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.
July 26, 2012
As you will be aware DST moved to free membership upon our relaunch as Dons Supporters Together, forgoing the old annual charge when operating as the AFC Trust. As a result of this our Board have sought opportunities to allow us to cover our £2000 administration costs , grow as a society and boost funds for the AFC Youth Academy via our Reds Direct scheme.
UK Soccer Shop
Use the link on our website home page to the UK Soccer Shop and DST will earn commission on any purchases that you make.
Foreign Currency Solutions
Use the link on our website home page to Foreign Currrency Solutions and DST will earn commission on any purchases that you make.
DST Personalised Merchandise
We have personalised DST merchandise – mugs, key rings, mouse mats, wall plaques for sale here
AFC Youth Development
At the time of moving to free membership it was agreed to resurrect the Reds Direct scheme with the specific objective of helping youth development at AFC. Consequently, we are now inviting members, supporters and their friends and families to join us in a new scheme as part of the Reds Direct initiative.
The scheme is run by a company called Utility Warehouse Discount Company which already provides over 400,000 UK homes and businesses with everyday utilities like home phone, internet, mobile phone, electricity and gas.
With Utility Warehouse you will save money when you switch services, compared to your current supplier. Most of their services have no minimum contract terms and all services taken are detailed in one clear convenient monthly bill. In a recent survey 96% of their customers said they would recommend Utility Warehouse to their friends.
It works like this. When you transfer to Utility Warehouse as a customer they will make a one-off payment of £5 to Reds Direct and also 5% of your monthly utility bill totals for as long as you use their services.
Joining is easy. Call Utility Warehouse on 0800 1313000. The process will be explained by their UK based call centre staff and any questions you may have will be answered. You will need to quote our registered number which is J65457 to ensure all commissions are paid to Reds Direct. Alternatively you can visit the website and sign up online when you will be seamlessly transferred over to Utility Warehouse services.
Now every time you make a phone call, boil a kettle or take a shower Aberdeen Football Club’s Youth Development will benefit .
Further events planned to support youth development at AFC are a Sportsman’s Dinner, Darts Exhibition, DST Business Club and a fans football match.
July 18, 2012
The AFC board has led the way in the fight for Sporting Integrity and stood up for their principles in the face of other parties seeking to manipulate alternative outcomes.
The board has done everything our fans have asked of them, and now it is time for every Dons supporter to back the club and do whatever they can to capitalise on the opportunity for a New Don in the proud history of AFC.
The club has issued a rallying call for fans to get behind them, and provided suggestions on how to do so. DST fully supports this message and is pleased to note the inclusion of ideas from the fans i.e. http://www.afc.co.uk/articles/20120716/the-time-is-now_2212158_2850606
In his statement on Friday Stewart Milne spoke to every Dons supporter when he said – “Finally I would like to address Aberdeen supporters directly. The challenges facing every club in Scotland going forward are severe, not least to our own club. I urge every single Dons supporter to get behind the Club, and the time to do that is now, as we face these challenges that have come about as a result of this situation which was not of our making.”
Whilst DST does not agree with Stewart Regan’s, and others, suggestion of “Financial Armageddon” being on the cards, we do appreciate that times may become harder than they have been. The country continues to be in a recession, money is tight and fans can only afford so much. Any contribution that can be made is appreciated.
On that note, DST is aware of a belief that Season Ticket sales for this season are high. Unfortunately, whilst we do not specifically know the numbers sold, nor the mix e.g. free under 12 ones, we do not believe that sales are even at last season’s level yet. Clearly, there are many valid reasons for this, but we feel it is important for fans to be aware of the situation, as a catalyst to act if he/she has not already done so.
DST would like to set a joint target with the club of 11,000 season ticket sales as, achieving this would be a major factor in ensuring the future of the club. We think home attendances need to be around 11,000 for the club to break even and so, if we could guarantee this as the minimum gate income per match, it would be highly advantageous for the club’s finances and budgeting.
