The meeting was attended by John Leppard, Russ Howell and Tony Knights from the Football Club with Ian Goodwright, John Orme, Tommy Anderson of the Trust Board and Janet Guess (Secretary). The following is a summary of the meeting:
1. Questions from Supporters
i. Football Club Vision:
Unchanged, To deliver a sustainable financial model to allow the best possible Football to played within our budgets. This translates on the pitch to
Year 1 – survival
Year 2 – consolidation
Year 3 – be in a position to consider challenging for the play-offs
Similarly off the pitch the Club have to consolidate, but as reported at our last meeting the Club are trying to work with the council etc to maximise the potential for the ground
ii. Survival if the Club were relegated:
The Club would survive but would go part-time and there would be less money to spend.
The Club were on target to meet their schedule for repayment.
iv. Was the club aware that BMW were moving into the Nokia building in Farnborough:
The Club is aware and there has already been some contact made.
v. Ticket Pricing:
The Board are aware of questions around pricing and this will be reviewed as part of the budget process for next season.
vi. Catering & Sky TV:
The Board again stated that catering was historically a loss making area and a difficult one for the club to manage. Without the support of Clarks Catering (who also operate the Hot Shots café), the Club would not have been able to open any bars this season. Along with CC the Board will continue to listen to supporters wishes.
It should be noted that Sky has now been reinstated at a cost of £6K p.a. which it is hoped will encourage fans to use the bars for pre match socialising and entertainment. Other changes will and are being considered but need to make financial sense and be supported.
With regard to the quality of the tea, food and service at the burger bars, the Board will take this up with the franchisee (which is a separate firm to Clarks Catering). They did point out that the Club receives a percentage of the profits from these outlets and therefore fans purchasing their food and drinks from these outlets are also supporting the finances of the Club.
vii. Replica Shirts:
The Board recognised the problem of the apparent pink tint to the Bridges logo. The advice received was to wash the shirt inside out and this did improve the appearance.
2. Outstanding Actions from Last Meeting
i. Family Stand:
The Board were still looking into the possibility of putting a Perspex side to the High Street end of the stand, which would offer greater protection from the elements. JO and IG indicated that this was a project that the Trust could support, with member approval.
ii.. Current Directors:
TK took an action to ensure profiles of all the Directors were posted on the official website.
iii. Season Tickets:
The Board would be considering the possibility of offering 10 game season tickets for next season.
3. Frank Burt Centenary Match
Arrangements were well in hand for this game on 18 January. It should be a good day for all supporters, but especially Frank.
Managing the finances continued to be a challenge and the Board were looking at revenue from all angles, from how to save money to ways of increasing income. They were actively engaging with other Conference clubs to establish best practices. Many of the Conference clubs gained significant income from fundraising which was an area where ATFC was not great. They made special mention of the work of Player Share. However, they were hopeful of investing further in the squad, continuing into next season.
The Club has drastically cut costs, and were very grateful to the Club’s dedicated band of excellent volunteers.
5. Youth Academy
The Club were currently interviewing for the position of Youth Academy Manager. Applications had been received from some high calibre candidates and an announcement would be made once the right appointment had been agreed.
6. Database Consolidation Project
It was noted that the Trust had contacted those on its database seeking approval to release their contact information to the Club to facilitate the formation of one comprehensive database. IG will arrange secure transfer of the Trust data after 14 January.
7. Share Issue
The share issue was launched specifically in response to requests from supporters. Holding shares would give supporters a voice in the running of the Club and enable them to attend Shareholders Meetings. The money received would also increase the capital of the Club, enabling the provision of higher quality football.
The Board were questioned as to whether the share offer had been publically advertised, something that as a private limited it is not allowed to do. The Board’s view was that no advertisement had taken place. It has however received some publicity from prominent supporters choosing to support their local football club. It was therefore considered appropriate to report this through the Club’s media outlets.
8. Infrastructure Projects
The Board were looking at two possible projects :
i. Two new toilet blocks for home and away supporters
ii. Converting the toilets at the top of the ground into a bar with outside decking, tables and a canopy.
The Board would be seeking financial support from the Trust for these projects. JO and IG indicated that in principle these projects could be supported by the Trust, with member approval Once further information becomes available, the Trust will assess and report make a recommendation as appropriate.
9. Matchday Publicity
The Club would welcome contact from any supporters who could help with taking fixture posters for display at their local shops and other locations. Some offers of help have already been made, but we need more volunteers to improve coverage in the area. Richard Petty at the Club should be contacted in the first instance. Posters can also be collected from the Trust Gazebo on matchdays.
10. 2014 Supporter Survey
The Trust and Football Club were working together on a comprehensive survey, which all supporters will be encouraged to complete during February. The questionnaire is currently being finalized. Supporters will be able to complete the survey either online or via hardcopy.