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
- Shelter Scotland provides expert support services, online advice and a free national helpline for everyone facing housing and homelessness difficulties. For advice and support visit www.shelterscotland.org or call 0808 800 4444.
Spokespeople are available for interview – call the media office on 0844 515 2442. An ISDN line is available for broadcast interviews.
Follow Shelter Scotland on Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/shelterinscotland Twitter – http://twitter.com/shelterscotland
Shelter Scotland believes everyone should have a home. We help people find and keep a home. We campaign for decent housing for all.
- Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) is a charity that provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people with life-shortening conditions. Visit CHAS at www.chas.org.uk
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.
October 5, 2012
Dons Supporters Together would like to make members aware of our upcoming Annual General Meeting. This meeting will be held on Saturday 27th October 2012 at 10.15am.
Aberdeen FC has again allowed DST the use of the Legends Lounge at Pittodrie for our AGM. The AGM will conclude by 10.55am so that the club can use the room for another meeting.
This will be our first AGM as Dons Supporters Together and we would encourage as many of our new members as possible to come along to share their thoughts.
The AGM pack with further information including the agenda and proxy form for those who cannot attend has already been sent out to members.
The following are brief summary notes from the DST meeting with George Yule on Monday 3rd September 2012
In attendance:- AFC – George Yule: Chris Gavin: DST – Mark Hay : Ian Hay: Greig Ingram
Introduction and update – GY
GY provided an update on his approach to assessing the situation at AFC since taking up the post of Executive Vice Chairman. He is conducting a review of all aspects of the Club – Football, Community and Operations and expects to complete this in the next few weeks.
Friends of the Club Proposal
DST had previously presented a FotC proposal to AFC. GY had reviewed the paper submitted by MH in detail. The proposal was welcomed by GY in general and DST Reps assured GY that the concept was to assist and support GY, and AFC, in making agreed changes for the betterment of AFC and its stakeholders and that it would not be a talking shop nor a barrier to anything GY/AFC wanted to do in the future. The FotC proposal will become an integral part of the exercise GY is carrying out. It will be a methodology to assist the planning for the future development of the Club.
Collated List of Ideas submitted to DST by fans.
GY had read through the considerable list of ideas and agreed that a great number of the suggestions, conceptually, coincided with his thinking and met with his approval. Some came under the category of quick fixes but others were longer term. GY expressed that positive suggestions from fans on the future development and improvement of the Club were very welcome.
Dynamic Ticket Pricing – The Ticket Office personnel are looking at the Derby County system.
- AFC Trophy Tournaments – A proposal to reinstate AFC Trophy Tournaments for various grades of local clubs, with the finals played at Pittodrie, has been the subject of discussions between GY and the respective associations.
- Jason Hill, the new Club Shop Manager, is in negotiations with Adidas on kids’ kit pricing. It looks like the current prices are locked into a 2 year contract. Jason is looking at the possibility of adding additional value into the price of a kit ie something within the club’s power to provide which would be given in addition when a kit is purchased.
- Matchday Programme – Malcolm Panton would welcome DST input to the programme via our Newsletter or in other ways we identify. We should also let our members know that he welcomes social info from fans.
GY provided an update on the new stadium following the recent decision by Aberdeen City Council.
GY stated that he has a series of meetings set up over the next week relating to the stadium situation, including both Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire Council.
GY, looking at the positives in the current situation, said that it gave him, as a fresh pair of eyes, and the restructured AFC board, an opportunity to take stock and look again at the whole situation around the new stadium and training facilities.
GY hoped to be in a position, following his series of meetings, to provide information to supporters on where the new stadium development goes from here.
DST suggested that a Q and A format on the stadium development, to be posted on the AFC website, would be a good way to keep fans informed.
September 19, 2012
DST recently ran a survey amongst our members based upon the recent decision by Aberdeen City Council to reject the club’s application for the new stadium and training facilities at Loirston Loch.
We received 584 responses and thanks to everyone who took the time to take the survey and to those who shared their views with us on this matter. In response to this DST have written to Aberdeen City Council expressing the views of our members on this emotive topic.
