Fans Pre – AGM Meeting : Monday 14th April 2014 – Notes by Tracy Wright.
Location: O2 sponsor lounges at BP, time 6.30pm onwards open meeting & any relevant info from the AGM afterwards.
Attendees from the Trust: Rick Attwood (Director), Ray Coverley (Secretary) and Barry Owen (Chairman). Simon Colebrook (Finance Director), Diane Mellor (Director).
Other attendees: Tony Feeley ?, Mark Winterbottom, Terry & Margaret Doran, Will Gough, Geoff Colebrook Tracy Wright, Paul Whitehead, Nigel? (Real), a.nother, brierly’s55, Janet Winterbottom, Chris Hill and Jan Curtis (another fan).
Intro from Barry Owen with regards to the Trust history. 10 original directors now down to 5, max number is 12. Best models on how a Trust is run is Telford FC and Exeter City, although they have had there hurdles too.
Terry asked about the agenda of the current owner, Barry asked if we could touch on this further down the line
Barry explained that at tonight’s AGM they are proposing a change to Trust membership for the better. Currently there are 701 members and no one has ever resigned. Changes are:
1) All season ticket holders will automatically become Trust members with voting privileges
2) None S.T’s who donate money/time can become Trust members by completing an online form via the Trust website and will gain voting rights.
3) None S.Ts who do not donate time or money can register separately with the Trust via the same method but have no voting rights.
This was then approved at the AGM
Terry and O4U (via OWTB) asked why a change to the Trust status?
History is the Trust was a company limited by guarantee, then changed to a Friendly Society. On advice, the Trust have changed back to company limited by guarantee. This info will be updated on the Trust website to reflect this.
Elections to the board: it was confirmed that there are 2 Trust board members due to retire at next years AGM and 3 are up for re-election as per the company articles. All post are on a 3 yr tenure.
Trust finances: currently £10k per annum and the Trust admit that they have not run many events this season such as Meet the Manager. One event they tried was cancelled as demand for tickets was not good, re: The Village venue in Ashton. The Trust agree that the location and logistics to get there may have been an issue as well as the day of the week that was chosen.
An event at the Milan bar was a success though. With regards to the finances, the Trust have learnt from past lessons, there are now safeguards in place and finances have been checked by a qualified auditor. The new Trust treasurer has insisted that they were checked and safeguards put in place before he takes over the reigns. Barry (Chairman) also confirmed re recent rumours that he does not get paid, he does not get expenses and does not have a Trust mobile.
Website & Communication: All agreed that now the new Trust website in place, that it needs to be checked/updated on a daily basis. Rick explained there is a new webmaster who will take ownership of this and will be looked after by mark Corbett? But, help is needed/fans input to contribute things such as media update, fans reports etc. From both home, away and exiles too.
Until this has the help needed to run it, Rick has created a Facebook Trust page and updates will be put on there too. Any trust needs to decided of all the media tools out there to use, what is the best method of fans to communicate with the Trust. The official webpage will be the right tool, with possible links in form other sites to it such as OWTB. Tracy Wright raised the point that not all fans surf the web. have the Trust considered having visible reps at the ground if not in all stands, the club shop? And if there are no bodies, posters/suggestion boxes in the stands, Nigel (real) mentioned an ad in the programme too. There was a suggestion that the Trust have an open door meeting half an hour before the members meeting too.
Terry mention about consultation with the fans more over changes such as the recent stand swapping and change of kit, that maybe sampling/quick survey with the fans may have prevented the uproar with regards to stand swapping, Will Gough confirmed this. Suggestion that a quick survey could have prevented the u-turn, maybe volunteers of a quick sample group of fans, using OWTB etc should be considered.
Also the new stand, is there going to be a visible place for the Trust to be in there? Paul Whitehead confirmed that the club have to maximise the money out of every space and would be wrong to divulge information at this stage as contracts with possible interested parties are in negotiation, but has been to many away grounds on his travels and has been scoping out how other clubs operate and how we can use this space as a possible fans bar. The Trust have taken the suggestions on board.
Terry mentioned earlier about the agenda of the current owner and recent newspaper article. Barry explained the relationship with an owner with 97% share and the Trust with 3% share and how in the early days he tried the union stance of going in there demanding to know finances etc but hit brick walls. A change of tact softly softly approach has opened the doors and now the Trust has got complete transparency of the day to day working of the club. This has created the knowledge to possibly take over the day to day running of operations if the worse case scenario happened. Paul Whitehead confirmed that he felt the Trust were in a better position now to take over because of how the relationship of club and how the Trust has evolved. A better working relationship with the club, financially could be better and now need to work on improving the connection with the fans.
Request for help from the Trust: 1) a social sub committee organiser /members are needed to have ideas/implement on social events 2) the website – fans reporters, article writers needed 3) membership administration, Rick needs help with the day to day running of the membership side (Will Gough to consider this on a probationary basis for both parties), 4) General Help – any help would not be turned away, eg. Tracy Wright would hand out Trust leaflets on match days or be on hand in the RRE with regards to Trust questions.
Next Trust Meeting Paul Whitehead suggested we set the next meeting date now so we do not reset on our laurels. Provisionally all agreed on 19th May tba on time and location (BP).
Outline of AGM minutes….
AGM: confirmation of what the mission statement is: 1) protecting the future of Oldham Athletic. 2) representing the views of the fans and the community. 3) investing in the future of Oldham Athletic.
Proposed changes to membership accepted and will now go to the board of OAFC for integration with season ticket sales
Election to the board of: Ray Coverley as Secretary, Simon Colebrook as Treasurer and Simon Brooke as Website/Marketing Communications Director
Barry is up for election next year. Note that if he is unsuccessful then the new representative as the fans voice on the board has to be accepted by the club. This could be a potential hurdle.
Nomination of co-opted member: Chris hill to volunteer his services to the board in a communication capacity. The Board and Chris agreed that this should be a 6 month probationary for both parties and then if both parties are happy, then to go forward at the next AGM for a permanent board position with a 3yr tenure.
End of Meeting
A big thank you to Tracy Wright for taking the time and efforts to create these notes.