The meeting was attended by Russ Howell (RH) and Brian Bloomfield (BB) from the Football Club with Ian Barnett (IB), Stuart Griffiths (SG) and Tommy Anderson (TA) of the Trust Board and Janet Guess (JG) (Secretary).
Apologies were received from Football Club Directors Shahid Azeem, Tony Knights, John Leppard, Andy Muckett and John Denning. The following is a summary of the meeting:
1. Attendance at Meetings
BB emphasised that all the Football Club Directors were supportive of the Trust and keen to attend these meetings. However, with his role as liaison with the supporters, it had been agreed that he would attend every meeting, usually with one other Director.
2. Outstanding Actions from Last Meeting
i. Turnstiles: BB said that all signage for the turnstiles was being renewed and this would include a dedicated turnstile for families and the Community Stand.
ii. Website: It was hoped that the new Club website would be launched for the start of the season, although not all the functions, including the on-line shop, would be available immediately. This site would be owned by the Club rather than the Football League and therefore would be continuously developed and improved. The Trust offered to provide user feedback as required.
3. Board Update
The Board were very happy with how preparations for the season were progressing and with what the Manager had achieved so far. It was expected that one or two players could be added to the squad and it would then be supplemented by loanees if necessary. The Manager was operating to a very tight budget and the only way to increase this was by an increase in gate attendance. Takings from cup games had not been included in the budget.
The Club were in the second year of a three year plan following survival last season and felt the Club was on a secure footing but had to watch finances very carefully. The aim for this season was to consolidate this position, whilst striving for the best possible performances on the pitch
The Club were working closely with the Nepalese community and had also built stronger links with the Army. The Club were organising a series of events commemorating the centenary of the First World War and would be announcing details in the very near future.
Plans were well underway to open the Community Shop in the Wellington Centre in the town centre as a community hub for the Club and area, where tickets and merchandise would be available as well as acting as hub for all community activities including charities and ideas that could include the local council. A steering committee was being set up to run this. The Board were hopeful that the Trust would be involved in this project and could provide financial assistance and ideas to ensure the project is a success. BB thought that this project if aided by the Trust would be a great step in bringing the supporters, the local community at large, the Trust and the board of directors together for a common cause.
The old club shop would now be open on matchdays and would be stocking some merchandise as well as programmes.
The Board were delighted with the appointment of Mark as Commercial Manager and the progress he had already made. TA would shortly be conducting an interview with him for Shots Radio.
4. Trust Update
IB explained the changes to the Trust Board following the recent AGM with him taking over as Chairman and SG as Vice Chairman, and the addition of Dave Donovan and Jason Berney to the Board. The Trust’s aim was still to continue the relationship with the Football Club Board and act as a conduit between the supporters and the Football Club.
Links with Local Colleges/Universities
The Trust recognised that the Club needed to attract more young people to games and were keen to forge links with local colleges. They had booked stands at the Freshers Fayre at the University of Surrey (Friday 3rd October) and the Farnham University of Creative Arts (September 25th) and were hopeful that the Football Club would support them in these ventures. The Trust were also seeking help from volunteers.
Bookings were already being received for this and it was hoped it would be even more successful than previously. BB also commented that if the Trust require more tickets then this is possible although it was confirmed by RH that it was crucial that the due diligence shown by John Orme last year in making sure that a very concise paper trail was provided to the recipients of free community stand tickets was continued. The Trust are presenting at the North Hants Youth League AGM to explain the Community Stand partnership and attract more interest.
IB had prepared an action plan which he shared with the Football Club Directors. The Trust and Football Club would continue to work together to ensure that the issues raised are addressed where feasible.
The Trust had represented the Club at the recent Army Show which had been an excellent publicity but spoilt by the afternoon weather. However, the inflatable shoot for goal had been very popular and the Trust were considering purchasing one for use on matchdays.
5. Half-Time Entertainment
It was recognised that the Crossbar Challenge had proved very popular but a volunteer would be required to run this. The Trust will seek to identify a suitable candidate.
6. Questions from Supporters
A question had been raised regarding the availability of the report from the Administrator and it was pointed out that any share holder in the old club could request this from the Administrator themselves.
A question had been received since the last meeting regarding the possibility of increasing the number of turnstiles for the North Stand. The Directors agreed to look into this but it was thought the cost could be prohibitive.