30th June 2002 could prove to be a milestone in the relatively short history of Stirling Albion Football Club. For this was the sunny Sunday afternoon on which one die-hard supporter had organised a meeting of Albion’s faithful to discuss the state of the Club.
It says much about the low fortunes of the Club on and off the field that some 60 supporters gave up their time to attend the meeting.
We had seen the Club deservedly pitched out of the Scottish FA Cup by non-league Gala Fairydean.
Secondly, but for a penalty miss in the last minute of the last league game of the season by fellow strugglers, Queen’s Park, we would have suffered the ignominy of finishing bottom of Scottish League’s Third Division, having been relegated from the Second Division in the 2000/2001 season.
Thirdly, the financial position of Stirling Albion was, to say the least, dire and there was no sign whatsoever of the Club’s Directors being willing to engage with the supporters to talk about how to raise the Club from its lowest point since its formation in 1945.
So -where to go? Fortunately the organiser of the meeting had done his homework and we were introduced to the concept of a Supporters’ Trust and the assistance which we could obtain from Supporters Direct. After much debate those present at the meeting endorsed the concept of establishing a Trust at Stirling and volunteers were identified to take it forward and explore the various options.
In the weeks that followed, we got to grips with the finer points of what a Trust would entail. The websites of already established Trusts such as Raith Rovers and Greenock Morton proved to be invaluable in this respect, as did the Supporters Direct website.
Every credit must be given, also, to James Proctor, Supporters Direct Development Officer in Scotland for his patience in bringing clarity to the muddier waters which confronted us, particularly when we started to try to comprehend the intricacies of the Model Rules (surely the ultimate cure for insomnia!).
Several meetings of volunteers later we felt we had made sufficient progress to launch the Trust.
And so to our second big day – 22 September 2002. Less than three months after that first fateful meeting in June, our Trust was born, suitably amended Model Rules were adopted, and Interim Officers were elected to serve until our first AGM early in 2003.
Little did we realise the interest that would be generated at the June meeting and the momentum that would take us so rapidly to the point of establishing our Trust. Other groups contemplating taking a similar course can take heart from our experience. Where there’s a will, there’s a way!
We do not underestimate the challenges which face us – fundraising, and getting the Club’s Directors to engage with us – to mention but two. But we have the motivation to succeed and play a part in raising the Club from hitherto unplumbed depths.