Candidates for Dons Trust Board Election
This year, there were five vacancies to be filled. As there were only five nominated candidates, they are all, under Election Rule 12, considered to be elected.
|Candidate||Proposer 1||Proposer 2|
|Mark Davis||Nicola Davis||Matt Breach|
|Colin Dipple||Matt Breach||Mark Davis|
|Roger Evans||Iain McNay||Mark Davis|
|Cormac van der Hoeven||Nick Clark||Warren Church|
|Jane Lonsdale||David Growns||Paul Raymond|
All the candidates provided a manifesto and a summary. The summaries are reproduced here for the information of members.
I am seeking re-election to the Dons Trust Board (DTB). I will continue to work hard on behalf of the Trust.
I believe it is essential that DTB members include regular fans and are people who can represent members views. I will provide some continuity on the board to ensure ongoing knowledge around our stadium, members views and the ethos of our club.
What do I stand for?
- Ensuring our members voices are heard.
- The DTB itself reflecting our diverse fanbase.
- Transparency and accountability on the DTB.
- Our youth and younger fans, who are our football club’s future, and ensuring they feel a valued part of our club.
- Our ethos not being lost or diluted as our club continues to grow.
- Retaining, encouraging and recognising the value of our volunteers.
What have I done and how will I achieve these objectives?
To ensure members voices are heard, I will seek members views, using Trust Webjam; the analysis from the Membership Survey and consultation with members to inform my views in discussions on the DTB.
I consciously seek views from a diverse range of members and fans. I ensured we co-opted a member to lead on youth engagement. I helped create the job description, sat on the interview panel and ensured a successor (Charles Williams) was co-opted to the board when Matt Spriegel stepped down. This ensured youth remains a priority. I am fully supportive of the idea to create a “Fans Parliament”. I have recently presented a paper to the DTB, which received unanimous support, outlining a strategy for diversity and inclusion at our club. This is now with the Football Club Board for implementation.
Telling our members what we do is vitally important. To ensure transparency and accountability I suggested the monthly summaries of board meetings in advance of full minutes. I instigated and established the videoing and live updates of our SGM and AGM meetings to make them more accessible to members. Unfortunately, with the changes on the secretariat, and delays in the minutes, the “board activity log” that I instigated whereby board members provided updates of their activities that month for members, has fallen aside. I would like to reinstate this so there is increased transparency and accountability. I want to ensure minutes of meetings are made available to members in a timely way. This hasn’t happened recently, there are reasons, but it’s gone on too long and as a board we need to take responsibility.
Engaging and valuing our younger fans is essential to ensure the long-term success of our club and trust. I have organised the successful Junior Dons Christmas Party for the last 5 years. I have coordinated the Haydon Page in the matchday programme, seeking annual feedback from our young fans to ensure their favourite elements are retained and new ideas added. This required negotiation with the programme team to ensure Player Profiles remain on the page.
With the move back to Wimbledon on the horizon, and as our club and trust develop, it is essential that our ethos does not become lost or diluted. Retaining community ownership is essential and things like having player engagement with fans is what makes us Wimbledon. I will continue to ensure these things remain a priority for our club.
I believe our volunteers are essential to the success of our club. We should not take them for granted and appreciate their efforts. The club need to establish a Volunteer Liaison Officer, as the Trust has previously recommended. This will ensure volunteers are supported in their roles and have professional parameters set. I want to ensure more volunteers come forward and to make our club more inclusive for all.
Additionally, I have demonstrated a wider interest in the supporter owned football community, by speaking at the Supporters Summit and attending the Supporters Direct Board Member Development training.
As a woman and mother, I bring a different view to the table. I have been a Wimbledon fan since 1995. I am married with two sons. And we are all season ticket holders. I work for HM Treasury, where I’m responsible for corporate governance.
Prior to being elected to the DTB I was an active member of the fundraising team. My family and I help at the stadium clear-up weekends, so I’m literally happy to get my hands dirty for our club! We have weeded, painted, power washed and cleared various areas of the stadium and car park. I think it is very important my children take part in this so they understand the ethos of our club.
