By | October 4, 2021

Minutes of Aldershot Town Supporters Trust SGM 

Traco Club, Aldershot

Wednesday 29th September 2021

CURRENT BOARD MEMBERS: Tommy Anderson (TA), Sean Chambers (SC),

PREVIOUS BOARD MEMBERS: Mick Lee (ML), Robin Carder (RC), Laura Smart (LS), Michael Foster (MF), Terry Owens (TO)

GUESTS: Richard Irving (FSA)

MEMBERS: Three

 

The meeting started but was declared “informal” – the quorum of 17 members (10% of the membership was not met).  Ten voting members were present, including the Board of 2. It was agreed to review the results of the online poll and discuss potential options, but no decisions could be made due to the lack of numbers.

Tommy Anderson (TA) welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced the board, ex-board and FSA participant.

*Those attending the SGM received a detailed pack of slides. These are available to members now on request only to info@shotstrust.co.uk. Due to the rapidly evolving interpretation of the rules, it is considered the pack has too much misleading information. These corrections and changes were able to be explained clearly during the evening and hopefully represented to some extent in these minutes.

 

  1. Apologies:

Apologies for absence were received from John Hewitt, Matthew Redrup, Richard Cocking, Daniel Taylor, Jake Rogan, Rob and Carol Anderson, Sam Brown.

  1. Review of Resolution voting results and comments

At the communicated cut-off of 1st August 2021, the Trust had 165 members. 140 of which participated in the online vote. No postal votes were received, but we know several of the post-only group accessed the online survey.

Participation percentage was 85%.  No votes were cast on the night. Where possible people were contacted by email, phone and post (multiple times!) until a vote was received.

In regards Resolution 1 – 128 votes were in favour, 12 against. 78% of members therefore voted to dissolve the Shots Trust, in excess of the 75% needed in the rules.

It was explained that the rules of the Shots Trust instantiated from the model rules provided by the FSA at the formation of the Trust, and largely representative of the rules of all Community Benefit Societies, as governed by the FCA. The 75% figure is standard for dissolution.

It was therefore unfortunately declared that the will of the members was in favour of dissolution.

Question from the floor: Who checks the votes? Answer: The FSA have been provided with the relevant outputs of both the membership database, and survey database to ensure integrity of the numbers.

Resolution 2 was redundant as per the defined process – but results were 130 in favour, 10 against. We thanked those members who had offered to step in as interim directors.

The group reviewed each and every comment provided to the online survey in regards “other comments”. They are copied here, for the records.

  • Thanks for your efforts.
  • The process seems fine
  • As a postal voter that lost my papers, I’d like to thank Tommy for calling me personally and allowing me to conduct the vote online.
  • Thank you for allowing us to vote online, despite only being registered as postal voting. This is a much easier way of doing things. Thanks for all your efforts
  • The Trust dissolving is a shame. With the off and on field dealings of ATFC seemingly in disarray a Trust is needed more now than ever before.
  • Thank you to all trust board members past and present for your efforts. It is unfortunate the way things have unfolded, but I would like to offer you my best wishes for the future.
  • Prior to calling this meeting, it would have been helpful if an informal meeting of the membership could have been called initially in order that the remaining directors could explain the reasons for their proposals and this forum to identify resources and ideas to relaunch the trust or amalgamate with the Supporters club.
  • More, now than ever, the supporters need an organised, impartial and independent voice.
  • I am confident that the supporters will one day come to realise the importance of supporting their Trust and many will indeed regret their enthusiasm to support those whose agenda was always to pursue its demise since the merger.
  • My thanks to all those many dedicated Trust Directors and committed Trust Supporters for all the hard work that they have put in these many years with the Trust.

 

  1. Review of process in light of results

TA reminded the group of the defined process, and because resolution 1 passed with a 75% figure the intent was to have a discussion at the SGM on the right way to distribute assets. Because the SGM was inquorate it was able to discuss but not decide on exact details.

TA advised that the FSA had been tremendously useful in terms of interpreting the rules of the Society, and indeed providing some limited advice from other (rare) dissolutions. However this information had only been received in recent days, and indeed some of it at 5pm on the night of the SGM. This meant that the Trust Board were to some extent still processing what was and was not possible.

Most importantly rules 105/106 were highlighted – that restrict the distribution of assets in the event of dissolution to like minded Societies with similar rules. This meant that the Trust FC and Members could definitely not receive assets (in contradiction to the issued communication).

It was also considered likely (although not certain) that the Supporters Club may not have the correct constitution to receive assets either. Various conversations were had around the engagement and constitution of ATSC. TA confirmed they have been consulted during the process, and were invited to the SGM.

