Dons Trust Chair Matt Breach has an update on the first round of voting to approve the sale of the stadium and explains what happens next, in the second vote.
At the end of September the Dons Trust launched the first of two votes on the so-called restricted action to sell Kingsmeadow as part of the club’s preparations for a move back to Merton. This procedure involves two successive rounds of voting by Trust members.
I am delighted to report that we now have one of the two ticks we need. At the SGM held on October 22, the motion authorising the Dons Trust Board to permit the sale of Kingsmeadow was approved.
- The total membership of the Dons Trust at September 30 was 2,249, and we needed at least 50% of members to vote. In fact, 1,924 members voted, representing 86% of the membership.
- Of the votes cast, 1,887 (98%) were in favour – an overwhelming level of support, and much higher than the 75% required by the Trust’s rules. The votes in favour represented 84% of the membership – again, comfortably higher than the 40% required by the rules.
- Just 23 members voted against the resolution, and 14 either abstained or spoiled their ballot papers.
- Of the votes cast, five were from members voting in person at the SGM and the remainder were either by online proxy (1,651) or paper proxy (268).
This is a very pleasing endorsement of our proposals, and I thank our members for the high turnout. However, according to our rules it counts for nothing unless the resolution is approved a second time. So, in football parlance, we go again …
The second round of voting was launched on October 26 and will conclude at a further SGM on November 16. Once again, the required turnout is 50%, but this time the proportion of votes that need to be cast in favour is slightly lower, at two-thirds.
It is vital that members do not assume that a high turnout in the first round of voting will automatically translate into a high turnout at the second round of voting. We must not be complacent – please vote!
We learned some important lessons from the first round of voting. First, it became clear that the proxy voting process (i.e. appointing the Chair, or someone else, to attend the SGM and vote according to the member’s instructions) was not understood by all members. We have now improved the instructions on the voting forms – please study them before voting.
Second, we used an online tool called Survey Monkey to run the online proxy votes. This worked for a large majority of members, but others experienced difficulties because the email invitations were either blocked by their internet service provider or directed to their spam folder. Do please check your spam folder if you have not yet received your email inviting you to vote a second time. And if you still cannot find it, you can download and print off a proxy form.
You must cast your proxy vote by 7.30 pm on November 14. Otherwise, the only way of voting is to attend the SGM on November 16 (you are welcome to attend, even if you have already voted by proxy).
The Dons Trust Board urges all members to vote, and to do so as soon as possible by completing and returning the proxy form, whether online or on paper. The Dons Trust Board recommends that you vote in favour of the resolution. If you have any questions, please email StadiumQuestions@thedonstrust.org.
A version of this article originally appeared in the matchday programme for the game played against Hartlepool United on Saturday, October 31, 2015.