February 14, 2013
Present: George Yule, Greig Ingram, Gordon Duncan and Jennifer Moffat
George Yule has had a challenging six months at the club learning all aspects of how AFC operates. He began the meeting by outlining the key requirements that came out of his 100 day Report to the Board.
George’s general assessment of the current situation at AFC is encapsulated in this statement made during the meeting:-
“This Club is tired, it needs an uplift and it needs re-energised”
Issues arising from the review have been broken down into two areas for development –
· Football Development – covering all aspects of football related matters. A more proactive approach, including in depth analysis with structured decision making, planning and minuted action points. Duncan Fraser has responsibility for this area of development.
· Commercial Management – involves all aspects of commercial activity. George Yule has responsibility for this area of development.
An organisational/management structure has been drawn which included Duncan Fraser heading up the areas relating to football and business matters and George Yule being responsible for all other aspects of the Club (including media related matters).
Key requirements -
1. Improved Football performance must be sustained- this will generate increased SPL income, should increase match attendances and increase player values and AFC’s Profile.
2. Youth Development must be enhanced and maximised – this is the only way forward for AFC. Aberdeen now has an Advanced Performance School at Hazlehead with 12 AFC players attending.
3. AFC should be highly visible in the Community- actively engage with supporters and the local Community. AFC in Community Foundation will be running as a Registered Charity. A Board of Trustees is already in place. AFC will discharge a lot of its community responsibilities via this organisation.
4. Current Cost base is unaffordable – needs to be realigned with turnover. Cost efficiencies implemented across the club.
5. Succession Planning to be implemented across the club.
6. Injection of new money required- look at revenue generating activities
7. New modern training facilities essential - current training facilities are detrimental to football development. AFC working with the Universities to deliver a high quality modern training complex, with facilities which would include 3G pitches. Summer 2014 is the aim for the complex to be up and running.
8. New stadium options pursued – Loirston still being considered (and two further meetings have taken place with Aberdeen City Council), along with four other options.
9. Extend AFC marketing with e-marketing playing a major role- Club shop to be developed. New Shop Manager developing a range of new initiatives.
10. Develop and motivate the existing staff – invest time in personal development.
To underpin all developments and the working of AFC in general in the future, George has drawn up a set of Core Values which are prominently displayed throughout the stadium.
DST asked how they could help the club with these. George Yule agreed that DST had a role to play in communicating the message to supporters that“Change is coming to AFC” and in providing some detail on what is being done to bring about these changes. He also agreed that the FOTC idea has merit but it is difficult to see where it sits and fits in, at the moment, with the changes he has initiated. He assured DST that he would look at it again. He also said that he would give further thought to the role DST can play.
Match day experience
AFC are working on this with plans to compact the crowd and have more activities before the games and at half time. There will be a survey going out to fans next week seeking ideas on the matchday experience. DST explained about some fans requesting that the Merkland Road stand be given over for a singing/standing area next season. AFC will look into this while considering other areas of the ground. DST pointed out the need for any decision to be made soon, as the renewal of season tickets is not that far away.
It was clear that the reality is that there will be changes coming at the club as it is a “tired Club” and “no longer a big club”. However the club is ambitious and there has been a lot of work done to identify the areas which need to be improved in order that AFC can once more be considered “a big club”. There is also a new energy and drive that will hopefully see us get there.
February 11, 2013
In a recent vote by members many deserving candidates were recommended for a DONS (Distinction on Notable Service) award but top of the poll was Ally Shewan who played for the Dons from 1960/69.
Ally who comes from Cuminestown signed for Formartine United, who were then in the Amateur League, as a 17 year old attacking midfielder before adopting a more defensive role. In season 1959/60 he was converted to a central defence and played 50 games as an ever present when Formartine reached three cup finals, winning two, and got to the sixth round of the Scottish Amateur Cup. Ally was recommended to Teddy Scott who trained Formartine on a Wednesday evening and he signed for AFC at the end of the season. 1960 was Formartine’s first in the Junior League but Ally only played 8 games before being called up by Tommy Pearson who managed Aberdeen at the time.
He played regularly in the reserve side but his versatility came to light when he was switched to left back and became a first team regular in season 1962/63. Once in the team there was no shifting him and he went on to play 320 consecutive games, refusing to give in to injuries or ailments during that period. The number of games was checked and ratified by James Forbes who at that time was sports reporter with the Evening Express.
The award was presented by DST Board member Ian Hay who played with Ally in the Formartine 1959/60 side. Their paths digressed at the end of that season when Ally signed for Aberdeen and Ian signed for National Service and had not crossed since!
