The TrustSTFC AGM was held on Wednesday 27th March with about 30 members present, including Justin Tomlinson MP and Jeremy Wray, former Chairman of Swindon Town Football Club. The meeting took place against a the background of a revival of interest in the Trust and the debate mostly focused on a Trust manifesto for 2013/14 circulated to members prior to the meeting. This was endorsed with the following three main objectives, short, medium and long term:
- Short term: Get owners of STFC to state whether or not they are investing enough to keep the club solvent. This was agreed before the club statement during the evening that the £1.2m required by the Football League had been deposited, so it was decided to give the Trust board flexibility in pursuing this. The following day the Football League lifted their embargo but The Trust still need to know if the owners will continue to invest in the club beyond this initial amount and whether they are taking money out in the form of salaries or consultancy fees. This will be pursued, but the board will use its judgement over when and how.
- Medium term: Establish regular, formal, minuted meetings with the club board leading to having supporters’ representatives on the club board. It will be important for the Trust to demonstrate that the fans speak with one voice, hence the Trust should seek a closer relationship with the Supporters Club. Roger Bunce, Supporters Club Chairman had accepted an invitation to attend the AGM but was prevented by illness.
- Long term: Increase the Trust’s shareholding in STFC. Jeremy Wray pointed out that if there was a main shareholder or shareholders who wanted to prevent minority shareholders becoming too influential they could issue more shares, buy them themselves and dilute the fans’ shareholding. It was therefore decided not to make this an immediate priority.
It was also agreed that in order to take maximum advantage from the increased interest the Trust must become more professional, particularly in communications internally with members and with the media. BBC Wiltshire had a reporter at the first part of the AGM and Trust Chair, John Ward, was interviewed on the BBC Radio Wiltshire Breakfast Programme the following day.
The meeting elected two new members to the Trust board, Simon Brooks and Steve Mytton, to serve with the existing board members, Alan Jones, Cliff Ponting, Paul Robson, Ron Smith, Phil Stokes and John Ward. It instructed the new board to draw up a business plan to implement the manifesto and pursue the main objectives, reporting back to members on progress. Trust members with specialist skills will be co-opted to working groups, the first on internal and external communications, including social media.
It was the clear determination of all members at the AGM to press home the message that whoever may be the owners, manager or players, the fans are the one constant through thick and thin. They are entitled to have a say in how their club is run and it is the Trust’s responsibility to campaign for this at Swindon in the coming year.
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