Want to ask me more?
At home matches I can be found helping in the Dons Trust kiosk, volunteering, or outside the back bar. Alternatively please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cormac van der Hoeven
The Dons Trust has been instrumental in supporting our historic return to Plough Lane. With that move will come a form of completion. Within nine years we had re-entered the league, within 17 we will have returned home.
But with completion must come renewal. Without renewal the Dons Trust risks a slow, creeping death.
Be under no illusion that to most fans the Dons Trust represents an irrelevance. Far from being the beating heart of the club, representing the widest breadth of supporter interest, it is increasingly stale and, frankly, irrelevant.
If it continues to be so we risk the very core foundations of the club – success on the field, a home in our community, run by and for our fans.
It doesn’t have to be like this. At its best the Trust can and should be the beating heart of our football club and the community in Wimbledon. At a time where football has never been more corporate or more distance from fans of all clubs, AFC Wimbledon – through the work of the Trust – can be the exception. People crave belonging and authenticity and the Trust can give them that and more.
Of course the Dons Trust must support our return home but it must also dedicate time and energy rediscover its purpose in a world where Plough Lane will host league football again. That means engaging our fan base in new, creative ways – it also means welcoming in a new generation of fans into the Dons Trust, some who have never seen Wimbledon play at Plough Lane.
Only by speaking to and for a new generation of fans will the Dons Trust gain the legitimacy it needs to survive. With that we can give our supporters what they want most: a voice and a sense of belonging in a world where most of others fan increasingly have neither.
Candidates in the last two campaigns have all highlighted the pressing need to engage young fans. Yet in this two year window all that has been tangibly demonstrated is a failed appointment to the board and now the a 37 year old called upon to formulate policy about engaging 18-35 year olds?
As the only candidate – again – nominated by fans under 30 – I am uniquely qualified to support the Dons Trust move from one era to the next.
Vote for me, Cormac.
EXCITING AND CHALLENGING TIMES!
OUR TASK IS TO ENSURE THERE CONTINUES TO BE A FAN BASED, SUSTAINABLE AND UNIQUE AFC WIMBLEDON FOOTBALL CLUB HELD IN HIGH ESTEEM BY OTHER CLUBS, IS WELL RUN AND SUCCESSFUL ON THE FIELD AND OFF IT.
I WANT TO CONTINUE BEING PART OF IT! THE FANS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ASSET OF AFC WIMBLEDON. AS A DONS TRUST BOARD MEMBER I WOULD CONTINUE TO SERVE THE INTERESTS OF ALL MEMBERS TO THE BEST OF MY ABILITY.
I HAVE BEEN A DTB MEMBER FOR THREE YEARS. IT WOULD BE A PRIVILEGE TO CONTINUE.
I am a football person through and through.
I am the liaison between the DTB and FCB on new stadium issues. In particular, agreeing the areas of engagement of DT members with the opening of the new stadium and timetable. I am jointly responsible for appointing the new Chief Operating Officer and I will be on the selection panel. I was a member of ”Back in Two Ticks”, dealing with the voting process for moving back to Merton. I have attended all but two DTB meeting in the last two years. I am a passionate Wimbledon fan, and season ticket holder since 1983. Last season, I attended 41 league games, frequently representing the club with opponents’ directors. I am a Blue and Yellow Club member I have enjoyed our successes and suffered the pains of our failures and injustice for 34 years. I am excited, and very committed, at the possibility of returning to Plough Lane. I understand the ups and downs of running a football club.
If you re-elect me I would be privileged.
I have lived in Raynes Park for over 30 years. For 13 years I was a Chief Executive in the NHS- running St. Georges Hospital, Tooting. I have worked with local and national politicians. I now own a small, management consultancy. I have a successful track record of leading changes relevant to the football club: running a business, people management, controlling large financial budgets, networking with local, central Government and the private sector. I am Chair, and Trustee, of two health charities. I am a good team player as a Board member.
