Here are the official minutes of the third BST Annual General Meeting.
1) Committee Election Results:
The secretary announced the annual committee election results as follows:
Number of members voting: 423; (419 online, 3 postal, 1 formal abstention).
Votes received by the individual candidates were:
Christine Seddon 404
Andy Higgins 400
Francis Charlesworth 400
Pauline O’Rourke 394
Tony Wilkinson 376
Mike Nash 370
Ray Gregson 364
Gareth White 356
Karen McGuinness 84
Congratulations were offered to the first eight named above who join Tony Hodgson on the BST committee. The secretary thanked everyone who exercised their democratic right in the election.
The chairperson then formally thanked the departed secretary Kevin Boroduwicz for his diligent years of service to the Trust; thanked Steve Rowland for his years as chairman and wished him good luck in his role as secretary; and thanked departing committee members Karen McGuinness, Steve Redwin and Darren Roberston for their contribution to the work of the Trust.
2) Request For Helping Hands:
The committee works very hard on a number of fronts via sub-committees (community, enterprise, events, governance, media, membership) and is always looking to co-opt expertise from the members to help on specific tasks. If anyone has a particular skill-set (business, legal, financial, IT literate, journalistic et cetera) and would be willing to give up some time to help with initiatives, the Trust is planning to update our database of Helping Hands.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details if you would like be on the volunteer register.
3) BST Annual Accounts 2016-2017:
The accounts are available for viewing on the BST website (About Us > Annual Accounts). The treasurer presented the accounts to the meeting . The Trust has a positive balance of £7,313 on the financial year, having met expenses and made charitable donations of nearly £10,000. The Trust is very careful with its expenditure and keeps costs to a minimum. There was a query about the refund item. £1,000 of this was to reverse a ‘foundation’ membership. Any other enquiries related to the Trusts accounts can be directed to email@example.com The accounts have been approved and submitted to HMRC.
4) Fans-Not-Numbers/Governance Update:
The chairperson reported that Jaimie Fuller (CEO of SKINS and the campaigning force behind Fans-Not-Numbers) was very impressed by BST, Blackpool supporters and the campaign launch in Blackpool. Several roadshows have been held across the country. Trevor Sinclair has agreed to contribute to the next campaign video – as it is important to have ex-players supporting the calls for reform – and Jaimie is looking to further engage MPs in phase two of the campaign later this year.
The deputy-chair stated that the vote of support for Fans-Not-Numbers by Blackpool Council was significant. It will result in a letter going to the prime-minister calling for regulatory change and it is hoped other councils will follow Blackpool’s example.
5) Manifesto Update:
The BST Manifesto is an expanded statement of what the Trust stands for and what it wants for and from its football club – particularly relevant as we look forward to a change in ownership and approach at Bloomfield Road. It is still in draft form while we cross-check it against the new 80 page report from Supporters Direct on proposals for regulatory change in English football. We want to ensure the Manifesto is consistent with those proposals and we hope it might become a template for other supporters’ trusts to adopt. It will be sent out to the membership for review and feedback as soon as it is ready.
The membership secretary advised that currently there are just over 1,200 paid-up members of the Trust, a fall of about a third since the peak. A few members resigned because they found the ethical boycott too radical a stance; some have left because they hoped for instant change and didn’t think the Trust was being radical enough; lethargy or forgetfulness (“I kept meaning to renew”) appears to explain the biggest fall-off. 1,200 committed members is still way more than most clubs the size of Blackpool have, but the Trust is always looking for new and better ways to encourage supporters to join (or rejoin) BST. Numbers are important in the context of the change we are trying to bring about and the significant role we wish the Trust to play in the future of our club.
The meeting was asked to consider ways of boosting membership. Personal contact is probably the most effective – fans prompting fellow fans – and members were asked to take away membership forms to try and sign up new or lapsed supporters.
If anyone has other ideas as to how recruitment can be improved, they can email all suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
7) BST Events:
The BST Golf Day was successful and will be repeated next year. The point was made that the social/meal at the end of the day was excellent and an opportunity for non-golfers to join in.
There was support in the meeting for some form of BST Christmas social. The events sub-committee will make plan.
8) BST Merchandise:
The meeting was asked if there was any appetite for new BST merchandise at this time – another alternative shirt or a BST/Football First scarf. The consensus was that the best option would be to wait for regime change and then to consider some commemorative ‘victory’ merchandise.
At last year’s AGM it was suggested that the Trust set up a system that would allow interested members to make donations (e.g. in lieu of buying a season-ticket) to build a ‘war chest’ to help fund Trust activities – for instance split 80% into a fighting fund to help win/buy the club back, 10% to Justice4fans and 10% for charitable works but the idea was then pended. It was agreed by the meeting that the committee will look at this again and make recommendations to the membership.
It was also proposed that the Trust looks at setting up a register of those who would be willing to buy a season ticket (at a realistic price e.g. £350) once there is regime change – this to be able to demonstrate to potential new owners that there is a viable fan base waiting to support the club going forward. The committee will consider the practicalities of this suggestion as well.
10) Gary Miles/Organ Donation:
As reported in the most recent BST newsletter, member Gary Miles is currently in the Acute Critical Care Unit at Wythenshawe Hospital awaiting a heart transplant. The Trust sends Gary its best wishes at this critical time. Gary has suggested that BST members might consider supporting Wythenshawe’s New Start charity which helps patients before and after surgery. £79 was raised for New Start in a collection at today’s AGM. The website to give funds can be found at: www.newstartcharity.org
11) Safe Standing:
Shrewsbury Town is looking to become the first English league club to re-introduce a safe-standing area in the stadium. They are working with TIFOSY on a crowd-funder campaign to raise the £70,000 required to install the safe-standing area. They are 90% of the way there and via the Football Supporters’ Federation are appealing for support from other avenues. It was agreed by the meeting that BST would contribute £100 as a gesture of support. (It is in our own draft manifesto that we wish to see a safe-standing area in future at Bloomfield Road.)
12) Court Case/Future Direction:
The chairperson advised that the High Court ruling is expected in the second half of October. No one can predict what it will be, though based on evidence given a finding in Mr Belokon’s favour looks almost certain – the key will be how large an award is made. We should also be prepared for an almost inevitable challenge by the Oystons if they lose, so eventual resolution my still be many months away.
The chairperson advised that it is inconceivable that the owners can continue indefinitely. It is merely a question of what the final trigger will be to prompt the sale of the club and the Oystons’ departure.
The Trust is monitoring all events minutely and will keep members informed of any significant developments or issues arising.
a) Crest: It was asked if the football club has permission to use the town crest and if, in light of the Council’s recent endorsement of Fans-Not-Numbers it could be asked to review the club’s use of the town crest until the current situation at Bloomfield Road is resolved. The committee agreed to follow up on this.
b) Court Transcribers: A formal vote of thanks was given to all those individuals who had given up time to attend the London High Court hearings to provide daily court transcripts for fans following the progress of the case. Their efforts were hugely appreciated.