TA reflected that he felt the Trust has been under intense scrutiny from the FSA despite being very transparent with minutes and governance. This was in contrast to the SC who seemed to rarely publish minutes or accounts etc. yet not seemingly subject to same scrutiny.

It was believed that the SC was not constituted in the same way as the Trust.  Richard from the FSA confirmed that for this reason they were subject to less scrutiny from the FSA.

Various people spoke passionately around their involvement with both the Trust and SC at various stages in the last decades.

Question from the floor: Did we believe that the reduction in options for asset distribution may have fundamentally affected the way members voted in regards the resolution? Answer TA/RC – It was agreed this was a valid question. Considered unlikely, especially given the way members voted in regards their own benefit (see below). But the idea of a vote re-run was discussed.

  1. Review of Trust Asset Distribution (indicative vote)

Despite the now understood invalidity of the options, the results were reviewed regardless.

 

Members (option A): The majority (59%) had this as neutral, or score 2 (least favoured).  Only 26% saw this as a favoured option (4 or 5)

ATSC (option B): Overwhelming negative reaction to this with 64% scoring this as a 1.  As opposed to 22% at 5.  Only 17 people went middle ground (with 2,3,4 combined)

Trust FC (option C): Overwhelming positive response to this with 69% scoring a 5.  Remaining votes were quite flat across 1-4.

Charities (option D): A split result on this, but only 22% had it as a favourable option (4-5). Most voted between 1 and 3.

 

TA advised that as a result of the dissolution rules and the overwhelming member response in regards the Trust FC the board had made a pre-emptive donation to the Trust FC of £8,000 on the morning of the SGM, prior to dissolution. However due to the inquorate nature of the SGM (to ratify this) and the inquorate size of the Board to make a unilateral decision – it was agreed this would be retracted. These late changes made some of the pre-prepared SGM slides hard to interpret.

An email from the Trust FC manager, Lee Callan, was shared – which explained how positively the Trust FC had helped the local community and ATFC fans engage with Sunday league football. And how any donation could help, if it was deemed possible.

  1. Discuss next steps

The discussion was separated into the different asset types:

  1. Trust Funds (cash account)

From the options presented initially Members and Trust FC were definitely eliminated due to Society Rules. The Supporter’s Club was voted against in the member vote. This seems to leave an appropriate Charity as the likely only plausible option. It needs to be checked whether the Shots Foundation fits the category.

The FSA acknowledged that whilst they didn’t know of the equivalent local societies that could benefit, they would help us in ratifying any choices we could offer.

2. Cash for Shots

It was explained that this was a ring-fenced scheme, played by general society (worldwide) not restricted to members or fans of Aldershot. The Trust had acted as the operator/guardian in recent years.

From the options presented initially Trust FC were definitely eliminated due to Society Rules. The Supporter’s Club was voted against in the member vote. Again, charity or Shots Foundation may be valid options.

From the floor a suggestion was made to give the benefits to the Football Club (ATFC) as this was the intended recipient of any profits, albeit for clear and stated projects. Perhaps such a project could be found once the sum was known.

Alternatively, it was suggested that the scheme could be adopted by another individual or group as a “going concern” – although in this case the integrity of such person(s) would need validating and the scheme would need to be assured to continue it its original ethos. The practical difficulties of advertising and finding such a person/group were noted, especially with the parallel running of “in for a shot”.

3. ATFC Shares

From the options presented initially Members/Individuals were definitely eliminated due to Society rules. Initial conversations had suggested that the ATSC constitution meant they were unable to hold shares, and member opinion was unfavourable.

It was suggested from the floor that the Shares had a face value and may be purchased by an existing Director, or new Director for a monetary value to increase Trust assets. Initial reaction from the FSA was that this may not be allowed during the dissolution phase – but needs checking.

This seems to leave the Shots Foundation as the only possible option, that still needs checking.

AOB

A theme throughout the meeting from one member was to preference the option in Resolution 2 (which was nicknamed – “mothballing”). Despite some enthusiasm it was felt more generally that this could be seen to be “kicking the can down the road”, and the view of the members was clearly expressed in the vote. RC noted that the task of closing down the Trust can already be seen today as very challenging – and that burden would likely be put on an even smaller group in 3/5- or 10-yearsyears’ time.

TA thanked everyone for their attendance, contributions both on the night and in the past on behalf of the Trust. Terry Owens thanked the board and the FSA for their hosting of the event and contributions.

 

The meeting closed at 8.50 pm.

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