Newly elected Dons Trust Board member Graham Stacey was planning to tell you what it’s like to be on the board. But now that will have to wait …
They do say that timing is everything. For this, my first ever Dons Trust page, I was going to be writing about what people could expect if they were ever to be elected to the Dons Trust Board. But I do hope it won’t be too often that anyone is elected to the board in the circumstances I was.
At the time I stood for election, everything was looking relatively rosy. Well, more or less. The queues at the bars were still getting longer and the matchday experience could have been better, and I’d always felt that fans were being kept in the dark a bit too much. But hey, we were shaping a decent, young squad on the pitch, and the pitch they would be playing on would soon be back home in Plough Lane. Right?
As it turns out, I’d missed a bit. The DTB election results were announced on the Dons Trust website on 25 November and, on the very same day, that email landed in our inboxes – the one with the £11 million stadium funding shortfall bombshell and a couple of suggested options.
It’s fair to say that’s thrown things a touch. Suddenly, the narrative went from improving the matchday experience to even having one, and from chasing Championship football in front of a packed Plough Lane to talk of being relegated back to non-league having sold all our players. People have asked me whether I would have stood had I known about the situation beforehand, and, while I can’t be sure about that, I’m pretty sure I can’t stand down now.
Anyone who knows me will know that I’m passionate about the whole fan ownership thing. I was there in 2002 when we were reborn, and I had been at many of the protests when the nonsense about relocating the club was first being suggested. And I didn’t stand for the DTB on a ticket of representing members only to somehow try and ditch them.
So I guess it goes without saying that I want to help keep this club in our hands and find ways to complete the stadium before exploring how we increase our revenues to the point where we can afford better players, reduce the price of tickets and all the other lovely stuff it’d be great to do. That may, in the long-term, involve outside investment. But once we’ve jumped the present hurdle, and we have more time to consider the option of outside investment, I think we – fans, members, the DTB and everyone who is part of AFC Wimbledon – should be able to take part in discussing it.
If the fans decide that the DTB should be restructured then that’s got to be part of the debate too. But the priority now, and I mean right now, is getting the stadium built on time and built the way we want it. So the rest of what I want to say today is about one thing: buying more bonds.
As this programme went to print, thanks to all those amazing people who have helped with the Plough Lane Bond, over £3.1 million had been raised since it was
launched. From now on, every extra bond sold will make a difference. And we’ve now got just three days to make that difference. So, if you haven’t already, please consider buying a bond – there is more information at https://ploughlanebond.com/.
If you have a question, you can get it answered by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you know anyone else who may be interested, point them to https://ploughlanebond.com/.
And if there’s anyone on the planet who may be keen on a return of up to 4% … well, you get the idea. Did I mention https://ploughlanebond.com/?
We are Wimbledon – and overcoming the odds is what we do. If timing is indeed everything, then this, perhaps more than ever before, is our time.