November Dons Trust Board meeting summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly meeting at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday 4 November. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises what was discussed.

Erik Samuelson, chief executive of AFC Wimbledon, joined the DTB for the first half of the meeting to discuss issues relating to the Football Club Board (FCB). Topics covered were numerous and wide ranging, including possible future signings, complaints and praise received by all sections of the club, kit issues, and the perceived underperformance of the team against clubs lower down the League Two table.

Preparations for this year’s Winter Wonderland (due to be held on 30 November) were also discussed, in particular as it falls on the same day as the Junior Dons’ Christmas Party.

The meeting then considered an issue scheduled to be discussed at a Football League later that week: ‘solidarity payments’ made by the Premier League to the Football League. A proposal had been put forward that would formalise the arrangement between the Premier League and the Football League, although it also involved some compromise on the Football League’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules in relation to Championship clubs.

DTB members expressed the view that the proposal ran counter to the Trust’s ambition to ‘level the playing field’ for Trust-owned clubs, and discussion centred on what stance AFC Wimbledon should take when the issue came to a vote at the Football League meeting. In the end, it was agreed that, with time before the League meeting short, Erik would consult with other Trust-owned clubs to help steer our view.

The meeting then moved on to look at the football club’s quarterly accounts and cash forecast, plus the annual statutory accounts ahead of ACW PLC’s AGM that will be held on Wednesday 10 December.

As you might expect, there was lengthy discussion surrounding progress towards our planning application for a new ground in Plough Lane. The meeting was joined by Andrew Williams, the consultant who is advising us on the project. All being well, there should be plenty for members to discuss at the Trust’s AGM on Wednesday 10 December. Although it might take some time after our paperwork gets submitted before the application shows on Merton Council’s website, the club intends to make an announcement once our application has gone in.

The timeline for making funds available for spending on the project following a successful conclusion of the planning application was also discussed; this is to ensure that money is available to allow things to progress from eventual planning approval to the first contractor getting on site.

After almost two-and-a-half hours of discussion, the meeting moved on to consider Trust-specific issues, allowing Erik to leave the meeting.

David Hall, Trust secretary, gave an update on progress with the 2014 DTB elections. Details of the candidates were due to go out to members in either electronic or printed format before the end of the week, with voting due to close at 11:59pm on Monday 8 December and the results announced at the AGM.

Discussion then focused on the AGM agenda, trying to create an engaging agenda that would involve member participation alongside other topics that have to be covered, all balanced against the time available.

After a brief discussion of any other business, which included sponsorship by the Trust of the ladies/girls teams, the club’s presence at Wimbledon Village’s Remembrance Day commemorations, and anonymous complaints from three members that certain DTB members were not ‘pulling their weight’, the meeting finished shortly before 11pm.

In attendance from the DTB were: Matt Breach, Mark Davis, David Growns, Zoe Linkson, Jane Lonsdale, Iain McNay and Kris Stewart. Apologies had been received from Moorad Choudhry and Sean McLaughlin.