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TrustSTFC AGM and members meeting

Meeting TrustSTFC AGM and members meeting
Venue Winners bar
Date 07/02/2002
Time 8.00 - 10.00pm
Present TrustSTFC Members
Guests Bob Holt, Jon Ritson

1 Welcome
Tony Norris welcomed everybody and set out the agenda for the evening.

  • TrustSTFC AGM
  • TrustSTFC Members meeting
  • Guest speaker...Bob Holt


2 Financial Report
Leigh Collett reported on financial matters

  • TrustSTFC was incorporated on 12/7/01
  • Financial Year established as 1st August to 31st July
  • No trading occurred prior to 1/8/01
  • Annual Return shows zero income & expenditure for year ending 31/7/01

3 Appointment of Auditors
Leigh explained that Auditors have not been appointed yet.

4 Election of Society Board
Tony gave details of the electoral process and announced that eight nominations had been received. The number of positions on the board is also eight so there was no need for a ballot
The Society Board is:

  • Tony Norris
  • Andrew Ratcliffe
  • John Tayler
  • Anna Tuersley
  • Mark Ratcliffe
  • Peter Woods
  • Leigh Collett
  • Justin Tomlinson

Members Meeting

1. Financial update
Leigh gave details of the membership and financial situation
To date we have achieved:

  • 184 members
  • A Loan Fund of 10,001
  • Membership fees of 4,600
  • Donations of over 3,750
  • 4,838 STFC shares
TrustSTFC A/C3,414
TrustSTFC Loan A/C10,001

5 Society Board - Roles and responsibilities
Tony explained that following a meeting of the new Board, the following roles were agreed

  • Tony Norris - Chairman
  • Andrew Ratcliffe - Vice Chairman
  • Leigh Collett - Treasurer
  • Anna Tuersley - Community Relations
  • TBA - Communications Officer
  • Peter Woods - Secretary
TrustSTFC to operate with three main sub-committees
  • Finance & Admin -To deal with day to day finance and membership issues
  • Marketing & Communications -'The Engine Room'. Membership growth, leafleting, campaigns. All original members of the Working Party have been invited to join this committee.
  • Community -To coordinate community initiatives
The Board will be Co-opting additional board members
At least four to be appointed
Seven candidates have been identified and are currently being approached
  • Supporters Club
  • Disabled Groups
  • Local Business
  • PFA
  • Junior Robins
  • Club Employees
  • Swindon Town Ladies FC
Target for the appointment is by the end of March 2002

6 Trust activities
Safe Standing Survey
Tony explained why the Trust got involved with this and pointed out that despite initial hostility to this initiative, the response had been surprisingly high.
The main objectives were to:-

  • Ascertain if people wanted choice
  • Consider the need to reduce ticket costs, to make the club more inclusive.
  • To be able to put forward the fans view on future stadium development
The Safe Standing Survey Result was as follows
89%for safe standing
85%of these said they would use it
11%against safe standing
Next Steps
Confirm results to interested parties
  • Club
  • FA
  • Football League
  • Sport England
  • Local councillors & MPs, etc.
Devise our own campaign to promote how STFC fans can make a difference on this issue

7 Community Initiatives
In Progress

  • Sponsorship of a Swindon Town Community Office project
  • Primary School U11 football tournament
  • Junior Robins membership for TrustSTFC members' children

8 Fund Raising
Leigh told the meeting that although the Trust did well at the launch, it still needs to raise a lot more money. All members present were asked to come up with ideas for fund raising. Preferably ideas that the members and non-members would actively support.

9 Increasing Membership
Leigh, Tony and Andy are more than willing to address any interested group of fans. If members know of any such groups then let them know.

10. Feedback and Questions
Progress on shareholdings/Trust representation?
Tony pointed out that although the Trust shareholding is small. We do have access to proxy votes. These proxy votes were used at the club EGM.
The club is at present very positive about Trust representation at board level.
The Trust will be putting a motion forward at the club AGM. Calling for TrustSTFC representation
Leigh explained the difficulties the 'Swindon Singles Campaign had in reaching existing shareholders via the local media. Most shareholders do not live locally. It was felt that a poster campaign is the best way forward. Details had been publicised in the Matchday Magazine, but it's suspected that too many people are being put off by the price of the magazine.
Should the under 11's football tournament involve teams from surrounding towns?
It would be good to be able to do this. Logistics and the small number of active members would make organisation difficult. A local competition will hopefully be arranged before the end of the season with the help of the Community Office. This would give the Trust experience in the organisation of a tournament. An expanded version would be considered next season.

