Muirfield Mills group and the 14.9% of the Community Trust, with the likes of Alan Savage/Orion and the Sutherland interest probably next in line along with the McGilvrays. However I don’t think there’s a specified number of shares. As far as I know, board composition is matter force current board and shareholders, in accordance with whatever it says on the Articles of Association.

I'd hope the Supporters Trust have done the calculations and think it would be good to manage fan expectations by knowing what the target is.

E.g are we talking about £50,000, £500,000 or more?  If fans take up the suggestion above of signing their shares over to the Supporters Trust, is that as good as a cash contribution?

I also don't fully understand how an organisation that sits so high on the 'power chart' you lay out can't get board representation when you have people with zero, or almost zero, shareholding or voting right on there.  What are we missing?

I'm far from convinced this initiative will succeed in bringing about the change that's required and would have preferred to see it announced alongside calls for more direct action.

E.g. Fans to boycott spending with the club and attending matches until the CEO and Chairman were removed.  Encourage them to donate the money to a 'fighting fund' instead with a commitment to using said money to purchase shares when they were gone and a fans rep has been appointed to the board.

That kind of action I would fully support with a cash contribution because it has a chance of effecting change.

As is, this seems a bit of a toothless endeavour whereby fans are being asked to raise money to be given indirectly to the club or to pay for things, with no incentive for them to change how it operates.

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What exactly will a boycott if spending with the club achieve. It could seriously damage the already poor financial position of the club. If it succeeds in removing the CEO and Chairman,  then their replacements will inherit a much more difficult situation and so the finances worsen even more.

The club needs investment for sure but how we get that I don't know. Greater fan investment similar to what happens at Hearts would be great but, being realistic,  cannot see the numbers adding up for ICT.

Maybe there is a simpler solution to all this and simply more of our fans could actually turn up for games instead of endlessly moaning.

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The subject of a target was asked at yesterday's meeting.

At this stage, as it is very early days, we have not set a specific target, but we aim to raise as much as possible on an ongoing basis.

As examples of how similar schemes have worked in other Scottish clubs, the scheme at Morton raises £10k per month to assist the club, whilst the scheme at Falkirk has bought players for the club.

The key thing is to increase fan influence on how the club is run.

Remember, the Supporters Trust is independent of the club. We will hold the funds raised, and we will seek commitments from the club when we decide the time is right to purchase shares.

As will hopefully be apparent when we post a summary of yesterday's discussion, it is clear that the hard work put in this season by the Supporters Trust is starting to have an impact, with the club now listening to feedback and starting to act on it.

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I’m all for greater fan involvement and think it can only be a positive. Particularly for a club like ICT where engagement between the club and the support has typically been pretty poor. I’m also generally in support of the Supporters Trust fund plan (although you could have come up with a better name for it!), and applaud the efforts of the folks who have taken it on and turned things around, but I’m just feeling a bit unclear on how it’s going to work and what it’s objectives actually are. 
 

At the moment it reads to me that we’re being asked to sign up for cash donations (regular or one off) to go into a separate fund that at some indeterminate point in the future could be used for something that the supporters trust board of the time deem worthy? Be it shares, players, running costs, whatever? It just feels a bit vague, albeit I’m very open to being proved wrong.

 

Given the club stance, for as long as I can remember, seems to be that they don’t recognise the Supporters Trust as representative of all fans due to low membership levels it would be helpful to understand what the board/CEO do consider an appropriate level if a seat on the board is the target. Is there a risk this could just become a sluice fund for offsetting running costs from mismanagement? Are there trigger points where if certain funding levels are achieved then doors start opening? Are the club engaged and supportive in this process, or just sitting back to see what happens? Perhaps the summary of the discussion will answer these points when posted.

 

I suppose what I’m saying is that football is expensive enough already, and asking the same pool of supporters to stick another £20/30/50, or whatever, a month into another pot with with no firm target or objective feels like a challenging ask. 

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All members of the Supporters Trust should have received details of Stronger Together by e-mail from the Trust yesterday. If you did not receive it, please let us know.

