The St.Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMiSA) yesterday released the following statement via their website at www.smisa.net in which they criticise the operation of the clubs commercial department.
The statement reads as follows;
It is with regret and a degree of reluctance that we feel the requirement to raise the following issue publicly but it is something that we believe requires addressing and our previous attempts to raise the following issue with the Club have, to date, proved non-productive.
Since the departure of Provan Sports the availability of St.Mirren merchandising has all but disappeared to the point where we can barely lay claim to possessing a Club outlet at all.
The situation experienced last Christmas – the busiest time in the retail calendar – where parents were unable to purchase various sizes of replica kit coupled with the practically non-existent range of merchandise led to a large number of supporters raising the situation with SMiSA and, to the best of our knowledge, to the club. In addition one SMiSA member actually raised this with the Commercial Director at the Club’s AGM and unsatisfied with the answer he was given requested that we raised the issue formally with St. Mirren.
On the 6 January 2012 SMiSA sent a letter to the Commercial Director seeking clarification on the Club’s position regarding this matter. Months then passed without a reply. When we queried this we were informed that a reply had in fact been sent out but having never received it we can only conclude it was lost in the post. The Commercial Director had not kept a copy of the letter but sent us an e-mail on the 26 March 2012 confirming that: As far as club merchandise is concerned we are making improvements to this between now and the end of the season, and you will see vast improvements for the start of next season.
It is quite clear that his forecast improvement has not materialised. One supporter we met on Saturday informed us that he: “felt sorry for the girl in the shop who was very apologetic and clearly embarrassed at the situation”. SMiSA, the club and local press have been encouraging supporters to come along to the games this season and spend their hard earned cash at the Club. Yet here we have a situation where a potential income stream is being allowed to fail dramatically, an income stream incidentally that we have been informed contributes financially to the Club budgets.
At 2.00pm last Saturday St. Mirren FC sat proudly at the top of the SPL league table yet our ‘Club shop’ resembled less than that of a Junior outfit. If the outlet does indeed contribute financially to the Club why is it not being maximised at a time when Scottish football and St. Mirren FC is crying out for fans to come to games and spend money? It is clear that this commercial exercise has failed. The level of service experienced a couple of seasons ago under Provan Sports generally matched the expectations of St. Mirren supporters and those of visitors to Paisley. Anyone traveling through to Motherwell on Sunday should take a couple of minutes to pop into their shop run by none other than Provan Sports and see what an SPL Club should and does offer its fans.
We will again attempt to formally raise this with the Club and report on the outcome. Promises are not being delivered and this situation is to the detriment of the Club on a variety of fronts, financial, image and credibility.
It would be most interesting, but admittedly impossible to estimate the loss of commercial revenue over what is now approaching a year and a half. With Christmas once again on the horizon we fear that if this situation is not addressed not only will the Club miss out on a much-needed revenue boost but that St. Mirren fans will face further disappointment from this aspect of the Club.
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