Notes from March 2021 Trust Board meeting
NEWPORT COUNTY AFC SUPPORTERS’ TRUST BOARD MEETING
MARCH 25, 2021, 7pm
MEETING HELD VIA VIDEO CONFERENCE
REDACTED NOTES FOR PUBLICATION
ATTENDEES (Board members): Gavin Foxall (GF, Chair), Kelly Anderson (KA), Mark Crook (MC), Mike Everett (ME), Colin Faulkner (CF), Bob Herrin (BH), Shaun Johnson (SJ), Peter Madigan (PM), Paul Marks (PMa), Kevin Ward (KW).
ATTENDEES (Club staff):Nigel Stephenson (NS).
NOT IN ATTENDANCE:Ryan Courtney (RC).
1. WELCOME (GF)
1.1 GF chaired the meeting to allow PMa, new Trust chair, to shadow before taking over chairing duties at the April meeting.
2. APPROVAL OF MINUTES FROM LAST MEETING (GF)
2.1 The minutes of the Trust Board meeting held on February 25, 2021, were approved as an accurate record.
3. MATTERS ARISING (GF)
3.1 None that are not included in agenda items.
4. EFL/CLUB UPDATE (GF/NS)
4.1 Meeting with manager: The Club Group had met with MF with the conversation centred on player retentions for next season and the general philosophy around recruitment etc.
4.2 Rodney Parade pitch: The month’s break with ourselves and the Dragons playing home matches in Cardiff has had the desired effect, with the pitch now much improved.
4.3 Sporting Director: The role has now been advertised with a closing date of April 2. There has been a great response, with 44 applications received to date. The interview panel will be GF, PM, NS and MF.
4.4 Shadow Sports Minister: GF met Jo Stevens MP to discuss Labour’s proposals to reform football. They are keen to continue to engage directly with us.
4.5 Academy Audit: The PGAAC Safe to Operate audit has been completed. A follow-up meeting has been arranged for tomorrow to discuss actions that need to be taken going forward.
4.6 Operational: NS provided a season-to-date report on Media, Retail, Academy, Ticketing and Football Administration operations. The accounts for the year ending June 2020 have been completed and forwarded to auditors with the intention of being filed with Companies House by the middle of April. Scholarship decisions have been made and communicated to the Club’s U16 players in preparation for the 2021/22 season. To date 585 Carl Zeiss Jena commemorative shirts have been sold. Preparations are under way to sell remainder of this season’s shirts and training wear, and to prepare the shop for reopening on April 12. Interviews for the Media Apprentice vacancy take place on March 29. The Board gave a vote of thanks to club secretary Ben Lucey for his work late into the night to secure the player registration documents from Australia to secure the signing of Joe Ledley.
5. FINANCIAL UPDATE (NS)
5.1 Cash flow has improved and budgets remain in line with forecast.
5.2 Flexible furlough continues to be utilised until new cut-off point of September 2021.
5.3 There has been a partial return of admin staff to meet workload.
5.4 Performance remains significantly ahead of budget.
5.5 Low level of debtors – balance being pursued.
5.6 NS met with GF & PM to commence budget preparations for 2021/22 season with key assumptions agreed in all revenue areas. New appointments and business opportunities are costed.
6. COMMERCIAL UPDATE (PM)
6.1 PM reported current commercial revenue was now well ahead of budget for the season.
6.2 All home matches have been sponsored with the exception of Scunthorpe United. All home match ball sponsorships have been sold except for Scunthorpe and Crawley.
6.3 There will be better communication with, and acknowledgement of, player sponsors next season. PM provided a detailed plan for this.
6.4 A sponsorship launch plan for the 21/22 season has been agreed.
6.5 With sponsorships for all three 21/22 shirts (front & back) agreed, the focus is now on selling the three shorts.
7. EQUALITY, DIVERSITY & INCLUSION (CF)
7.1 Zero complaints received.
7.2 Newport Walk for Dementia - 3k Your Way during April – has been launched and will continue to be publicised.
7.3 Kidscape activation vs Bolton. KA will take the lead. Players will be wearing the charity’s shirts in the warm-up and there will be a piece in the programme.
7.4 We are putting together an Awareness Calendar for next season. Directors were asked to submit anything to be included to CF.
7.5 CF has meet Rainbow Wall, the LGBTQ+ Wales supporters’ group, and we have made contact with a County supporter via the group with the aim of setting up our own group.
7.6 Mental Health: April is Stress Awareness Month. We will be helping to promote Andy’s Man Club at the Exeter away game. The virtual drop-in sessions are to restart. John Griffiths MS spoke in the Senedd about the club’s mental health work.
8. TRUST COMMUNITY GROUP (PMa)
8.1 PMa gave an update on Community Group activity.
8.2 The Trust Members’ Survey closed on March 9. The shirt winner has been drawn and publicised.
8.3 Analysis work to be done ahead of the next meeting in April.
9. SAFEGUARDING (KA)
9.1 KA provided a comprehensive summary of March safeguarding activity and focus points for April. Key points were as follows…
9.2 March: Review action points from the Safe to Operate audit, DBS audit continued, wording completed for a player/staff friendly card. Meetings included EFL Southern Safeguarding Group, Academy Governance Group, and the Club Safeguarding Group.
9.3 April: Finalise a matchday briefing report, finalise player friendly cards, review the induction process for all, complete review of the Safe to Operate audit safeguarding action points, work towards the action points from the Sheldon Report. Regular monthly meetings. Training to include workplace wellbeing and NSPCC Children’s Mental Health.
9.4 In advance of the meeting, KA provided Board members with a comprehensive review of the recently-published Sheldon Report into historic child abuse in football, and our plan to implement its recommendations. The 700-page report covered 23 professional clubs and made 13 recommendations. The EFL and FA have accepted all the recommendations. KA to lead on implementing and embedding the recommendations throughout the club.
10. BAR AMBER (PMa)
10.1 SJ had had further conversations with Corona Energy. They have now supplied a date for the removal of the meter. This will end the contract and all remaining Trust liability on the premises.
11. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
11.1 Pre-season: GF reported planning had started and was built into the budget for 21/22.
11.2 FSA: GF & PMa had met with the Football Supporters’ Association and we will continue to engage with them on the football reform agenda.
11.3 AGMs: GF reported the intention was to hold the 2019/20 Club and Trust AGMs in July – hopefully as a physical rather than virtual meeting.
11.4 Trust Board elections: The Board had previously agreed the elections would launch after the 2018/19 AGM. However, it was agreed the elections would now not be launched until the season was complete, to ensure no distractions in the run-in. As soon as the season is complete, the election process will be launched.
11.5 End of season awards: CF asked what the plans were for an awards night. GF said we would probably have to take a virtual approach again. A decision would be made at the next Board meeting.
Meeting closed at 8.33pm.
Next meeting: Thursday, April 29, at 7pm via Zoom.