Proposers: Gary Jordan and Kris Stewart
I’ve decided to stand for another term on the Dons Trust Board because I don’t think my job is done, yet.
Over the last two years I have always been a voice for fan engagement, transparency, fan ownership and fairness.
My time on the DTB didn’t get off to the smoothest start, you might say. I was actually sworn in on the night in 2019 when we were told, completely out of the blue, that we couldn’t afford to build Plough Lane and would have to sell the club.
So my first job on the Board was to fight it. I met with the prospective buyers and argued hard against the sale. And I was one of only a couple of people on the Dons Trust Board who pushed for us to support the Plough Lane Bond that went on to get us out of that financial hole.
It was a case of trusting the fans who have always rallied round in the club’s hour of need, and have never let this club down. It turned out we had been kept in the dark because not everybody did have that faith – and I like to think that mistake won’t be made again. Our fans are the best, without hesitation. Never doubt them.
Of course, the job wasn’t done there, and there were difficult decisions to be made to get Plough Lane built, while maintaining focus on other areas of the club that needed to improve.
Back in 2019 I stood on a ticket of improving communication and engagement with fans, and I think I have helped improve those areas… a bit. It’s been baby steps, but I’ve helped set up regular Meet The DTB sessions and helped create Meet The Manager/Meet The CEO and SGM events live online for the first time, making them available to wider audiences.
We’ve consulted on everything from how to fix the bar service at KM (good grief, remember that!?) to the name of the pub at Plough Lane, and more. You may have also noticed a bit more engagement on DT social media and I like to think the DTB have been a lot more transparent with regards to finances over the last couple of years. And I would hope I’ve personally been pretty open with any owner who I have spoken to directly. I really don’t believe the owners should be kept in the dark and I have always acted with this in mind. Not selling out and not treating the owners like muck: that’s kinda my shtick.
Occasionally these principles lead to some lively debate in DTB meetings, and I may often find myself on the losing side, but I’ll never be scared to voice an opinion or fight for the owners.
Elsewhere in my 2019 manifesto and in hustings I talked about how ridiculous it was that a League One football club didn’t seemingly have any KPIs in place for staff (or even an HR department, as far as we could tell). We have both in place now, and we pay people a living wage. We’ve done stuff behind the scenes to implement processes for when we hire people, too. I’m not sure we’re quite there yet as a great employer, but in many respects I believe we’ve improved over the last two years. As part of this process, people are more accountable, too. I was one of those who pushed for an inquiry into the ticketing fiasco. I will ensure lessons are learnt from it. That said, the inquiry should have been done by the time of these elections and it hasn’t been. That’s not good enough, really, and I will always push for better.
We still need more surveys and more proper consultation, not just lip service. More process, to borrow a familiar phrase. The DTB is nowhere near perfect, but we’re getting better and I will push for that to continue – if you value stuff like transparency and engagement, and someone who will always argue on the side of the owners, vote for me.
Oh and if anyone is interested, I’ve been a fan since I was in nappies, I edit stuff on three national newspapers to pay the bills, I’m a single dad by day/night, I’m a bit of a green and I would love to get out more, if only I could get a nap sometime. See you at the game.
Lots of info looking back over last two years. What would be the top 5 things you would like to achieve in the next 2 years?
Good question. I feel like some of my personal goals haven’t been seen through yet, so I would have to say I still want to make the DTB more transparent, with improved two-way engagement with members.
But bigger picture, and as dull as it is, the focus has to be finance. We have a document coming out this week which outlines our plans (a,b,c) on how to repay the bridging loan. I joined the board in 2019 and since then we’ve saved the club from ‘having to be sold’, and built a stadium that we ‘couldn’t afford to build’. But we’re not out of the woods yet and have to repay £4.5 by Spring. Achieving that would be huge, and I’m about as comfortable as I could be that we will. Then comes getting the ground full day in day out to the point where we are looking at building a second permanent stand. That would likely mean we’re doing well on the field and Robbo has a better budget to spend. These things all feel interlinked to me. Outside the ground and finance, and I’m not sure this is a two-year thing, I would love to us getting spades in the ground for a new training facility, possibly paid-for by an enabling development. How cool would that be…
That’s a long winded answer, hope I haven’t sent you to sleep!