Over the last few months, the board have taken time to develop the Club’s strategy and objectives for the near to medium term. This process has not been done in isolation with contributions taken from various sources including the supporters groups within the Raith Forum. In addition we have closely referenced the findings from the recent survey which was open to all fans and attracted a superb return of nearly 800 responses.
Thank you to everyone who took the time and your feedback has been very useful in helping us understand our fan base better, the way we communicate and what our fan’s see as important to them which will ultimately help us shape the future direction and priorities of our club.
In the interests of transparency and open communication with supporters, the approved strategy is now detailed below:
STRATEGY for RRFC
PART I : VISION STATEMENT
A well run, forward thinking community Club with sensible football ambitions and an infrastructure to deliver, which is active in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and the surrounding communities.
PART II : PRINCIPLES & VALUES
The following principles and values should determine the way in which the Club operates and shape its future development. These have been taken from the Concordat agreed between the Club’s Board and stakeholders in 2011 with some refinements.
1. Shared and stable ownership is the best way forward.
2. The Club should operate in an open and inclusive manner, taking account of the interests of the fans, the community, the staff, the players and the Board and should communicate effectively with all its stakeholders.
3. The Board should act with the long term interests of the Club at heart, with any risks taken being measurable and manageable.
4. The core objective of what we do should be to maintain and develop a healthy, vibrant and well-respected football club in the Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and surrounding area.
5. Our ambition in football is to compete at the highest level possible and achieve the greatest success, while operating within the resources available.
6. The Club should play an active role at the heart of the community, working closely with public bodies, local businesses and other organisations.
7. The stadium in which the team plays should be fit for purpose for professional football, for the comfort and safety of fans, for developing and securing commercial sources of income and for engaging in community activities.
PART III : OBJECTIVES & PRIORITY TASKS
The sections which follow contain medium term Objectives for the Club and the priority Tasks needed to take these objectives forward in the year ahead.
OBJECTIVE A: Perform in football as best we can within available resources.
Task A1: Board to review previous season’s football performance with the manager and A2 take necessary actions for improvement. (Action for Board in May each year.)
Task A3: Maintain a flexible system for organizing playing staff which can accommodate a variable mix of full-time and part-time professionals as well as apprentice professionals, subject always to available budget. (Action for Board in consultation with manager when budget is being determined.)
OBJECTIVE B: Make best use of talented players coming through from the Youth Academy system.
Task B1: Club to participate fully in the Fife Elite Football Academy, including receiving feedback on performance of youth players. (Action for Board when budget is being set and for the manager throughout the season.)
Task B2: Manager to create opportunities in first team squad for the most talented players graduating from the Academy. (Action for the manager when planning the first team squad for the following season.)
OBJECTIVE C: Club to engage positively with local communities in Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and surrounding areas.
Task C1: Ensure that a reasonable time in the working week of players and management is scheduled for community activity, using contracts as appropriate. (Action for Board and the manager when planning season ahead.)
Task C2: Club to give support to work of RR Community Foundation active encouragement and access to existing under-used Club resources. (Action for Board and CEO when requests received from the Foundation.)
OBJECTIVE D: Grow the fan base of core support to 2500 – 3000 by 2019.
Task D1: Club to give support to the work of the Fans Focus Initiative Group through active encouragement and access to existing under-used Club resources. (Action for Board and CEO to be proactive and to respond when requests received from the Group.) )
Task D2: Club to develop with FFIG initiatives to improve the matchday experience, an example being improvements to South Stand. (Action for CEO initially.)
Task D3: Club to support the development of the Roary Club which is encouraging the next generation of supporters and has current membership of 350 and a target of 500 for 2016. (Action for CEO when requests received from the Roary Club.)
Task D4: Club to actively sell season tickets using the database of supporters, provide special offers of tickets from time to time and to use its best endeavours to develop a season ticket reciprocity initiative with other clubs. (Action for CEO to be completed by June 2016.)
