Official Minutes of the Annual General Meeting 2010

Held at The Den on Wednesday April 28th 2010
The following were in attendance: Peter Garston (Fan On The Board), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson (MSC Vice Chairman), Graeme Smale (MSC Secretary), Mark Holland (MSC Website Controller), Sam Masson, George Lampey, Chris Prete, Chris Rudd, Jason Roseman and Dave Hart (MSC Committee Members), Anne Lampey, Michelle James, Robert James, Peter Brittain, Jim Nash and Jon Packman. Apologies For Absence Apologies were received from Ayse Smith (MSC Committee Member) due to ill health and Ian Toal (MSC Treasurer) whose return to this country was delayed by the volcanic ash cloud.

Chairman's Review Of The Committee Year
Bob Asprey commenced by thanking all for attending and said that whilst he wished for a bigger turnout, he understood that annual general meetings were regarded by many as dry and only of a minority interest. Further, on the bright side, the lower turnout would tend to show that there was not large scale supporter unrest regarding the committee's performance. Bob then went on to say that Ian Toal, the MSC Treasurer had been held up returning to this country from abroad due to the Ash Cloud and because of Ian's absence, the normal verbal presentation of the yearly Report And Accounts would not occur at this AGM. Financial Details and Accounts will appear with this written account on the MSC website.

Bob said at the beginning of the committee year early last summer, the committee had set itself 13 objectives and he now proposed to review these objectives to ascertain progress made.

The first objective was to provide the supporters and MSC members with better away travel advice. This had been a great success with information being posted on the MSC website about travel, cheap tickets, maps and pubs for away fans before most away fixtures. Chris Rudd must be thanked for his efforts here.

The second objective was to increase MSC website hits making it more relevant and user friendly. Mark Holland has excelled in this area and should be congratulated. He will be sorely missed as he has elected to stand down from the committee this year. Well done Mark. You will be a big hole to fill. Minutes of meetings with the club, updates on MSC activities and the re-appearance of Lions Live has meant that hits have risen from a monthly number of around 9,000 at the start of the year to 20,000 last month.

Thirdly, it was thought that the MSC should detail more clearly the results of discussions highlighting the wins/ losses with the Police and The Club. MSC cannot become involved in individual members cases once Police charges have been laid, but did publicly support the Club against the West Ham charges and contributed to the defence monies. As regards dealings with the club the MSC has now established monthly meetings with the Chief Executive, Andy Ambler, and minutes of these meetings are regularly posted on the MSC website.

The fourth objective was to allocate tasks to each committee member. Bob said that he considered that this had not worked well with some committee members having more onerous duties than others. It will be necessary to look at task allocation again in the new year. Another objective was to carry out more canvassing of fans views. Bob continued that this is always an area where MSC can improve. At present MSC can be contacted by its membership via e-mail, through the club's supporter message boards and via the Lions Live Radio Show. It is hoped that better use of the club's database can be made to contact members in the future.

A further aim was to become involved in and to ensure members' views were heard regarding discussions for the club's 125-year celebrations. Bob thought the committee had done well here. The 125- year celebration team included committee members and supporters voted on the design of the anniversary shirt.

Moving on, the committee also thought that two newsletters should be produced containing MSC content. This objective was achieved as in fact three newsletters were produced.

It was also thought that MSC should be better at promoting good news. Bob thought this aim had been generally achieved with the club's Help For Heroes Day being mentioned in the League Paper and Evening Standard due to the efforts of committee member George Lampey and Everyman Cancer functions also being highlighted by the committee but there was still room for improvement in the way the committee deals with press matters.

Another important aim was to build on our relationships with the club and supporters. Bob felt that the committee had established a very constructive link with the club involving the monthly meetings. He also continued by saying that he thought the MSC's relationship with the supporters was much more meaningful in 2010 than in 2003. The supporters / members, he thought, see MSC in a much more positive light.

At this point Chris Rudd suggested that the committee should take some of its meetings to local pubs to connect with the supporters. This had been done to limited effect in previous years but had not been continued this year. An evening meeting in the Foresters was suggested.

The MSC also had the aim of enabling one coach to be sent to every away match except those very local to The Den. Bob stated that this had happened although significant help was needed from the Junior Lions for the coach to Carlisle. Bob thanked the coach co-ordinators Sam Masson and Chris Prete.

Moving on, a further objective was to represent all members' views at club meetings without pursuing personal agendas. Bob believed this had been achieved.

Another aim was to promote the MSC in the fanzines. Again this has been largely achieved. We now have a magazine editor on the committee in the shape of Ayse Smith for TLR.

The final objective was to get Lions Live back on air. Due to the efforts of George Lampey this has been done. Thanks also to Graeme Smale and Ted Robinson committee members and also thanks to the presenter Joe Amphlett.

Looking back over the committee year, Bob thought that most objectives had been achieved and that the year had been good although as always there was room for improvement. The good committee year has been reflected by the fine year on the pitch and Club Chairman John Berlyson and manager Kenny Jackett should be praised for their efforts.

Bob also took time to thank last year's MSC Committee. Being a committee member is really a labour of love and takes a great deal of time and dedication.

