Updated: Jan 8
THANK YOU AND WELCOME!
Firstly, a big “thank you” and a warm welcome to all our new members who have joined in the last week or two.
Increasing the membership is a priority for the Trust, and with your help we are on track to meet our goal of doubling our membership between last year’s AGM and this year’s. This newsletter will give you an indication of what is happening in the Trust and where help is needed in furthering the aims of the Trust. A lot has been happening, so this is the 2nd newsletter in August. We hope you find it of some interest and welcome your feedback on them.
The big news this month is the issuing of a statement by the Club supporting the Trust’s membership drive. Most of you will have seen the statement, but if not, you can read it here.
What is very clear is that we are going to have to keep growing the membership and working hard to establish the kind of working relationship with the club which fans would expect to exist between Club and Trust.
CONTACT WITH THE CLUB
Following a recent meeting with Club Director and Supporter Liaison Officer, Gordon Fyfe, we have been advised that John Robertson will be the Trust’s regular point of contact with the Club. John is much liked and respected by supporters and folk within the Club, and we look forward to developing a good working relationship with “Robbo” in the months ahead.
OPEN MEETING AND SPORTS BAR
Prior to the game on Saturday, Trust Board members met with supporters in an open meeting at the Caley Club and in the Sports Bar at the stadium. It was good to meet with members and potential members and to learn where they felt the club could improve its relationship with the fans.
We must apologise to members looking for the Supporters Trust desk in the Sports Bar. Unfortunately, it wasn’t there! Upon arrival we found it was not in its usual place at the far end of the bar, it was still sitting in an adjacent storage room and it was not safe to move it through the busy bar. Hopefully it will be back home in time for the Morton game.
There was a general feedback of a disconnect between club and supporters, with fans feeling they were being taken for granted. Common themes raised were the state of the toilets, poor facilities for disabled supporters, long waits at the serveries, and the cost of hospitality – especially for young families. These are all issues we will be taking up with the club.
Of, course, this was only a small snapshot of opinion and we are exploring how we might reach out to a much wider range of opinion through a structured survey. More about that to follow in the coming months.
Those of you who came to the Caley Club or were in the Sports Bar on Saturday may have seen or been given a copy of our new business Card. This is another terrific bit of design work and apart from being visually appealing, gives details of our website and social media sites. Best of all, it has a QR code which allows folk to scan it with their mobile phone and sign up on the spot! These are great to hand out to friends and family or perhaps to those who sit close to you at the stadium. We will have supplies of these available at our desk on match days, so why not stop by and pick up a few.
I’m sure most of you will have had a look at our new website. If you haven’t visited it yet, then please click onto ictsupporterstrust.org and have a look around. If you have seen it, please get into the habit of visiting on a regular basis as we are looking to add new content on a regular basis.
FUNDRAISING WORKING GROUP
Now that a membership drive is in full swing and we can hopefully have some constructive engagement with the Club, it is really important to get some serious fundraising going. To that end we are establishing a Fundraising Working Group and a document detailing the Terms of Reference for the group are attached. We now urgently need people to come forward to help out, both on the Working Group itself or just as a helper from time to time.
If you are interested or think you might be able to help, please email or come and have a chat on a matchday.
Two things that are very much on the radar which the committee will need to organise are a quiz night and a bowling night. These types of events can raise a bit of money whilst giving folk some fun and a chance to socialise. We also anticipate getting involved in a major fundraising project in association with the Club, but this is something we will need to speak with the club about.
Several people have expressed concerns to us that the Club’s recent statement suggests that the Club see the Trust simply as a ‘cash cow’, raising money for projects of the club’s choosing. Perhaps it is important at this point to emphasise that if supporters are being asked to contribute to fundraising appeals, supporters need assurance that people impacted by the project have been properly consulted and are supportive of the initiative.
