millwall supporters club

Minutes of the Millwall Supporters’ Club Annual General Meeting
26 April 2017, ‘Arry’s Bar, The Den

MSC chair Bob Asprey
MSC vice chair Ted Robinson
MSC committee Danielle Lake, George Lampey, Brian Horne, Dave Hart, Stan Godwin, Ayse Smith

MSC members attending
David Lane, Annie O’Sullivan, Mitchell Elliott, Pat Skelly, Brian Skelly, John West, Alan Thompson, Paul Turner, Tom Gale, Kathryn Gale, Peter Brittain, Harry Cooper

Apologies for absence
MSC treasurer Ian Toal
MSC committee Graeme Smale
MSC member Liam Wilkes, Michael Barker, Kerry Taylor
Fans on the Board Peter Garston, Micky Simpson

Welcome and introduction by MSC Chair
BA: Thanks for coming to tonight’s meeting. Good to see some new faces, something we have not been good at. A particular welcome to the new faces.

Acceptance of the minutes of the last AGM of 27 April 2016
BA: Dave Hart has circulated last year’s minutes, have a read through. Does anybody have any questions? There being no questions, the minutes were proposed by Stanley Godwin and seconded by Dave Hart as being a true record and were accepted unanimously.

Summary of the year and the committee’s achievements by MSC Chair
BA: The summary will be shorter this year. First of all a thank you to this year’s Committee, all 11 of us. We all worked pretty hard and it’s a thankless task. There were things we did well and some not so well.
A particular thank you to Laura Romitelli who has been excellent but is leaving the committee. Also, a thank you to Ian Toal, who attempted to stand down last year, however as we were unable to replace him has continued for another year. Ian has been treasurer for about 15 years and will be standing down this year. The new Committee will need to find a new Treasurer.

BA: This season has seen the departure of Andy Ambler and the appointment of Steve Kavanagh. We have quickly engaged with Steve, and the club has upped its game almost everywhere you look, which is a credit to him. Steve has been much quicker, and more positive, for example picking up and running with the Regeneration issues. Steve has supported the work done by the AMS in carrying the fight against the CPOs to Lewisham Council, which has led to a whole new situation in the last 6 months. Hopefully this positivity will carry on – Steve is a believer in fan engagement. Steve has also been supportive in getting us where we are with the new FOTB who is full of energy and new ideas. Subject to us agreeing the constitutional changes on tonight’s agenda, the new FOTB should be with us for either 2 or 4 years.

BA: What’s been different this year? It’s been quieter, not so much has gone wrong and there have been less fan issues, which in my opinion is very welcome. There was the business in August when the ball was stolen, which put the club in a difficult position, however common sense finally prevailed. There was not much since then, some bottle throwing against Leicester – which gave the press an excuse to write a negative report. Nothing came of it – we were not charged although there is a FA investigation apparently ongoing. A couple people ran on to the pitch against Northampton due to the ref not blowing the whistle during the emergency in the Upper Dockers Stand – no further action has been taken to my knowledge. The season isn’t over yet and hopefully nothing untoward will happen.

BA: There was no quiz this year, the time never seemed right. We must make an effort to do it next year as it’s popular and raises money for charity.

BA: We have sold some badges this year. The club’s efforts to celebrate our 59 game unbeaten run was muted (apart from the shirt of course and the Docker’s Day team), but we were hoping for more. The commemorative badges all sold out so we ordered more – (SG: there are about 38 left). We were cautious with how many to get made, but they proved to be popular, with the money going to the Jimmy Mizen Appeal. This is something we can do again.

BA: Lion’s Live has been a great advert for supporters club and in a lot of ways is the most visible face. They’ve got better at asking the hard questions, which they were previously criticized for not doing, and the coverage of the regeneration has been excellent. The AMS played a central role in financial investment and day to day publicity about the regeneration but Lion’s Live took it to a wider audience with Cllr Hall and Steve Kavanagh making appearances to discuss.

