Official Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2007

Held in The Executive Lounge at The Den on Wednesday April 11th commencing 7.30 pm
The following Committee Members were present. Suzaane Roberts-Attwood (MSC Chairperson), Ian Toal (Treasurer), Cliff Hughes, Bob Asprey, George Lampey, Dave Hart, David Orr, Damian Fox, Paul Robinson and Graeme Smale (Secretary). Peter Garston (The Fan Director) was also in attendance.

Introduction And Welcome by MSC Chairperson
Suzanne opened the meeting by welcoming those attending but added the numbers present disappointed her. In addition to the Secretary and Treasurer, she then introduced other members of the MSC committee and aside from general committee matters, detailed their roles over the last year. Dave Hart and Paul had worked on arranging the social events and Dave had also checked and answered the post. Damian had worked with Peter Garston on policing matters. George had taken over responsibility for answering the MSC telephone, Bob and Cliff had had a significant input into the Terms Of Reference and David Orr had, since being co-opted on to the committee in January, significantly improved the MSC website.

Acceptance Of The Minutes Of The Previous 2006 / 2007 AGM
There being no suggested amendments, the Minutes of the previous year's AGM were accepted as a true record, proposed by Suzanne seconded by Dave.

Summary Of MSC Year And Achievements
Suzanne commenced by stating that the MSC is the only supporters group officially recognised by the football club and it continues to struggle for benefits for its members. The club membership scheme seems to be here for the immediate future and the MSC committee should use it to gain advantages for its members so that it should not just be seen as a punishment.

The year had started shakily for the committee with four committee members leaving in the summer in Tony Manock, Sam Masson, Nick Hart and Jes Holden due to disagreement with committee policy. Graham Cooper left later as he did not feel he was able to devote enough time to his duties. However, the remainder of the committee soldiered on and had, she thought, been able to achieve some notable success. The emphasis had been on improving communications with the club and Peter Garston had proved invaluable in this area. The arrival of the new football club board had also facilitated improvement.

Peter de Savary had allowed the MSC to use the blue bus on match-days and this has proved useful in meeting the fans, hearing complaints and queries and advertising MSC social events. She felt that the club was now taking the committee seriously and this was evidenced by the recognition in writing, for the first time, of a relationship between the club and the MSC in the form of the Terms Of Reference.

Further, the club has now formerly agreed to regular monthly meetings with the committee where supporter issues are discussed and this shows more evidence of communication barriers being broken down.

At these meetings, the MSC had had some input into season ticket offers and pricing and had made some suggestions regarding individual ticket pricing. It is currently attempting to get a two-pound discount on tickets for members in the South Stand and is continuing to pursue the issue of obtaining OAP status for women who are 60 and above.

Further evidence of improved communications is shown by the fact that a couple of committee members (limited due to data protection) have been given access to the club's database and once some technical problems are resolved it should be possible to e-mail members.

After negotiations with the club, it has been agreed that the club would give four fans forums a year and the fourth for this year will hopefully occur before the start of the new season in August with Willie Donachie in attendance.

Suzanne thanked Dave Orr for his work on the website which is now frequently updated and usually includes links to all the main message boards.

The MSC had also been heavily involved in the area of Policing with Peter and Suzanne being asked to a meeting with the Police who were keen to explain and justify their actions following Operation Devine earlier in the year. Peter had been pivotal in ensuring fairness in the area of ejection and banning orders but had received strong support from Damian Fox, who throughout the year, had built up good relations with the Police and club security staff. These relations, Suzanne thought, had benefited the supporters.

She was, however, disappointed at the events at Yeovil where the MSC had been responsible for the provision of coaches to complete the long journey from the station to the ground. A small group of so called fans had damaged the coaches and abused bus staff ensuring that this service will not be provided again and raising the possibility that Millwall supporters will not be allowed to visit that ground next year.

On the subject of away travel, Suzanne stated that the MSC had continued the struggle to persuade clubs to allow Pay On The Day facilities. Throughout the season, it had often been the case that the local constabulary had advised their clubs not to offer Pay On The Day, but since November some 68% of away games have had a POTD facility.

In the area of social and charity, the MSC has also been active. The MSC's chosen charity, Demelza House had received MSC support at some fund raising events and it was likely that a donation to this charity will be made from the Player Of The Year Dinner.

