The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board meeting 18 November 2020 – summary

On Wednesday 18 November 2020, the Dons Trust Board (DTB) gathered via Teams for its regular monthly meeting. This is a summary of matters discussed, pending publication of full minutes.

AFC Wimbledon CEO, Joe Palmer, Financial Controller, Tom Rawcliffe, and Commercial Director, Ivor Heller were in attendance from the Football Club Board (FCB).

From the DTB, Mark Davis, Jane Lonsdale, Graham Stacey, Anne Williams, Anna Kingsley, Luke Mackenzie, Ed Leek, Tim Hillyer, Hannah Kitcher and Alastair Brown. Also in attendance was David Growns, Secretary, Conor Daly, minute-taker and Michele Little, Treasurer.

Mark Davis, Chair of the DTB, kicked off proceedings. The board discussed the FCB report which included a discussion on player injuries and the recent COVID-19 outbreak within the team. Joe also provided an update from the English Football League on Project Big Picture and the possibilities of crowds returning to stadia.

Ivor Heller provided an update on commercial and sponsorship. The meeting also discussed the hospitality provider at the new stadium and the recent increase in sale of merchandise. The DTB noted thanks to the merchandise team for all their hard work.

The meeting also included an update from Joe Palmer on the possibility of Plough Lane having an SW19 postcode. Joe summarised a recent discussion he’d had with members of the senior team at Royal Mail following our application for a change of postcode. The Royal Mail had outlined to Joe why it would not be possible for Plough Lane to have an SW19 postcode despite really wanting to help and make this happen for the Club. They explained how postcodes are designed for the efficient delivery of mail and nothing else. SW19 is delivered by Wimbledon sorting office and SW17 by the Tooting sorting office, with the boundary being the Wandle River. An SW19 postcode would have caused a lot of delivery issues and, to make it work, the Royal Mail would also have to have changed and recoded many other properties. This would have an impact on capacities and also many business and homes who don’t want to change postcode.

Joe explained that it would be possible for Club to get an SW19 postcode if we had an office that was in SW19, but the problem would be people navigating to the office instead of the stadium and issues with redirections. The Dons Trust Board thanked everyone who supported the Club to escalate this matter so that it came in front of the senior team at Royal Mail, in particular, WiSH who had provided historical information and the Leader of Merton Council, Stephen Alambritis.

Other matters discussed with the FCB was the status of the Milton Keynes mediation, as well as management accounts and cashflow.

Matters raised under AOB included the iFollow service, the FA’s Football Leadership Diversity Code and the UN Sports for Climate Action initiative and the steps we have taken to ensure Plough Lane is as sustainable as possible.

Graham asked Joe whether he would be keen to do a Meet the CEO session via Zoom in place of one of the monthly Meet the DTB sessions, recognising that the remaining DTB members had already taken part fairly recently. They agreed to find a time to schedule a session and more news on this will be published by the DT soon.

Before the FCB left the meeting the DTB congratulated the FCB on the delivery of a successful first game at Plough Lane on Tuesday 3 November and requested the FCB pass on their congratulations to the AFC Wimbledon under-18 players, staff and management following their EFL Youth Cup Alliance win on Tuesday 17 November 2020.

In part two of the meeting, with the DTB only, the Board discussed and approved the minutes from October’s Board meeting. The Board then discussed the agenda for the upcoming AGM on Thursday 17 December 2020 which will be held on Zoom at 19:30. Dons Trust members can register here.

The DTB also discussed the process of appointing AFCW PLC Directors and minimising the period until new Dons Trust Board nominees are in place to replace Mark and Anna, who will be stepping down from the AFCW PLC when they step down from the PLC.

Ed provided an update on Seedrs and noted that Seedrs investors and other shareholders in AFCW PLC will be soon getting the opportunity to top up their shareholdings as part of a relatively small second round of equity being raised later this year to mop up some investment that wasn’t ready by the time the first round closed.

Mark explained that he’s drafted a paper for the AGM on the proposal for Wimbledon in Sporting History (WiSH) to operate a museum in the new stadium. Noting his interest as a Trustee of WiSH, Tim advised that WiSH were reaching out to some of the Trust members who had submitted a resolution on history and heritage at the April 2019 SGM ahead of the papers being circulated.

Under AOB, Secretary, David Growns, told the DTB that following a recent advertisement for volunteers to compile past members’ resolutions, Conor Daly has come forward and will be taking this work forward. The Board thanked Conor for volunteering for this work.

The Board noted how the Trust’s votes had been cast in the election for a representative of League 1 and 2 clubs on the Football Supporters’ Association’s (FSA) National Council. There were further opportunities for representatives of associate clubs and an individual member of the FSA to be elected to the National Council, and this would be brought to members’ attention.

Jane noted that the Junior Dons working group would be circulating the JDs Christmas cards and newsletters shortly and arranging an alternative celebration instead of the usual Junior Dons Christmas party which wasn’t possible this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. She also noted the current work of the D&I working group noting the launch of Dons 4 Diversity (where support had been received from Fans for Diversity) and Rainbow Laces Day on Saturday 5 December 2020.

The DTB also noted thanks to the 9yrs podcast team for running a successful Dons Trust Board elections husting on Sunday 15 November. For those who missed it, all candidate interviews are available on the 9yrs podcast YouTube channel.

The meeting concluded at 23.39.