The courier and Press and Journal were at Saturday's Fans Meeting, and both have covered it on line and we expect it to feature in their print editions:

https://www.inverness-courier.co.uk/sport/fans-investment-initiative-looks-to-give-supporters-greater-347261/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=facebook

https://www.pressandjournal.co.uk/fp/sport/football/inverness-caledonian-thistle/6425681/appeal-for-caley-thistle-fans-far-and-wide-to-back-trusts-new-fund/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

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I like the idea in principle and would be inclined to support it.

However I would like to know the club's view on this.

Would the club embrace such a proposition or would the Supporters' Trust have to force their way in?

Would there be hostility between Club and Trust? If so, I can't see it working very smoothly.

An announcement from the Club, if supportive would, I think, sway a lot of supporters towards this proposal.

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On 4/7/2024 at 6:59 AM, ICT Supporters Trust said:

The subject of a target was asked at yesterday's meeting.

At this stage, as it is very early days, we have not set a specific target, but we aim to raise as much as possible on an ongoing basis.

As examples of how similar schemes have worked in other Scottish clubs, the scheme at Morton raises £10k per month to assist the club, whilst the scheme at Falkirk has bought players for the club.

The key thing is to increase fan influence on how the club is run.

Remember, the Supporters Trust is independent of the club. We will hold the funds raised, and we will seek commitments from the club when we decide the time is right to purchase shares.

As will hopefully be apparent when we post a summary of yesterday's discussion, it is clear that the hard work put in this season by the Supporters Trust is starting to have an impact, with the club now listening to feedback and starting to act on it.

I hope this initiative goes well and I have often called for shareholders to offer their proxies to the trust in recent times which is a little different to the current call. With 10% of their own voting rights and potentially a bunch of other small shareholdings proxied to the trust on an official basis, the voting right of the trust could be significantly increased to the point where, like it or not, a fan supported rep could be elected if not amicably agreed to be added (co-opted) to the board. As alluded to above, many power brokers at the club have not had significant personal shareholdings and in one case our chairman at the time had only 250 shares under his name like many of the most basic ICTFC shareholders!  

HOWEVER, I do have to say - as someone who tried this before - that the proof of the pudding will be when asking people to dip their hands in their pockets regularly. You reference Falkirk and Morton above and I think others have had similar schemes in place at one time or another. In Ian Broadfoot's first book, there is reference to a scheme I tried to start many years ago which was dubbed "Pay a Player" scheme. The general idea was to fund additional budget for Steve Paterson through supporter direct debits each month that went straight to the club, and to the manager's budget in a transparent fashion. This was at a time when we were in serious danger of bankruptcy due to stadium building costs and other debts. I got great feedback from everyone concerned, fans and club alike, I got accosted for more info almost every night I was out, but when it came to filling out those DD forms ... a lot less success. The scheme never officially got started in the end as while we were trying to make sure there would be transparency and SP would get the funds directly, David Sutherland came along and squirrelled away and reorganised all the debt. In a way I am happy it did not take off as I can never be sure if it would have worked spectacularly or have been a cluster**** of epic proportions!  History at this point says I tried to do something, which is preferable to it saying I failed! 

 

From the info supplied, the focus seems to be on buying shares as far as I can see ... but I am not clear from the post above if another aim is to raise a specific amount for the club, potentially on a monthly basis, and have a say in how it is used. The two aims are separate and different, and the waters seem a little muddy in that post. A lack of clear goals is a surefire way for any project to drift from its initial focus and become messy and confusing. Are you saying the aim is to raise £10K per month from fans to buy shares and the club then get that £10K to go to playing budget?  If so, how can you dictate those sorts of terms? It would be more likely to go towards the next hair-brained scheme if no framework for this entire plan was in place. 

 

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On 4/7/2024 at 11:59 AM, ICT Supporters Trust said:

As examples of how similar schemes have worked in other Scottish clubs, the scheme at Morton raises £10k per month to assist the club, whilst the scheme at Falkirk has bought players for the club

Don't want to be a downer, but difference between us and them is that both of those teams are very well established for going on 150 years with a large, strong fanbase passing down for generations, so a large fan investment is unsurprising.

We've been about for 30 years, with an inconsistent fanbase because a large chunk of the city is either green or blue, and a decent amount still holding the grudge from '94 (for whatever reason) and people only take notice of us when we play a Prem team in the Cup or get to Hampden...