In his acceptance speech Ally said he felt highly honoured to be recognised in this way by the club’s supporters. He had loved every minute of his football career and although he did not win any trophies he felt he won an award every time he pulled on a red shirt. He paid tribute to Eddie Turnbull, who he said was an outstanding football tactician and a great motivator. He said one of the first things Eddie did was to give the players a ball each and make them do additional training to master their ball skills.
He had his own section of the crowd as his fan club and as his run of consecutive games increased the cheer when his name was called as the team was announced grew louder each match! He said that his six years plus without missing a game was probably because in those days ‘hamstrings’ did not exist! He was too modest to say what an outstanding player and club man he was regularly snuffing out the threat of the great wing players of the time including the legendary Jimmy Johnstone and Willie Henderson.
Ally’s outstanding contribution to our club was recognised by AFC when he was enrolled as a legend of the club and he is now very proud to serve as an ambassador.
January 30, 2013
The DST Board fully support the campaign for a singing section to create some atmosphere at Pittodrie, and recognise that the club need to improve the match day experience for fans.
Aberdeen Mad have a campaign
running for a singing section at the Merkland Road end and a dedicated forum
on this topic.
Please send us your comments on the Pittodrie match day experience and where you would like a singing section to be located in the stadium.
The club have a match day experience survey which we would encourage all members to complete (by Tuesday 5th Feb) to have their say on what they would like to see at Pittodrie on match days.
January 17, 2013
Meeting Notes – 16/1/13 at Pittodrie
Present: Duncan Fraser , Jennifer Moffat, Jeremy Wood
Duncan wanted to outline to the DST the background and detail of the SPL’s reconstruction proposals.
Desire is to implement at start of next season, which is still very possible but there is a great deal to be done. Next steps are that the SPL and SFL have meetings with their members at end January to see if agreement in principle can be reached
Proposals developed after the failure to deliver on the McLeish report recommendations for league reconstruction and the liquidation of the original Rangers FC in the summer.
The time it took the Rangers FC situation to be resolved was largely driven by external factors out with football in that a CVA remained a possibility right up until the end
At the SPL away day at Dunkeld a reorganisation group was formed.
This group (with 5 SPL clubs and the CEO) following extensive work came back with the proposed 12/12 and three eight solution. The SPL unanimously agreed to take forward this solution in principle as the way ahead in early December.
Proposals said to have following benefits
- Lots of pressure on top teams to perform to reach top 8 – so meaningful games
- A natural winter break
- Post-split top 8 have all to play for but no relegation leading to hopefully attractive matches
- Income (based on final league placement) will be more evenly distributed. Top 8 lose income share, much of which goes the teams in 9-16th (recognising that many present SPL members face a real challenge in the play off 8)
- Additional funds for all remaining 42 clubs within the present SFL
- A merger between the SPL and SFL bringing the senior game back to one governing body
- Pyramid system to be introduced which is a key SFA objective
- Ground regulations loosened, but all grounds to be under SFA licensing which is committed to raising standards
League structure linked to the voting change, governance and financial all through redistribution as well as single body and pyramid.
Protected areas only in relation to specific areas eg number of home live games, home gate receipts, existing club sponsorships.
Clubs to have equal vote, except where issues are specific to one league only – others benefit from new distribution model. New board is proportional between leagues.
New single governing body – but merger with SFA not seen as key
Artificial pitches use may be extended
Areas like summer football not part of initial process but could be debated down the line.
League Cup sections not seen as viable option to replace income from fewer league games in a larger league structure
Also keen to extend Friday fixtures involving local clubs where possible
Commenting on the newspaper comments on the ECA Doha meeting AFC confirmed that they are attending as a member of the ECA (Celtic being another ordinary member) which is open to invited clubs across all European leagues and is seen as a key driver in moving the game forward across Europe.
DST explained that fans feel they have not been consulted or involved in the proposals for league reconstruction and asked that the club communicate clearly to the fans on this issue.
AFC as with all other clubs will be engaging with fans if agreement is reached by the SPL and SFL. Vital that agreement is reached first.
AFC are keen to get ideas of areas where the supporters can influence. DST to lead this process with input from AFC as appropriate through a survey conducted by DST. AFC see this as a positive independent approach.
DST presented feedback of member’s comments. Communicated that only real consensus was fans were not keen on playing same teams four times. However it was clear that for now there is no alternative to that.
DST would like to thank those members that got in touch with us regarding this issue. Some feedback has already been given to the club and all the responses will be passed on to ensure that the club are aware of the fans feelings on this issue.
