James MacdonaldManifesto James Macdonald

Proposers: Dr Lee Willett and Danny Norris

James MacdonaldAs the Chief Operating Officer of a 6-school, £14 million turnover, Muli Academy Trust, I have the experience and skills necessary to play the role of a critical friend to give support and challenge to the club’s management to help the club run efficiently and sustainably. 

Over the last 18 months, three schools have joined our Trust I have led on many aspects of bringing these schools within the Trust. I have successfully rolled out a new management information system across all schools and helped increase lettings income to above pre-pandemic levels. I thrive on the challenges that change and delivering results brings.

My core mission is to continually drive improvement. As a member of the Dons Trust Board, I would look to support all sensible ideas which emerged without cutting across the responsibilities of the club’s management. We can learn from other clubs, and I am totally committed to sharing ideas and experiences to help us achieve success. I also value ‘looking back’ and establishing what could have been done better – and how we will ensure that mistakes are not about a blame-game but part of a learning curve that we will address and learn from.

My key principles are:

  • We remain fan owned. This is not negotiable. 
  • We champion our status as a community club. I totally recognise the value of volunteers who help make us sustainable. The hybrid model we have established is something we should continue to promote, and the club will always be stronger through working this way.
  • We develop more effective ways of feedback with members through both use of meetings and informal discussions so that the Trust supports the club in moving forward in a way that is collegiate, transparent and democratic.
  • We must be e a responsible employer and ensure that our staff have the opportunity to deliver in their roles. Where it is necessary, I believe we should invest up-front to ensure we have sufficient capacity to support the effective and smooth running of the club. It is a key belief of mine that we should ensure we have structures and processes that offer our employees the freedom to thrive and grow.
  • We explore options to build our own training complex to benefit of the teams that represent AFC Wimbledon. 
  • We continue to improve on matters such as ticketing and maximise our commercial opportunities. I acknowledge that there have been some real improvements here – such as the matchday guide – but more can be done. I want the return of a weekly newsletter by email from the club which summarises the news and provides ticket / travel updates. 
  • We must support the club’s management as it seeks to maximise our revenues now that we are back at Plough Lane through ensuring we are the destination of choice in southwest London for all events – weddings, funerals, and conferences. 
  • That the work of our Academy continues to evolve so that we meet our aim of being ‘first choice’ for all children in Southwest London and that the categorisation rises to Category One.
  • We play a major role in working with the relevant authorities to change the current levels in inequality across football clubs so that we make football fairer and more transparent
  • We discuss whether 2 years is enough time to be on the board and make a difference. I believe that a longer term of office would help ensure that projects are completed, would provide experience and stability and ensure more accountability. In my view, the ideal length of term should be four years (with any member of the board able to serve for a maximum of two terms). 

The experiences and skills that I have developed mean that I have an enormous amount to offer the Dons Trust Board. I have experience working in finance with KPMG before becoming a teacher and then a Chief Operating Officer. I am used to being held accountable, both to the Trustees of the Multi Academy Trust and to the Department for Education. I understand the importance of making sure you can justify how every pound of income is spent and the need to ensure we always get best-value on expenditure. I see my role as that of providing the support and, where needed, the challenge to ensure that we have a club that consistently over-achieves at all levels: – from our youngest academy team to our first teams in both women’s and men’s football. Finally, I understand the importance of our stakeholders being involved in their club in a democratic fashion so that supporters truly feel that this is their club.