I have a challenging personality and won’t take no for an answer. I enjoy making improvements and implementing change. I believe I bring experience of Trust Board working, successful management skills, an understanding of the fans and the energy which will complement those of the other eight Board members. This is an important time of change for the club. I believe my business experience is valuable to the club as we enhance our status in football and the local community.
WHAT DO I BRING TO THE DONS TRUST BOARD?
A passion for AFC Wimbledon
A respect for all fans
Board working experience
I have attended competitive matches at all 92 league grounds and watched over 2,500 professional and amateur games, meeting tens of thousands of football fans along the way. I understand football club supporters in general and Dons fans in particular.
Mixing with supporters at home and away matches since 1983, and visiting many other clubs, has given me a deep understanding of AFC Wimbledon’s unique fan base and the responsibilities which the Dons Trust Board has to the club’s supporters. Through my attendance at nearly all Dons matches I know well the interests and priorities of a diverse group of fans, not just my friends. I have great admiration for the time and commitment which volunteers and Board members give to the club.
I believe my skills are an asset to the DTB as we tackle change. There remains a need for stability as well.
These are exciting times for AFC Wimbledon!
As well as football success, priorities for the club, hopefully at the new stadium, include:
- Our disabled and elderly supporters
- Our Junior Dons and their families
- Ticket pricing
- Community relationships.
I have spent my life making decisions such as those which are the responsibility of the Trust Board and I enjoy working with members for the benefit of the football club we love.
THE RUNNING OF THE CLUB AND IMMINENT CHANGE WILL BRING MAJOR LEADERSHIP AND ADMINISTRATION CHALLENGES FOR ALL OF US. I WILL BRING TO THE TABLE THE SKILLS, EXPERIENCE AND MOTIVATION WHICH, I BELIEVE, WILL BE AN ASSET.
Hopefully many of you will know I am a hugely passionate AFC Wimbledon fan and along with my wife attend every home game and most away games. Over the last Seven seasons I have sponsored the club through my company Chemflow, to help inject some funds. This started with sponsoring the back of the player’s shorts. I am now able to sponsor a stand which has become known as the ‘Chemflow End’.
I have decided to stand for the DT Board again as I feel this is a very crucial time coming up with some of the most important decisions the club has had to make. One being concerns with the New Stadium. I am at present the only DTB member with a vast experience of Stadia and Large Building Projects. My credentials include the Olympic Park, Athletes Village and Twickenham Stadium. I have also worked on larger projects in London such as the Shard and the Guerkin. I know this experience will be vital to the board in the future and have already proofed and signed off on behalf of the Dons Trust Board the preferred contractor for the NPL. Importantly I also have a good relationship with our project manager is keen for me to stay on the board.
Some of you may know that I am also leading the working group for Member Engagement. I put a survey out with the members and fans earlier this year to ascertain how the Trust and its board could be more interactive for existing members, whilst attracting new ones. From the survey’s results, we know we have a poor membership age group of 18-35s. This is now being addressed by a new Coopted member, who has experience in this. I believe we need to encourage a greater number of younger people to become members with campaigns and awareness. The youth of today will eventually be the future DTB, so hopefully, they will adopt some of the club’s ethos.
One of the first issues I wanted to address was the new Dons Trust Kiosk. I felt this needed some sort of signage or livery on it. Whilst attending it, I seemed to only get asked about tickets and confectionary. I brought this up at meetings but some members felt we needed to rebrand the Livery that we already had first. I did agree with that so whilst that is being decided I have paid for the signage to be put on myself. Hopefully you will have noticed that it now has lettering on it that says Dons Trust Kiosk. It does exactly what it says on the tin.
I sponsor several local kids team and bring them and their parents to Wimbledon when possible and have converted several youngsters to AFC Wimbledon, even though they like to have a favourite premiership teams. Let’s hope it’s not too long before that can be us.
I have been in business nearly all my adult life and I am used to making the most from the resources and budgets that I have. I realise this will be very important for the club in the next couple of years.
I have always put the Club, the Volunteers and its supporter’s interests first. I also aim to bring the suggestions collated from the survey to the board. I would also like to get the volunteers ideas to this level to make their voices heard. I feel having a designated Volunteer Liaison officer will help this. I will be pushing this idea robustly with the board at future meetings.
