We have recently received the following questions from our members which we are more than happy to answer.
- “There has only been one ballot in five years. No one expects ballots regularly yet we have had changes in the constitution, structure, and model used without any consultation with the membership. If there are zero ballots even for the most important and fundamental decisions, when will ballots ever be used?”
Through fan ownership it is important we strike a balance between engaging with members and being able to run the club efficiently with a functional and swift decision-making process.
Essentially, the way members have a say in the club is by voting for the Directors – this means you have a direct say in who you wish to represent your views on the Board. Our members are regularly given the opportunity to do this. As a member you are also eligible to put yourself forward for any Board vacancies.
We will, of course, look to consult members either through ballots or simply through dialogue and consultation in the future. If, for example, there was ever an option to rename the stadium we believe it would be important to put that to the members.
For more on the board structure and decision making process, please see our statement on the Governance Structure.
2. “Exactly what will be doubled in the “Double Your Money” deal from Les – is it all income, just membership fees, just monies retained etc?”
Any money raised by the Well Society in 2017 – whether it’s from pledges (new and existing members), donations or proceeds from fundraising events – will be included.
3. “What steps are being taken to improve the admin side of the Society? For example, I waited for over a year for any acknowledgement that I’d joined, outwith two automated emails confirming my direct debit.”
We are close to updating our system so that the process runs a lot more smoothly and things look a lot more professional. You should have received contact from us however after signing up.
You should also receive regular emails from us. If any member is in the same position please get in touch with Craig at Craig.firstname.lastname@example.org
4. “The Society has many members living outwith Lanarkshire and we’d like better communication and engagement. Some rarely get to visit Fir Park and others like me can only really attend on match-days. What plans are there to engage exiled fans better?”
We intend to hold monthly surgeries at Fir Park where members can drop in and ask any questions to our Board members. We are also putting together several events both at Fir Park and at external venues to not only encourage more members to sign up but also to keep existing members engaged with us. We are also introducing social media Q&As so that any members who aren’t living locally can still engage with us.
5. “It’s quite apparent that a number of people don’t actually know how the Society works and so will never invest. What plans are in place to clear this up?”
Of course, with fan ownership being so new in the UK this is ultimately a learning curve and it will take time for everyone to get their head around the concept and how it works. We believe that with more dialogue and transparency with fans this will improve.
We have outlined the Governance Structure in our statement that can be found here. We are also aware that there must be a far higher level of transparency with members so that they are aware of what’s going on and the role of the Well Society in the running of the club. With that in mind, we have also began issuing a report from all of our monthly meetings to help keep members in the loop as to what exactly is going on. These reports can be found here.
“Is the money being pledged to the Society still ring fenced and only being given to the club when required as a loan, before then being repaid? I am an original member who has stopped pledging and will require assurance on this before re-pledging.”
The first point to make is that the initial sum passed to the Club by the Society was £150,000, which was invested in a direct shareholding in the Club. This was required at that time as the initial rules of the Society did not allow loans to be granted by the Society, the expectation being that all sums given to the Club would be for the purchase of shares. The Society rules were, however, amended thereafter to allow the Society to provide loans, as this was deemed to be a more appropriate way for the funds to be passed to the Club. Shares in the Club cannot be protected against adverse events whereas loans can be and, indeed, have been by way of security against the assets of the Club. It is, however, reasonable to say that there is no real expectation for the loans to be repaid. If the Club finds itself with surplus funds available, the sensible avenues for such funds would be re-investment in the Club by way of such aspects as stadium and ground improvements, further commitments to the Academy, which is completely the future of our Club, better quality players etc.
All funds generated by the Society from whatever source they come are initially held by the Society to be transferred to the Club as and when required in the form of loans which technically are repayable. It should be stated, however, that funds to repay loans will only become available from exceptional additional income sources such as Cup finals / wins and substantial transfer fees.
7.“Based on the club statement that the Well Society were consulted over Mark McGhee’s sacking, I would be interested to know how many of the Board were asked for their input prior to the club’s announcement, unless it’s just window dressing?”
Douglas Dickie and Tom Feely, joint Chairs of the Well Society, sit as Directors on the Motherwell Football Club Board (Executive Board).
Over the course of the weekend of 25-26th February Douglas Dickie and Tom Feely consulted with all Members of the Supervisory Board. Those who sit on the Supervisory Board are all Well Society Members and the Supervisory Board is, in the main, made up of the Well Society Board Members with the addition of Sandy Kilpatrick and Hugh Logan – all as per the Governance Structure previously intimated.
All views and opinions from the Supervisory Board were taken by Douglas Dickie and Tom Feely to the main Club Board Meeting on the evening of the 27th February, where the decision was made.
We trust this clarifies the line of communication and consultation which was undertaken in the decision-making process.
We will of course keep Members fully updated on any future developments.
- “How are the Well Society reconnecting with dormant members, particularly after the recent offer from Les?”
Again, we are aiming to communicate and engage a lot more with Well Society members, from regular events to contact via email, telephone, post and meetings. We believe that all of this, along with new improved software systems, will help us engage with all members and target dormant members, encouraging them to continue to support the Well Society.
Les’s offer could significantly improve the financial situation of the club and we will do all we can to get as close to the ambitious target of £500,000 as possible.
If you have any additional questions feel free to send them on to us email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org