It might work fine for other clubs, but when we've such a small fanbase that can be considered "loyal", I feel this may end up being a pocket of shrapnel rather than being something that can make a dent

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5 hours ago, Scotty said:

I hope this initiative goes well and I have often called for shareholders to offer their proxies to the trust in recent times which is a little different to the current call. With 10% of their own voting rights and potentially a bunch of other small shareholdings proxied to the trust on an official basis, the voting right of the trust could be significantly increased to the point where, like it or not, a fan supported rep could be elected if not amicably agreed to be added (co-opted) to the board. As alluded to above, many power brokers at the club have not had significant personal shareholdings and in one case our chairman at the time had only 250 shares under his name like many of the most basic ICTFC shareholders!  

HOWEVER, I do have to say - as someone who tried this before - that the proof of the pudding will be when asking people to dip their hands in their pockets regularly. You reference Falkirk and Morton above and I think others have had similar schemes in place at one time or another. In Ian Broadfoot's first book, there is reference to a scheme I tried to start many years ago which was dubbed "Pay a Player" scheme. The general idea was to fund additional budget for Steve Paterson through supporter direct debits each month that went straight to the club, and to the manager's budget in a transparent fashion. This was at a time when we were in serious danger of bankruptcy due to stadium building costs and other debts. I got great feedback from everyone concerned, fans and club alike, I got accosted for more info almost every night I was out, but when it came to filling out those DD forms ... a lot less success. The scheme never officially got started in the end as while we were trying to make sure there would be transparency and SP would get the funds directly, David Sutherland came along and squirrelled away and reorganised all the debt. In a way I am happy it did not take off as I can never be sure if it would have worked spectacularly or have been a cluster**** of epic proportions!  History at this point says I tried to do something, which is preferable to it saying I failed! 

 

From the info supplied, the focus seems to be on buying shares as far as I can see ... but I am not clear from the post above if another aim is to raise a specific amount for the club, potentially on a monthly basis, and have a say in how it is used. The two aims are separate and different, and the waters seem a little muddy in that post. A lack of clear goals is a surefire way for any project to drift from its initial focus and become messy and confusing. Are you saying the aim is to raise £10K per month from fans to buy shares and the club then get that £10K to go to playing budget?  If so, how can you dictate those sorts of terms? It would be more likely to go towards the next hair-brained scheme if no framework for this entire plan was in place. 

 

I also am unclear about what the objectives of this scheme are. Is the aim to raise money by share purchase to help with running costs, or is it to achieve significant shareholding in the hope of having a fan director on the board? Or a bit of both? In the case of the former, I fear that any cash input raised from fans would barely scratch the surface given the scale of recent losses - £16,000 a week according to the most recently 😱 available figures and the word on the street has been that the figures for 2022-23, which have to be revealed by the end of next month, may sit at average weekly losses of around £12K, although I am prepared to be pleasantly surprised on that one. As for getting a supporter on the board, I haven’t had time to look at the articles of association, but I suspect that there may be two possible routes - election at the AGM (which should happen before late July) to fill any vacancy, or cooption by the current board. I don’t think straightforward shareholding is enough.

I also wonder if football sometimes loses sight of what a company’s board is meant to be. The orthodox answer is a collection of what the shareholders consider to be the best available group to run the company. But since football operates via the economics of the madhouse, boards tend here to have a significant presence of people who have been prepared to cover a club’s fundamental losses which are built up as a result of persistently paying players more than the market will stand. We therefore encounter the question - are football directors there for their skills in running companies or is their primary role simply as cash cows? The Chairman with the minimum £250 shareholding that Scotty mentioned will be Ken Mackie who, as I understood it, was a Tulloch appointee at a time when Tulloch’s £5 million injection was in full flow, but David Sutherland himself wanted to stand down. Ken, a chartered accountant, was one of the best chairmen, if not the very best that the club has had and, for instance, it was largely due to him that the club negotiated the minefield designed to keep ICT out of the SPL in 2004.