BA: The Millwall museum has been talked about for years. There was a little bit of hope this time last year that the historians and the club were in a place to develop something that would become an exhibition of our history. It seemed impossible for Alan Williams to engage with the historians, however this seems to be resolved. Alan Williams is confident the museum will be ready for August in the Press Room where there is already a bit of an exhibition.

JW: The club are providing £10,000 to get the project properly into motion. Chris Bethel already had a lot of stuff.

BA: It really should happen this time. Fingers crossed as it will be fantastic for the stadium tours. They are also talking about opening on Friday mornings to supporters, with a volunteer manning it. If it happens I for one will be absolutely delighted.

BA: Fan’s Forum – Steve Kavanagh has communicated a rule which states we should have two per year. We were only holding one per year with Andy Ambler. All the managers (Steve Kavanagh, Neil Harris etc.) have cooperated in different ways. This year we held one in August and one a few weeks ago. The second one was broadcast live which we might publicize more next time. Andy Ambler would never do that but in this new era these things can be done.

BA: Loyalty scheme – we have been working on this for years and for various reasons it never happened. We can’t blame Andy Ambler for this as it was introduced in his time. It’s generally a pretty sensible scheme, and has been well received by fans. Some supporters took time to understand it but we haven’t had the ticket website crashing on the morning of big match day sales, which frequently happened previously. It has spread the load of selling tickets, and allowed the ‘most loyal’ fans to get tickets. It has been a big success. One small issue, a personal opinion, is that games like Gillingham away lack an atmosphere, this may be due to the most loyal supporters not being the most vocal.

BA: We helped the club write a questionnaire to fans asking about match day experiences etc. etc. This has been put off and has not yet gone out. There’s no reason it can’t go out in the summer. The supporters should respond and the club should get the answers they are looking for.

BA: Things we are good at – the MOTM home games, POTY where manual voting is as popular as ever (a lot of supporters don’t have internet and are in the habit of voting on POTY voting day). Steve Morison won by such a large margin. The programme pages have been good, Laura Romitelli has been responsible for these.

BA: The things we are not so good at – we don’t respond fast enough, which we have a go at it every year but still haven’t cracked it. We don’t communicate brilliantly. The website has improved, but Facebook and Twitter could be better.

BA: We will hopefully have 4 new people for this year’s Committee, who will hopefully bring new energy and expertise. Hopefully some will be able to pick up some of the bigger jobs, as we need to fill many roles, including Treasurer, Secretary, someone to look after the communications and maybe even Chairman.

BA: Thanks again to last year’s Committee and I look forward to next 12 months.

Presentation of annual report and accounts by MSC Treasurer
BA: We didn’t replace Ian Toal as Treasurer and he has carried on in the role. Our financial year ends at the end of May, so this year’s numbers are not yet complete.

BA: Our finances are in two halves, there is the account we run, and the account the club runs – they have an MSC account they look after on our behalf but I do not have the figures for this. It started the year at £15,900, and includes the addition of £1 for each member/ST holder between 16 and 60. In the course of the year club spends this money with our approval. These figures will go on the website as usual.

Year ending 31st May 2017
MOTM Trophies - £600.00
Goal of the Month Trophies - £80.00
Website Re-Design - £300.00
Meeting Room for Monthly Meetings - £200.00
Miscellaneous - £363.75

Total - £1,543.75

Surplus brought forward - £3,578.65

Balance at 24th April 2017 - £2,034.90

BA: Are there any questions?

PB: Year after year there is money left – could you ask the fans what they want?

BA: We do regularly do this, but only occasionally does this bring new ideas. We have contributed to the new big screen by buying the machine which allows us to show replays – a cost of £1,600.

PB: That’s nothing, give some to the medical team.

BA: We already have approved a payment of £1,000 for the medical team.

TG: We raised £500 at the weekend, can we ask what they need?

