As you may or may not have heard, the Trust were invited to meet Abdallah Lemsagam on Friday. We didn’t have an agenda in advance and when we arrived, we were introduced to the team of people that have been advising the chairman of our football club since the time that he has been in situ.
The meeting was a good chance to get to know them and to a certain extent, discuss the issues fans raised at the public meeting. The meeting was constructive and gave us a foundation of moving forwards as we started to discuss the key six expectations set out for the club and how we all, chairman, fans, club and Trust can do this together.
Next week, we will put out a formal statement with more detail. What we didn’t want to do is leave people with a feeling of being left in the dark, so here are some of the high-level points.
- The Chairman clarified that the club is constantly being structured in a way that it can meet it’s financial obligations. He is just over a year into doing this and he points out it can’t be done over night.
- The Chairman will not make promises he can not keep. He is ambitious for the club, but will not promise promotion to the EPL or Championship as the main focus is on the stability of the club.
- The rumours that the Academy was to be wound up were met with disbelief by both the Chairman and the Head of Football at the club. Mr Mohammed Lemsagam pointed out that five of our squad have come through the academy and two academy members have been given full contracts. The youth setup is essential to the club.
- Fans meetings were discussed and this will be revisited in the future.
- We agreed that it would be constructive for the whole of the Trust to meet the club in a similar format at least once a season to establish a good relationship.
- Darren Ratcliffe, Trust rep and nominee to the Board of OAFC, will be appointed to the board of the football club this month and a board will be established with regular board meetings.
- Darren Ratcliffe will meet with the Chairman in the next few days to establish his role on the board and how he can work with him on behalf of the Trust and the fans. As part of that a reporting-back mechanism will be established to help bring transparency.
- Access to the accounts was granted, allow us to give assurances on the financial health of the club.
Whilst this doesn’t answer all the questions that the Trust and supporters have, it is a step forward in the right direction. We welcome the club having a proper board and having access to the final accounts.
A further update will follow next week.