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I think what is maybe missing here is a clear understanding of where we are in terms of supporter influence on club decisions and where we aspire to be.  It seems to me that the recent Trust announcement is more about how we get from where we are to where we want to be.  If there is a lack of clarity on where points A & B are, then clearly there is going to be a bit of confusion about merits of a scheme to get us from A to B.

So, where exactly are we?  This is the easy bit.  Despite the best efforts of the Supporters Trust over many years, engagement between Club and Trust has been poor to non-existent.  There are now encouraging signs that the Club is more willing to engage.  Whilst it is really inappropriate for a Club Director to be assigned as SLO, Scott Young does seem keen to engage constructively.  It is also very encouraging that the Club Chairman has attended the Trust's open meetings.   

Where we want to get to with supporter influence in the running of the club is not so easy.  It is a long term goal of the Trust to have an elected fans' representative on the Club Board.  I support that and would hope the vast majority of fans would too.  Some might want to go further and say the best option for the long term security of the club would be for it to be primarily fan owned.  On the other hand, if we had a Club Board and CEO that routinely involved fans' representatives on a range of working groups on a wide range of issues and which delivered on the issues that were important to fans, then people might not feel the need for Board representation at all.  

To a large extent therefore, where we might want to be in terms of supporter involvement in the running of the Club, will be dependent on how the Club Board manages affairs over the years.  That being the case, I think what the Trust Board is proposing makes absolute sense.

I've not spoken to any of the Trust Board about this, but the way I see it is that building up a fund with which it can buy shares whenever it sees fit, provides a dual purpose.  Firstly, it allows the Trust to increase its shareholding and therefore increase (albeit not by much) its voting power.  Secondly, and much more importantly to my mind, It can buy those shares on condition that the money is put towards specific projects important to fans.

I see this as part of the ongoing journey of improved collaboration between Club and supporters.  Supporters will know they can donate money to the Club via the Trust in the knowledge it won't be spent on a new drinks cabinet in the Boardroom.  The Club will know that money will come from the fans provided they engage properly with the Supporter's Trust.  There is therefore a clear incentive on both sides to work together.

In the longer term, the route to a fan's representative on the Club Board is most likely to come as a result of a recognition by the Board that a fan's representative would help the work of the Board.  If that didn't happen, then getting a representative on the Board via a shareholders meeting would be an appropriate route.  But even then, persuading other shareholders of the case would be more important than the voting power of the Trust.  Realistically, we are not going to raise enough to ever have anything close to a voting majority.  

There is therefore absolutely no point in setting any targets about how much should be raised or how many shares the Trust should have.  The scheme will have its own momentum influenced by a range of factors.  One of these is the amount people donate and another is the extent to which the Club start to work with the Trust.  Another important aspect is how the fans engage in helping with the work the Trust.  A handful of willing volunteers on the Trust Board can't be expected to do everything.  We're all in this together and, as the title says, we're stronger together.

 

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If shareholding is so important to having a voice, then why do most of the current board members have little or no shares?

Was talking about this with a couple of friends last night and when we had a look it seems that the current chairman doesn't even hold any shares.  Is that right?

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The Supporters Trust Board has been encouraged and heartened by the many supportive messages received, both at Saturday's Fans Meeting and subsequently.

To pick up on some of the questions raised in this thread (many of which were covered in the presentation on Saturday, in the brochure about Stronger Together or in the Q&A at the meeting), the objective is to raise funds which will be used to allow the Supporters Trust to invest in the club through the purchase of shares.

The Supporters Trust will look to purchase shares when it feels the time is right, and only if it is satisfied by commitments given by the club.

A long standing aim of the Supporters Trust is to have a fans' representative on the Board of the club. Any scale of shareholding in itself does not guarantee this as, for example, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Trust Limited (the single biggest shareholder) does not have a representative on the Board.

By having fans representation on the Board, we can look to ensure that decisions are taken with the fans' interests taken in to account, and that the club does things that are important to fans. In the Fans Meeting, the Chairman was receptive to an approach, and the Trust Board will consider the timing of this at its next meeting, taking in to account the restructuring that was indicated would be taking place for 1 June.

The club Chairman and SLO were briefed on Stronger Together in advance of Saturday's launch. Both responded positively by e-mail and were supportive at the meeting.

