February’s board meeting summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its regular monthly meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Thursday, February 16. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points that were discussed.

The start of the meeting was attended by John Dolan, chair of the Election Steering Group, who had earlier submitted a report into last year’s board election and proposed election rules for 2017. The report touched on:

  • voter engagement –the need to engage with members
  • the diversity of the board and the need to understand what may deter people from standing
  • the possibility of introducing ‘term limits’ after which board members would be obliged to step down
  • the possibility of ‘one year’ trial terms, which is frequently suggested but might not be straightforward to implement
  • whether nomination forms can be electronic only in order to make it easier for people to stand
  • issues surrounding the accuracy of candidates’ statements and the ESG’s role in policing such issues.

Subsequent discussion included comments that it should be for members to challenge any statements they perceive as being inaccurate or misleading, and a reminder from Tim Hillyer that diversity can be addressed through co-opting additional members if necessary once the composition of the elected board is known. It was agreed to have a discussion about elections at the next SGM. The DTB also recorded its thanks to John and his team.

The meeting was then joined by AFC Wimbledon chief executive Erik Samuelson, who started by summarising events surrounding the recent match against Charlton Athletic. The club had released a statement on its official website. The club had received a letter from the FA asking for its account of the post-match incident involving Karl Robinson, and Erik understood that the FA had written to Charlton for their observations regarding the coin-throwing incident. Regarding the Robinson incident, the volunteer involved had afterwards resigned from their role, while the club is still considering the extent of any further action.

There was then a lengthy discussion about preparations for the forthcoming home match against Milton Keynes, which will include the visitors making it a ‘bubble match’ with their supporters required to travel to the match by official coach in order to collect match tickets that will be distributed on board.

Next up was an update on progress with signing off the final pieces of paperwork regarding the new stadium. The Section 106 agreement is now almost complete, although its accompanying development agreement still has some way to go. It was agreed to instigate some proceses to help double-check the latest calculations regarding construction costs, with formal tendering starting later in the year.

A consultation on whether or not to list the existing greyhound stadium is currently being conducted by Historic England, and Bring the Dons Home have urged Wimbledon supporters to respond. It is believed that the final recommendation from Historic England will be released in mid-March.

There was then an update on the AFC Wimbledon Foundation following the recent departure of its chief executive, Kay Skelton, for personal reasons. The DTB also briefly discussed its view regarding the relationship between the Trust and the Foundation, given that the Trust has in effect delegated some of its community-focused aims and objectives to the Foundation, which remains an independent organisation. Nigel Higgs – who is also a Foundation trustee – agreed to keep the DTB informed.

The meeting then moved on to discuss Trust-specific issues, starting with scoping the agenda for a strategy meeting that will be held for DTB members in mid-March to allocate responsibilities and discuss the way that the DTB currently works.

The DTB next agreed to have an ‘internal poll’ via email to decide who to vote for in the Supporters Direct elections and received an update on the AFC Wimbledon Ladies and Girls from David Growns.

Under any other business, among other things, Colin Dipple queried the lack of progress with branding the Trust’s kiosk in Jack Goodchild Way, Tim Hillyer mentioned training available via Supporters Direct for board members, and on behalf of a member Jane Lonsdale raised the absence of recent minutes from the Dons Trust’s website. The meeting finished shortly before 11pm.

Present from the Dons Trust Board were: Mark Davis, Colin Dipple, Roger Evans, David Growns, Nigel Higgs, Tim Hillyer and Jane Lonsdale. Apologies were received from Matthew Breach, Sean McLaughlin and Matt Spriegel.