Unusually, there were no special resolutions on which members were asked to cast their votes, so the whole meeting was an opportunity for the Football Club and Dons Trust boards to provide business updates, answer questions and be quizzed on matters uppermost in members’ minds.
Much of the focus of the FCB report concerned the latest on the Club’s ambition to return to a new stadium in Merton. Club Chief Executive Erik Samuelson explained the process underpinning the Club’s anticipated joint planning application with developer Galliard and the subsequent timetable of events. Should everything run smoothly, it was hoped that this would culminate in the first shovels hitting the Plough Lane earth in autumn 2015. Although the Club had an ambition to begin season 2016/17 in the new stadium, Erik stressed that there were many hurdles yet to overcome. He said that the Club would next make an announcement once the planning application was submitted to Merton Council.
Other topics discussed included the minor works planned for Kingsmeadow (including direct access for home fans to the Your Golf Travel Stand) and the thinking behind the new fans register (including its first operation for the forthcoming JPT match in North Buckinghamshire).
The second part of the meeting concerned DT business. Led by DT Chairman Matthew Breach and DTB member Mark Davis (Vice Chairman David Growns was also present from the DT Board), members heard updates on the DTB’s work to improve its organisational structures (proposals would be presented to members at the December AGM) and the Board’s plans to consult on future matchday and season ticket pricing. Again, detailed proposals would be set out at the AGM.
Finally, as part of the general Q&A session, DTB member Jane Lonsdale briefed members on plans to improve member engagement through the use of Webjam, an online tool that would be initially piloted by the Board, prior to a wider roll-out to those DT members with internet access, which is now the vast majority.
Other issues raised by members included the rate of season ticket renewals this season, the impact of the recent fundraising efforts to support the playing budget, and the extent to which the current DT constitution was still ‘fit for purpose’. Matthew said that the Board was proposing some changes to the constitution, which were linked to the organisational structure proposals mentioned earlier, which would also be presented to members at the forthcoming AGM on 10 December.
Apologies for absence were received from Board member Kris Stewart. The minutes were taken by David Reeves of the DT Secretariat.