January 7, 2013
Club – George Yule; Ian Jack: Duncan Fraser. Reps of various supporter groups and DST members. Apologies – Chris Gavin
IJ opened the meeting and initially passed over to DF to provide an update on activities over the last 6 months or so for the SPL and SPL Board from the Rangers situation through to the current league reconstruction proposals. This, and the further, question areas were:-
2. SPL/ SPL Board matters update
DF gave a detailed and extensive background and update to the numerous matters that have occurred in the last 6 months or so.
Key points were:-
- The loss of Rangers to the SPL was a detriment to the central income re impact on overseas distribution rights and so on. DF and others met with broadcasters and agreed terms that were acceptable to all parties whereby the contract could be locked in for a longer period and there is a negative financial impact v income, and respective shares, for the bigger SPL teams, including AFC.
- As a result this influenced the further debate relating to voting rights per decision type. AFC’s commercial perspective is that they recognise that for the good of the game there will need to be some give up from the SPL central income pot but, having already given up some of their income, AFC is not prepared to give away a whole load more without suitable league reconstruction and fairer distribution of income agreements being tabled and settled as part of the further negotiations required. Hence, there is no tie up with Celtic on this but like Celtic AFC wish the wider debates to be had and sorted that would not need to take place were the voting rights merely changed as initially indicated i.e. the wider issues would then be ignored and not be tabled for discussion.
- To that end smaller working groups of SPL clubs have been challenged to review all matters and come forward with suitable proposals for agreement. This has re-clarified that a 16 team top league just does not stack up financially as too much income would be lost due to less games and less meaningful games amongst other relevant points.
- Accordingly the 24/18 SPL proposals that develop into 12/12, then 8/8/8 were produced and unanimously agreed by SPL clubs. This was followed by discussions with the SFL and SFA as to identify the fundamental principles for each group and what was available for negotiation. In essence there is a decent level of cross body agreement already re e.g. play-offs, promotion and relegation; pyramid structure etc..
- No decision has been made as to governing bodies in the future and/or the leagues being re-branded but the next steps are to have further meetings and thrash out the details with a possible start date in 2013/14. DF informed the room that all clubs and governing bodies were working together.
- AFC accepts that they, and other SPL clubs, will need to give up income to the lower leagues but are prepared to do so for the good of the game. However, local initiatives and efforts to replace that income will be needed.
3. What about summer football and are Sky keen on that?
Summer football has been raised various times and AFC are supportive. However, it is not a priority and so not specifically included in the above proposals but it is hoped it will be specifically discussed in depth 1-2 years after any change is effected.
Sky are open to this but it is not critical to them. The ESPN contract expires at the end of the year and their future intent is not known. GY advised that AFC’s preference with regard to discussions (short-term) with the broadcasters is more about the scheduling i.e. kick off times and date changes for games and so on
4. What about more Friday night football?
- Again AFC is supportive but have not been involved further. General agreement in place to continue this, but policing concerns are relevant here and are still a barrier as to what games re teams, and where, will be considered.
5. What does AFC get as a result of Celtic’s success in the Champions League and is there any prospect of European income being added to the central pot for distribution across the Scottish game.
- No, this income is retained by the club concerned and will not come under a central distribution set up.
- However, for the SPL, because of the stage in the Champions League that Celtic has reached, it will receive a payment of £1M from the UEFA Solidarity payment pool, to be distributed across all the other SPL teams, excluding Celtic, to compensate for any disruption to fixtures as a result of CL games
6. Will there be more signings in January?
- As things stand there are no available funds for more players despite the extensive injury list which is a concern.
7. What is the truth regarding the Ryan Fraser situation?
- Discussions, including an increased contract offer, were on-going from August to October. At that time the player submitted his expectations and AFC responded with an offer close to those terms. The player asked for more time to consider this offer and after further discussion he has indicated he wants to wait and see what develops elsewhere ie to keep his options open but AFC cannot afford to apply a wait and see position as plans need to be made for the future. Accordingly a formal offer was made which RF subsequently rejected which AFC communicated to the media as AFC needs to move on and focus on players who want to play for the club and with economics and finances being as they are all clubs will need to reduce their player pool budgets next season.
- RF should not be vilified for this as he is within his rights to make this decision and so will leave with AFC’s best wishes and time will tell if the decision was the right one for Ryan.
