September’s board meeting summary

The Dons Trust Board (DTB) held its monthly meeting at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Wednesday 25 September. Ahead of publication of the redacted minutes, this article summarises the main points discussed.

Present from the DTB were Rob Crane, Mark Davis, Colin Dipple, Anna Kingsley, Hannah Kitcher, Edward Leek, Jane Lonsdale and Luke Mackenzie. Apologies had been received for Roger Evans and Cormac van der Hoeven.

In attendance from the football club were Joe Palmer (Chief Executive), Ivor Heller (Commercial Director), David Charles (Operations Director) and Tom Rawcliffe (Financial Controller).

Attending from the secretariat were David Growns (secretary) and Roger Edmonds-Brown (minute taker).

The meeting started by continuing a discussion that had been held the previous night by conference call and earlier in the morning by email which had resulted in agreement to suspend Wally Downes as first-team manager. As this is an ongoing HR issue, further details about the discussion are not included in this summary.

During discussion about the football club board’s monthly report, which was circulated to the DTB beforehand, it was noted that the Bristol Rovers match had achieved very good bar-taking figures before the match and at half-time, and there had also been positive feedback about the number of players who attended the man of the match presentation afterwards, considering the post-match mood.

In the stadium report, Mark Davis confirmed that the Section 73 planning application that had been decided by Merton Council in March was now through its period for a potential judicial review without one being lodged. The DTB also received an update on the crowdfunding campaign and on progress with securing a loan to help finance the development.

With an EFL meeting the following day, the boards discussed the approach to take towards Bury FC’s request to be admitted to League Two next season. The general consensus was that admitting them risked encouraging club owners to engage in reckless spending in the knowledge that any punishment would probably be restricted to a single-division relegation. While there was sympathy for Bury supporters, it was felt that encouraging reckless spending would risk supporters of other clubs being put through similar circumstances in the future.

Following discussion at the recent SGM about membership benefits, it was agreed that the next step would be to sketch out a more detailed proposal and take it to the membership group’s volunteers for more detailed discussion.

Following the recent match at Milton Keynes, there was a discussion about how we should approach hospitality for our directors at future matches there, given that we are now moving more towards a set-up where our club officials are often non-Wimbledon fans who have formed professional relationships with MK staff when both parties were at previous clubs. It was agreed to re-emphasise the existing policy that directors should not accept hospitality of any sort (accepting that David Charles as club secretary may have to be present in the tunnel area).

A brief update on the outcome of the recent EFL Trophy survey moved on to discuss the challenge of engaging offline members in quick turnaround surveys such as this. It was agreed to use a future mailout to remind members how much it costs to mail people and nudge them to switch to electronic communications if possible.

Under any other business, Jane Lonsdale reported her frustration at attempts to secure a date for a Wonderkid screening and Luke Mackenzie raised the idea of all DTB members wearing a name badge on matchdays to increase visibility.

The meeting finished at about 10:45pm.

Please accept our apologies for the non-appearance of a board summary for the June and August meetings. The June minutes and the August minutes are already online.