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Chairman's Update - August 2018

It seems like a lifetime ago since my last update and so many positive and exciting things have happened in that period.

I personally had one of the proudest moments of my life raising the Championship flag on behalf of the St Mirren FC family last Saturday.

I’m sure you enjoyed the match that followed the flag raising as much as I did and it was tremendous to see a big and noisy home support backing the team on our return to the Premiership.

It’s a league we feel we belong in and one we are determined to thrive in.

Here’s an update on a few things!

Managerial Change

I am sure everybody will join me in wishing Jack Ross and James Fowler every success at Sunderland. We tried everything in our power to get them to stay but it wasn’t to be.

Success on the pitch brings its own set of challenges, such as attention from other clubs be it for players or management/coaching stuff. Whilst it’s always hard to see talented people move on it is however very much part and parcel of the game.

Jack and James were a massive part of what we achieved over the last 2 years and we wish them well in the future.

Alan Stubbs comes to us with an excellent pedigree and I have no doubt he is the man to build on that success and take the club forward. I have always said that I want to enjoy my football and while the season so far has already had its highs and lows it has been far from dull!

We have been working very hard on recruitment and there will be more new faces arriving to bolster the squad before the transfer window closes at the end of August. 

It goes without saying that the Premiership is a fiercely competitive league and every single game is very difficult to win. We will need to be patient at times and stick together just like we did during the darkest times in the Championship. Your support will be vital.

Let’s get right behind Alan and the boys!

Synthetic pitch at Ralston. 

We had hoped to have the new synthetic pitch laid at the Academy by now but we felt it was important to do due diligence on all the potential surfaces prior to making a decision.

This included sending our Head of Academy, Allan McManus, on a tour of Holland to view the most up to date pitches available. The order has now been placed and we anticipate the work being completed by the end of October. We will then have one of the best synthetic surfaces in the country which can only benefit the continued development of new talent. 

A big thank you to SMiSA members and the Scottish football partnership for helping us to make this project happen at an elite level.

Academy

With some clubs deciding to close their academies I think we need to look at the massive influence our own set-up has had in our progress over the last 2 seasons and going forward.

Kyle Magennis & Jack Baird have been first team regulars and the money received from the sale of Kyle McAllister, Jason Naismith, Stevie Mallan, Lewis Morgan and John McGinn has gone a long way towards putting this club back where it belongs both on and off the park.

There are numerous others coming through the system now which will stand the club in good stead in years to come. The Academy is, and will continue to be, a top priority for the football club and one we will continue to invest in.

Infrastructure

The stadium will be 10 years old in January and behind the scenes it is beginning to show its age. Here’s a few things we are working on;

We are looking to investigate bringing the PA system up to a better standard to improve the overall matchday experience.

We are replacing the lighting around the stadium and Academy to LED fittings which will reduce running costs over time.

The heating and ventilation systems are in need of an overhaul. Again, this will pay for itself over time due to reduced running costs.

The CCTV and fire alarm systems are badly in need of updating.

The grass playing surface at both the academy and stadium are looking as good as ever but once again some of the tools used to maintain them are much in need of upgrading and replacement.

We will continue to invest in the infrastructure of the club on an ongoing basis to ensure we have the best possible facilities. 

Ticketing system. 

We are painfully aware of the long running issues we have had with the ticketing platform, particularly with the buying process online.

Interstadia are working on a new version of the platform which will remove the legacy technology that has caused most of the problems and we are assured this will be delivered soon.

As part of the refresh of the platform we installed new card readers at the turnstiles, which unfortunately caused a few issues before the Dundee game.

The original plan was to get the system installed and tested at the Betfred cup games but unfortunately the new readers didn’t arrive in time for that to be put into practice.

We are confident the teething issues have been resolved and trust that there will be no similar entry issues for the next home match against Livingston. Entry via the new readers is exactly the same as before.

The Simple Digital Arena

I would like to personally thank the Simple Group for their sponsorship of the stadium over the next four Years. Everything we do is aimed at bringing more success to the club and having a partner who can help us in the ever-developing digital world as well as contributing financially to help us strengthen the team on the park can only make us stronger. 

Skyview 

Skyview have extended their sponsorship for another season and having a global brand as our main shirt sponsor shows the club in a very positive light. 

Keep tweeting and posting your team jersey pictures online in weird and wonderful places as Skyview see that as valuable worldwide marketing. 

Apart from anything else I think the logo looks great on our jerseys! 

Joma

Last season we had a few teething problems with Joma but this year their fulfilment of orders and quality of product has been exceptional. We also managed to get the strips on sale before the summer holidays!

We look forward to continuing and evolving our partnership with them. 

Season tickets

This year has seen a record number of season tickets sold since we moved to the new stadium. 

Make no mistake that we don’t take your commitment lightly and will do everything in our power to give you an exciting team on the pitch. 

Our aim is to fill our stadium with St Mirren fans and if we can maintain our progress and continue that growth then there is no reason why we can’t eventually limit all away fans to the North stand only.

Thank you all as ever for your continued support.

COYS!!

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