We also discussed the plan with other major shareholders and were encouraged to proceed.

We are seeking to raise funds through Stronger Together. However, if anyone wishes to transfer their existing shareholding to the Trust, please contact us, and we will explore this with the club's Company Secretary.

The club is clearly facing some of the most challenging times it has faced in its 30 year history. The Supporters Trust wishes to assist in ensuring that we have a sustainable club that can move forward, hence the launch of Stronger Together. We recognise that this initiative alone will not turn around the club's financial problems, but we have been arguing for some time that the club should be looking after the pennies as well as chasing the pounds. We believe that this message has landed with the club, as evidenced by a Man of the Match sponsor being in place at Saturday's game for the first time in a long time.

For those not at the Fans Meetings or who have not joined the Supporters Trust, the Trust has made significant progress with the club this season.

This started with the Matchday Experience Survey, and then the strength of feeling shown at the initial Fans Meetings. The club has clearly recognised that there have been issues and has started to engage positively with the Trust and to address some of the issues raised by us.

We highlighted the need for an effective SLO, and welcome the appointment of Scott Young to this position. Scott clearly wants to maintain a positive working relationship with the Trust, to engage with fans, and to make a difference.

Scott has been joined at our last three meetings by Ross Morrison, the Chairman, and both have engaged openly and honestly with the issues raised with them. Until the Matchday Experience Survey and the Fans Meetings, the Trust was struggling to have any meaningful dialogue with the club. That has changed during the course of this season.

The club has recognised that their communication with fans has been very poor. There is still work to do on this, but we are now better informed than we have been for many years.

The club has recognised that the way some complaints were dealt with was very poor and, through Scott Young, are now showing a willingness to ensure that issues are resolved promptly and professionally.

The Trust has highlighted concerns about the Matchday Experience for fans with disabilities, and established a group to work with the club on this. The initial meeting is later this week.

The club has recognised our feedback that fans are priced out of hospitality, and we got confirmation on Saturday that new offerings will be available next season, with a mix of corporate and affordable offerings.

On our theme of looking after the pennies, the club has recognised that they have missed out on many sponsorship opportunities, in terms of sponsorship of players, matches, man of the match and match ball. This is starting to change, with a Man of the Match sponsor in place at Saturday's game. We will continue to push for the reintroduction of a meaningful player sponsorship scheme next season. This is a simple but effective way of increasing fan engagement, and we have even offered to administer it for the club.

These are just examples of what has been achieved, but we recognise that there is more work to be done, and we will continue to work on your behalf.

The Trust Board is made up of volunteers who are passionate about the club and happy to devote their own time to helping to take things forward.

Finally, thank you again to our many recently joined members for signing up, to all our members for their continued support, to everyone who has attended the Fans Meetings, and for all the supportive messages about the work we are carrying out.

 

 

 

 

 

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14 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

Ken, a chartered accountant, was one of the best chairmen, if not the very best that the club has had and, for instance, it was largely due to him that the club negotiated the minefield designed to keep ICT out of the SPL in 2004.

Even by your standards, that's a cracker. Well played Lazarus 😂
So the "minefield" that kept Falkirk out in 2003, and on 2 previous occasions, was actually "designed" for ICT 😂
Elderly men and big spotty teenager prejudices. Remarkable.

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7 hours ago, ICT Supporters Trust said:

The Supporters Trust Board has been encouraged and heartened by the many supportive messages received, both at Saturday's Fans Meeting and subsequently.

To pick up on some of the questions raised in this thread (many of which were covered in the presentation on Saturday, in the brochure about Stronger Together or in the Q&A at the meeting), the objective is to raise funds which will be used to allow the Supporters Trust to invest in the club through the purchase of shares.

The Supporters Trust will look to purchase shares when it feels the time is right, and only if it is satisfied by commitments given by the club.

A long standing aim of the Supporters Trust is to have a fans' representative on the Board of the club. Any scale of shareholding in itself does not guarantee this as, for example, the Inverness Caledonian Thistle Trust Limited (the single biggest shareholder) does not have a representative on the Board.

