Trust Chairman Steve Mytton with news from the latest board meeting…
For over five years the Trust board have consistently met on a monthly basis, to discuss all things Swindon Town. Starting now, we will provide updates via the website on items discussed, in an effort to keep supporters up to speed on progress with our County Ground bid, as well as other fan-related matters.
Last night we held our December Board Meeting and had two guest attendees: Swindon Town’s Chief Operating Officer Mark Isaacs, and Non-Executive Vice Chairman Clem Morfuni.
The meeting has a formal structure and we followed the usual agenda:
2) Minutes of last meeting
3) Review of County Ground Project
4) Board Member Updates
5) Date of Next Meeting
6) Any Other Business
Eight board members were in attendance, with three absent due to illness or other commitments.
Treasurer Alan Jones updated those present on the latest Trust account balances, where we have approximately £60k remaining in the bank. Recently we have incurred around £7k in costs on Tax advice from Burges Salmon in relation to the new proposed joint venture with Swindon Town Football Club, however this is offset by the fact that we have been very fortunate to get a lot of additional expensive legal advice given to us free of charge (pro bono) through our London partners, Cooley. Thank you Cooley, your support is very much appreciated.
Secretary Cliff Ponting updated the board regarding Supporters Direct (SD) and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF). These two have been the major supporter organisations in the UK for many years, but just recently they finalised the details of their merger into a single entity: the Unified Football Supporters’ Organisation Limited (UFSO). You can read more about this new organisation by clicking here.
Board Member Alex Pollock told us all about a forthcoming Public Health Swindon campaign around reducing the stigma for conversation of mental health in men. He proposed that the Trust get behind this campaign and this was unanimously agreed by all. We will do everything we can to help and you can expect to hear more about this from us soon.
More generally, I put out a request for greater participation in our TrustSTFC.tv website. It is quite a commitment to continually generate content for this site but it can be done, and we just need to concentrate on that a little more. Several board members committed to new articles for the coming month and I would like to extend that request out to the wider public – we are always looking for new material from a fan angle, so if you have something in mind and can put together an article either as a one-off or on a more regular basis – please get in touch.
In terms of Social Media, we also discussed how that was working for us. Board member Dan Hunt is doing a great job for us on Twitter, with plenty of two-way engagement – but we need to put more effort in on Facebook and YouTube. Plenty of ideas on how to address that, so hopefully you will see that situation improve over the coming months.
We then moved onto the review of the County Ground project.
This is where Vice-Chairman Rob Angus, James Phipps and myself usually update board members on the discussions we’ve had throughout the preceding month with Club representatives and other involved parties.
It was the first time that either Mark or Clem had attended our monthly meeting, but it was a useful get together and enabled all board members to ask questions.
Mark and Clem talked us through the plans for the County Ground and together as a group we discussed all of the next steps that are required to get the stadium purchase over the line. These discussions remain fairly sensitive in nature and so it’s difficult to put these out publicly, but I can assure you that meetings are continuing with multiple parties and things are getting very close now. We hope to report positive news to you all in the first quarter of 2019, and until then the conversations will continue.
We talked about the plans for Crowdfunding and also the preparation work that is required between now and then – it’s a very detailed and methodical process but we have some great partners and we will be kicking off some detailed work in January.
This deal has taken a very long time to get where we are, but I really believe that we are in a good place and that the stadium purchase will soon become a reality. Many supporters would be delighted to hear the development ideas that are on the table and hopefully we can start to realise these in the near future. Just a few years ago that seemed to be miles off, and it’s been a draining process for all involved but we have seen huge progress.
I’m confident the approach being taken by all involved is professional and there will be some really good news coming along the line.
The proposed purchase will be between Swindon Town Football Company Ltd (the football club) and Swindon Town Community Mutual Ltd (the supporters) and will protect supporters interests. No one person will have a greater say over anybody else and the ownership arrangement will be democratic.
It’s a big deal and as we all know, improving matters off the pitch can often lead to things improving on the pitch.
Wishing you and your families all the best for Christmas and the New Year – please get in touch if you have questions, and also click on the video above to hear a quick meeting summary from Rob Angus, recorded just after the meeting last night.