The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly meeting at The Cherry Red Records Stadium on Tuesday, June 14. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points that were discussed.
The meeting started by expressing its thanks to the club staff and volunteers who worked hard in the build-up to the play-off final, especially those who helped staff the pop-up shop in Wimbledon Centre Court and others who contributed to the merchandising effort.
With club chief executive Erik Samuelson on holiday, the meeting was joined by club director Mick Buckley to talk through any issues arising from the Football Club Board’s monthly report.
At the time of the meeting the club was still waiting to hear from GLA planning officers regarding the timetable for deciding our planning application for a new ground in Wimbledon and, with the contract with Chelsea FC for the sale of Kingsmeadow having been exchanged, there was comparatively little to discuss on this front.
The meeting then looked at the updated budget for 2016–17, which factored in the club’s promotion to League One. Although the club’s share of the play-off gate receipts was still to be confirmed by the Football League, the budget was in the process of being updated to reflect the additional income. Mick reported that although some of this income would be directed towards the first-team playing budget, other amounts would be diverted towards other areas of the budget, allowing expenditure on measures such as introducing customer relationship management (CRM) software which should allow the Trust and club to adopt a much more ‘joined up’ experience for supporters and facilitate ticket sales at our new stadium.
The meeting then discussed the recent Football League AGM and particularly the League’s trial of a new format for the EFL Trophy. Unfortunately the news item about the new Trophy format had been posted to the club website at a time when a majority of DTB members were unavailable and this had caused a delay in publishing the Trust’s response. In the interim, some supporters had become concerned that the Trust had reversed its previous opposition to Premier League development teams participating in Football League competitions. The DTB asked for a report from the FCB into the options available for the club regarding competing in this revised competition and the possible ramifications of those options. It also agreed to work with other supporter organisations to continue to oppose these plans.
Next up was a discussion about initial preparations for the league matches against Milton Keynes. It was agreed to engage with the Trust’s membership regarding approaches to this match, with the DTB recognising that every fan will have a slightly different view about how we should approach it. In the meantime, the DTB asked the FCB to report back on what the Football League requires home teams to provide in terms of provision for away clubs and what is optional.
The DTB also expressed a degree of disquiet about an advert that had been placed on the club’s website regarding performance analysis internships in light of the Trust’s ambition to become a London Living Wage employer – Mick promised to follow up on this.
The meeting then went on to discuss Trust-only issues. Mark Davis reported that there had been a good response to a recent advert for a co-opted board member and those on the shortlist will be interviewed soon. Mark contrasted the high number of responses with the regular struggle to get Trust members to stand for election to the board, wondering whether there were any lessons to be learned from this.
Matthew Breach reported that work on branding the Trust’s kiosk at the entrance to the car park is now underway thanks to a volunteer, and Tom Adam presented a draft strategy paper on fundraising.
Secretary Rob McGlinchey noted that 300 people have joined the Trust since the play-offs, and there has also been a big upturn in donations to the We Are Wimbledon Fund since promotion. And it was confirmed that the next SGM will be held on Thursday, August 25.
Finally, members of the DTB and Trust members in general were encouraged to sign up to the Supporters Summit being held by Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters’ Federation at Wembley Stadium on 16 July.
Present from the Dons Trust Board were: Tom Adam, Matthew Breach, Mark Davis, Colin Dipple, Roger Evans, David Growns, Nigel Higgs and Jane Lonsdale. Apologies were received from Sean McLaughlin.