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Smdsa Meeting Minutes December 2014

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St Mirren Disabled Supporters Association (SMDSA)

Monthly Meeting held at St. Mirren Park on Thursday 11th December 2014

Attending :- John Clark (Chairman), Iain Laurie (Secretary), Donald Macrae, Fiona Macrae, Richard Heaton, Malcolm Heaton and Stephen McDermid

Apologies :- George Adam, Stacey Adam

1. Minutes of November Meeting

Approved - proposed by John Clark and seconded by Iain Laurie

2. Matters Arising

Item 6 - Quotation from Harsco still awaited. The Secretary agreed to contact the Chief Executive of the club to find out the up to date situation and report to the next meeting.

Item 7 - John had prepared and submitted a piece about the SMDSA for inclusion on the club website and it would be in place by January. Richard Heaton suggested Black and White Army website also. Iain Laurie agreed to contact David (Div) MacDonald who he knew to arrange.

3. November Meeting of SDSA

John Clark reported that he had been unable to go to this meeting due to a health issue on the day. He reported that he along with other delegates had agreed to forego their travelling expenses to enable the SDSA to proceed with producing membership cards. The number of members was 170 at present but 250 was the number required to proceed with production.

4. November Meeting of Fans Council (AGM)

Iain Laurie reported that he had attended the above meeting which took place on 27th November. The meeting had been open to all Saint Mirren fans and was advertised as such on the Fans Council website which can be found on the club website.

The business of the meeting was conducted by Alan Wardrop and the Chairman's Report, Secretary's Report and Treasurer's Report were approved and the Office Bearers duly elected. A Q and A session followed and Alan Wardrop was asked if it would make the fans more powerful if all the fans groups got together. Alan replied that the the Fans Council's main aims were to act as an intermediary between the fans and the club and to raise funds for the club. He said also that their actions were transparent and that their Council meeting minutes could be read on the Council website.

Gary Reid suggested that anybody present who knew of any disabled supporters should recommend that they contact JC or IL and join the SMDSA.

There followed a Q an A session with the club management and the main points were:-

The Chairman said that trading conditions were the worst in memory due to the league having no sponsorship and the reduced income from away fans due to the relegation of Hibs and Hearts. Consequently the club was unable to compete with the wages paid in the English Conference.

The (now former) manager blamed the club's league position on injuries and the strikers which he brought in being not his first choice due to money constraints.

The coach Jim Goodwin apologised to the fans for his disciplinary record and stated that he had already apologised to the management and the players and accepted that this would be his last chance.

5. Provision for Visually Impaired Supporters

John Clark reported that the club were unaware of any visually impaired supporters at present but are keen to encourage any such fan to come and watch the Saints. To this end, the Saint Mirren management team in tandem with the SMDSA are making efforts to put in place a system whereby visually impaired fans could experience a visit to St Mirren park.

Provision for visually impaired fans will be a high tech affair. The club have been investigating a system called Aural Aide which is currently used by Arsenal and Manchester City. The intention was to set up this system in conjunction with St. Mirren TV and Radio in due course .

6. Membership Cards

See Item 3 above

7. Membership Drive

It was agreed that while we would make efforts to increase the membership during the rest of the season the best opportunity would be to arrange for the club to distribute Membership Forms to disabled supporters when they apply for their Season Tickets.

8. Reinstatement of Thursday Meetings

It was agreed that the experiment of moving the SMDSA meetings to a Saturday had failed since the meetings had to be carried out between 1.30 and 2.15 pm and this was unsuitable for most members.


John Clark stated that the 'Protocol for Visiting Supporters' which he had prepared and had been approved by the club had not been adopted by any of the other Premier League clubs. It was agreed that a possible avenue to get this done might be to contact each of the clubs unofficial fans websites. Iain Laurie agreed to enquire if Div MacDonald could provide the website addresses.

A discussion took place regarding the development of the void and it was confirmed by John Clark that he had informed the Chief Executive that the SMDSA would wish to have an input at the planning stage in order to provide viewing facilities for disabled fans. Any development at present would be unlikely in the short term due to financial constraints.

Ross Paterson (Football Development Officer) joined the meeting for a short visit. He said that his remit was to work with people in Renfrewshire who had additional support needs. He said that he was hoping to start a pilot programme of tester session football for the following groups:-

1) People with sensory impairment

2) Amputees

3) People in powered wheelchairs

Fiona Macrae suggested that he contact the Renfrewshire Disabled Resource Centre in Love Street where a large number of disabled people went for daily treatment and exercise. He agreed to do so. He thanked those present for their time and then left the meeting.

As this was the final meeting of the year the Secretary thought it worthwhile to list the achievements of the SMDSA in the last year namely:-

1. Reduction of Disabled Parking charge to £2 for the remainder of this season and reducing to zero next season on production of Blue Badge

2. Arranged for girls from food kiosk to take orders and deliver food and drink to disabled fans and carers during the first half of matches.

3. Formed excellent working relationship with Chief Executive Brian Caldwell. John Clark stated that Brian and the club management in general had been very helpful in expediting everything which the SMDSA had achieved so far.

4. Formed successful contact with Fans Council and in particular with the Chairman Alan Wardrop who had bee very helpful.

5. Prepared 'Away Fans Protocol' and had arranged for club's agreement.

6. Established link on club website.

7. Arranged advertising of the SMDSA on the electronic scoreboard.

A list of aims for next year could be agreed at the January meeting .

There being no further business the Chairman closed the meeting at 8.15pm and thanked those present for attending.

10. Next Meeting

To be held at St Mirren Park on Thursday 22nd January 2014 at 7 p.m.

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