DT Chairman’s Update (from Rotherham matchday programme)

Dons Trust Board chair Matthew Breach has some updates on various issues currently affecting the club and the Trust.

FA Cup tie
When the possibility of us playing in north Buckinghamshire was thrown up by the draw for the Second Round of the FA Cup, the Dons Trust Board (DTB) and the Football Club Board (FCB) revisited the plans drawn up some time ago, and discussed how to address the issues raised by the potential December fixture. Given the variety of opinions held by DTB members – ranging from “Turn out in force to prove our point” to “I’ll never set foot there” – we concluded that we should simply recognise that fans’ attendance at the game was a matter of personal choice and agreed with the FCB to accept the club’s ticket allocation. As has been reported elsewhere, we also agreed to decline any hospitality offered, and no officials met with their staff other than doing what was necessary to comply with FA regulations.

As had to happen one day, the game become a reality. It turned out to be a great vehicle for getting our message back into the media and the public eye, to a very largely supportive reception. Many great initiatives were undertaken by fans and well-wishers (including the “We are Wimbledon” campaign and video, and the light aircraft fly-past). They had such an impact that a Dutch journalist who was sent to cover the match returned his ticket and instead joined several hundred Wimbledon fans at The Cherry Red Records Stadium for the afternoon. I would like to add my personal thanks to all Dons fans who represented our club so well, whether by vocally supporting the team at the game, by joining other fans at our own ground or just by doing their own thing.

DT elections
As has been previously announced, unfortunately not enough members decided to stand for election to the DTB to require a ballot. The four candidates who put themselves forward were Sean McLaughlin, Iain McNay, Kris Stewart and me. We need to make some positive moves to increase the number of people who would consider becoming a DTB member. It’s a rewarding role, and the Trust will struggle to evolve if we don’t get new faces on board. If you have thought about standing but haven’t taken the plunge, then please get in touch with me (matthew.breach@thedonstrust.org) or with any other DTB member to find out what it is all about – you really can make a difference!

Back to Merton?
With continuing progress on the new stadium project, optimism is high that a return to Wimbledon could be on the cards. The DTB recognises that turning that dream into reality will require major changes to the way we do business. Currently we oversee a football club with a turnover of about £3 million, but we hope to be involved in a “hundreds of millions” development project that delivers us a large events venue to run. We are starting the process of addressing these major issues, with professional advisors and the Stadium Working Group, but if any member or fan with specialist knowledge or experience in these areas feels they could help us, do let any DTB member know.

Dons Trust AGM
The Annual General Meeting of the Trust took place last Thursday (after the time of writing), so members will have had a chance to raise questions about the above issues and, indeed, any aspect of AFC Wimbledon that takes their interest. If you are not a DT member and want to get more engaged with our club, look for details of how to join the Trust on our website (see below).

The draft minutes of the AGM will be made available soon: watch the club and DT official websites for announcements. Trust members are invited to email any comments for the DTB to secretariat@thedonstrust.org.