Notes from June 2020 Trust Board meeting
NEWPORT COUNTY AFC SUPPORTERS’ TRUST BOARD MEETING
JUNE 25, 7pm
MEETING HELD VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE
REDACTED NOTES FOR PUBLICATION
ATTENDEES: Shaun Johnson (SJ, Chair), Gavin Foxall (GF), Colin Faulkner (CF), Bob Herrin (BH), Kevin Ward (KW), Peter Madigan (PM), Mike Everett (ME), Paul Marks (PMa), Kelly Anderson (KA), Mark Crook (MC), Nigel Stephenson (NS).
APOLOGIES: Ryan Courtney (RC)
- APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM LAST MEETING
- The minutes of the Trust Board meeting held on May 21, 2020, were approved as an accurate record.
- MATTERS ARISING
- CF said the Barnardo’s audit report would now be provided for the July meeting.
- CLUB GROUP UPDATE (GF)
- GF gave an update from the Club Group.
- EFL: The next meeting of League Two clubs was scheduled for June 30. This would include discussions around a number of topics including iFollow and what product could be offered if the 20/21 season starts behind closed doors, and the possibility of further funding
- Players: Mark O’Brien’s heart operation was due to take place soon; the club doctor had arranged for all players to be part of a cardio research programme for pre-season testing; all players and staff are receiving all comms before they go public.
- 20/21 Season: GF/PM/NS to meet with the manager next week
- Academy: Regular positive contact with Damien Broad and his team – all are understanding of the Covid situation and keen to do all they can to help the club. Exploring whether the arrangements we have with Lliswerry School could be replicated with other schools in the area. Any proposal will need to be signed off by the full Board but it could be a useful new revenue stream as well as increasing the geographical reach of the club.
- Retail: All imagery is now in from Hummel. Training and leisure wear will be available for sale online from July 1. Kit launch will be in three stages – away kit in July, third kit in August, home kit in September. KW reminded the Board that Covid Safe reopening equipment including hand sanitiser, face visors and floor vinyls was available free of charge from the Newport BID and he was liaising with BL on this. Remaining FBT kit needs to be out of the shop by July 1. The online shop would be down for maintenance on June 30 before its relaunch on July 1.
- Crowdfunder: PM gave an update on the home shirt sponsor fundraiser. AE had now sold separate sponsorships for the front and back of the away and third kits. Work was ongoing re a sponsor for the back of the home kit, and also for the shorts and training kit. PM emphasised that all directors needed to be playing their part in encouraging their contacts to donate to the crowdfunder.
- CASHFLOW/BUDGET (NS)
- NS provided an update.
- Expenditure in line with forecast.
- Income exceeded forecast as a result of the following: Retail Sales, Debtor Collection, HSBC Bounce Back Loan, Economic Resilience Fund Grant.
- Job Retention Scheme: already agreed to extend current arrangements to July. JRS for August, September & October to be reviewed monthly subject to circumstances and bearing in mind reduced level of recovery from HMRC.
- Central funding for the Academy was now confirmed with a modest but welcomed increase.
- ME queried whether Leasing.com Trophy income was guaranteed for season 20/21. GF said there was no indication to the contrary and the EFL still intended to deliver on all its contracted commercial deals.
- SEASON TICKETS (GF)
- GF presented a proposal regarding season tickets.
- The following had already been agreed by the Club Group on June 5 and approved by all other Board members on June 6 via video call: prices will be frozen given the economic climate; North terrace will open; there will be a pause between the crowdfunder and any communication on season tickets; to explore further with the EFL what next season looks like with iFollow subject to the information being forthcoming from the EFL meeting.
- The current budget assumes crowds not allowed to watch matches in stadiums until January 2021 and therefore any season ticket will need to include an iFollow pass. We have continued to engage with the EFL and they are not in a position yet to be able to relay what next season’s offering for iFollow will be. Currently there are two ways to purchase the product: season-long at £45 or match-by-match at £2.50. This product is only for audio. Video is not available currently for home league games and though there has been a recent trial to change this, it has not been concluded. As it stands today, there is not a product on offer on a like for like basis, that would enable fans to watch games behind closed doors. If we were to offer a season ticket with full iFollow access we would be at risk of offering something that we cannot deliver, at a price that may well mean we make less than we are anticipating (we currently have to pay as a club for the iFollow service), for a product that may well not exist next season, and not being able to offer to all our fans – iFollow is not available to those under 18. If we were to offer iFollow as an alternative to match attendance while matches are played behind closed doors, we could incur additional costs and fail to maximise our potential revenue for the club. Specifically, we would not be able to switch off the livestream when we resume playing in front of crowds. Our view is to have an approach that offers iFollow video viewing when games are behind closed doors but with the stream switched off when matches can be played in front of crowds. However, this is not available yet but is under consideration by the EFL, along with an away match pass.
- The recommendation therefore is that we issue a communication stating we are looking at options that offer best value for both fans and the club given the economic environment; that the EFL are looking at the iFollow options and until these are known it is difficult to offer a package that we can deliver and price accordingly; that outlines what we are anticipating - prices frozen etc – but that all is subject to change dependent upon the EFL iFollow package.
- KW suggested offering supporters cardboard cut-outs of themselves for any matches played behind closed doors. These could be included in the benefits for season tickets and sold separately to non-season ticket holders.
- GF confirmed there would be payment options for season tickets.
- The recommendation was approved unanimously.
- EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (CF)
- CF provided an update.
- One complaint of racist behaviour on social media – being investigated.
- Club supported #BlackLivesMatter using EFL approved message.
- Connected with Anwar Uddin from FSA – useful contact going forward, happy to fund some events, awareness days etc
- Holding E,D&I Forum with supporters from all 5 protected characteristics next week.
- Mental Health Awareness Week: The Charter was now on Policies page of the club website. The Charter has been endorsed and promoted, video messages of endorsement shared, city-wide working group set up.
- CF also relayed the results of the Level Playing Field’s Covid-19 survey of disabled football supporters. These can be found here: https://www.levelplayingfield.org.uk/news-item/level-playing-fields-covid-19-disabled-fans-survey-results/
- CF said there had been communications with furloughed staff to check on their mental health.
- SAFEGUARDING (CF)
- CF provided an update.
- Zero incidents reported from the club.
- DBS checks can start again now.
- COUNTY IN THE COMMUNITY (CF & BH)
- CF and BH gave an update from the most recent County in the Community trustees’ meeting.
- BAR AMBER (SJ & PMa)
- SJ and PMa provided an update on Bar Amber closure activities and their RAG ratings.
- ANY OTHER BUSINESS (All)
- KW raised the need to set a timescale for the club and Trust AGMs. It was agreed to organise a date for October as the accounts are due for filing in September.
- KW raised for the minutes that the next set of Trust board elections were due in December. KW, RC, BH and CF were all due to end their three-year terms, but all could stand should they wish for a further term. It was agreed to discuss further at the next Community Group meeting.
- PMa gave an update on Trust memberships. Numbers have been static since April so there had been no drop-off in members during lockdown. Following agreement at the last Community Group meeting, the full Board approved an increase in monthly donations to the club to £7.5k.
- GF suggested the Board formally record their thanks for the hard work undertaken by NS and BL during lockdown. This was agreed.
- CF stated there was no date set for the next Community Group meeting. SJ said he would email everyone with a date in the next day or so.
Meeting closed at 9.05pm. Next meeting: Tuesday, July 28, via video conference. Start time 7pm.