January Dons Trust Board meeting summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly meeting at Kingsmeadow on Monday 19 January. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points that were discussed.

As this was the first meeting of the board since recent elections, the first business was to elect a chair, vice chair and treasurer. Matt Breach and Kris Stewart were both nominated to be chair. With the vote tied and one board member absent from the meeting, it was agreed to vote again electronically, with Matt, as the existing chair, chairing this meeting. It was noted that the next formal Football Club Board (FCB) meeting, which the chair is expected to attend, is scheduled for February 11.

David Growns was re-elected as vice chair, with Sean McLaughlin re-elected as treasurer.

It was agreed that it might be helpful to create a ‘job description’ for these roles, beyond the formal definition included in the Trust’s constitution. With a paper on the club and Trust’s organisational structure having been presented to the recent AGM, it was agreed that now would be a good time to do this.

Moving on, the meeting agreed the minutes of the December meeting and also confirmed that minutes for all the meetings up until December’s were ready for upload to the Trust’s website.

Football Club Board report

Club CEO Erik Samuelson joined the meeting to discuss the latest FCB monthly report. Highlights included:

  • healthy financial performances compared with budget, even before additional cup matches against Wycombe and Liverpool were included
  • latest player transfer activity, including Neal Ardley’s steps to replace Matt Tubbs following his departure
  • ongoing healthy performance by the bars and functions at Kingsmeadow
  • issues with the new electronic scoreboard, which are believed to be a software related and are being followed up with the supplier.

As has been covered elsewhere, Merton Council’s official consultation period regarding our planning application for a new ground has been extended. Two public meetings have been scheduled (on February 2 in Wandsworth and on February 11 in Merton).

The board also discussed how to engage with Kingstonian supporters during the possible sale of Kingsmeadow and the best process for Dons Trust members voting on Restricted Actions in order to enable a change of home ground.

The Trust board joined the FCB in praising the club’s staff and volunteers for their work in the build-up to the Liverpool FA Cup match. Erik’s report said: ‘The staff have been flat out and have worked well in excess of their normal hours, including coming in at weekends over the Christmas and New Year break. It is very difficult to express in words the amount and variety of work involved and thanks have been sent to the volunteers who contributed in different ways to a successful event.’

There was also a report from Kay Skelton, executive director of the AFC Wimbledon Foundation. As well as covering the club’s popular coaching events held in Wimbledon Park, the report covered the work of the Education Stadium School, which delivers literacy and numeracy teaching for primary school children, and the health benefits that have been reported by participants in the walking football scheme.

Finally, there was a presentation to the board about Webjam, a community website designed to encourage consultation, that is being trialled by the DTB and will be rolled out to the club’s working groups and eventually members, too.

Dons Trust issues

With time pressing on, it was agreed to defer discussion of the Election Steering Group’s report on the recent DTB elections until a later meeting.

Mark Davis provided initial feedback on the ticket pricing survey. The phase 1 online survey had closed on December 31 and a working group meeting was scheduled for Tuesday, January 20. Phase 2 will include more detailed questions accompanied by broad budgetary information to help inform responses.

Following the recent AGM, Zoe Linkson reported that she had been in contact with the proposers of the original motion regarding Trust members’ representation on matchdays and that this was in hand.

As well as miscellaneous other business, such as updating DTB members’ contact details with the Financial Conduct Authority, the meeting concluded with any other business during which Mark Davis suggested that it would be worthwhile for the DTB to discuss its priorities for 2015, as there is a lot going on at the moment – the rest of the board agreed with this suggestion.

The meeting finished at 10:50pm.

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