8. So, did the club act too late on this?
- No, the future of young players and subsequent contract discussions is an on-going and continuous exercise. 5-6 other young players have already agreed contract extensions this season and discussions are taking place with others, not yet in the first team pool. The club is also restricted to the terms of contracts, per age of the player concerned, but this is another reason why discussions need to take place all the time to make sure that the permitted timeframes are met.
9. (This was an external to the meeting question asked) – Should Ryan Fraser, and others in the same situation, not give an interview to Red TV explaining their decision to supporters in terms of being open and honest to the paying public?
- No, this would be totally unfair to Ryan and a bad example set that could discourage parents from letting their children sign with AFC at much younger ages if this was expected of them a few years later plus we know that it will happen again in the future as England is a Category 1 country but Scotland is only a Category 2 one and as England has set up an U21 league, they will keep plundering the Scottish leagues for young talent that is further progressed than their Academy players given that they have played many more games in the SPL even at such a young age. For similar reasons UEFA is very unlikely to change the compensation rules.
10. What is the latest on the plans for new training facilities via the University link up. Plus any stadium update?
- Negotiations regarding the training facilities are at a mature stage reflective of a mutual willingness to find a solution to make it happen which is good news but as the £ figures involved are big it will take a bit of time yet to conclude any deal. Hopefully there will be an announcement in early 2013.
- Little progress on the stadium front and appearing less and less likely that an agreement can be reached with ACC over the Loirston Loch site but there will be a further meeting soon with planning officers to review the situation again.
11. The mobile app (web site) does not appear to be working following a recent upgrade
- Not aware of this but we’ll look into it – thanks for the feedback. There are many improvements required to the website as advised at the last Forum meeting
12. Supplementary Q – what is the club’s view on the atmosphere created from section S (South Stand) at the Motherwell cup-tie and can previous suggestions re changes to the Merkland (sitting and standing section) and RDS and Main Stand etc be considered again to change for season 13/14 given we aren’t leaving Pittodrie any time soon?
- The attendance at the Motherwell game was very disappointing. We accept there can be reasons but attendances are still lower than fans indicated in the summer that they would be and need to be increased to support the club’s finances.
- That said, the atmosphere created by both sets of fans, plus the band and the drum was great and something we’d like to see more of.
Accordingly, the club will investigate further what can be done to help create the best atmosphere possible.
November 9, 2012
Supporters Meeting at Pittodrie: 27th October 2012
Club: George Yule, Ian Jack, (Apologies Chris Gavin)
IJ opened the meeting and advised CG was unable to attend due to illness. IJ handed over to GY who sought questions from the floor and advised questions would be answered honestly, but some aspects would be confidential.The question areas were:-
Discussion regarding traffic issues for the game at Tannadice
GY agreed that the game should have not have kicked off before 3.30pm. There must be more consideration for the travelling support. There was conflicting information being given out by the police to fans in the pubs that the game would kick off at 3.30pm.
It was agreed efforts should be made to attract the “away support” who currently bypass home games to attend Pittodrie more often.
AFC are waiting for Aberdeen Council to come back to them so no update as far as Loirston is concerned. The club have had meetings with Aberdeenshire Council about potential sites close to the city boundary and within easy reach of the proposed AWPR. The club were asked whether fans should apply pressure to their local councillors. It was agreed that fans needed to know why there had not been a free vote on the Calder Park Stadium issue. The importance of good transport links and adequate parking at any new stadium location was raised and discussed. Proper training facilities are a very high priority for the club and they have been in talks with Aberdeen University and RGU about collaborating to provide a modern outdoor sports complex which AFC could use for training.
SPL proposed vote
The club were asked about reports in the press that they had “stymied” the proposed SPL voting changes. As some clubs are working to their own specific agenda rather than the good of the national game, any reconstruction has to be done for the RIGHT reason and to meet supporters needs/wants.
The club are to do a cost/benefit analysis on TV games, which in general are always more poorly attended.
Dons Supporters Together (DST) raised the issue of the club’s late promotion of the Dundee Derby game as DST had approached the club weeks earlier to offer their help to promote the game to increase the attendance. The club will look into the reasons for the Derby marketing being promoted so late.
The Jason Brown situation was raised but not discussed for obvious confidentiality reasons – and any issues will be dealt with internally.
Paul Lawrie will bring the Ryder Cup along to a game at Pittodrie in Feb next year and the club are aware of the marketing opportunity that goes with this.
Customer Services Manager and Performance Analyst job adverts
GY was asked to explain the role that these advertised posts would encompass. Customer Services manager – the club have recognised the need for better communications to fans and slicker marketing so more needs to come out of this role to ensure customer service are more involved in the running of the club.
