March’s board meeting summary

The Dons Trust board (DTB) held its monthly board meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Wednesday 27 March 2019. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points discussed.

At the meeting were DTB members Mark Davis (chair), Rob Crane, Colin Dipple, Roger Evans, Cormac van der Hoeven, Anna Kingsley, Hannah Kitcher, Jane Lonsdale and Luke Mackenzie (Luke via speakerphone). Apologies were received from Trust secretary David Growns, who was unwell; volunteer Terry Langford took the minutes.

The DTB were joined for the first part of the meeting by club chief executive Erik Samuelson, chief operating officer Joe Palmer and non-executive director Mick Buckley.

As usual, a monthly report from the football club’s board had been circulated before the meeting. The report covered the latest player contract news and noted that the club had averaged a creditable 1.3 points per game since Wally Downes was appointed.

On the commercial side, as well as the possible link-up with FansBet, the report covered initial conversations with potential new club partners in a number of different areas and reported on local companies signing up for the AFC Wimbledon Business Club.

Also highlighted was the club’s Disability Supporters’ Association relaunch, which took place at the Doncaster Rovers match during Level Playing Field’s Weeks of Action; their chief executive, Owain Davis, had attended and spoken positively about the interest that had been shown by supporters.

After a brief update on the latest stadium news, the meeting talked about issues surrounding a members’ motion that will be debated at the Trust’s SGM on 17 April and had an update on the We Are Wimbledon Fund.

In between those topics, there was a discussion about the most appropriate way of reacting to abuse of non-playing club staff on social media. While all agreed that abuse of staff was unacceptable, there was a range of views about the best way of responding to it. It was agreed that the club would draft a policy in light of the feedback received and present it for further discussion. It was stressed that this was about supporting staff and preventing online abuse, not about stifling respectfully expressed criticism.

After a short break during which the football club directors left the meeting, the board approved the minutes of an additional stadium-related board meeting that had been held in February. They then considered a detailed report from the Election Steering Group about the 2018 board election, including some minor changes proposed for 2019. Conscious that discussing it at length risked other items dropping off the night’s agenda, the board agreed to go through the proposals by email afterwards.

The board next approved the appointment of Mukesh Desai as treasurer and was updated on finding someone with financial expertise for co-opting onto the board to fill an identified skills gap; interviews were taking place.

After considering any other business slightly early, the meeting concluded by picking up an ongoing discussion about succession planning and finished at around 11.15 pm.