December Dons Trust Board meeting summary

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

Before considering the monthly Football Club Board (FCB) report, a new process for agreeing minutes of DTB meetings was finalised. The process will see draft minutes circulated within a week of the DTB meeting for approval by email. The aim is to get the minutes approved and online within a further two weeks, although if DTB members have different recollections regarding a discussion then final approval may be knocked back until the next DTB meeting.

The meeting thanked Michael Hayes for the work he has been doing since volunteering to take the minutes.

Football Club Board report

The meeting then discussed the FCB report, with Chief Executive Erik Samuelson in attendance. Highlights included good financial results for October, the fact that bar and merchandise continue to perform well, and the fact that the club’s academy has been informed there will be no need for a follow-up visit regarding its Elite Player Performance Plan audit. The DTB congratulated Jeremy Sauer and his team for their success with the re-audit. There will be no further audit for three years.

In line with the ‘one club’ philosophy, Dennis Lowndes, the AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Girls Chairman, will be attending one of the informal FCB meetings every month, as will Kay Skelton, Executive Director of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, as they work out ways of moving forward with the relationship.

Discussion then focused on an element of financing the proposed new ground at Plough Lane, based on a report that had been circulated by Erik before the meeting. After discussion and questions, the DTB met separately to agree its stance. After further debate about the issue, and other issues that are indirectly affected, the DTB gave permission for the FCB to go ahead with its proposals.

Dons Trust issues

After Erik’s departure from the meeting, the DTB discussed a Community Share issue, focusing on the timelines necessary and the requirements that would have to be put in place. The notice to members required in order for members to vote through any possible restricted actions was also discussed.

The DTB then moved on to discuss final preparations for next week’s Dons Trust AGM, including the proposal regarding Trust members’ matchday representation, the Associate Directors paper and the ticket pricing survey.

An update from David Hall, Dons Trust Secretary, on the DTB elections included mention of the fact that membership of the Election Steering Group for next year is already being considered. The initiative of a supporter to run his own Twitter-based ‘hustings’ event was welcomed.

Any other business

Zoe Linkson reported back on the first meeting of the government’s Supporter Ownership and Engagement Expert Group. The meeting had agreed its terms of reference and issued ‘calls for evidence’ regarding issues such as trusts and football club insolvencies.

Zoe Linkson and Jane Lonsdale covered this year’s Junior Dons Christmas Party, which had been held on November 30. Forty-five Junior Dons, 19 paid-for children and around 15 players’ children had attended. There had been a large turnout from players and coaching staff to support the event. Some parents had been disappointed that parents of children over 6 weren’t allowed to stay at the event; this policy had been introduced after previous years so that the players in attendance could give all their attention to the children.

Mark Davis flagged the Boys from the Backroom fundraising event on February 6, plus the future minithon. He also reported that the ticket pricing survey is now live and thanked the members of the working group for their help.

Finally, Jane Lonsdale gave an update on progress with Webjam and the We Are Wimbledon Fund.

The meeting finished at 10:30pm.

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