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Update on decision to house Celtic and Rangers fans in South Stand

We have received some emails, tweets and other communications relating to the recent decision to house the Celtic and Rangers fans in the South Stand next season.

Rather than replying to these all individually we thought it would be better to expand on the information we have provided so far on our website and on social media. 

Firstly, we can completely understand that the announcement was not universally well received but please rest assured that the decision was not taken lightly by the board. As stated in earlier articles we looked at various options before coming to this tough decision and we are still convinced it was the correct one based on our longer term goals. 

Here are some of the main points that have been raised;

SAFETY OF FANS

One of the recurring questions that has arisen has been the safety aspects of housing the away fans in the South Stand.  We consulted with both the local police and our safety officer before making our decision. They are comfortable that the proposed setup can be policed in a safe and acceptable manner just as it was on the previous occasion.

The safety of all spectators attending matches at our stadium is of paramount importance. 

FINANCE

Our stated aim is to have St Mirren challenging in the top 6 of the Scottish Premiership.

This ambition is one that hopefully is shared by everyone connected with the football club.

It is no coincidence in football that league position and the size of a managers budget are usually fairly well aligned.

There will always be exceptional seasons where the trend is bucked both positively and negatively but generally speaking for our football club to change from one merely seeking to survive to one regularly challenging for a place in the top six requires us to increase our overall turnover by around 50%. 

That is a huge task but one we are committed to achieving.

While we have long term plans to increase our turnover through non-football activities the biggest step towards revenue growth in the short term is to be in the Premiership. We’ve achieved that and having done so we now want to make sure we stay there.

We need to give the manager a budget that shows we are serious about staying in the division and, as a board, we need to investigate every avenue to achieve that without putting the club at risk. Making this decision means that we can add a six figure sum to that budget to help make this happen.  

The vision of a day when St Mirren fans fill the West, South and East stands and we can restrict all other clubs supporters to the North stand is one we all share and dream of but that will only happen with more success on the pitch.

COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE

Although this decision gives Celtic and Rangers a larger support than previously, St Mirren supporters will retain the majority of seats in the stadium.  We are hopeful of a big home crowd for these (and all other) games where the atmosphere will be electric. Importantly this decision means that for all our other games the away fans will only have the north stand which will allow us to build on the superb support within the stadium that helped us so much this season. 

We want to win every game we play, home or away, and the support plays a huge part of that, as we have seen over the past 18 months.

FIRST HOME PREMIERSHIP GAME

We have been assured by the SPFL that our opening home game where we raise the Championship flag will not be against Rangers or Celtic. This ensures that all three home stands will be fully available for what will hopefully be another special day for us.

IN SUMMARY

As we seek to continue to improve and to grow the club we will sometimes have to make difficult decisions like these and it’s very important to us that we try and communicate the reasons behind them as clearly as we can. Hopefully the above helps.

The sense of togetherness we have at the club right now is tremendous. We never take your support for granted and we want to grow and foster the good feeling we have around the club.

As a board we feel we have real positive momentum and we are very excited for the challenges which lie ahead in the Premiership. We know you will be too.

We were on our way, now we’re here to stay.

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