Performance Analyst has in the past been done externally – the club would now like to have this as an internal role.
Young Players Contracts/Youth Academy
New improved contracts went out 5-6 weeks ago to Ryan Fraser, Cammy Smith, Joe Shaughnessy, Nicky Low and Jordan Brown. So far Jordan Brown has signed.
There will be investment in Youth Development and the club will soon be launching a Junior Academy (8-13 years headed up by Gavin Levey and a Youth Academy(13 years upwards headed by Neil Simpson)
GY discussed Jocky Scott’s role at the club. He is working with the players on attacking formations with 1st team and u-20 players and he has been watching opponents.
The issue of Catering by Sodexho was brought up and concerns raised will be discussed at Friday’s meeting with DST, where the Local Manager of Sodexho will be present.
U20 games/ Cup finals at Pittodrie
The club was asked about the possibility of more 7pm kick offs for U20 games after the recent game at Pittodrie against Motherwell. The club explained that they are tied by the rules of the U20 league which gives opponents the option (when playing Aberdeen) to ask for a 2pm kick off because of the distance to travel to Pittodrie. (this rule also applies to the opponents of Ross County and Inverness)
GY confirmed that following an approach by AFC to the Junior, Amateur and Schools organisations the finals of the AFC Trophy Competitions would be held at Pittodrie, as they always used to be.
Cameras at Pittodrie
The club were asked what their policy is for bringing camera’s to matches, after an unfortunate incident with a steward at the Neil Simpson testimonial. The club will look in to this and report back.
It was pointed out that various areas of the club’s website have not been updated for many months. The club are aware of this and this is work in progress, particularly the Hall of Fame which is currently being overhauled.
Player of the Year Awards dinner
Fans felt the £150 price ticket was expensive, particularly if you also need overnight accommodation. GY will take this up with marketing and consider in the future providing a ticket and hotel deal.
GY said the club have got nowhere with Adidas for this season but they will be looking at providing a replica kit (kids size only) with the launch of the new strip in the summer. The club would prefer to have more young children wearing an AFC strip at a lower margin than fewer at a higher margin. It was pointed out that the away (white kit) was selling in the shop at £15 until the team wore it at Tannadice and then it was suddenly full price again. GY will look into this.
Other points to be followed up by the club
Could AFC obtain charitable status for Youth Development Activities?
Could AFC have follow up groups after the success of the Football Fans in Training initiative?
Could other supporter’s dinners be organised at reasonable prices?
As you are are aware from our request to you for feedback regarding Sodexho, DST reps were due to meet with AFC, and the Sodexho regional manager, last Friday.
Unfortunately, the time available for the meeting was reduced a day or so before the 2nd and, as we felt that the new time slot would be insufficient to fully discuss your feedback and all the other AFC supporter related issues, we thought best to postpone the meeting and seek an alternative date and suitable time slot to cover all the discussion points.
We expect to confirm the fresh arrangements soon and will provide you with a summary of the meeting thereafter as normal.
October 23, 2012
DST has been in discussion with AFC of late regarding getting another big home game attendance following the success of the Ross County game in August.
Whilst the Ross County game wasn’t a “Sell out Saturday” it was certainly a success in terms of a much bigger than average attendance and AFC/DST would like to see something similar happening much more often, starting with the Dundee game this weekend.
Although it wasn’t our title, or technically the goal we were seeking, DST was happy to support the Sell out Saturday initiative as it was well intentioned and worthwhile. DST’s thinking was to use 11k as an average crowd and then if 15k actually attended the game that wiped out the “loss” of 1 home game v “Old” Rangers and 19k would wipe out 2 such games. As it was so early in the season this would have been a great financial boost to the club were it to be achieved. Whilst there is some debate over the size of the crowd that day it was a success in that the first goal was met, though not the 2nd.
Accordingly, we are now saying that a 15k crowd against Dundee would meet that 2nd goal. We believe that 15k is not an unreasonable expectation given AFC’s performances of late, where we are in the league, the fact that Dundee have a reasonable travelling support and that Dundee are our traditional derby day opponents. The positivity at Tannadice on Saturday, and the type of atmosphere we’d like to see at Pittodrie, is also reason to hope more fans will get out and support the team at home as it is much more preferable to fill AFC’s coffers than Dundee Utd’s.
So, we are fully behind the club’s marketing push for this game including the “Bring a Buddy” offer for Black & Gold season ticket holders. We do appreciate there is not a lot of time before Saturday to mobilise the sort of efforts seen by fans for the Ross County match but we do hope there is enough of an impetus already to tap into to, to get the “floating” supporters along.