BA: We have committed to £1,000 but we can give more.

SG: Some of the equipment should be provided by club.

PB: If the club doesn’t provide it we should be. Do we know if the club contributes?

BA: We don’t know but I’m happy for MSC money to go towards it or as a regular event. One other thing, when we persuaded the club to give £1 out of each membership subscription this was a step into the unknown but it’s an excellent idea for the Committee to have a pot of money to use to help the fans e.g. by buying TVs for the concourses etc. etc. We persuaded the club it was a sound principle, which it is, however over the years we have been terrible at spending it and there is some logic to the amount being reduced, but we can’t spend it for spending sake.

PT: We are giving ideas, let’s find out what the club provides so we can make a decision on what to spend the money on.

TR: We haven’t had a meeting with the club since the emergency incident, I suggest we speak to them about this to see what their duty is and find out how we can top it up, it has to be a 3 way agreement. We agreed £1,000 before the collection took place but need to find out what the St. John Ambulance team needs and have a conversation with them and agree a suitable figure.

PT: Do you feel applying to the club to spend money is reticent?

TR: No, we say no to some of the things the club wants. It’s up to us how it’s spent, It’s about what the fans want and their benefits. Money needs to be better spent but we don’t let the club dictate.

PT: Can we get ideas out to fans?

TR: We are open to suggestions.

PT: The AMS can put ideas out on social media.

DL: We need to reiterate what the MSC does.

TR: We need to be more active on social media. Sometimes the reasons why communications have not been put out is if we are asked by club not to whereas the AMS are an independent organization so can say what they want.

DH: Two projects in line for next year 1) Dialogue with St John Ambulance to work out what they need to give the best service here, the club have due diligence too. 2) Ask the fans to vote on a project they want with the criteria being it needs to benefit the club/the fans.

BA: The bus is an asset for the club and we would love it to be refurbished.

PT: We might get the club involved if it makes sense commercially.

BA: We received quotes for refurbishment but they were way more than what club wanted to spend even though we offered to pay half.

BA: Do we use the bus for stadium tours?

JW: Yes, we drive over to the West side of the stadium. As part of an appeal for Jimmy Mizen we travelled to 60 primary schools in the bus to talk about the knife crime problem. We do local festivals and soldiers come on during the Help for Heroes day. It’s not used to its full extent.

DH: The club has been running goal of the month and are looking for a sponsor. The MSC picked up the tab for this season.  The trophies are being presented at the training ground.

PT: The AMS can do it depending on how much money you are asking for.

DH: It is £20 per trophy.

Summary of the year by Fan Director
BA: PG and MS are not here.

BA: I would like to record a thank you to PG who has been our FOTB through thick and thin. It was a tremendous innovation when FOTB was conceived in 2006 and PG took it further than we imagined. I am delighted to have a new FOTB, when at times it didn’t look likely.

PB: How was he appointed? I was expecting an election.

BA: In order to keep the door open for a new FOTB, we put in the constitution that a new prospective FOTB had to serve at least one year on the Committee, and that’s what happened. When the time came for the election, only one person came forward when recruiting.

PB: I expected the process to be in place to announce an election and for Committee members to come forward and stand. Fans could also lobby committee members to stand.

BA: There was only one candidate.

PB: Would expect that if it was done in a proper and open way it would be communicated to give supporters the opportunity to speak to members of the Committee.

TR: We had to have someone want to go into the position. I’m not sure how you would lobby someone who doesn’t want to stand.

TR: There was no election as there was only one candidate.

BA: Steve Kavanagh and John Berylson seem to have great belief in the role and seem to be happy to have an open election.

TR: We did not want to be in that position. Andy Ambler told us there wouldn’t be another FOTB. Consequently we set it up so that candidates would be known to the club.

PB: Should that process not be brought into the constitution?

SG: It needs tightening up.

BA: We can do this. The FOTB process should be put into the constitution.