My personal details
I am married and a father of 2. My daughter has been a mascot for the club on a couple of occasions and feels honoured to have done this. I have a good rapport with many of the players and with a lot of the coaching staff and backroom staff.
In my spare time I enjoy the gym, running and several sporting activities. I am also a sponsor for Shooting Star Chase Children’s Hospice. I donate my company’s time and expertise to this charity free of charge. This saves the charity tens of thousands and that can now be spent on the children and the families that use the charities facilities.
I am confident that if I am re-elected I will bring unprecedented passion with a vast array of skills to the Board. I believe that my experience and passion will also put the club on track to where it should be.
Plough Lane and the Premiership
Thanks for taking your time to read this manifesto and voting for me if you do.
I’m a 53-year old civil servant from Wimbledon. I’ve been a Dons supporter for 20 years, a member of the board for the last four years and, prior to that, served as Secretary and head of fundraising.
At the time of writing this, we are all, as supporters, going through slightly anxious times. On the pitch, we are struggling to score goals and are currently in the League One relegation zone (albeit on goal difference). Off the pitch, we wait on tenterhooks to conclude the negotiations on the new stadium and lock in our planning permission. The consequences of all those things, on and off the pitch, are big, and our supporters are to be commended for their patience.
As a member of the board, it isn’t within my powers, sadly, to wave a magic wand that will either seal our safety in League One for another year or expedite our return to Merton. It is my (shared) responsibility, however, to set the right strategic objectives for the club (in partnership with Trust members) and to support and oversee the football club board in seeing those decisions through to a successful conclusion.
Those are responsibilities I take very seriously. Despite a demanding day job, I only missed one board meeting (due to a last-minute change in dates) over the past two years. More importantly, I have done the very best I can to think through in advance the issues that are brought to us as a board, to ask the right questions in meetings, communicate my views clearly, help shape the board’s decisions and then stand by those decisions as a matter of collective responsibility. On the whole, I think we do those things quite well as a board.
For the past two years, I have been the Vice Chair of the Trust. That means occasionally chairing DTB meetings, and attending FCB meetings, when the Chair isn’t available. And it also means playing a role behind the scenes in organisational matters, including the recent re-vamping of the secretariat. That is beginning to pay dividends behind the scenes, and I hope it will also become visible to members in terms of more timely publication of minutes.
If re-elected, my priorities for the next two years will be as follows.
First of all, to be ruthless in prioritisation of what the DTB sets out to do. We have some big moves ahead of us, in terms of planning for a move to Merton and bringing all our supporters – and a new community – with us on that journey. It has taken up a great deal of the board’s thinking time during the four years that I have been on the board, and I expect that to continue. Tempting as it is to load further goals on top of the move, we need to be realistic about how much we can accomplish and make sure we deliver – and report to you – on whatever we do take on.
Second, to play my part in getting the board to function as well as it possibly can. Occasionally, we get bogged down in operational matters that are better left to the football club. We need to empower and support the football club board, as well as hold them to account. Remembering to say thank you – to all our volunteers, employees and partners – and to celebrate their successes is also an area where we could sometimes be better.
Third, I firmly believe that the future of AFC Wimbledon remains in fan ownership. But sustaining fan ownership means sustaining fans’ interest in belonging to the Trust. We have more to do to reach out to our younger fan base as the owners (and board members) of tomorrow. I led the recruitment last year of a DTB co-optee to look after youth engagement, and I look forward to that work proceeding, under Charles Williams’ leadership, over the coming year.
Finally, assuming we will shortly be full steam ahead on the new stadium, we need to think carefully what that means for us as a club. We may have out-grown Kingsmeadow, but it has been a great home for us for the past 15 years. It will take some time and effort to make Plough Lane a place where we feel equally at home. We have said that we will engage our fans on how we will ‘dress’ the new stadium, and we need to follow through on that. But getting the vibe right at the new stadium is more than a matter of cosmetics, and will call upon our collective imagination over the next couple of years.
Thanks for reading this.