The Trust reserves the right to decide where money raised from general fundraising activities should go provided it is within the scope detailed in the Trust’s Rules. This will often mean money raised will go directly to the Club, but we are also keen to support colleagues in the Club’s Community Trust and perhaps football projects in the wider community too. Of course, much of the Trust’s work is not about fundraising at all - it is about addressing the kind of matchday issues raised with us at the weekend.
THE TRUST’S GOALS
You can find the Trust’s goals here. These have been agreed by the Trust Board, but we want the goals of the Trust to be agreed by the membership. Our plan, therefore, is to review these goals at our September 13th Board meeting with a view to updating them for next year. We will then put the updated goals into a resolution for putting to the membership at the AGM. We would therefore be very keen to hear from anyone who feels that there should be other goals or that any of the ones listed on the website are not appropriate. Please email us with your thoughts.
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & BOARD MEMBERSHIP
The Trust’s AGM is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 13th December at 19.00. Confirmation of date and venue will be sent in due course but please put the date in your diary.
The AGM serves a number of purposes, but the most important is probably to elect the Board. Board members usually serve for a 3-year term after which they can put themselves forward for re-election should they so wish. The election process is that an independent Election Management Group (EMG) is established and nomination papers are issued to members several weeks prior to the AGM. The EMG checks that nominations received are valid, and if the number of nominations exceeds the number of vacancies, arranges an election of the membership. The results are then announced at the AGM.
The timetable for this means that if anyone thinks they might be interested in serving on the Trust Board, now is the time to think seriously about it and, if you wish to discuss it with any of the Board, to get in touch with us. This is important and urgent because despite the recent surge in membership and activity, the Trust remains in a precarious position due to the lack of Board Members.
We urgently need more members to come forward and serve on the Board.
The Constitution allows for up to 10 elected Board members and currently we only have 5. That will be reduced to just 4 at the AGM as Peter Mutton has indicated that he will be stepping down from the Board after 41/2 years in order to pursue other interests. The Constitution states that at least 3 elected members must be present at a meeting for it to be quorate.
With work and other commitments, it is often the case that one or more Board member is unable to attend a meeting and therefore with just 4 members, the risk of meetings not being quorate is quite high. More important still is the fact that with just 4 Board members it will not be possible to get the work done if the Trust is to develop as we believe it must do. Please give this matter some serious consideration and if you think you may be able to help and want to know a bit more of what is involved.
Please don’t hesitate to get in touch. To say we would love to hear from you is an understatement!
Please note that you don’t have to be local or mobile to be on the Board. Current Board member Alison MacInnes lives in the central belt and attends meetings remotely. Distance has been absolutely no object for her in her terrific work on the IT side of things and, more recently, in her role as Membership Secretary.
No previous experience is necessary, only a desire to help the Trust…
TRUST SHAREHOLDING & VOTING RIGHTS
Following some discussion and speculation on social media, we thought it might be helpful for members if we outlined what the position is.
The Trust is the custodian of 108 shares with an enhanced voting right of 10%. In addition, the Trust has 13,550 ordinary shares. What this means in practice is that in the event of there being a contentious issue requiring a shareholders’ vote, the Supporters Trust would have an approximately 12.5% voting stake. This gives the Supporters Trust a considerable responsibility on behalf of the supporters of this club and is a major reason why it is so important that the Trust moves forward to be truly representative of the wider body of supporters.
This shareholding is not fixed. Indeed, just this weekend a shareholder very kindly offered to gift his shares to the Trust. He isn’t the first and he won’t be the last. Of course, we hope we never have to use the voting right and that major issues can be decided by mature discussion and consensus. But it is there if we need it and in any case, a significant voting stake held in Trust to allow the supporters’ voices to be heard can be used to influence without the need for a vote.
HIGHLAND FOOTBALL MEMORIES PROJECT
Our colleagues in the Club’s Community Trust are heavily involved in this project along with Clachnacuddin FC and High Life Highland. The aim is to record the history of Association Football in Inverness since its beginnings.
More details can be found here. If you have stories to tell, photographs or memorabilia from Inverness’s footballing history which you think may be of interest to them. They would love to hear from you.