Therefore, we encourage all DST members and youngsters to get along to the game and do all they can to get friends, family, work colleagues, fellow students along as well. It would be a great signal to send to the players and management that we are on the right lines, that we appreciate the performances and by creating an atmosphere they can revel in, we can cheer the team onto another well-deserved victory.
October 23, 2012
Dons Supporters Together are fully supportive of the upcoming SPL Charity Weekend. Set to launch on the weekend of 8th/9th December supporters have been given the chance to vote on which charity will benefit from the various charity actions of the weekend. Collections will be held at each game as well as Weatherseal offering their commercial rights for the weekend. A shortlist of charities have been selected - Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Samaritans Scotland, Shelter Scotland, Football Memories as part of Alzheimer Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid. Voting is now open via a dedicated website, www.weatherseal-charity.co.uk. The poll closes on 29th October.
See below for a full press release regarding the event.
Weatherseal and the 12 Scottish Premier League (SPL) clubs today (Monday 22nd October 2012) launched the league’s first official Charity Weekend.
And for the first time, supporters will have the opportunity to vote for their chosen charity that will benefit from activity at all league games on the weekend of 8th/9th December.
A shortlist of five charities has been selected by the clubs. They are: Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS), Samaritans Scotland, Shelter Scotland, Football Memories as part of Alzheimer Scotland and Scottish Women’s Aid.
The chosen charity will benefit from collections at all fixtures. Weatherseal, the SPL’s official home improvement partner will also gift their marketing rights for that weekend. This includes advertising space and digital perimeter display boards.
Voting is now open via a dedicated website, www.weatherseal-charity.co.uk. The poll closes on 29th October.
Weatherseal managing director Tony Reilly said:
“Weatherseal is proud to be launching this new initiative. This has been a season about supporters and I am sure they will help raise as much as possible for the chosen charity.”
SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster added:
“This is a great opportunity for supporters to have their say in this new project. I’d like to thank Weatherseal for generously supporting the initiative.”
Gordon Duncan, Dons Supporters Together said:
“Dons Supporters Together is delighted to support the first Weatherseal/SPL charity weekend on the weekend of 8th December 2012 when we visit Hearts at Tynecastle. Hopefully fans of all SPL clubs will dig deep that weekend to assist the chosen charity.”
Michael White Alzheimer Scotland Football Memories project manager said:
“Thousands of people with dementia love their football and Football Memories harnesses that passion for the game to improve their lives. We are therefore delighted to have the chance to take part in a charity weekend launched by Weatherseal and the Scottish Premier League and Weatherseal.”
Tanya Rhodes, Scottish Women’s Aid media worker added:
“We are delighted to have been shortlisted for the Weatherseal/SPL charity weekend, and call upon all Scotland’s football fans to join us in blowing the whistle on domestic abuse. Domestic abuse has a huge effect throughout families and communities, and everyone can play their part in making it STOP.“
Andrew Sim, Samaritans executive director for Scotland said:
“Samaritans is delighted to be a Charity Candidate as part of the Weatherseal and Scottish Premier League Charity Weekend. We see it as a great opportunity to highlight the links between physical activity and mental wellbeing and to tell people about our service and the great work of Samaritans volunteers across Scotland.”
Graeme Brown, director of Shelter Scotland, says:
“We are delighted to be one of the charities chosen by Weatherseal and the Scottish Premier League to be involved in this exciting fundraising initiative.
You may not see Scotland’s homeless children on the street. Isolated and ignored, they’re hidden away in temporary accommodation. And every day our helpline hears more stories of cockroaches, health problems, bad landlords and bitter cold. It’s a disgrace. It’s an outrage. And we need your help to do something about it.”
CHAS corporate and events fundraiser Criona Knight said:
“Football fans always show their mettle for their team, and we want to turn that spirit into votes for CHAS, Scotland’s only children’s hospice charity. We’re so excited to be up for this nomination which will mean so much to the families that we support.”
Amy Forsyth, Progress Sponsorship and Communications, 07808 132 592
Notes to editors:
Saturday 8th December
Hearts v Aberdeen 15.00 BBC Alba
Inverness CT v Hibernian 15.00
Kilmarnock v Celtic 12.30 ESPN
Motherwell v Ross County 15.00
St Mirren v St Johnstone 15.00
Sunday 9th December
Dundee v Dundee United 12.45 Sky Sports
- Football Memories is an innovative partnership between Alzheimer Scotland and the Scottish Football Museum at Hampden Park. There are over 84,000 people in Scotland with dementia, the equivalent of every spectator on an average Scottish football weekend. Football Memories groups are being established locally across Scotland from Stranraer to Shetland, and football images and memorabilia are used as reminiscence therapy for people with dementia and other memory problems. Some of the recall is fascinating and several stories are being recorded for use with future generations of football supporters.
