Hello ‘Well fans,
I wanted to provide another short update on what is happening with the Club and also the ‘Well Society.
Fans’ Event, Sunday 29 March, Fir Park
Last Sunday I was able to attend a function at the Centenary Lounge with many society members in attendance. It was also good to see such a big turnout of fans who had recently purchased their tiles to be placed in the players’ tunnel.
Thanks mainly to Peter Elder, the sports’ quiz was also a big success, and as far as I know, despite the ‘Bois’ best efforts, the best team won!
Prior to screening the Scotland game on TV, the club organised a Q&A session hosted by Phil Speedie with Alan Burrows and myself fielding questions ranging from pledging monthly payments to the society similar to the Foundation of Hearts to questions about the new scouting regime at the club.
I would like to express my thanks to all who attended and, in particular, to Diane Harvey, the catering and bar staff and all volunteers for making the occasion such a success.
Where are we now?
I am pleased to report that the Society once again has been able to provide financial support to the club during a challenging period off the pitch. In addition to the £190,000 loaned to the club in January, it has provided a further £120,000 to cover a temporary cashflow shortfall at the club for March.
To summarise where we are currently, as you know in February the club received Les Hutchison’s loan of £650,000, which was used partly to stabilise the club’s finances and, of course, £1 of which used to purchase John Boyle’s shares. Subsequently, Les provided further investment in order to strengthen the playing squad and improve a number of areas in anticipation of a financial return in the future.
As a business, the club has now been re-organised to focus on its vision to become the most successful community-centred club in Scotland.
As part of its business plan, it now adopts a three-pronged approach concentrating on football, finance, and marketing and sales, which is reflected in its organisational structure as follows:
As you already know the board of directors currently comprises Jim McMahon, Derek Weir, Leanne Thomas, Peter Kellie, Ian Reid and me. In addition, I am very pleased to report that Les Hutchison has agreed to join the board.
As Chairman of the Society, I chair the Club Board, Les is now Vice-Chairman, Derek Weir chairs the Football Committee, Jim McMahon heads up the Finance Committee, and I also chair the Marketing and Sales committee. The three other directors Leanne Thomas, Ian Reid and Peter Kellie support the work of the football and finance committees in particular.
This organisational arrangement at the club is largely reflected in the organisation and sub committee structure of the society as follows:
Currently the board comprises myself as chair, Tom Feely as secretary, plus two other elected members Robert Montgomery and Allan Todd. Douglas Dickie is one of three possible co-opted members, two of which we need to replace now that Dee Cameron and Derek Watson have stepped down due to pressure of work.
The society is most grateful for their contributions to its work and we wish them every success for the future. Of course, both remain strong Motherwell supporters.
We shall soon be seeking to appoint two new board members who will hopefully be able to complement and supplement the current skills set and experience of the current board members.
The board is also most grateful to Doug Inglis and a team of volunteers who help to develop links with the business community not only with the society but also the club. Doug attends board meetings as an observer as part of his role as special adviser to the board.
Doug also chairs the Income Generation Committee, which includes as our top priority membership recruitment. Douglas Dickie takes the lead on recruitment matters. He is carrying out a revision of the current membership structure and developing proposals for changes. As part of a consultation process, these proposals will be shared with members for their approval in the next week or so.
Allan Todd is working towards increasing the engagement and participation of society members in the work of the society. He would welcome any suggestions about how the society could improve the involvement of the members in any ways.
Robert Montgomery heads up the marketing and communications committee as well as project managing the society’s action planning. He too would welcome any suggestions for improving our marketing and recruitment strategies.
To help with our marketing and sales efforts the board has agreed to appoint a full-time manager who will act also as key contact with the society for its members. An advert for this post will be issued shortly.
The future – reasons to be optimistic
As I explained in my presentation on Sunday, both the club and the society have good reasons to be optimistic about the short-term and long-term future.
- the team’s performances over the past few weeks have improved significantly and the points gained have been most welcome – as a consequence, I am very optimistic about our chances of remaining in the top division next season.
- the youth academy is developing extremely well and Scott Leitch and his coaching staff are bringing on some very good young footballers who will be our first team players of the future – the manager has kept his promise of not only ‘blooding’ some of these youngsters but given them plenty of playing time in the first team to show considerable promise. The extended contract signings of these players augers well for the future on the playing side.
- although relatively modest but nevertheless welcome, income from hire of function suits and bar takings, catering, sponsorship and other streams are on an upward trend – the club’s aim now is to increase attendances and issue more season tickets for next season than last year.
- Hearts certainly and possibly Rangers or Hibs will join the top flight next season bringing with them potential increases in attendances in the away stand as well as increased sponsorship and hospitality for home games.
- the club is more than hopeful that the SPFL will be able to attract a new sponsor next season and that a new and improved TV deal might be negotiated too.
- finally, Les Hutchison has agreed to continue to provide his new loan on similar terms as the original interest free loan of £650,000 – he has agreed to sponsor the appointment of a new marketing/communications manager for the society with a gift of half the salary
Ongoing Priorities for the Society
Over the coming weeks, the society board will focus on
- revamping the membership structure to make it simpler and less bureaucratic
- recruiting new members
- encouraging attendance at home games and
- seeking sponsorship and support from the business community
Thank you for your continuing support.