The Trust held it’s 8th AGM at the Black & Gold before last Saturday’s high-quality encounter with league leaders Stranraer, which saw the Gers register their 4th “Desmond” (after the Archbishop Desmond Tutu……….) in their last five games.
Trust Chairman Colin Pike presented BRFC Chairman Brian Porteous with a cheque for £5000 before the meeting started. The cheque represents money raised from member subscriptions and Trust events, and will go towards the projects voted for by our membership – improving the floodlighting at the Old Shielfield training pitch (£3000), buying 2 new sprinklers for the main pitch (£1200) and a contribution towards the cost of new Assistant Manager Robbie Horn getting his UEFA B licence (£800). This last item is an important one, since having all management/coaching staff properly qualified will go a long way to helping Rangers maintain their coveted licencing status, which brings in substantial additional funding each year.
We had an excellent attendance of 41 for a meeting which featured three guest speakers, including:
· BRFC Chairman Brian Porteous, who made his commitment to secruing the long-term financial stability of Berwick Rangers his absolute priority. Unlike some of his less principled predecessors, no-one left under the impression that Brian did’nt mean it. He also made the point that through responsible housekeeping and financial management, Berwick Rangers were in robust financial health, helping to support the club’s key objective of promotion to the Second Division
· New manager Ian Little, who spoke passionately about his commitment to making sure his teams play good football. Ian also made it clear that he was prepared to give youth a chance, a commitment borne out by the renaissance of Michael Deland and the introduction of the stylish Darren Lavery. Bottom line – if they’re good enough, it doesn’t matter how old they are – they’ll be in line for a first team squad place. Ian expressed his delight at the appointment of club stalwart Robbie Horn as his Assistant Manager, but also suggested that there could be a continuing role for Craig Valentine, who seems to have made a real impact since returning to the club. When asked about ambitions for this season, Ian said he firmly believed that Rangers could achieve a play-off place, and one of the challenges facing him was to avoid the winter slump that handicapped play off campaigns in the two previous seasons. His view was that the squad was good enough to make the play-offs, but acknowledged that draws needed to be converted into victories
· Alan Harris, Chairman of the Scottish Council of Supporters Trusts – who talked about some of the key issues facing the game in Scotland, including proposals for league restructuring. Alan also talked about the Scottish Government’s increasing willingness to engage with supporters organisations, and the prospect of a new umbrella organisation not only representing Scottish supporters trusts, but also supporters clubs and supporters who were not members of trusts or supporters clubs. One of the most encouraging aspects of Alan’s contribution is that the Scottish Government appears to be fully committed to making sure fans have a meaningful say in shaping the future of Scottish football
All three guests took part in a lively question and answer session before the formal business of the meeting was considered, as follows:
1. Chairman’s report – Colin Pike
2. Trust representative on the BRFC Board’s report – John Bell
3. Treasurer’s report – Gordon Dickson
4. Secretary’s report – Karen Thorburn
5. Membership Secretary’s report – Bill Purvis. Bill reported that Trust membership was currently 233
6. Audit report – Gordon Dickson. Gordon reported that audit costs had reduced from previous years, partly as a result of the change to our model rules requiring an audit to be carried out by someone of Independent Examiner status
7. Appointment of Trust Board – David Cook
The Trust Board was appointed with the following membership through to January 2013:
· John Bell
· David Cook
· Gordon Dickson
· Keith Hall
· Dale Jones
· Ron Kirk
· Colin Pike
· Bill Purvis
· Steven Scott
· Michael Smyth
· Davie Spence
With an upper limit of 15 members, there are 4 remaining vacancies on the Trust Board.
Karen Thorburn has kindly agreed to continue as Secretary to the Trust Board.
8. Changes to Model Rules – David Cook
David Cook explained that Supporters Direct had updated the model rules template for all Trusts, and that a small number of minor amendments needed to be made to our own model rules as a result. These will be published on the website in the next few days, to give members an opportunity to comment on the changes, before being submitted to Supporters Direct and their solicitors for approval.
Appointments to the office holder posts on the Trust Board (Chairman etc) will be made at the first meeting of the Board after the AGM.