June’s Board Meeting Summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its regular board meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Tuesday 19 June 2018. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points discussed.

The meeting was attended by DTB members Mark Davis (Chair), Roger Evans, Nigel Higgs, Cormac van der Hoeven, Jane Lonsdale and Charles Williams.

The DTB were joined for part of the meeting by AFC Wimbledon chief operating officer Joe Palmer and, on behalf of the Ladies & Girls committee, by David Growns.

Apologies were received from board members Matt Breach, Colin Dipple, Tim Hillyer, Sean Mclaughlin, AFC Wimbledon Chief Executive Erik Samuelson and Trust Secretary Tom Brown. Apologies were reported during the meeting from secretariat members Hannah Kitcher and Roger Edmonds-Brown as a result of problems on the railway.

The meeting started with a discussion led by David Growns on the Ladies & Girls section. The Ladies first team had finished as runner-up in their league this season, and the restructuring of the leagues meant that the Ladies would now be operating at fourth, rather than third, tier of the football pyramid. Changes were proposed to the Ladies & Girls section so as to introduce a clearer demarcation between the elite football system and community football up. This would provide a clearer pathway for from the girls’ teams through to the Ladies’ first team, whilst preserving a community football scheme. One outcome of that could be that the AFC Foundation would take on the community girls section whilst either the Trust or Club would take on the elite tier. The board were content with the direction of travel and it was agreed that a firmer recommendation on the corporate structure would be brought to the Trust board later in the year.

It was agreed that the Trust’s £500 annual contribution to the Morden Girls’ League, who provide opportunities for girls with a wide range of football abilities, should be renewed, and opportunities for strengthening the links with the Ladies & Girls section should be explored.

In the absence of Erik Samuelson, Joe Palmer fielded questions on the Football Club’s monthly report. With resumption of pre-season training due to start shortly, football recruitment was raised, and Joe reported that Neal was seeing a lot of players and confident of a successful player recruitment campaign.

Customer service was discussed, including complaints and praise received, catering at the burger bars and the range of beers and other drinks on offer at matches. Joe explained the constraints on diversifying the range of beers and drinks in the current stadium and the opportunities for doing so that would be available at the new stadium.

Joe reported on preparations for operating a temporary shop within Centre Court in Wimbledon for a fortnight, starting with the launch of the new kit. Whilst kit pricing had already been set for the coming season, it was agreed that the Trust board should discuss longer-term policy towards merchandise pricing at the subsequent meeting. A further item for discussion at the following meeting would be the Elite Player Performance Plan audit of the youth development programme, which the Club had passed subject to a reassessment in 12 months’ time.

As usual, the new stadium was one of the agenda items. Joe reported on the status of some commercial sponsorship opportunities. From a Trust perspective, it was important to get the right choreography for receiving the final cost, consultations with fans on design and options, crowd funding and the requisite approvals. Roger and Mark would be meeting with Tom Brown and former Secretary David Hall to discuss that later in the week.

Board committee representatives reported on progress over the past month. In the case of the Operations Committee, an email had been sent to Trust members regarding the Trust’s new GDPR-compliant privacy notice, and Mark had discussed next steps with Joe on Golden Goals. The Engagement & Communications Committee had produced a terms of reference for a Diversity & Inclusion working group and some thoughts on ways of improving matchday engagement.

Ahead of the Westminster Hall debate on safe standing on 25 June, the Club and Trust would be writing joint letters to local MPs and would be tweeting to fans and members about contacting their MPs ahead of the debate.

Various issues were carried over for resolution by email, including the Trust’s position on matters to be voted on at the forthcoming annual general meeting of Supporters Direct.

The meeting concluded at 10:35.