To replace the Christmas Disco, a supporter's trip to Bruges had been arranged. MSC fan trips to our games at Carlisle and Blackpool with over night hotel stays had also been successfully completed. These trips had involved supporters between the ages of 18-73.

There had been MSC representation at the Junior Lions Fun Day and Christmas Party and the MSC had made a monetary donation to the JLs. Upcoming MSC events include The St. George's Day Quiz night and the end of season player of the year function which the club are running in association with the MSC. Suzanne felt that these social events were important to help unite supporters in their love for Millwall.

She concluded that the club and supporter representation were showing signs of moving into a new era and praised those that had served on the committee throughout the year for their efforts.

She then took questions from the floor and was asked by Peter Heard about the size of the MSC membership. Peter was told that there were currently 8,300 members of whom 4,800 were season ticket holders.

Presentation Of Annual Report And Accounts By The MSC Treasurer
The Income and Expenditure report attached details the 12 months to 31st December 2006. The figures show that we made a loss for the calendar year of £673.76 compared to a profit of £588.49 in 2005. There are simple reasons for the loss this year. Increased donations in terms of sponsorship of the U15's, donations of two silver salvers to ex-players to commemorate their testimonial matches and more expense on MOM awards (this was artificially low in 2005 due to trophies held over from 2004) and some trophies used in 2007 were included in the cost for 2006 shown here. These accounts are for MSC held funds, which do not include the £1 donation the MSC receives for each adult membership, which was agreed upon and introduced for the current season.

Income
We had total income of £6,717.16 for the year. This was up by over £3,000 on the season due to the running of three coach trips in 2006 compared to none in 2005. We are again very grateful for the Coach and Horses Pub for renewing their sponsorship of the Man of Match Awards bringing in £600 over the calendar year. Their sponsorship makes many a young fan happy. Our Quiz nights continue to be a great success with the two held during 2006 making a healthy £798.02 despite offering decent prizes for a quiz night. The rest of the income mainly came from raffles we held throughout the season. Like always, I have to genuinely thank all supporters for their support of the raffles and social nights, the income provided has continued to help us to operate. As ever it is an appropriate time to thank the committee for selling the social nights well.

Expenditure
We had total expenditure of £7,391.36, which just like the income is up on the previous year mainly due to running the coach trips and the weekend away in Blackpool (for the Carlisle match). Also the sponsorship of the U15's tracksuits, silver salver donations and MOM trophies as detailed previously added to the increased expenditure. If you exclude the U15's sponsorship and the donations a comfortable profit of £350 would have been made. Included in the donations was £100 donated to the Millwall Lionesses following good prompting from Pete Garston! There were various other expenses including Player of the Season Trophies, FSF membership, sweets for the Junior Lions Fun day, website hosting and stationary. Pleasingly as ever, all committee members carried out their roles during the year to full effect without claiming expenses to allow the MSC to make the donations and operate. Obviously we would not object to the claiming of reasonable expenses but the committee have not even considered asking. Also pleasing was the club paying for the printing of a high quality early season newsletter and also donated items, which we have raffled off during the year.

Allowing for cheques to be presented (which has since been cashed), at 31st December 2006, we have a balance of £1,018.25 plus club held funds. The accounts will be sent to be voluntarily audited in the close season.

Ian then took questions and was asked by Peter Garston about the MSC funds held by the club, which arose from the one-pound contribution of the membership fee paid by members and season ticket holders. The club is currently holding some six thousand pounds and Peter asked about the conditions on which this sum is held and whether the MSC is entitled to interest on this sum. He will return to the club to clarify these matters.

It was noted that asking for higher deposits or the whole cost up front, could reduce the losses incurred on the MSC coach trips. Paul Burkmar asked how the sponsorship money for the under 15s tracksuits was accrued and was informed that initially it was planned to arrange a bucket collection but this had not proved possible and the contribution was taken directly from MSC funds.

Presentation Of Proposed Constitutional Changes
The following changes to the MSC constitution outlined in Red were proposed: -
4.4 Any serving member whose conduct is considered detrimental to the MSC and its reputation may be forced to relinquish their position upon agreement of in excess of 50% of other committee members. In addition, Committee members should note that failure to attend two out of three consecutive MSC committee meetings without reasonable excuse may attract sanction.
4.7 (A new provision) Each meeting of the MSC Committee must be attended by a quorum of 50% of the then standing Committee members.
6.1 At least 21 days notice shall be given of the MSC AGM, which will be held before the last League game of the season. The changes to paragraphs 4.4 and the new 4.7 were passed but the alteration to 6.1 was withdrawn after discussion.