Bob then remarked on the pleasure of seeing Peter Garston healthy again and also thanked Peter for his efforts as fan director.

Comments From Fan Director Peter Garston
Peter commenced by saying that since he won the Fan On The Board election some four years ago, the supporters' club committee had improved beyond recognition. The committee in those days was a badly led shambles. Now he can work with MSC effectively. Everything that is taken to him or MSC will be looked at and worked on but sometimes people do not get the answer they want.

Peter has found that his place has strengthened over his period on the Board. Under Peter de Savary, Peter was only involved in football club meetings but now John Berylson has invited Peter to both football and Holding Company meetings. Access to meetings and instant access to the Chairman has improved fan representation. Peter pointed out that in meetings he has to support the majority view rather than his own individual one. He has been present at the sacking of 5 managers and was involved in Neil Harris being offered an extended contract. People often comment that the Official Site is slow to pick up news of new contracts and signings but The Millwall Board like things to be completely signed and settled before issuing statements, unlike other clubs.

Peter said he was proud of the Dockers Day and Help For Heroes functions that have been initiated whilst he has been acting as Fan On The Board. Indeed, he took the Help For Heroes idea to the Board nearly a year before it was finally adopted.

Peter felt that the MSC should look into two major areas in the new year. The first is the attitude of the stewards and the second is stadium catering. He felt that the aim should be to make the catering spend per head the first highest rather than the third highest, which seemed to content the club.

Peter was asked several questions including:

Why is Mr Lacey selling his shares and who is he selling them to?
Peter replied that he might just be increasing his personal cash flow and was just selling the shares back to institutions in the market.

What does Dick Press add to the Board?
Peter said he brought knowledge as a shrewd businessman.

Is Mr Shenkleman still interested in joining the Board?
Peter replied that he seems to fall in and out of love with Millwall.

Proposed Constitutional Changes
Bob returned to address the meeting by saying that the MSC constitution needed changing. At one point it seemed that an election of committee members may be necessary at this AGM, as some five people had shown an interest in joining the committee. Interest has now melted away leaving only one new member who, with the current committee numbers, can be accommodated without election. The present method of merely picking names out of a hat to put up for election meant this year the committee could have lost its Chairman, Vice Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary i.e. all the major officers. A way must be found to protect the committee whilst being democratic.

Other changes are needed to ensure good attendance and involvement by all committee members. Bob realised that the changes suggested at this AGM could not be brought in straight away, as there is a need in the constitution to publish the desired changes 14 days ahead of an AGM. However, he was keen to discuss proposals to ascertain whether there was a broad sense of agreement.

The first change is an alteration to Clause 4.3 to stipulate that the committee also elects a Vice Chairman. This alteration received unanimous agreement by a show of hands.

The second change involves committee elections. A new proposal that those attending the least number of supporters club meetings should automatically stand for re-election each year. This proposal received an amount of opposition from certain committee members who were assured that ill health and work commitments would be taken into account. Some wanting complete democracy wanted all members up for re-election frequently but democracy had to be tempered somewhat as officers such as the Treasurer and Secretary are often difficult to replace and require people who are committed to take the work on.

Proposals from the floor suggested that all committee members should complete a fixed term of say three years before having to go up for re-election or that a maximum of only 2 officers could be made to seek re-election each year. After some discussion giving a fixed term to members received only 3 votes whilst restricting the number of committee officers to seek re-election to 2 each year received only 6 votes. Basing re-election on the number of attended meetings was favoured receiving 11 votes.

A third constitutional change was suggested to encourage members' participation, making it mandatory to attend 75% of supporters club meetings and 50% of MSC events subject to ill health and other unavoidable commitments. Again this received some opposition from serving committee members with some thinking it very blunt with little consideration to people's circumstances.

Bob thanked people for considering the changes and said they would be discussed by the committee again and worked into proposals for next year's AGM. In the meantime, the attendance of supporters club meetings and MSC events suggestion would be used as a guideline for the next committee year.

A discussion ensued about attracting members to the committee. The idea of getting prospective new members to attend committee meetings in the year before they join to see whether they liked the committee and understood what is required of them, was rejected by some as it seemed close to the existing committee vetting members and would interfere with the democratic process. It was decided that the Chairman should prepare a piece to be posted on the MSC website about the time and dedication needed to become a committee member.

The New Committee With Mark Holland departing, the number of committee members has fallen to 11. Jim Nash wished to join to give a total of 12 on the committee, which according to the MSC Constitution could have a maximum of 13 members. Therefore, there was no need for a formal election procedure with Jim automatically being asked to join the committee. Jim introduced himself as an ex referee who had been involved in supporter matters for some years. Jim was part of the Independent Supporters Club Committee who once tried to purchase the old ground. He said he had some experience of dealing with the press in defending the reputation of Millwall supporters. With the departure of Mark Holland, the MSC web master, Jon Packman has offered to assist with the website but does not want to sit on the committee. Bob thanked Jon and said that details will be worked out after the next committee meeting.

With No Other Business the meeting terminated at 9.40pm.

 

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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