The results for the survey are shown in full below. Thank you.
Do you support Aberdeen City Council’s decision to reject the application?
Yes 74 (13%)
No 497 (87%)
Should AFC now seek an alternative stadium location?
Yes 375 (65.3%)
No 199 (34.7%)
If yes, where should this be?
Aberdeen City (North) 62 (12.8)
Aberdeen City (East) 36 (7.4)
Kingswells 48 (9.9)
Aberdeenshire (North) 35 (7.2)
Aberdeenshire (West) 36 (7.4)
Aberdeenshire (South) 69 (14.3)
I do not think AFC should move to another location 161 (33.3)
Should AFC seek investment, if possible, to re-develop Pittodrie, rather than moving?
Yes 315 (55%)
No 258 (45%)
Should DST write to Aberdeen City Council with a summary of the DST membership opinions?
Yes 554 (96.3)
No 21 (3.7%)
August 27, 2012
The various matters related to AFC’s stadium, current and future remain very emotive for Dons fans. The City Council’s decision regarding the training ground complex at Cove, and the subsequent statements by the club has brought the whole issue to the fore again. DST is keen to meet with club officials to understand the situation better and what happens next, and so, we are very keen to be able to represent the views of DST members in these discussions.
The last time we sought your opinions on the stadium situation was when we were the AFC Trust but now, as DST, we have over 1,000 more members and we would like to get the thoughts of this much bigger group.
Accordingly, we have compiled a short survey (less than 1 minute) containing a few questions that we’d like to get your thoughts on.
We encourage you to email us with any further comments you would like to express at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If there is anyone else you know who would like to have their views heard, but is not a DST member, then please let him/her know about this and that they can join quickly at www.donssupporterstogether,com/membership and then complete the survey.
Thank you for your assistance in the survey.
August 20, 2012
Following on from the award to Neil Simpson at the benefit match last Tuesday, DST awarded a second DONS Award for Distinction of Notable Service to Aberdeen Football Club. The recipient of this award was legendary former manager Sir Alex Ferguson, who had brought his Manchester Utd side up to Aberdeen to face the Dons.
Sir Alex of course presided over the most successful era in the clubs history, with Aberdeen dominating Scottish football, winning both domestically and in Europe during the 1980s before going on to turn Manchester United in to one of the biggest clubs in the world.
DST board member Mark Hay was lucky enough to be able to present “Fergie” with his award shortly before the match last week.
The DST board are seeking nominations from members for future DONS Awards.
Nominees can be players, non playing staff or just regular fans. Whoever you think is deserving of a DONS Award for Notable Service to Aberdeen FC let us know by emailing email@example.com
August 17, 2012
All at Dons Supporters Together were delighted to see true Aberdeen FC legend Neil Simpson given the recognition he deserves in front of a sold out Pittodrie on Tuesday night in his benefit match against Manchester United.
As you will all be aware Neil has served Aberdeen Football Club for over 20 years as player and youth coach and all at Dons Supporters Together are delighted to honour Neil by awarding him a D.O.N.S Award for Distinction of Notable Service to Aberdeen Football Club.
DST board member Bill Stephen presented Neil with his award before the match on Tuesday. Bill has been central in driving the fan led campaign to ensure that Neil was given a benefit match to allow the fans to recognise and honour his achievements at Aberdeen FC.
Neil Simpson becomes the 5th person to be awarded the D.O.N.S award following Willie Miller, Joe Haper, Teddy Scott and Norman Goldie.
August 6, 2012
Attention all Dons fans. Your help is required to set up the display for the Neil Simpson Testimonial match.
The display is going to be huge so as much help as possible is needed.
The club have agreed to access on Sunday the 12th of August from 10 am to 4 pm to set up Simmy display. If anyone is free on this day your help would be much appreciated.
The club have also requested names of everyone who will attend so of you are planning to attend please send your name to firstname.lastname@example.org
As many helpers as possible are needed so bring along as many people as you can.
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