OBJECTIVE E: Maximise income from commercial and merchandising activity.
Task E1: Carry out annual review of commercial activity and E2 report proposed actions for improvement to the Board. ( Action for Commercial Department by December 2015.)
Task E3: Carry out annual review of merchandising activity including the work of the Supporters Club and E4 report proposed actions for improvement to the Board. (Action for Commercial Department, CEO and Kit Manager by November 2015.)
OBJECTIVE F: Club to fully develop the potential of the people who work for Raith Rovers for the benefit of the individuals and the Club.
Task F1: Create the best training and fitness facilities for players that the Club can afford. (Action for manager and CEO in June each year.)
Task F2: Introduce a system of annual reviews for staff to identify training and development needs to enable individuals to fulfill their potential and best serve the needs of the Club. (Action for CEO by April 2016.)
Task F3: Introduce a policy of paying all non-footballing staff at least the living wage. (Action for CEO by August 2015.)
OBJECTIVE G: Club to maintain good communications with supporters and other stakeholders.
Task G1: Develop and use the database of supporters as a service to individuals and a marketing tool for the Club. (Action for CEO to oversee on a continuous basis.)
Task G2: Club to regularly review its communication strategy in order to improve and respond to changing circumstances. (Action for CEO on a continuous basis.)
OBJECTIVE H: Have a stadium which is suitable for purpose.
Task H1: Develop an annual maintenance plan for Starks Park to ensure a safe and suitable place to conduct the activities of the Club. (Action for CEO in April each year.)
Task H2: Carry out affordable improvements to Starks Park aimed at improving the matchday experience for fans. (Action for CEO on a continuous basis.)
Task H3: Looking to the longer term, carry out an options appraisal project for the Club stadium, taking account of agreed broad requirements and variants for areas where there may be major differences. (Action for John Sim, in his capacity as the majority shareholder in Starks Park Properties, to prepare an initial analysis for the Board by end October 2015.)
OBJECTIVE I: Run the Club on a sound financial basis.
Task I1: Achieve Board agreement to a balanced budget in advance of the start of each financial year, using reasonable assumptions for income and expenditure and taking account of any corrective action needed based on previous years’ results. (Action for Director of Finance and Board by June each year.)
Task I2: Prepare regular cash flow projections as required by the Board. (Action for CEO and Director of Finance as required.)
Task I3: Publish audited accounts in accordance with good practice and company regulations.( Action for Director of Finance and Board by November each year.)
PART IV: ACCOUNTABILITY & REVIEW
1. The Board should review progress on the priority Tasks with the CEO and manager at regular Board meetings.
2. The Board should give an account of progress with the Objectives at the annual General Meeting with supporters and other stakeholders.
3. The Board should update the priority Tasks each year.
4. The Board should Review the Strategy every three years or earlier if there have been major changes to factors affecting the Club.
For supporters’ information we also take this opportunity to set out some of the key points that were captured as part of the fans survey:
- The support is predominantly male, older (two-thirds of supporters are over 36) and employed (67%). A third of supporters have children, with 29% having primary or younger age children
- Supporters split roughly into a third living in Kirkcaldy area, a third spread around rest of Fife and a third from further away. 1 in 10 lives outside Scotland.
- Respondents were a good mix of regulars (half sample) and irregulars, including 1 in 10 who no longer attend. Non attendance mostly down to living away.
- For those who live here and are not going to matches it is a mix of cost, poor entertainment and other commitments (family/work). Some disillusionment with club but this is at the fringes (5%)
- There is a definite gap between those who have had a season ticket in past (73%) and those who have one now or are planning to get one (38% got one/ 11% likely to get one) although some of this might be down to moving away or change in circumstances
- The main reasons for not getting a season ticket are that they don’t live near enough or they don’t go to enough games. Cost also a factor as are work, family and other commitments.
- The Official website is the primary source of information. The Fife Free Press is also widely used. There were a number of positive mentions of the Rovers digest