By having fans representation on the Board, we can look to ensure that decisions are taken with the fans' interests taken in to account, and that the club does things that are important to fans. In the Fans Meeting, the Chairman was receptive to an approach, and the Trust Board will consider the timing of this at its next meeting, taking in to account the restructuring that was indicated would be taking place for 1 June.

The club Chairman and SLO were briefed on Stronger Together in advance of Saturday's launch. Both responded positively by e-mail and were supportive at the meeting.

We also discussed the plan with other major shareholders and were encouraged to proceed.

We are seeking to raise funds through Stronger Together. However, if anyone wishes to transfer their existing shareholding to the Trust, please contact us, and we will explore this with the club's Company Secretary.

The club is clearly facing some of the most challenging times it has faced in its 30 year history. The Supporters Trust wishes to assist in ensuring that we have a sustainable club that can move forward, hence the launch of Stronger Together. We recognise that this initiative alone will not turn around the club's financial problems, but we have been arguing for some time that the club should be looking after the pennies as well as chasing the pounds. We believe that this message has landed with the club, as evidenced by a Man of the Match sponsor being in place at Saturday's game for the first time in a long time.

For those not at the Fans Meetings or who have not joined the Supporters Trust, the Trust has made significant progress with the club this season.

This started with the Matchday Experience Survey, and then the strength of feeling shown at the initial Fans Meetings. The club has clearly recognised that there have been issues and has started to engage positively with the Trust and to address some of the issues raised by us.

We highlighted the need for an effective SLO, and welcome the appointment of Scott Young to this position. Scott clearly wants to maintain a positive working relationship with the Trust, to engage with fans, and to make a difference.

Scott has been joined at our last three meetings by Ross Morrison, the Chairman, and both have engaged openly and honestly with the issues raised with them. Until the Matchday Experience Survey and the Fans Meetings, the Trust was struggling to have any meaningful dialogue with the club. That has changed during the course of this season.

The club has recognised that their communication with fans has been very poor. There is still work to do on this, but we are now better informed than we have been for many years.

The club has recognised that the way some complaints were dealt with was very poor and, through Scott Young, are now showing a willingness to ensure that issues are resolved promptly and professionally.

The Trust has highlighted concerns about the Matchday Experience for fans with disabilities, and established a group to work with the club on this. The initial meeting is later this week.

The club has recognised our feedback that fans are priced out of hospitality, and we got confirmation on Saturday that new offerings will be available next season, with a mix of corporate and affordable offerings.

On our theme of looking after the pennies, the club has recognised that they have missed out on many sponsorship opportunities, in terms of sponsorship of players, matches, man of the match and match ball. This is starting to change, with a Man of the Match sponsor in place at Saturday's game. We will continue to push for the reintroduction of a meaningful player sponsorship scheme next season. This is a simple but effective way of increasing fan engagement, and we have even offered to administer it for the club.

These are just examples of what has been achieved, but we recognise that there is more work to be done, and we will continue to work on your behalf.

The Trust Board is made up of volunteers who are passionate about the club and happy to devote their own time to helping to take things forward.

Finally, thank you again to our many recently joined members for signing up, to all our members for their continued support, to everyone who has attended the Fans Meetings, and for all the supportive messages about the work we are carrying out.

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for providing such a solid and honest response, really appreciated.  
 

There’s clearly been a lot of hard work gone into the trust over the last couple of years to get it to this point and kudos to all involved for that.

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10 hours ago, The Mantis said:

Even by your standards, that's a cracker. Well played Lazarus 😂
So the "minefield" that kept Falkirk out in 2003, and on 2 previous occasions, was actually "designed" for ICT 😂
Elderly men and big spotty teenager prejudices. Remarkable.

Yeh… whatever rocks your boat. If you want to make a big song and dance over the fact that I might better have included the words “clubs like”…. on you go.

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It's interesting that the decision makers at the club are the ones who've got us where we are, yet it's the fans who are now expected to show themselves worthy of being trusted and having a say.

And then to top it all off we're also expected to pay for the privilege.

Are fans really that gullible?

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13 hours ago, Charles Bannerman said:

Yeh… whatever rocks your boat. If you want to make a big song and dance over the fact that I might better have included the words “clubs like”…. on you go.

Oh, we both know it’s not about me 😉

I think ‘floats’ is the word you’re after…

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