Address By Peter Garston
Peter began by thanking all the fans who had supported him and also thanked members of the MSC who he had entrusted with information and who had not let him down. He had enjoyed an interesting time.

The appointment of Nigel Spackman had given him sleepless nights and some abuse from the fans. Before the appointment he attended three board meetings in two weeks when a list of thirteen prospective managers was drawn up. Peter submitted the fan's favourite, Dave Penney and as the names were whittled down warned the board about Spackman's unpopularity. But Nigel had interviewed well and impressed the majority of the board members.

Peter commented that he had learnt a lot about football and once you get that close you begin to understand why certain managers end up at different clubs. He was involved in the decision making process behind the departures of Nigel Spackman and Ray Wilkins. Peter now thought that the board has learnt several lessons following the Spackman experience. Twenty players were too many to bring in at once and little research was carried out on the new recruits before the contracts were signed. Donachie and his team of Pat Holland and Colin West now carried out a lot more research before players are bought in. Due to the considerable improvement that Willie Donachie had made to team performance, Peter encouraged the board to offer him a contract extension of two years.

On other matters, Peter believed that the regeneration scheme looked hopeful and thought that John Berylson would be good for the club.
Peter continued that he had attended the Junior Lions fundays, Christmas parties and quizzes. He had made it clear to the club that if players were promised at fan's functions then they actually do attend and he had noticed that player attendance had improved.

He had instigated the raising of one thousand three hundred pounds for The Lionesses and was involved in discussions to extend the licence on the Lions Centre for the Junior Lions.

He had attended most MSC meetings and enjoyed playing Devils Advocate to encourage discussion. However, his most satisfying result was the organizing of Dockers Day and he was extremely grateful to Chris Bethell for his great help. He thanked those on the message boards who had raised 600 pounds towards funding the event within a day. He had enjoyed seeing the old dockers excitedly approaching players and ex professionals for their autographs.

He stated that with the arrival of Andy Ambler, the new financial director further board moves could be seen within the next 7-10 days. The club was continuing to run on Championship lines but cuts were needed and those that were not pulling their weight would be identified. Paul Burkmar asked whether Mr. Ambler was bought in over night or had he been involved in club dealings for a period of time. Peter said that he had been observing for a few weeks. Bob Asprey asked whether Peter knew on which board Mr. Ambler would sit and Peter presumed that he would be involved with both. Cliff Hughes proposed a vote of thanks to Peter for his efforts.

Introduction Of The New Committee
The meeting was informed that in addition to the now standing committee members both Paul Burkmar and Peter Heard have applied to join for the next year. Paul is a past committee chairman whilst Peter had been prominent in the LECB effort before the start of this season. Both are regarded as top quality recruits.

Discussion Of Aims And Objectives For The MSC Committee Over The Next Year
Suzanne stated that the committee would continue to build on the achievement of next year. There were certain difficult issues coming up including the no smoking ban. The MSC would watch the regeneration scheme to make sure the Den is protected. The committee would continue to support anti-racism measures to ensure all fans are treated fairly. The MSC would also continue to fight for a fair ticket pricing system.

Suzanne thought there were a number of lines of communications now including the website, the bus, and the TGI radio and MSC must use them. She was happy to continue MSC's involvement with foreign supporters and was pleased to arrange a question and answer session for foreign fans with Les Briley recently. She had originally instigated the idea of the Player Of The Year end of season dinner but the club had now hijacked this. Linda Garston asked what she meant by 'hijacked'. Suzanne explained that the Club had now taken over the organizing of the event and had set prices in excess of those original planned by MSC. In return MSC had been given a free table having 12 places. Paul Burkmar was anxious that committee members should not take these free places and was assured that the committee was already discussing how to distribute these tickets to the fan base. Two places had already been put up for auction for the Tommy Hoad appeal.

Peter Heard then made the powerful point that despite all the MSC achievement that had been spoken about this evening virtually no fans had bothered to turn up to the meeting. It was acknowledged that whilst improved communications had been enjoyed with the club much work is still required in engaging the fan base.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9.54 PM.

 

Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den, Zampa Road, London SE16 3LN  -  phone: 07895 022 325  -  email: info@millwallsupportersclub.co.uk

 


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