As you will know, Trust In Yellow has been trying to arrange a meeting with Mr. Clapham for some time. The date agreed of 24th October had to be changed because of the FA Cup draw which gave us a match at Gateshead. However, the meeting will now go ahead on the 14th November. We thought members would like to see a copy of the letter we will be sending to the Chairman in preparation for the meeting.
There is general concern amongst members of the Trust about the future prospects for the club both in the short and longer terms. We realise that these are difficult financial times but would like to be reassured as to the club’s strategy for making progress and ensuring a bright future for the club. We come to the meeting hoping to improve the ways in which the Trust and Club can work together to create a more successful club for its supporters.
The areas we would like to cover at this and future meetings are set out below in the form of an agenda.
1. Future of the Youth Development Schemes & Reserve team
This is currently a great success story primarily due to the development of young players through the youth schemes run by Allan Smart and others, including first team squad members.
Will these schemes be running next season and into the foreseeable future?
When the Trust was asked to support the Reserve team financially for the 2009/10 season we were informed that future funding would be derived from the Learning & Skills Council for the SSES scheme. Can the club confirm that this remains the case? Details of Trust funding provided to date and a projection of costs for the full season are attached.
2. Current financial position
The club has previously suggested to members that, contrary to the pattern of previous years, a small profit was anticipated for 2008/09. As an initiative to reassure Trust members of the club’s financial stability, could a draft copy of its 2008/09 Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet be made available for review by members of the Trust Board?
How do the financial results for the 2009/10 year to date compare with budget? How is the club’s financial position monitored internally on an ongoing basis?
3. Pricing policy
At the end of last season, Trust members expressed concern that concessionary admission prices, especially for those under 16 years of age, were above the level readily affordable by a large section of the club’s potential supporter base. The issue has been further highlighted by the absence of any current scheme for the allocation of free tickets via schools.
A review of these prices was also promised as a response to questions raised at the AGM. Since admission prices have remained unchanged, can the findings of any review be disclosed together with the reasons for making no alterations?
At a time when crowds are in steady decline at Haig Avenue, what plans does the club have to encourage floating, vanished and armchair supporters to attend games and increase matchday revenue?
5. Commercial activities
What progress is the Club making in its attempts to improve the commercial side of the club and develop other streams of revenue? Are naming rights for the ground still under negotiation? Does the ‘Goalden Lottery’ continue to generate significant income?
6. Catering facilities
Twelve months ago Trust In Yellow raised concerns from supporters at the standard of catering on offer at Haig
Avenue. In May members were told by then Chief Executive Haydn Preece that there would be substantial changes to the catering facilities with a new menu and new eating areas. The understanding of members is that the intention was to install a number of brick buildings to improve the catering facilities at the ground. As these are not yet in place, can the club confirm what stage these developments have currently reached?
7. Strategic planning
Does the club have a plan for its development in the medium to long term and, in particular, if circumstances arose in which it could no longer depend on the financial support of its present major backers.
8. Disabled facilities
We have been informed that the ‘Centenary Appeal Committee’ raised a sum of some £6,000 that was earmarked for the improvement of facilities for disabled supporters at Haig Avenue. Can we assume that this money would be available if the Trust proposed a suitable scheme for development in conjunction with the club?
9. Community involvement
What plans does the club have to build its links with the community, in particular local schools?
10. Next meeting
Agreement of date, time and venue of next meeting.