First, we hope you all had a nice Christmas and New year.
Trust January meeting update. We have been homeless for since Match 2019 for our Trust meetings. We have been relying on the hospitality of others for our venues. Even a kitchen showroom has been used – thanks again Mark. This has made it difficult for us to arrange the first 30 minutes for our fans drop-in. The good news is in the near future we have a possibility of two venues and we can rotate between them. We will advise you all when it has been sorted.
Four fans attended on Monday 13th January 2020 and we thank them for their time, their questions and their suggestions.
Afterwards, we began our Trust Board meeting. We are trying something new by publishing quicker summaries to help update fans as there is much happening at present around our Club. Hopefully, we will get them out within a few days from now on.
One Trust Director returns as one resigns: Welcome back Andy Bickerdike from his absence. Andy will resume the roll of Communication Director which has been vacant since October, but the Trust were saddened to hear that Mike Green has decided to step down from the Trust board. We thank him from his service and wish him all the best.
November/December meeting notes: Trust Rep on OAFC Board highlighted some errors that need clarifying and correcting before publication of December meeting notes. However, we can now publish a summary of our meeting in November. Summary-of-meeting-11.11.19
Trust accounts: Noted that the Trust annual accounts are due end of January 2020. These must be completed before the Trust AGM. The Trust Treasurer will look into accountancy fees and the gathering of information for the accounts.
Trust Rep to the board update: Darren advised us he has met the new club secretary Michael Beech who joins us from Barnsley. Welcome Michael. Gina will also be moving to a full time role to provide more support for the team. Additionally, there was a Club board meeting on the 7th January (last one was in October). Below is Darren’s summary.
- SCMP (Salary Cost Management Protocol): OAFC’s submission to the EFL was due in December. Confirmation this submission was sent and has been seen via the EFL portal. Darren was given unrestricted access to the filing and the feedback from the EFL was also shared. Overall, the pay to players for our squad is in line with the reported average salaries for League two, and the club is operating within the regulations it is required to.
- Financials: HMRC are up to date.
- Financials: In a previous meeting Darren had encouraged the club to make moves away from reliance upon the majority shareholder to meet the day to day running costs. Shahed does have a plan for this and in the board meeting it was reported this is on-track. Darren will continue to work with Shahed on this.
- Financials: Overall, the financial information being shared with Darren is being done in an open manner and there is a good level of trust.
- Property matters: Mr Blitz has reported that the rent the club “owes” is currently unpaid. Darren confirmed that is related to the ongoing legal situation between both parties. As there is also a police investigation, we cannot comment further.
- Club board Director: Confirmation that Richard Bowden is now registered as a club board director. From now on, he will be involved in working with fan groups and will be assisting with club communications.
- Legal matters: Darren was asked and he has confirmed to the Trust board that he is happy with the level information the club are sharing with him on legal matters.
- Trust-Club future relationship: Darren has stressed that the Club does want to work with the Trust and build upon the suggestions in the Trust letter dated 6th December. This was discussed as a separate item below.
FSA: Are in Manchester Wednesday 15th evening/Thursday 16th morning and are asking if we want to meet them. They want to discuss our ongoing relationship with the club, offer any assistance in improving the relationship and essentially an update on low fan morale. The Trust agreed to contact Ashley at the FSA and arrange to meet with him on Wednesday evening January 15th. TBA on discussions.
The Club’s response to Trust letter dated Friday 6th December: We acknowledge that the club did respond via letter and within 14 days (dated 23rd December). We received it on the 30th December. We contacted the club on three critical key points.
Essentially during the Christmas and New year period, we can confirm there was an increase in verbal communications between the Trust and the Club. Primarily, from the efforts of the Trust Chair and Rep with the guidance from the FSA. With the club willing to communicate, there has been some progress made and we can update members with the following:
Accounts 2017/18: The Trust will again meet with the club Financial Director to discuss our requests made in our letter. We are firm on the information that as Shareholders, we are entitled to request publication of full accounts. Date to be confirmed of the meeting.
Shareholder register: We are pleased to report that within 24 hours of receiving our request to view the shareholder register, the Club completed the necessary paperwork to update Companies House and then uploaded it on 8th January. Trust Rep also has confirmed he has seen the Register too.
This confirmation gives us peace of mind that when 2018/19 accounts are due in March, we will be contacted for our approval as shareholders. We again request the publication of full accounts for 2018/19.
Additionally, we are pleased that the updated register at Companies House now is up to date and includes all the parties that have shares in our club and should dispel a number of inaccurate rumours about percentage shareholdings in the Club.
Trust/Club meeting: We are pleased to report the club have agreed to meet the Trust and help create a memorandum of understanding. These are in place in other EFL clubs. Ideally they should cancel the need for NDA’s and open the door for more transparency and openness that fans have requested to hear independently from the Trust.
Critically, it is encouraging that the club want to meet and contribute to this and a date is to be confirmed. This is a particular area where the experience of the FSA with other EFL clubs should be most helpful in finding a workable way forward that balances the need for the Trust to report back on-the-record information with the legitimate areas of Club business that should remain confidential.
Lastly, any other business:
Trust Rep: Raised two concerns for review by Trust directors for the next meeting. 1) Alleged conflicts of interests where Board members have personal business activities, with a reminder that these need to be disclosed. 2) Social media use.
Trust Director: Mark Harrington proposed a formal review of the social media/communication policy and how the Trust’s OAFC Rep is engaging in the public domain using this method. Additional Concerns have been by a fans if it is the right method to use. It was agreed that two Trust directors not immediately involved with these issues will be appointed to review the concerns and will report back at our February meeting.
End of meeting. Date of next meeting will be Monday 10th February. Location to be advised.