The Dons Trust AFC Wimbledon Club OwnersDons Trust Board meeting summary – 18 May 2022

On Wednesday 18 May 2022, the Dons Trust Board (DTB) gathered via Microsoft Teams for its regular monthly meeting. This is a summary of matters discussed, pending publication of the minutes. 

Attendees were as follows: 

From the Dons Trust Board (DTB): Charlie Talbot, Freddy Flaxman, Hannah Kitcher, Kris Stewart, Luke Mackenzie, Michele Little, Niall Couper, Graham Stacey, Anne-Marie Godfrey, Graeme Price 

Also in attendance:  Secretary – Martin Newton, Minutes – Josh Perrin, Communications Assistant – Matt Stockbridge 

The meeting kicked off with the approval of the minutes from the last meeting. 

The next item of business was a review of the PLC Board report. Kris updated the Board on with the latest on ticketing and season ticket renewals, and confirmed some details in respect of the new manager appointment announced earlier in the week.  The agenda now moves on to retention and recruitment of players, with Mick shortly to make his proposal about how the football side will be run in future. The Board expressed their thanks for the work that Mick has done in securing the new first team manager. 

There was then a broad discussion on the playing budget for next season. 

The process for deciding how to replace the departed CEO, in what structure, is still ongoing and is a priority once the football structure has been finalised.  

The meeting also discussed the DTB’s vision for the Women’s team. A wide range of issues were covered, including finances and the location of home games. 

The Board then discussed the upcoming SGM, which is being held at Plough Lane on Wednesday 25 May. Formal business will be to approve the minutes from the AGM, and then there will be space for members to discuss issues with the Board and each other, and to ask questions of the Board directly. 

The Board then discussed meeting minutes. Over the past few months the Board has been trialling a shortened version of their monthly meeting minutes so that they can be agreed and published more quickly after meetings take place. It was agreed that more information around the items discussed, could be summarised and included in the published minutes. The board also confirmed its policy that the detail of any voting would also be shared and where the result was not unanimous the names of who voted each way being published. These changes will be trialled for the publishing of the minutes of this meeting. 

The Board also discussed plans and the agenda for a scheduled Dons Trust Board away day taking place in June. This will include a discussion on strategy, communications and reviewing the ways of working. 

Michele then provided an update on membership. She paid special thanks to Membership Secretary John Stembridge for all of his work in putting together a paper with proposals for integrating Dons Trust membership with the club’s ticketing system as well as some suggestions on possible changes to membership. The Board discussed areas that it would look for feedback on from the membership, with a view to changes being made in time for the 2023/2024 season. These included: 

  • membership fees 
  • potential to simplify the membership banding levels 
  • postage costs, in particular for overseas members 
  • benefits or otherwise of a physical card  
  • timings for renewals. 

Michele updated the Board on finances including noting the extra equity that was expected to come in before the end of June which could be a further £300k. This would still leave around £1-1.25m of equity available for sale while maintaining the Dons Trust’s share of voting rights above 75% as decided by members. 

Michele also provided a brief update on the ongoing work on the Education Hub. Important meetings have taken place and are due to take place in the next week with two key education providers. It is hoped to then have draft contracts available for discussion.  

Anne-Marie updated the Board on the Diversity and Inclusion group discussions she has had recently, including developing the existing group with representatives from across the club and the Foundation, forming an internal working group to oversee any projects or work that the club is doing to improve diversity and inclusion. A number of people have already expressed an interest in being a part of this initiative. This group could then formally report back to the DTB on the actions and activities to demonstrate if and where improvements are being made.

Under AOB, Graham suggested a follow-up meeting to discuss DTB comms, which he described as being of a poor standard.