You may well have seen comment in the media, and social media, recently regarding “Sell out Saturday” i.e. to get full houses around SPL grounds on 11th August. Our primary concern, of course, is for our game against Ross County and we originally commented that if we could have a 19,000 crowd, or more, then we have immediately negated the potential for “lost” income through not playing Newco twice at home.
Therefore, in addition to buying a season ticket, if you can afford it, we encourage everyone to try to attend the Ross County game, at least, and hopefully many others. It would be excellent were this to become an all-ticket game. The club will be doing other PR/marketing activities as part of their strategy as the start of the season gets closer and DST will be happy to pass on any further marketing or merchandising suggestions you may have.
Another way of looking at this is to have an extra 1,000 fans, above last season’s average home attendance, at 8 games during the season. That is fine but it would be much better to pack the ground out as quickly as possible, create an enjoyable atmosphere in the ground, get behind the team, and hopefully earn the 3 points, such that the extra fans will keep coming back. That would evidence to the media, and SFA/SPL executives, that Scottish football is not just about 2 teams, even though we do not actually know who the 2nd team is at present.
On that note, DST now has a 2nd basis for its communications to all Dons fans. Our primary basis remains as standing up for sporting integrity, and seeing the situation as an opportunity that AFC should capitalise on, through everyone connected to the club working together to deliver the New Don.
However, there is now a secondary angle of an “own goal” as it were, whereby the club and the fans do not make the most of the current goodwill and positivity, and let things slides back to how it has been for the past few seasons. Were this to happen we then face the West Coast media enjoying our failure and saying “we told you so” and worse, those members of the Oldco support who say they are very happy to see other clubs fail, as they believe that clubs like ours cannot survive without them.
In the last week, alone, DST has noted:- Jim Traynor writing – “The big mistake made by the SPL clubs was to pander to allow supporters to dictate. When cold, calculating business minds were required we ended up with fans allowing hearts ruling heads”
Hugh Keevins writing – “there’s no case to be made for letting supporters influence business decisions within the game. The fans shouldn’t be thought of as extras who turn up to provide atmosphere at matches and have no say in anything. But they’re not the ones who will be liable for personal loss when their moral crusade goes belly up. It will be people like the director I spoke to on Friday who will pay the heaviest price. Some people in the game have become consumed by the spotlight throughout the Rangers crisis but they can’t be blinded to the truth. Power and influence must also carry a sense of responsibility. Those who have done nothing wrong are being victimised by Friday’s vote. The moral high ground is full of people who have no appreciation of the calamity in our midst. It’s time they understood.”
Admittedly, they need to be a bit controversial to help sell papers but there is no excuse for such condescending attitudes towards the customers of the game who actually pay to attend games each week.
Further, we have noted the amount of column inches given over to the Rangers bloggers and spokesmen to trot out wholly inaccurate and blinkered views about how harshly their team has been dealt with; we have seen a so-called Rangers historian appear on TV and state wholly inaccurate historical comments about AFC, and then saw an interview on Sky Sports with Gordon Smith who, if you have seen the recent Irn Bru advert, gave an example of why it is appropriate that Newco are playing in the lower leagues.
Many comments on the internet and on social media, by alleged supporters, are clearly not repeatable but do clearly demonstrate just why it is so important that everyone connected to AFC does his, or her, bit to make sure AFC does indeed have a successful New Don, and at the same time avoids any own goals.
So let’s all “Sell out Saturday” and “Pack out Pittodrie” again, and again.
Representatives from Dons Supporters Together met with members of the Aberdeen FC board on June 28th. Below is a summary of what was discussed.
Meeting between Aberdeen Football Club Representatives and DST representatives on Thursday 28th June 2012 at Pittodrie Stadium.
• Update on DST
Membership rising rapidly; Heightened profile and media exposure extensive – often the voice for other clubs; D.O.N.S. Awards; Plans for merchandising and fundraising; Very positive response from fans. Various DST business items discussed including progressing the initiative to obtain shares in return for funds raised for AFC youth development via Reds Direct.
• What are the reasons for the changes in the AFC board and what are the implications upon finances?