Guest Speaker Bob Holt

Explained why the club went in to administration.
  • It was important to preserve the business and jobs.
  • The Club came out of administration after the CVA was agreed.
Gave details of the debenture and other finance involved in the CVA
  • Danny Donnegan, Ian Blatchly and Terry Brady; via their property company STPL, arranged a debenture of 1.2m secured on STFC assets.
  • Danny Donnegan, Ian Blatchly and Terry Brady also purchased a quantity of un-issued shares
  • Value of the package purported to have come from STPL was in the region of 2m
  • In August 2001; after all the costs involved, the club was left with 77,000. Which was not enough funds to run itself
Gave his view on what went wrong.
  • Terry Brady spent between 1m -1.5m on players
  • Terry Brady then asked Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly to pay for the players and they refused
  • Terry Brady fell out with Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly
He was keen to point out that Terry Brady was a 'football man'. Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly were 'property developers', who would have sold their interest if they had got planning permission on the Front Garden.
He then went on to explain how he became involved again and his views on what went on.
  • He was asked by Cliff Puffett and the consortium to have a look at the 'figures', when a partnership with Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly was being considered.
  • After looking at the books and seeing where payments were being made, he advised the consortium not to put any money in as he was concerned that funds were being depleted.
  • In April 2001, Sir Seton Wills put in 50,000 to pay the wage bill.
  • Negotiations continued with Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly in the hope of buying them out
  • In September 2001, a buyout figure of 200,000 was agreed between the two parties. A last minute demand by Danny Donnegan and Ian Blatchly of 500,000 if planning permission was granted on the County Ground caused the deal to collapse.
  • It then took until December 10th to get rid of them. Meanwhile debts at the club rose, The books were not correct, No records were kept.
  • Debts are 1.5m immediate plus the 1.2m debenture. Between 400,000 to 600,000 to the Inland Revenue and a debt to Customs and Excise for VAT
  • After a meeting with the Inland Revenue, the club has received a stay of execution until the end of February
  • Sir Seton Wills has put in 150,000 to keep the club going. If ever a new stadium is built, it should be named after Sir Seton Wills.
  • Roy Evans and Neil Ruddock's salaries were in excess of 500,000 per year
  • CCTV was installed, this attracted a grant of 75%. The bill went unpaid, so the grant was lost
  • Many other bills were not paid. Suppliers are not willing to do business with the club.
  • Roy Evans told him that the club could not afford his(RE's) services and left
He then gave his views on the way forward.
  • Bryant Homes have been very helpful and want the club to survive.
  • Hacker Young have also been very helpful
  • Funds of 1.2m are available. At present STPL would foreclose on the debenture if these funds were put in.
  • The debenture needs to be got rid off It is repayable with 24 hours notice in the case of insolvency
  • There is a possibility of a deal being reached with STPL by February 8th and hopefully they will be gone by next week.
  • Things are not going to be easy and news could be alarming over the next two weeks.
  • He is looking forward to Andy King having some money to spend.
Finally Bob Holt gave his views on Andy King and other matters
  • Before he came back, Andy King had not been paid since August 2001
  • Since his return, he has done a good job. Five games without a loss prior to the Huddersfield match has seen relegation fears put on the back burner.
  • It will be mid-table obscurity this season
  • All but six players are out of contract at the end of the season
  • Claimed Neil Ruddock will not play again, due to injury. He has a three year contract, given to him by his next door neighbour.
Questions from the floor
One member objected strongly to Bob Holt's views about Neil Ruddock. Stating that 'Razor' and Roy Evans had improved the team and given entertainment and leadership.
Bob Holt questioned whether the club could afford a 34 year old, on a three year deal, earning 200,000 per year, a better contract than Stuart Pearce has got at Man City. He also asked, is it right that a player should be earning ten times as much as a fellow team mate playing alongside him in defence.
When asked if there was any insurance policy on Neil Ruddock, Bob Holt replied that there wasn't
In reply to further questions about Neil Ruddock Bob Holt stated that:-
Danny Donnegan had asked Andy King to sign him on. Andy King refused and was sacked.
Other questions from the floor included:-
  • Will Terry Brady come back?
  • What is the required breakeven attendance?
  • The possibility of a creditor closing the club down.
  • The possible formation of a new company similar to Bristol City.
  • Future legal actions against Danny Donegan and Ian Blatchly.
  • The clubs monthly trading loss.
  • Future development.
  • Catering facilities.
  • Possible restructuring of the company.
  • Trust representation.
  • The health of Peter Rowe and concerns about the lack of an AGM
In reply, Bob Holt stated:-
  • The club is losing 100,000 per month. With 'good housekeeping' and 'vigorous marketing' this can be reduced to 50,000 per month, which is sustainable
  • Attendances of between 8000 and 8500 are required to break even.
  • Terry Brady is not coming back. He is now acting as advisor to Milan Manderic at Portsmouth
  • The AGM has not happened as it would cost 15,000 to stage. The money is not available at the moment, but hopefully would be after the Reading game.
  • The AGM not being called yet is an embarrassment.
  • If they cannot resolve the situation, then they will call a creditors meeting
  • He was not totally aware of all the details of the CVA, but the Crown Debts have to be paid.
  • Creditors will get 100% of their money if the club gets planning permission by 2003. If not then the creditors get 10p in the pound.
  • The CVA has been breached
  • The department of Trade and Industry may get interested only if the club goes bankrupt. There doesn't seem to be much interest in white collar crime otherwise".
  • Dealings with STPL have been acrimonious and worse than his two divorces
  • Since the Bristol City solution, the league have changed the rules
  • He is not aware of how the Chesterfield solution worked
  • Restructuring was under consideration with the idea of splitting the football from the commercial side.
  • He feels that the County Ground could be developed but accepts that others may have higher ambitions.
  • There is a possibility of a partnership with a developer, the council(providing they get paid) and the club. Which would see the club paying rent to this partnership. This is an ongoing debate
  • There is a catering review going on
  • Mike Sullivan an employee of Dunwoody Marketing is working with the club. Dunwoody Marketing are providing these Services free at the moment. Interim Director; Nick Prescott is also involved with Dunwoody.
  • TrustSTFC representation at board level is essential
  • Peter Rowe is suffering from stress. possibly as a result of working with the previous regime. He became ill on the way to Notts County.

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Important Information

Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited, trading as TrustSTFC, an Industrial and Provident Society registered with the Registrar of Friendly Societies under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts 1965-78. All references to the ‘Trust’ or TrustSTFC on this site are to the Swindon Town Community Mutual Limited that holds funds, under its rules, for the benefit of the community and not in trust for its members.