The Dons Trust released the second in it’s new series of regular updates emailed to Dons Trust members who opt in to receive electronic communications. We have reproduced the recent edition in full below…
Dear Dons Trust member,
Welcome to the second edition of monthly updates from your DTB representatives.
Firstly, thank you to everyone who gave us feedback on the first edition – we’re hoping to evolve it to make it as useful and relevant as possible. As a reminder, we’re not trying to reinvent the wheel and this isn’t an attempt to replace news items or the publishing of minutes or any of the other things we do – but to add to them and give you something different.
The big (and good) news is that we have a contested election. Following the closure of nominations on Saturday 29 October, the Election Steering group (ESG) confirmed a whopping 13 validly nominated candidates for the seven vacancies on the Dons Trust Board.
The manifestos for those candidates are now on the Dons Trust website, and the candidates have been busy answering member questions over on our ProBoards site. All DT members can sign up and join the conversation – it takes a matter of minutes.
Sadly, due to unforeseen circumstances, the 9yrs Podcast-hosted hustings will not be held this year. We have been made aware that another podcast team has organised a hustings-style event that will take place on Sunday 13 November, and be made available online on Monday 14 November.
Please note these will NOT be official DTB or ESG hustings. For sake of clarity, the ESG wishes it to be known that it issues general guidance to organisations running hustings (such as consistent questions, equal airtime and chairs exercising proper neutrality in their sessions) but is not responsible for how particular hustings operate.
The next scheduled consultation event will be a drop-in session, where members of the Dons Trust Board will be hosting an informal, in-person drop-in-style chat with members in The Phoenix at The Cherry Red Records Stadium. This will take place this Sunday (13 November), 12:00-14:00 GMT.
We’ve also been taking member questions in between sessions and have put together a FAQ document.
Please do keep your thoughts, comments and questions coming – email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with ‘consultation’ in the subject line and we will do our best to add your contributions to the document as we go.
Junior Dons Christmas Party 🎅🎁🎄
We’re delighted to announce that the much-loved Junior Dons Christmas Party is back, and you can book your spot now. This year’s party is on Sunday 4 December from 10:00 until 13:00 GMTand will be held at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Plough Lane.
Entry is free for Junior Dons members, and £10 for non-members but spaces are limited, so please book early.
To book your place, please e-mail [mailto:email@example.com%20]firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday 28 November at the latest with the following information:
Name of the child and their age
Junior Dons Trust membership number (if applicable)
A contact telephone number and email address
Any special requirements (including any special dietary requirements)
The name of one accompanying adult if the child is under 5 only.
Kris writes: The Oversight group met before the previous newsletter went out, and is meeting again next week, so not much new to report. At the moment we are focused on listening and responding to the consultation on the oversight & operations setup changes we presented at the October members’ meeting, and then we’ll be getting papers on that ready for the annual members’ meeting in December.
Graham writes: Michele and I met up with a We Are Wimbledon Fund (WAWF) co-founder to discuss a potential relaunch. The Fund is ongoing and recently purchased some tech equipment requested by Johnnie Jackson that would have otherwise taken the club over budget.
We are looking at the possibility of launching a Budget Booster (aiming to boost the summer playing budget) and a Special Projects campaign (for nice-to-have items outside the club’s planned budgets).
It’s early stages, but we’ll be looking for volunteers to help us administer the scheme – please email email@example.com with ‘WAWF’ in the subject line if you would like to be involved, and we will be in touch nearer the time.
Niall writes: At the initial meeting, we re-affirmed the overarching aim to become No 1 Community Club.
We also set five short-term objectives:
To make our fanbase more representative of our local community (Niall to lead)
To become the most attractive football club for female supporters in London (Anne-Marie and Michele to lead)
To become recognised as the best foodie football club in the country and the best fanzone (Anne-Marie to lead)
To grow our international fanbase and create a DT affiliation scheme (Freddy to lead)
To improve our reach amongst younger fans (we are looking to recruit a lead for this area).
In addition, we also appealed for a range of volunteers to join the group and we hope to appoint them at our next meeting.
Culture and Mission
Kris writes: A slow start for the group, with members having many other calls on their time. But we have had our initial meeting, and next time we catch up it will be to talk about a couple of different football-related initiatives which we’ve been asked to consider joining.
And of course, we promised Mick Buckley we would give the club a policy on signing anyone who has spent time with MK, in good time for the January window, so we will be doing that. And sharing that with members for discussion for future windows.
Money matters 💰
Elsewhere, one thing that’s being discussed on forums and ProBoards etc, is the subject of outside investment.
As per the strategy survey of 2021, the Dons Trust is committed to fan ownership – around 95% of respondents to the survey would like AFC Wimbledon to remain a fan-owned club. However, to be clear, the current DTB is not against external investment. Indeed, we are very happy that we have attracted the external investment which is already a part of our set-up, and the PLC and Trust boards have, and continue to have, discussions with any investors interested in purchasing any of the equity currently available.
Additionally, there is a board commitment to explore in 2023 whether members might approve making any further equity available in the future, and what might need to be done to facilitate this. For example, this might include looking at whether a 50+1 majority ownership structure would have members’ support and if so, how it might be constituted. Put simply, under UK company law there isn’t an off-the-shelf set-up that has the same rights and protections as we currently enjoy, so alternatives would need to be considered.
So it will be important to get wide engagement on members’ views around any variants in structure which could result in more equity being made available. And to do so against a clear understanding of current and future financial parameters.
It’s also important to remember that any structure change (even to go one share below the 75%+1 minimum the DT is currently mandated to hold) would require a very high level of approval from members, so any proposal would need very broad support from across the membership.
Finance Committee reassembles
Following the successful refinancing by the Club of the MSP loan back in April, the Finance Committee (FinCom) team has now started work again and is meeting monthly. The key focus is planning for Plough Lane Bond (PLB) repayments in 2025.
The FinCom now reports directly to the AFCW PLC board and its composition is as follows:
Chair: Michele Little (AFCW PLC & DT Board member & DT Treasurer)