Below are the minutes from April's meeting of the Fans Council at Adams Park.
Tony Sutton (TS) chaired the meeting. Michael Davies (MD) attended on behalf of the Club. Trevor Stroud attended on behalf of the Trust Board. 35 fans were present.
1. Trust Board investment update. The Trust Board issued a statement this morning which TS read out. Trevor Stroud said that the call on the Thursday evening was out of the blue and the Trust Board were completely unaware and taken aback by the call. A plan had all ready been put in place to complete the presentation and arrange the vote. The financial commitment to the Americans has been deferred to December 2019 with no interest. There are still other parties interested and they are aware of the loan and investment and will need funds to cover this when the time comes. Trevor Stroud felt that it was a missed opportunity on both sides. The view taken by many of those present was that the public meeting by Andrew Harman and the Legacy Member voting rules had potentially been a contributing factor in Jim Collis and Bill Luby’s decision to pull out.
Trevor Stroud said that the Board felt frustrated rather than angry. There is other potential investment interest out there, and the Board will move forward with these possibilities. There will be no knee jerk reaction and the Board will not be forced to rush into anything. The positives from this is that we now have a structure in place to move forward with any other potential investor(s) and have a platform to build on; though lessons do need to be learned from the process surrounding the bids from both Jim Collis and Bill Luby and Andrew Harman.
Legacy Member voting rules was discussed. A change in rules would require a Trust EGM of members and it is likely that a 75% majority would be required in order to change the 75% majority rule. The legal side of this is being looked into by the Trust Board and they will take advice on this matter. The opportunity to become a Legacy Member has been reopened – there will be an increase in those eligible as season tickets for the 2019/20 season are renewed.
Cash Flow is an on-going problem and has been for at least 6 years. Funds need to be available for the playing budget for next season.
There will be a Trust Members meeting in the near future in order that the Board can put their plans for next season forward, provide an update on current investment opportunities, and an overview of the lessons learned this year.
A question was asked why a Wycombe Ladies game did not go ahead at Adams Park this season as was hoped. MD advised that there had been plans to do so but there were often last-minute fixture date changes and it is difficult to arrange at short notice .There was an opportunity for a cup semi-final to be played at AP, but they wished it to be played at Flackwell Heath. The club are hosting Girls U14, U16 and our own U18s in the County Cup finals on Sunday May 5th. The Fans Council felt that if planned earlier in the ladies’ season then there is still an opportunity for a league game to be played at AP. MD said all options are available, but the priority has to be for the men’s team and the use of the pitch is limited.
Trevor Stroud then left the meeting.
2. General Manager Update. As of 3rd May, 1718 Early Bird season tickets have been sold so far compared to 992 this time last year. At the request of those at last month’s Fans Council meeting the Board extended the deadline until the last game of the Season.
New Kit sponsorship will be announced in due course. As reported Zebra Finance pulled their payment plan offer for all football clubs the club was looking to find an alternative finance company.
Subsequent to meeting: New finance partner found and up and running.
A new Big Screen will be announced at no cost to the club. It is planned to have a rolling advertising and live feed. This will be installed ahead of next season.
Both scoreboards, are lower on the list of priorities for expenditure but are on the commercial sponsorship agenda.
The Kids Lunchbox had some uptake and the caterers will continue to sell it. The Pod has also not really been used but, again, they will continue to try for a while. It might help if there was some promotion of this and MD will look into this.
MD, Paul Foley (SET) and the Stadium Manager met with fan representatives from club groups for input regarding an application to the Premier League Fan Fund to aid the match day experience. MD also hosted the first ever meeting of all WWFC associated fan groups. Both meetings will be followed by a 2nd meeting post season with more information to follow.
There was a recent Supporter Survey of Matchday operations carried out by a local student as part of his dissertation. 53 fans responses were provided to the Club. MD wished to repeat to a wider audience and asked if it could be driven by the Fans Council. Something that will be looked into for the beginning of next season.
Player Awards Dinner: It was questioned that players will not be seated at different tables as usual; instead they will be at their own table. Some fans are unhappy about this and have taken the decision not to attend. MD said that the feedback on previous dinners had been taken into consideration and a new format for the evening was planned, and those deciding not to attend would be missing an excellent evening.
Update: Event sold out
3. Any Other Business.
a. Oxford – ‘reserved seating’ – there were a lot of issues regarding this and MD advised that the Club had discussed this and next year it will be handled better. When required, there will be a singing section and a section for those wishing to enjoy the game more quietly sitting down. To date no written complaints have been received with regard to the Oxford game.
b. MD did state that the appeals process for supporter bans that was set in place last year has not had to be invoked so far this season which is a positive.
There being no other business the meeting ended. Fans Council meetings will return next season, our first meeting being on Thurs 8th Aug 2019.
The Fans Council would like to thank all those fans that have attended this season for their input and looking forward to seeing you all in August.