- Scottish Women’s Aid has worked for over 35 years to end domestic abuse in Scotland, by campaigning and lobbying for changes to the law and policy, and raising awareness of the scale and nature of domestic abuse. Domestic abuse blights Scottish society – and we want it to STOP. Scottish Women’s Aid is the lead organisation in Scotland working towards the prevention and elimination of domestic abuse. Our members are local Women’s Aid groups, which provide specialist services to women, children and young people experiencing domestic abuse. These services include safe accommodation, information and support. An important aspect of our work is ensuring that women and children with experience of domestic abuse receive the services they need, both from local Women’s Aid groups and from the agencies they are likely to contact. We provide advice, information, training and publications to members and non-members. SWA has decades of experience in the analysis and reporting on issues surrounding domestic abuse, and this is reflected in our staff base, which carries in it a wealth of knowledge and experience.For more information visit www.scottishwomensaid.org.uk or contact Tanya Rhodes on 07921 060 292
- Samaritans’ vision is that fewer people die by suicide. People contact Samaritans when they are struggling to cope and need someone to talk to. More than 20,000 Samaritans’ volunteers are available round the clock, every day of the year. The helpline provides a safe place to talk and all conversations are private.
To contact Samaritans call 08457 90 90 90, email email@example.com, or visit http://www.samaritans.org/ to find your nearest branch.
Samaritans recently released the report ‘Men and Suicide: Why it’s a social issue’ which looks at why men in their 30s, 40s and 50s from disadvantaged backgrounds are at the highest risk of suicide. Find out more about the report here http://www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/files/Samaritans_Men_and_Suicide_Report_web.pdf
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October 15, 2012
Earlier this month representatives from Dons Supporters Together met with representatives from the Aberdeen City Council (ACC) to discuss the recent Aberdeen FC stadium developments and the rejection of plans for a training complex in partnership with Cove Rangers. The following questions put to the council are taken primarily from feedback sent to us from members that we collated and sought to put directly to ACC. Thank you to everyone who got in touch with us regarding this issue.
Questions for ACC re the AFC (Stadium) and Cove/AFC joint applications
- What was, and is, the nature of the relationship between AFC and local political groups, plus individual Councillors, specifically Councillors Crockett and Young, past and present involved during both of the application processes i.e. Loirston Loch (LL) and Cove R/AFC joint application?
Relationship was with Cove Rangers who are acting as applicants – AFC were only agents
- -Has Labour (rather than the coalition) always been against the new (LL) stadium and why.
Labour were against original move to LL but are NOT trying to prevent move now given previous decisions
- -Has Labour always been against the Allen Park/Calder Park plans? If so, Why?
No but ACC need to ensure best value on sale of land – particularly given the 12 year period to get to this point
- -Why is Labour seeking to “kill them off” now as this seemed to be progressing fine until the change of power in ACC (e.g. invoking the whip)?
Not seeking to kill off – but to ensure due process and best value. Things could still proceed albeit with delays
- -Were AFC consulted re delaying the ratification of the joint application planned that ACC were scheduled to do pre the local elections.
- Who proposed the delay until after the election?
- -Does ACC not benefit economically from LL/Calder Park?
- Is ACC concerned about the very real prospect of AFC moving to Aberdeenshire given the various offers of land that have been made to AFC plus the demographics of AFC’s supporters base being such that a move would be well received?
Yes there is some benefit economically but not huge, yes ACC is concerned and want the club to still be within the city
- -Why does ACC not view AFC as an asset to the city, as there is no evidence of working together for the benefit of communities in the city and Aberdeenshire?
ACC do see club as asset to city
- Surely ACC would not want the 3rd largest city in Scotland to be without an SPL club plus suffer the loss of income to the city that would ensue and to be blamed for all this e.g. if AFC had to play European matches in Glasgow?
ACC see misinformation here given AFC has not sorted out ownership of ground for actual stadium with Muir Group.
- -Historically, did ACC only ever offer 2 sites, and why? e.g. Loirston (LL) and Kings Links
Before Cllr Crocket’s time, but ACC not in business of “offering sites” they want, rather, to facilitate the right move
- -Was the Kings Links option ever viable given it is deemed as “Common Good” land?
