At the Dons Trust’s October meeting, members brought up the subject of signing players or employing other football staff who had previously worked for Milton Keynes. DT chair Kris Stewart committed to updating the club on the owners’ policy on this in time for the January transfer window.
The subject has been discussed by members before, for example at a meeting in 2011 https://thedonstrust.org/files/11-04-14-SGM-Minutes.pdf and although no formal policy was recorded, there has been an understanding that direct signings would not happen, but otherwise recruitment is left to the club.
The Dons Trust board’s Culture & Mission theme group looked through previous discussions and considered the issues, and put together a formal policy note for discussion by the DT board. At its meeting on 14 December, the DT board approved this policy, and it has been passed on to the club:
In respect of the recruitment of players:
1) We will not sign a player directly from them
2) We will not pay a fee for a player where the club has reliable information that a fee is payable to them via sell-ons or other clauses
3) Otherwise, it is for the club to decide on the recruitment of players, and we offer the following advice:
a) while there is a range of opinions, the general feeling from previous discussions among members was that we want to interfere with player recruitment as little as possible, and that short / loan spells there should not be a barrier
b) players closely or deeply associated with them might have work to do for many of us as fans, and may be given less slack if they start slowly or have a difficult patch
c) the DTb’s Culture & Mission theme group is happy to offer specific thoughts if asked about any player, but any decision remains firmly and clearly with the club
In respect of recruiting other football staff:
1) We won’t employ someone who has been their first-team manager / head coach / similar position
2) Otherwise, it is for the club to decide, and we offer the following advice:
a. the same issues may apply as with players, relating to the depth and length of the association
b. the DTb’s Culture & Mission theme group is happy to offer specific thoughts if asked about any individual, but any decision remains firmly and clearly with the club
This policy shall continue unless and until rescinded or amended by the Dons Trust board.
As previously explained, the need for a clear formal policy in advance of the January 2023 transfer window meant that there was not time to put this to members for discussion and deliberation. That will happen in good time for the summer 2023 window.