Aldershot Town Supporters Trust Meeting with Board Directors:
Present: Ian Barnett (Shots Trust), Tommy Anderson (Shots Trust), Brian Bloomfield (Club Board Director), Andy Muckett (Club Board Director)
Date: Wednesday 8th October 6:30pm – Meeting Ended 9:30pm
Venue: Aldershot Town FC
- Apologies were received from Stuart Griffiths, Janet Guess and Ian Goodwright of the Shots Trust.
- Minutes – minutes agreed from last meeting of July 27th.
Tommy Anderson asked that the clubs playing and non-playing staff joined the Trust as members. Brian and Andy confirmed that they were fully paid up members of the Shots Supporters Trust and that they would encourage all players directors and support staff to join up (next season).
- Action – Brian and Andy to ask other club board directors to join the trust – visit www.theshotstrust.co.uk
3. Club Update:
On the pitch:
Brian Bloomfield noted that as fans, the club’s board of directors shared supporters’ displeasure at recent results on the pitch but were fully supportive of Andy Scott’s ability to turn things around. The board have no intention of (changing the manager and) Andy Scott has 1 ½ years remaining on his contract.
Ian Barnett (Trust) asked about the length of Andy Scott’s contract following questions from supporters. It was stated that Andy Scott signed a 2 year contract when he first joined the club in January 2013. After the club’s financial problems during summer 2013, Andy Scott’s contract was re-negotiated which represented a much lower cost to the club and improved cash flow.
The club were continuing to be prudent financially and that every transaction is monitored carefully. Brian said the supporters had been very patient regarding the results and style of play and whist the club are stable off the pitch, there are limited funds to recruit players although the directors will do everything possible to keep the team as competitive as possible. Brian said we are all aware that it is (Challenging) to run the football club at this level and the club needs all the support it can get.
Brian Bloomfield acknowledged that ticketing at ATFC needs to be reviewed and that a steering committee could be set up to look at how best to balance fair prices with maximum returns. The Trust would be invited to that committee. It was noted that gate revenue was a major source of income for the club and that any discounting offers needed to be carefully considered before committing to them. A budgeted drop in income could affect significantly the club’s cash-flow and therefore needs to be thought through thoroughly.
The ‘Bring a Friend to Aldershot’ initiative (BAFTA) is to be launched imminently. This idea is to target the Eastleigh game on November 22nd as a match in which Aldershot fans are all encouraged to bring a friend or colleague along to come and see the Shots. The Trust offered to help publicise this:
Action Club/Tommy Anderson
The club are always seeking helpers to sell programmes and man the turnstiles. The Trust would like to help more, but with limited offers of volunteers themselves, it would be difficult for the Trust to meaningfully assist.
The fans forum was not very well attended although some very good direct questions were asked and answered. The club are always trying to improve communications with the fans and it was hoped that more Shots fans would attend these events in future. Tommy Anderson suggested that they could be televised via webcam.
4 Trust Update:
Shots Trust President
IB confirmed that Frank Burt had become the new Shots Trust Honorary President. Andy and Brian welcomed this news and praised the Trust for making this appointment. IB is to make sure that the Trust make a suitable presentation at an upcoming game.
Action: Shots Trust to organise presentation for Frank Burt
Ian Barnett confirmed that the Forever Shots Fund would be launched imminently. It was agreed that this could be seen as a competing against the club and Brian expressed his concerns about the problems created by the Trusts failed bid in 2013 that caused considerable problems to the club at the time. Brian said the Trust have previously refused to join the present board in its quest to run the club and does not believe that the funds will become available unless people like the present directors or likewise people provide the funds in the way of bonds. However, it was stated that the forever shots fund is being launched in response to requests from Shots fans who wish to secure the long term future of the club. It is in no way intended to undermine the confidence that the Trust have in the current board. Ian Barnett (Trust) suggested that the fund needs to be given time to see how successful it is and noted that there may be scope for the Trust to purchase shares to obtain a higher control in the club in future years.
Ian Barnett reported that the Trust have been very active in managing the Community Stand and made it clear that the Trust was willing to manage the Community Stand in future or at least take up a higher allocation of tickets in the future. Brian confirmed that the club were looking at how best to maximise the potential of the Community Stand and that the Trust and other partners would be consulted upon before any decisions were made.
Trust Community Work:
Ian Barnett (Trust) confirmed that the Trust had actively promoted the club at recent community events notable the Freshers Fayre at the University of Creative Arts (Farnham) and the University of Surrey (Guildford). Brian welcomed the Trust’s efforts and confirmed that the club would seek to support the Trust and build on this initiative for future events. Brian Bloomfield suggested that the Trust could target Farnborough College and Tommy Anderson (Trust) said that he had contacts there:
Action TA- Shots Trust to make contact with Farnborough College.
IB highlighted that the Trust are seeking to purchase an inflatable football goal This is to be used at future games as something for the kids and that would also double up as a revenue for the Trust. Andy suggested that the Trust could issue a fundraising initiative to help fund the cost of the inflatable which is in the region of £2,000. IB suggested that the top 3 sponsors could have their name/logo/company name incorporated into the design. Brian and Andy both agreed that the idea would be good for the club but that it would have to comply with Health and Safety/insurance etc. Furthermore, the storage of the goal would have to be considered.
Action: Trust to raise this at meeting on 15th October.
IB voiced frustration that the Trust are suffering through a lack of volunteers and that the Trust area actively seeking help form Shots Fans.
Questions from Supporters:
1 “Question raised about increased turnstiles for the North Stand”
The cost of providing further turnstiles was prohibitive and the club already struggle with attracting enough volunteers. For big games (3,000 plus) the club will seek to ensure that there are adequate number of turnstiles in operation, but will always welcome offers of help to man the turnstiles.
2 “Was the club happy with Andy Scott and results?”
No the board like Andy Scott and his management team and players have been very disappointed with some of the recent results.
3 “What will the club do as a result of recent performances?”
The club will continue to offer support to Andy Scott and a close professional relationship exists between the board of directors and the manager. This is crucial so the club can act quickly to all football matters but still whilst retaining a prudent commercial base. The club’s performances on the pitch affect the attendance and in turn the income from gate receipts, so no one is more aware than Andy Scott that performances must improve on a consistent basis.
4 “Will the club think again before offering long term contracts?”
Moving forward, the club will carefully consider all future playing and non-playing staff contracts. However, Brian highlighted that often clubs are not in a position to offer contracts that are heavily in the clubs favour due to player and manager unions but the club would seek to ensure that contracts are more balanced and flexible to suit the club’s interests.
5 “What is the current health and safety state of our ground? Are there any ‘advisory’ issues with the stadium which the Club need to address in the near future? Has the Club been able, or will be able to assess or explore options for ground update/redevelopment/relocation, in the future?”
The ground is in very good condition and Richard Petty does a superb job of ensuring that it is compliant with all necessary health and safety matters. The club are aware that the ground is a longer term issue that will need addressing and this is certainly something that is being looked into by the directors. The club have a good relationship with the Council and were confident of finding a long term solution to the club’s stadium. Ian Barnett suggested that this could be a long term project fund for the Trust, but Brian considered that the Trust would be better focusing efforts onto other matters given the level of funding that would be required. However, Brian confirmed that the Trust and indeed all shots fans would be consulted at the appropriate time.
6 Could the club advise us how many of the ‘new’ shares have been sold and the number of shareholders in the new club?
This is confidential information but will be updated on the Company’s House website in due course. However, it was acknowledged that that the club do not have as many shareholders as it was hoped and that applications for shares were ongoing.