Time for Change
The Time for Change movement started in February 2018 after an article appeared in the national press which disgusted some of the Stirling Albion support when Stirling Albion Supporters Trust Board tried to suspend Stirling Albion FC Chairman, Stuart Brown without due cause.
The Time for Change movement formed in the days after this when 20 or so supporters joined together to challenge the Supporters Trust Board on their decisions relating to removing and replacing the Club Chairman. You can find below a full chronology of events that have led to the Time for Change campaign.
Time for Change feel that the Supporters Trust have achieved their goal of saving Stirling Albion it is now time to change how we as a club move forward to develop our club and make it a club for the future.
Chronology of Events
The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust Board at that time called a meeting to discuss the removal of SAFC Club Chairman Stuart Brown, on the basis of violations of the Companies Act and the breakdown of his relationship with the Trust Board. While we could see that the latter was certainly true, when the Trust Board were asked what his breaches of the Companies Act were, they were unable to give satisfactory answers. It was agreed at that meeting that a mediator would be appointed to hear both parties and see if recommendations on how to move forward could be made.
The mediators report was released however, a further debate broke out between the trust and club board over the lack of clarity in the report regarding when the Chairman of SAFC should resign. The Trust Board felt it should be immediate, the Chairman felt it should be at the end of the season. We were also advised that there was a gentleman called Ken Lewandowski being lined up by the Trust Board to take the position of Chairman once Stuart Brown vacated it – although it should be noted that at this stage, his involvement was merely a rumour.
We became aware that back in November 2017, a consortium consisting of John Neill and Colin Rowley were looking to buy a controlling interest in SAFC for £1 in return for substantial investment.
19th Feb 2018
The Trust Board, now lead by Roy Guthrie sent an update advising that they had demanded a formal offer from the Consort and that there would be a meeting of Trust Members to discuss it.
26th February 2018
The offending article hit the papers. The article contained quotes from Trust Board Chairman Roy Guthrie. We were made aware that there had been a coach accused of sex offences earlier in the year and the police were investigating. Normal procedure in Child Protection cases is to keep the circle tight and only inform those who need to know or have responsibilities as “named persons” under the Child Protection Act. The police and SFA were informed of the allegations. Once charges were brought by the Procurator Fiscal and the Police investigation was complete, the Chairman of SAFC, Stuart Brown advised a member of the Trust Board (Jim Thompson) of the situation, who then went away and immediately attempted to suspend Stuart Brown for not advising the Trust Board from the start. It later became apparent that another member of the Trust Board had also been aware of the investigation and not informed anyone (as per Child Protection policy) and he resigned. In the next couple of days a spate of resignations from the Trust Board followed and fan frustration with the actions of the Trust Board grew. The Trust then also served a s.168 notice on Stuart Brown, saying that he was to be removed as a director of SAFC. It was at this point that a group of fans met for the first time and decided to form a group called “Time for Change”. We discussed the goings on at the club and our ongoing dissatisfaction with the Trust Board. Emails were leaked to us revealing who wrote the article and we were in general agreement that the behaviour of the Trust was bringing the club into disrepute and no longer acting in members’ interests, but instead pursuing a vendetta against Stuart Brown without the consent of its members. It was decided that we would collect signatures from the Trust Membership and submit a motion of “no confidence” in the Trust Board and call for an EGM.
13th March 2018
The Trust Board sent an email stating 3 things:
1. The consortium had withdrawn its offer to buy the club and a second offer was to be submitted. (It soon became apparent that this offer was to leave the club in fan ownership but to allow John Neill to become chairman and appoint his own board, in exchange for which he would offer a directors loan of £600,000)
2. That the new Chairman of the Trust was to be Ken Lewadowski.
3. That they would call the EGM and allow the vote of no confidence.
After this message, Time for Change held further discussions and agreed that we were deeply unhappy at the appointment of an unelected Chairman, who was not a Stirling Albion fan (he was in fact a lifelong Hibs fan, who was even briefly their Chairman), into the position of Chairman of our Supporters Trust. We decided to raise a petition calling for Ken Lewandowski to step down and an elected chairman to take his place. Over 350 SAFC fans signed the petition and the Trust Board was made aware. Representatives for Time for Change (David King, Lynne Watson, Neil MacKay, John Buchan and Gary Hanson) offered to meet with Jim Thompson to see if a way forward could be found. Upon arrival at the meeting, to which Ken Lewandowski had not been invited, Jim Thompson advised us that Ken Lewandowski had said to “send them my fucking regards”. Shocked at this, owing to the fact he was our new fans representative, Jim was asked to clarify that this was the message he was to give us. Jim confirmed this, it was noted in the minutes.
Sat 24th March 2018
It was decided that the fans needed to know what was going on. The Time for Change group held up banners, sold T-Shirts and handed out leaflets before the game informing fans of goings on and the message we had received at the meeting. One fan, not a member of our group, left a leaflet on Ken’s car. Ken later attempted to confront fans in the Supporters bar.
Mon 26th March 2018 at 11am
All Trust Members received an email from Ken advising the following:
1. That he had met with Stuart Brown and agreed a way forward.
2. Issuing an apology to Stuart and his family for the Trust Board’s actions.
3. Saying that the consorts offer would be brought to the fans attention “if it proves to be of benefit to the club”.
Monday 26th March at 7.30pm
Night of the EGM, the entire Trust board walked into the room and read a statement saying that they were resigning en masse citing “fan abuse”.
A little odd given 8 hours earlier, they were telling fans they were going to explain the way forward. We suspect the real reason was that they knew how popular the petition had been and resigned to prevent losing the vote of no confidence.
Duncan Strathdee took over the Chairmanship of the Trust Board that same evening and set about putting the Trust back together. By the middle of May 2018 we had a new elected Trust Board and the consort’s final offer was received. A vote was set for July 19th.
28th June 2018
An email was sent to all Trust members advising that a new “offer” had come in from SAFC club Director John Hunter and his “associates”. There was no detail as to who the “associates” were. The only information in the offer was that they would provide a fund of £200, 000 “if they felt it was needed”.
Time for Change members spoke again and discussed their concerns that this bid had been submitted as a delaying tactic to prevent a vote on the Consortium bid. We were also concerned that pressure was being placed on the trust board by supporters of the Associates bid.
12th July 2018
We were advised that the club board, having previously allowed John Neill to help with obtaining transfers for the new season, had now changed their minds and said he could no longer assist – causing several pending transfers to fall through. The Consortium, frustrated with the lack of progress and delaying tactics from various quarters, decided to give up and withdraw their offer.
So that’s where we are today. We remain here, the ever vigilant fans of Stirling Albion.
Summery of Concerns
Here’s a summary of our current concerns:
- We are concerned at who the mystery “associates” are involved with John Hunter’s bid.
- We are unhappy that the Consort has been chased away without a fan vote. We feel that potential investors will not want to do business with us.
- We are concerned at the rumoured collapse of some transfers – we feel that players will be reluctant to join us now.
- We are concerned at the lack of ambition of some the current Directors.
- We are concerned that the Trust Constitution makes it too difficult to deal with potential investors.
Hope all of this has clarified for everyone what the state of play is, as we see it.
Time for Change.