General Meetings

1.       Annual General Meeting

Every club whether it is a sports club or any other club has to have an Annual General Meeting where the members are informed of what the organisation has been up to in the past year, how healthy or otherwise the financial situation is; they can have their say on all these things and then help decide how the club is run by voting in the new committee.   

When I joined the club, there was no such thing as the world wide web, never mind mobile phones, and the members had to be informed of the meeting.   This was done by the assistant secretary sending out a letter to all members whether current running members, honorary presidents or honorary members by post to reach them no later than 10 days before the meeting.   A notice was put up in the club headquarters too – when we were in Bruce Street Baths in winter there was a club notice board on which notices and results sheets were pinned and where the calling letter for the AGM was in a prominent position.   In addition the committee members reminded members of the date orally. So –  a letter + notice on the club notice board + badgering by committee members – none of which could be ignored.  The blanket coverage was partly because at that time the meeting needed a quorum of 15 members (20 in the 1960’s) before it could go ahead as a properly constituted meeting, but mainly because a big attendance at an AGM is a sign of a healthy club.

The two big items on the agenda were always the Treasurer’s Report and the election of the new committee – with the captain’s announcement of when the various club championships would be held not far behind in importance.  There were club trials to pick teams for the McAndrew relay, the Edinburgh – Glasgow relay as well and the dates for these were included. The election of the new committee was always interesting since the nominations for a new President, Treasurer or Secretary was of utmost importance and there could be no gap there.   If a secretary was stepping down, then nominations were accepted from the floor of the meeting.  If there were none, then the Committee would have a suggested candidate.   

2.      Half Yearly Meetings

There was also a Half Yearly Meeting held every year as a kind of mid-term report from the committee and the main objective was to inform the club of arrangements for the summer season.   The Secretary would have the dates for the major SAAA championships, the Captain would have consulted and decided on the dates of club championships to announce; the Secretary told us when any race meetings the club were holding or in which the club was involved would be held and what officials were needed.   They were much shorter than the AGM but almost as well attended.   On a couple of occasions film of cross-country races made by members were shown.

3.     Special General Meetings

There were also Special General Meetings but where the AGM and the Half Yearly were held at the same time every year, these were more ad hoc affairs and often quite urgent.   There have only been three of these in my time in the club.   The first was in the early 1960’s and was all about coaching.  The Ladies coach John Morgan had resigned when there was a mass exodus from the club to join the new Western Ladies Athletic Club at the start of the summer..   It was a new club which actively recruited many of the best women and girls in the west of Scotland from Clydesdale, Bellahouston and other clubs.   The remaining women and girls wanted a new coach or coaches and they needed them “NOW” because it was the start of the season.   This brought to a head the need for coaches for all club members and it was allied to a desire for the club to have a bigger presence on the national scene.   The former was the bigger need.   The meeting was successful in that no fewer than seven senior men, including David Bowman, Bill Hislop and Brian McAusland, applied to go on the next coaching courses at Jordanhill, and a number of athletes, notably pole vaulter Ian Logie and high jumper David McGhee, put their names forward for specific event training days.   The procedure before that one was that after John Morgan had stepped down as Ladies Coach, one of the remaining women raised the topic at the Half Yearly meeting then followed that up with a request to the committee who set up the meeting.   The request initially came from the members.

The second and third meetings were on the same topic – a change of club vest.   It is well known that the oldest clubs in any sport – Rangers and Celtic in football, West of Scotland in rugby, Newtonmore and Kingussie in shinty – had kept their club colours from the very start and were well known the minute they appeared in public.  There were those in the club who wanted a brighter and more colourful club outfit.  Why should we change?   There were many designs, every one more garish than the last but since a Special General meeting could be called by ten club members putting their name to a request for it, and since it was the Boy’s coaches who wanted the bright reds and yellows, the signatures were forthcoming and the meetings held.  On neither case was the move to alter the design and colours successful.   Again the request for the meetings came from club members at large.

Having looked at the current constitution – it is there for all to see on this website – I note that Item 12 says that the President shall have the power to call a special meeting of the members.   This is a big change from even the quite recent past.   The club centenary handbook (1985) said that a special meeting could be called by President, Committee or Assistant Secretary and at least 15 members must be present at such a meeting.   This itself was a curtailing of the powers of club members to be able to call a meeting: prior to that the handbook said that “A Special General Meeting may be called by President, Committee or any ten members on giving notice to the Secretary of Assistant Secretary who shall call the meetings by circular.   At least twenty members must be present at such meeting.”

[If the Dinosaur can make a subjective comment, there have only been three SGM’s in my 66 years as a Harrier. But it is a pity that the ability of the club members to call a Special General meeting has not been written into the current constitution: bearing in mind that it would take a General Meeting – Annual or Otherwise – to get it added!]


For future posts I’ll add a sentence about something from recent history.  The first one is below.

The best run of individual results ever by a club runner in the District Championships was by Phil Dolan in the 1970’s:-

1974 – 6th; 1975 – 5th; 1976 – 3rd;  1977 – 3rd ; 1978 – 2nd;  1979 – 4th; 1980 – 10th; 1981 – 4th;