PB: MSC's meetings are not published anymore. The last one is from November. Can they be pushed out on email or Twitter?

BA: We will put these up if not already there. They also go in the programme, but there is no reason they aren’t on the website.

Constitutional Changes
BA: There are four proposals which I will explain the best I can.

At the time of the election, any current member of the Millwall Supporters’ Club is eligible to stand for the role of Fan on the Board, provided (s)he is not subject to any club ban or sanction or any football related legal proceedings or sanction. This is a change to existing clause 3.4 which says: Candidates for the role of supporter director must be MSC committee members, with a minimum of twelve months’ continuous service, a satisfactory attendance record, and not subject to any MFC restrictions, at the time the election is called.

BA: The FOTB election is to be open to any MSC member. It’s as simple as that, going back to old system. Any questions?
PB: Is there any other criteria e.g. experience, does it need to be said in the amendment?
PT: We need a job spec.
BA: The current job spec refers to preferred but not essential criteria, but we can put in what we expect.
PT: It stated you need to have experience of being a Director or sitting on a Board, this is not the case.
BA: No, it stated ‘preferred’, not ‘essential’.

Unanimous vote in favour.

PB suggested that the job spec and timetable for the FOTB election should be included in the constitution. BA agreed and it should be proposed next year.

The term for the role of Fan on the Board shall commence on the first day of the football season following the election and end on the final day of the second full season (including any play off matches) following the election. This is a new clause.

BA: Proposed by MS that the term for FOTB will be 2 years.
PB: What happens if anything comes up in closed season?
BA: In my opinion the term should start from the last day of the previous season. MS effectively has started already as PG has already stepped down. The term should commence on the first day of the closed season and run for 2 full seasons.
PB: Can we put a date in to make it easier?
BA: 1st June to 31st May for 2 years.
TG: We will know when to schedule an election.
BA: We can propose this.

Unanimous vote to amend the proposal and unanimous vote in favour.

Any one individual can serve a maximum of only two terms as Fan on the Board. These can be consecutive or nonconsecutive terms. This is a new clause.

BA: I believe MS wants it to stay fresh but we haven’t been great at finding a new FOTB.
SG: We need to get better at it.
PT: It will bring more people to the table, PG was in for over 10 years which may have put people off standing.
PG: After the 3rd year you can advertise the role.
TR: One of reasons PG got as far as he did was building trust with John Berylson, 2 years is not a long time to build a relationship.
PT: This is 4 years though and should not be unchallenged after that.
BA: That’s what is being proposed.
PB: To be clear there will be election every 2 years.

Unanimous vote in favour.

Any current member of the Millwall Supporters’ Club is eligible to stand for the role of Chair of the MSC. This is a change to existing clause 4.4 which says: Candidates for the role of MSC chairman must be MSC committee members, with a minimum of twelve months’ continuous service, a satisfactory attendance record, and not subject to any MFC restrictions.

BA: 13 committee members are voted on to the committee, then the roles are assigned. The chair has to come from the committee.
TG: This could be misread, it reads that a member can turn up and be voted chair.
BA: The proposal is a bit open to interpretation.
PB: I’m not sure why this couldn’t happen.
TR: I’ve never known a chair to be elected from outside the committee.
BA: There is no mechanism to deliver on this at the moment.
TR: Why would you want someone who doesn’t even want to come on the committee first?
PB: It happens all the time, why can’t someone come straight on?
PT: If someone joined the committee tonight could they stand for chair straightaway?
AS: Even at this late stage they can still go for chair.
SG: It should be committee members who elect their own officers.
BA: If it is agreed, anyone who is elected on to the committee can stand at next meeting for chair. Let’s take a vote.
BA: Do you think you should stand for chair as soon as you are on committee?

6 votes for and 9 against.

