The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board meeting 17 Feb 2021 – summary

On Wednesday 17 February 2021, the Dons Trust Board (DTB) gathered via Microsoft Teams for its regular monthly meeting. This is a summary of matters discussed, pending publication of full minutes.

Attendees were as follows:

From the Elections Steering Group (ESG): Chair – Alex Folkes, David Hall

From the Football Club Board (FCB): CEO – Joe Palmer, Financial Controller – Tom Rawcliffe

From the Dons Trust Board (DTB): Xavier Wiggins, Jane Lonsdale, Charlie Talbot, Niall Couper, Tim Hillyer, Hannah Kitcher, Ed Leek, Luke Mackenzie, Graham Stacey

Also in attendance: Secretary – David Growns, Minute-taker – Roger Edmonds-Brown, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge, Treasurer – Michele Little

Alex and David led the first item on the agenda which was to discuss the process of the 2020 elections with the DTB. The ESG was set up to ensure a fair, open and transparent process for the election of members to the Board. The ESG had prepared a document for the Board’s consideration detailing several proposals to build on the current process in place. Many issues were covered including the timetable, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) compliance, the hustings and improvements to the communications of the process and results.

All the proposals were discussed and the DTB gave feedback on the proposals. The ESG will follow up and publish the report in due course.

Joe Palmer and Tom Rawcliffe then joined the meeting to report to the Board on a wide range of issues affecting the club currently including the appointment of the new Head Coach, the handover of the stadium, the recent injury to Paul Kalambayi, an update on sponsorship and getting more detail on the data we receive from iFollow.

Joe then provided an update on the proposal for London Broncos to play home matches at Plough Lane. The Board discussed the upcoming members’ vote and the level of information that would be required for members to enable them to vote and the timings for a potential SGM (Special General Meeting) to support that.

Financial matters were next to be discussed with the DTB reviewing the forecast and cashflow. Tom noted that a complete view of the budgets will be shared at a finance meeting on Friday which included some members of the refinancing committee, the plc board, DTB and football club board colleagues. This would be an opportunity to discuss and challenge the club’s financial forecasts covering the key areas of income and expenditure for next season.

With Tom moving on, the DTB noted its sincere thanks for all his work. It was confirmed, following a DTB discussion, that Ed Leek would take on the Financial Controller role for an interim period whilst a new Financial Controller was appointed. It was unanimously agreed, in line with the constitution (rule 72), to give permission for Ed to attend DTB meetings, but not to vote on areas of conflict which would be recorded by the Secretary.

As part of the future club strategy in relation to football, the conversation then moved on to the creation of a new football board who would be responsible for delivering the football side of the strategy. Joe outlined the need for a progressive board and this was unanimously approved. It was agreed the DTB would have access to the expertise on this board. One of the key priorities of the board will be player development, performance and acquisition using a modern data-led approach.

Due to the increased number of DTB meetings recently, and awaiting the outcome of the recent adverts for more secretariat support, there was a backlog of DTB minutes covering the last few meetings. It was agreed these would be reviewed via correspondence rather than waiting for the next DTB meeting.

An update was provided on the work Niall was undertaking with Wimbledon in Sporting History (WiSH) following the AGM. He noted the heads of terms would be reviewed by lawyers and a DT trustee would need to be appointed.

The results of the first volunteering survey were discussed, noting that the second volunteering and skills survey had gone out. The responses to that were coming in with over 1000 responses so far which were being analysed. It was agreed the results from the first survey would be made available as part of an SGM.

Finally, the Board was pleased to report that the Dons Local Action Group was successful in getting their work successfully shortlisted for their community work in the upcoming FSA awards.