The price is right – SGM report

The Dons Trust held its first Special General Meeting of 2016 on 7 April. Trust member Rob Crane has a summary of the main discussions.

A proposal to increase ticket prices if we win promotion to League One and an update on the proposed new stadium at Plough Lane dominated discussion at the Trust’s recent SGM.

The Football Club Board had proposed to increase ticket prices but only if the Dons qualify for and are successful in the play-offs. In 2014, a survey of supporters carried out by the Trust showed that members wanted to be consulted about ticket prices, so the proposal was put forward for discussion at this SGM.

Chief Executive Erik Samuelson explained to the meeting that income from sources other than match tickets wouldn’t increase that much following promotion. And based on an assessment of this year’s League One spending on wages, our current wage bill would put us second from bottom on wages expenditure next season if we won promotion, whereas with the proposed increases we would move up to around 18th. We face a trickier situation than many clubs because our ground is already often full or nearly full, especially when it comes to seats, so there is no scope for us to profit from increased attendances.

A number of people who spoke at the meeting said that they felt the current discount for over-65s is too generous. Trust chair Matthew Breach pointed out that many who fall into that age category and are able to afford to do so make an additional donation, and this is something that could be highlighted more in future. Following the debate, the proposal to put up ticket prices if we are promoted was passed by Trust members.

Erik then gave the meeting an update on our proposed new stadium, much of which has been covered elsewhere. It is felt unlikely that any decision will be made before Boris Johnson steps down from being Mayor, and everyone in London who has an interest is being encouraged to email the two leading candidates to succeed him, Sadiq Khan and Zac Goldsmith, to express their support for the planning application. The club remains confident of its case, and timelines will not be affected too much if a decision is made early in the summer, although construction- industry costs continue to rise.

Erik also answered a question from a member about the loan system for players that will be in place next season. He explained that loan deals will last either half a season or a whole season and will start and end only during the existing transfer windows, i.e. there will be no short-term loans. And only four players per season can be loaned. Neal Ardley was reported to be confident that the club will be able to adapt to this change.

Erik finished by reporting that the postponement of the Portsmouth match had cost the club over £35,000, when all lost income is taken into consideration.

The meeting finished with Dons Trust Board members giving an update on their activities, including news that the policy on Trust members in the boardroom on match days will soon go live.

 

This article originally appeared in the matchday programme for the game against Crawley Town, played on Saturday, April 16, 2016.

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