There are some difficulties but these could be overcome (as is happening in Edinburgh currently, and also with some other Common Good land sell-off in Aberdeen)
- -In what year, and why, did ACC renege on the previous proposal for a community stadium?
Did not get a year, but with current financial climate community option is simply not a starter
- -Could this community concept be reinstated e.g.at Kings Links or given most fans would prefer to stay at Pittodrie, would ACC consider taking over Pittodrie as a community investment, re-developing it and then lease it back to AFC?
No – see above
- -Did (when?) the council insist on a 2nd access route for LL (and for parking <totally inadequate>) as a condition of the planning application?
There was already an alternative (to Calder Park development) access route in proposal
- -Is Calder Park the only option for this 2nd route or does ACC believe there are others?
No apparently not
- If yes, then why did ACC block the Calder Park (request for an extension of time?) request, knowing it would jeopardise the LL application, already approved…..and why does the Council claim AFC can still proceed with LL?
Issue is one of ensuring deliverability and best value for ACC
- -How can the “chicken & egg” situation for AFC and Cove over the funding for both applications be resolved i.e. from ACC’s perspective, how can AFC confirm funding arrangements if the linked proposals that are necessary remain rejected/ delayed?
ACC see this as AFC issue – but feel the issue with Muir Group needs to be resolved first
- What is Councillor Young looking to see in this regard re his questioning of evidence that confirmed finances are in place for both applications?
Some concern over the viability of the schemes – ACC want to be sure things can proceed to conclusion – officers concerned over the business case
- -As it was claimed that the Cove application has been on-going for 12 years why was this extension not permitted, especially given that ACC knew the impact of doing so? Was the original application submitted solely by Cove and when did AFC (and others) get involved to change it to a joint one?
It is not dead yet – reports will be back before council in Feb 2013 and the current proposals could then be accepted
- -What are the obligations upon Cove (AFC) in this application e.g. does it remain that use of the land must be for recreational purposes only? If yes, is this obligation met by the proposed community sports complex including AFC’s dedicated training facility?
Yes – ACC insists on Community Benefit – which recreational meets
- -Can Cove and/ or AFC appeal/challenge the ACC decision – or just Cove?
Cove – as they are the applicant
- -Does Cove own the land at Allen Park, or do they lease it from the council?
Cove own the land
- -Is it correct that the plans to build a sports centre on Allen Park have been changed to build houses?
Understanding is houses are planned
- -Is this change of green belt to brown belt land permitted and/or has it been approved?
This is already agreed
- -Is SMGH the only buyer involved for Allen Park? Has their offer been formally rejected?
- -Is it correct that ACC believe SMGH’s offer to be below market value? If yes, has the current M/V been determined and how big is the gap?
There is such a concern – council (given history and current climate) must achieve best value
- As ACC has taken control of the land, then is the deal at an impasse until the M/V is obtained and paid?
Certainly blocked until return to council in Feb 2013
- Can other parties now step in to offer more to ACC?
- -It has been stated that ACC got legal advice that they could not sell the land to a single private buyer (SMGH) as this would immediately be challenged by others, especially where the land sale is below market value. Is this assertion correct as it seems detrimental to Cove’s rights and also would SMGH not have had the same legal advice before they offered?
Restated that council need to achieve – and be seen to achieve – best value
- -Why has ACC disregarded the SFA’s wishes regarding their desire to link the Calder Park development with the North East Regional training centre?
SFA input is noted but they are not part of any commercial deal. ACC do want an SFA centre in the area
- -When ACC offered AFC the LL site, did ACC claim they owned the land?
ACC own some of the land, Muir the other sections. On original plan stadium was on council land, but design changes have moved to to the Muir section
- -When was it sold to Hermiston Securities? Why?
- Were AFC informed and what action was taken?
ACC still own land, Hermiston (Muir) another bit
- -What does ACC believe are the options now open to AFC (and Cove) re both applications?
ACC and clubs still talking. Things could still go head on original basis, stadium could proceed with Calder Park development but different access, a new site could be agreed
- -Is there a conflict of interest for any councillors involved e.g. interests in Cove, Banks O’Dee; AFC?
- -How does ACC propose to break the impasse, and rebuild mutual trust, with AFC, specifically Messrs Crockett and Young, e.g. the latter’s description of AFC’s vice chairman as a “stranger to the truth”?
ACC and clubs are still talking – view is megaphone diplomacy is not helping and ACC are surprised at AFC comments. Believed the relationships are fixable.
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