Mark Davis, Chair of the Dons Trust Board, has a round-up of progress on various fronts at the club and the Trust.
In my programme page for the Boxing Day game against Plymouth Argyle, I set out what our newly elected Dons Trust Board (DTB) members could expect over the next year. Now is a good time to summarise how 2019 is shaping up so far.
First of all, with four of the nine elected members new to the DTB, there was always going to be a fair amount of “forming, storming and norming”. It’s pleasing that the new board members have applied themselves energetically to getting up to speed with the work of the DTB. And I hope you’ll have been getting to see them in action too, through their presence at the Dons Trust kiosk on home match days and on this page in the programme.
At our first board meeting in January we were quick off the mark in appointing a chair (myself) and vice-chair (Rob Crane) and, to assist the DTB, a secretary (David Growns) for the year. We also made a good start at that meeting on setting our key priorities for the year, even though it took until 27 February (our fourth board meeting of 2019!) to agree who would be responsible for leading them. You may have read Hannah Kitcher’s page about those responsibilities in Saturday’s Doncaster programme.
We also decided in January to recruit a treasurer and to co-opt a financially oriented board member. We’ve had a good crop of applicants for these roles, and we look forward to announcing the appointments in the near future.
Getting construction of the new stadium under way is clearly a major priority for 2019, and we took the opportunity to hold an extra meeting in February so that the DTB could see the plans as they currently stand and meet some of our advisers on the project. The meeting featured a presentation from the contractor we are currently working with, Buckingham Group Contracting, and their design partner KSS, a sports architectural practice.
Buckingham is well respected in the field of stadium construction. Their credentials include the American Express Community Stadium (Brighton & Hove Albion) and, currently, Brentford’s new ground. Some of you may be aware that they also constructed a certain stadium in Buckinghamshire. Ultimately, we have to work with the contractor who is best qualified to deliver us the stadium we want, at a price we can afford, and we are satisfied that we are working with the right partner. The next stage will be some preliminary work for ground preparation, which will get under way very shortly, while we are finalising the specification and price of the main stadium works, including a number of options about which we will be consulting Trust members.
Over recent days, Luke Mackenzie has been conducting an online survey of Trust members’ attitudes towards the club and Trust working with a betting partner, who would contribute both sponsorship and a share of the profits they raise from AFC Wimbledon fans’ bets. If you are a Trust member, you should have received an email about this giving you some information and inviting you to take part in an online yes/no survey. If you haven’t yet voted online, you can visit the Dons Trust kiosk before tonight’s match to cast your vote in person.
Finally, as today (12 March) is my birthday, I decided to remind myself how Wimbledon FC fared in the 1963/64 season, when I was born. We won the Isthmian League with 60 points, and Eddie Reynolds was top scorer with 35 goals. Tonight’s opponents are one of eight League One clubs who were in the equivalent of League One (Division Three) at the time, and they finished 10th on 47 points. I don’t know whether AFC Wimbledon v Peterborough United will be a league or cup fixture 55 years from now. But if it is, I trust we will be playing it in a 20,000-capacity stadium at Plough Lane that is packed to the rafters.