Has been a long time in the planning to create a “step change” and to spread Duncan Fraser’s workload. George Yule will be a fresh pair of eyes with a wide-ranging remit to change the DNA and corporate brand of the club to reconnect the club with the city and supporters. GY also stated that each area of the club will be under pressure to perform well and will be managed/ led on that basis including the team itself as “Top 6 is a soft target”. GY intends to build a dynamic future as he can’t do anything about the past. There is little change to the club’s financial position at this stage as most AAM shares will be taken up by the new/recent Board members.
• What’s happening about a Fans Rep on the Board and can DST fill that “void” following Chris’ change?
The approach will be to build on the arrangements and access DST has at present and for formal supporter contact sessions. GY and Ian Jack will be the main contacts.
• Communications and PR
Issues of Hayes’ announcement, Willie Miller’s treatment, the Chairman’s announcement on “no Newco decision yet” and the Board changes all raised with Dave McD who explained the background to each and the lessons learned. AFC’s position has always been no newco in the SPL and application for SFL in the normal way. That is still the club’s stance irrespective of the Div 1 proposals and this was welcomed by DST and will be by AFC fans. GY acknowledged that the PR Dept of the club requires looking at and there needs to be greater co-ordination of PR procedures.
• AFC Strategy – Vision for AFC
Mark handed GY a copy of his “Friends of the Club” proposal paper. GY assured DST that it would be looked at and form part of his initial information gathering/assessment of the current situation exercise he will be carrying out when he takes up post on 1 July, and will discuss the paper with Mark.
• Youth Development – what is the on-going status following Willie Miller’s departure?
GY confirmed that there would be no reduction in the importance of the youth development programme. The opposite is indeed the case and there will be a fresh structure to achieve the important aspirations.
• Stadium – What is the purchase of ground situation?
Feeling is that the land issue will be resolved. Current difficulties were explained as these are outside of AFC’s control. Further questions were raised and answered but DST accepts that it would be inappropriate to publish those answers at the current stage in the new stadium process.
• Current situation in Scottish Football
DST feel AFC need to take the chance for club to get closer to fans – last week’s “mis”-communication was a huge faux-pas and a major opportunity to connect with fans lost – what will AFC do now to try to repair some of the damage? How can DST assist? Acceptance that the club needs to work at engaging with the fans. The unfortunate events of last Friday had a significant impact but appear to have been overcome quickly with AFC’s stance being made clear and confirmed. The plan to work for a full house for the Ross County game was welcomed by all. DST to liaise on this with Malcolm Panton. The current situation needs to be seen as an opportunity to mobilise the Dons support and community to back the club in financial terms. DST’s assistance is welcome. It is a “New Don / Don of a New Era”
• AOB – Various other matters were discussed including
Recognition efforts for Teddy Scott can only be undertaken if they carry the agreement of Teddy’s family;
DST raised member feedback where supporters have “lost” their long standing season ticket seats through not renewing in time – Whilst difficult to resolve, the club will offer to help the parties concerned to discuss any situation where a fan remains very unhappy at losing his/her seat to see if a swap might be feasible.
DST raised member feedback regarding the price of kids’ kits (£72-77) and the fact that these can only be sold through the club shop/ website. Both points were considered as not being ideal, especially the price of the strips but that the clubs hands were tied due to the contract terms with Adidas. However, a new manager, responsible for this area, started on 27/6 and he will be requested to look into the matter and let DST/fans know the answer and what can be done, if anything.
General discussion around ideas to promote the club/attendances as necessary to compensate for any reduced income next season took place and DST will send these ideas to Malcolm Panton and Chris Gavin e.g. the idea that ex-pats buy season tickets and give them to AFC to pass to under privileged children/groups to attend games i.e. the expats want to show their support and contribute to the cause.
On a side note, please remember to do all that you can to show your support for Aberdeen FC during this season. A major effort is being coordinated to gain as large a crowd as possible for the Dons opening home game of the season vs Ross County on August 11th. Greig Ingram from DST appeared on Reporting Scotland last night (6.5 mins) calling for a big support in the opening home game. An attendance of 19,000 at Pittodrie on August 11th will wipe out the defecit from old Rangers travelling support in just one fixture.
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