The St. Mirren Family Stand – A Wrong Decision
Dear Board Members
I am writing this letter to you to express my unease with the on-going situation regarding the use of the Family Stand at St. Mirren Park.
I am personally opposed to the stance taken by the board to allow the use of the family stand for accommodating both the Rangers and Celtic supports at our home games against us, based on the claims of increased revenue to the club and therefore additional funds to support the playing staff budget.
I would like to highlight the club’s website ticketing information page detail for the South (Family) Stand:-
“Please note that the South Stand is a Family Stand and therefore we expect no swearing within this stand. In the past we have had complaints from family groups and potentially new supporters about the language their children were subjected to. We will therefore be working closely with the police and stewards to discourage this type of behaviour in order that the good work we are doing with local schools encouraging them to support the Club is not wasted. Please assist the Police and stewards by pointing out anyone who participates in unacceptable language.”
It beggars belief that the above is the policy of the club for the season, yet on 3 (or 4 occasions if we ever achieved Top 6 at the split in April), that is put aside to let 1654 additional opposing supporters, swear, sing sectarian songs, let off flares, throw objects onto the pitch, and in general flout the rules of the stadium, the laws of the land, and be above the attention of the Police in enforcing the rules and laws in place, as it might create a flash point to intervene and deal with the situation. You are in essence condoning that behaviour, rather than being radical and forward thinking.
In addition, although the Police and Stewarding arrangements are deemed to be adequate for the crowd management on the day, there has been no real regard shown to the fact that some fans will not attend, and the majority who do attend, do so with a feeling of unease and discomfort at the situation, which is most definitely not felt when all the other clubs play in Paisley.
The upcoming home games against Aberdeen and The Rangers highlight a huge difference in the message being sent out to the St. Mirren support.
On the one hand, there are the family events to take place prior to the Aberdeen game to try and encourage Families, Schools and Youth Groups to attend the Stadium and see the experience as something more than just a game of football over 90 minutes.
Then, just one week later, you ask those same Fans, Families, and potentially new Supporters to vacate the Family Stand, and if they wish to attend the match against The Rangers, more than likely have to take seats at either end of the Main Stand where fewest season tickets are taken up, and be in close proximity to all the things you claim you will not tolerate from your own support in the Family Stand. That is senseless and also dis-respectful of those fans.
On behalf of some, if not the majority of Saints, I would request that you re-consider your current stance on this issue. Somewhere along the line, factors other than financial benefit have to be considered. Is tainting the match-day experience, sending out conflicting signals by condoning one rule for us and disregard of the rules by them, really the long-term solution to building the fan-base, and therefore the future strength and wealth of the club?
Have any options been considered? What about offering far flung Buddies or even existing Season Ticket holders the chance to buy a 3 match season ticket for these games, and let them nominate schools, youth groups or family members to attend on their behalf. Buddies crowd-funding around the World to buy up the tickets and a Panda Bear, to sit in their seat? Just anything rather than the current situation – PLEASE!
The on-going situations at Kilmarnock and Aberdeen, and indeed between the 2 Glasgow clubs curtailing each others opposing support numbers, is a fairly poignant indicator of the way forward in my opinion.
Finally, I would request that the board release the working figures used for the plan to go ahead and allocate the Family Stand to the Old Firm, including details of the increased policing and stewarding costs.
I would also like to ask for clarification on the position if say, Hearts, Hibs or Aberdeen become season long Title Challengers and started to regularly take 3000 or 4000 away supports to games. Would you then apply the same reasoning and implementation in that scenario?
Barnsley are moving fast.
Hopefully the whole issue is done by the end of the week with Jack remaining at Saints.
That, in my opinion, is the most likely scenario and one that would give us yet another lift just at the right time to allow us to finish off the job.
I don't buy this, we don't need to strengthen much - we don't have the biggest of squads and if for example a couple of guys go out of the midfield injured or suspended and who is their replacement? (Todd - injured, Kirkpatrick - not rated, McPherson and who else ?)
Added in to the mix is (a) We are a bit 1 dimensional in midfield. We need to have good options to change the system and personnel and (b) We should be signing guys that take us a step up, just like the last 2 transfer windows. The next step up is the Premiership, and getting guys in that are up and running will make the next window a whole lot easier.. look at Hibs last year, the 1st thing they did was sign 5 or 6 much better players and they are going strong...