BA: Do we want to consider the possibility of having the vote for chair at the AGM?
GL: I don’t agree with this.
PB: We want things as open as possible, MSC are too closed, rules are too closed.
PT: What term is chairmanship?
GL: One year, 1st meeting after the AGM the chair is elected (or re-elected).
PT: Would a fixed term help? A maximum term?
AS: Last year BA said he did not want to stand, but no one else wanted to so what would happen then? No one wants to take responsibility.
DL: The position of chair in an organization like this is built on trust, there should be some sort of period to build this up and allow people to form an opinion before electing as chair.
TR: If you put fixed term on someone you might push out a good person.
AS: If someone want the chair they can challenge each year anyway.
BA: If someone wants to make a proposal for next year’s AGM they can do so.

Election of members of the committee for coming year
BA: There are 6 places available on the committee and we have 12 names on the ballot paper.
AS: There’s now only 10 as 2 have dropped out – Liam Wilkes and Kerry Taylor.
BA: Gary Glover, Josh Nelson and Samantha Blake are not here, Harry Cooper, Kath Gale, Tom Gale, Dave Lane and Paul Turner are all here and are in the ballot with Danielle Lake and Graeme Smale. So we need to elect 6 out of 7.

PT: I will withdraw.
BA: How does that help us?
PT: We need fresh blood, this is served best if I withdraw.
BA: OK Paul, so the new committee are Bob Asprey, Ted Robinson, Dave Hart, Ayse Smith, George Lampey, Danielle Lake, Brian Horne (Snr), Tom Gale, Kathryn Gale, Stan Godwin, David Lane, Harry Cooper and Graeme Smale.

Introduction of the new committee
KG: I’m an ex met police officer at the Old Den so have met a fair few fans over the years. I now work in local government (but not Lewisham). I won the design the away shirt competition so got to see a lot of behind the scenes at the club and met a lot of the staff. I’m in touch with fans from overseas and feel there is quite a lot that can be done there.

TG: I’m KG’s son and have been coming from the age of five. I’m a primary school teacher with links to the Junior Lions so would like to get involved in that. My background is in branding and website design, so maybe I can bring this to the table. I’m mobile on social media and should be more representative of young fans.

BA: You’ve put the average age of committee down a bit – good thing!

HC – I’ve stepped in for my dad as he is ill. Where I sit is a lot of younger people, I want to create an atmosphere to bring in the younger generation and want to include mixed race. I’m good at social media and like to help kids, Junior Lions etc. I’m interactive with people.

DL – I’ve been a supporter for some time and lived abroad for periods. I’ve worked as account manager for a print company and I’m aware of corporate security. I’m fed up with things in my area living in Lewisham, and put myself forward to see if we can improve the overall situation for supporters and the local area.

BA: We are always looking for energy, thank you all for joining.

Discussion of aims and objectives of the committee for the coming year

BA: We always put this on the agenda and have a fairly short discussion. Obviously the new committee needs to be focused on what we want to achieve and without fail always be more visible, communicate better, respond faster, which we haven’t yet cracked. Are there any other burning objectives we would like to commit to today?

PB: I get the impression the committee is largely reactive rather than proactive. I’d like to hear about concrete aims. What are you setting out to do in the coming year?
BA: Do you mean we should commit, for instance, to a new story on the website twice a week, which should be tweeted and put on Facebook?
PB: I mean more concrete aims. Could the committee send a note out to supporters with proposed objectives for the year and ask their opinions?
KG: There are a lot of overseas fans, what if they could access a digitalized programme at £3?
TG: We may get ideas from fans too.
TR: We should be the vehicle to carry out fans requests and ideas.
BA: The questionnaire will be a big help as it is designed to tell us and the club the things that are important to supporters and what would make match days better and improve their relationship with the club. It should give us the basis for us to set aims.

Committee meetings are normally held at 7pm on Mondays. The first meeting of the new year was set for 22nd May.

Bob thanked everyone for coming, for their attention and their votes. We look forward to good day on Sunday.

The meeting closed at 9.20 pm.

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