The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly board meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Wednesday 22 May. 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, Cormac van der Hoeven, Edward Leek, Anna Kingsley, Hannah Kitcher, Jane Lonsdale and Luke Mackenzie. Apologies were received from Roger Evans and Trust secretary David Growns.
For the first part of the meeting, the board was joined by football club chief executive Joe Palmer to discuss the club’s monthly report. Joe started by giving an update on transfer business, saying that Will Nightingale had signed a contract earlier that day and Nesta Guinness-Walker was also poised to sign from Met Police. There had been positive feedback about the notifications that were being sent out upon processing of season-ticket renewals.
Next came an update on the latest regarding the new stadium. A fixed-price offer had now been received from Buckingham Group following finalisation of the technical design and procurement. The costs had gone up further due to the need for extra steelwork and more pilings. Some cost savings might be possible depending on the configuration of the semi-permanent stands, although the club would prefer a certain capacity in order to achieve a satisfactory income.
There was also an update on progress with securing a bank loan and the crowdfunding initiative. One of the measures that would help the club offer a tempting package to potential investors was if the Trust waived its right to dividends. Following a brief discussion, the board approved this unanimously, given that any dividends paid to the Trust would be returned to the club anyway.
It was confirmed that following the rise in construction costs, there were no remaining affordable ‘nice to have’ options that could be put out to supporter consultation. It is possible that the configuration of the semi-permanent stands could still be consulted on, but even here the club will be tightly bound by financial constraints. However, consultation about the matchday experience would still be possible.
There were updates on the latest situation with Milton Keynes mediation; on the latest with the Wimbledon in Sporting History group, and about the We Are Wimbledon Fund.
Following Joe Palmer’s departure, the board went on to discuss Trust-only business. Jane Lonsdale gave an update from the Diversity & Inclusion Working Group and outlined some initiatives in the pipeline.
The meeting rounded off with a catch-up on the projects that were with individual board members, including an update on informal strategy meetings that were being held in the south-west London area to kickstart the strategy review – future stages will include opportunities for online participation.