20 February 2019 Committee Meeting

1st Mar 2019

OxVox Committee Meeting Minutes 

Date: Wednesday 20th February 2019. Venue: Oxford City & County Bowls Club.

Attendees: Jemma Hayward (JH), Maurice Earp (ME), Wes Harrison (WH), Simon Hathaway (SH), Trevor Lambert (TL), Paul Peros (PP), Dave Thornton (DT), Ali Wolfe (AW).

Apologies: Michael North (MN), Matt Cavill (MC).

Start: 7.00pm. Finish: 10.00pm.

1 – Minutes of last meeting (January 2 2019) and matters arising

The minutes of 2 January were accepted.

The Food Bank collection held at the Sunderland match had been hugely successful.

2 – Discussion of Club matters

A lengthy discussion of recent events was held, which occupied the greater part of the meeting. Poor recent results had left the club once again in the relegation places in the league, while off the field it has been suggested that a fourth winding up petition had been served, this time by Firoka, and match day access and related problems had contributed to the Ultras group’s decision to disband. Subsequently, Ian Mixter had resigned his post as head of safety, with details of his reasons for doing so having appeared on the OUFC website.

The committee, principally through PP and AW, had throughout sought to maintain a good working dialogue with the club, mainly in recent days through regular contact with Niall McWilliams, expressing our very serious concerns about recent events and our desire for the club to clarify to supporters their short term plans to deal with the immediate issues on and off the field, and their longer term plans and intentions for our football club.

With regard to the Ultras, we had offered to assist in finding people to put the flags and banners up from 12pm for the rest of the season, but the offer had been declined.

With regard to the club, our most recent email outlining our concerns was sent to Tiger and the board and copied to Niall McWilliams earlier this week and no reply had yet been received.

The committee unanimously agreed that, if a final attempt at contact failed to produce meaningful answers, the email would be made available to our members.  JH, WH and others were assertive that the right approach was being followed: we had to keep asking the relevant questions, keep our members and all fans informed about our actions, while continuing to gather more information and pushing the club hard to be more transparent with supporters.

Our desire throughout is to work in the best interests of our members, the wider fan base and the club as a whole. Our view is that to seek openness and explanations for the current problems is the way forward: secrecy begets uncertainty and conspiracy theories.

OxVox will continue to seek answers to the so far unanswered questions.

3 – Trust AGM – March 30th

The deadline of 18 February for committee nominations had now passed and two nominations, from Michael North and Matt Cavill, had been received for the vacant posts. Their renewed appointment to the committee would therefore be confirmed at the AGM without a members’ election.

The AGM was confirmed for pre-match on March 30th with an anticipated start time of 12.30pm. AW to finalise room arrangements with the stadium company.

4 – Treasurer’s update

Bank balances at 31 January totalled £13,019, reported TL. The trust accounts for the year to 30 September 2018 were now fully drafted and are awaiting accountant’s signoff: they will be presented at the AGM.

5 – Secretary’s update

TL reported that the membership total as of 20 February was 1047 including 293 life members. A total of 46 new members had joined since the 2 January meeting but a database cleaning exercise last month had removed 38 members who had not renewed 3 months after their expiry date. ME was up to date with membership packs.

6 – Reward Scheme for Life Members

DT reported that the scheme was underway with an initial batch of commercial partners and more were on the way. Manor Flooring were in the process of being added. Many life members had picked up their reward cards from the OxVox stall on the last two match days and the remainder would be posted to members shortly by ME. Details of the reward scheme and current partners and discounts available were on the Rewards page of the trust website and would be regularly updated as new partners came on board.

7 – Safety Group and police liaison

DT had attended the Safety Advisory Group meetings on 7 February and 15 November 2018 and he reported back. The SAG appreciate having supporters’ opinions and feedback, and any safety concerns can be passed to us.

8 – East Stand Mural

SH reported on detailed work undertaken on the East Stand Mural, and circulated some artists’ impressions and specimen photographs for use in the mural. The project had been costed to approximately £6000 and would take 46 panels each 1.5m wide to cover the entire back area of the East Stand using a graffiti-proof laminate. Twelve pictures would be needed, spanning many years of the club’s history. A collection of possible images was being assembled and there would be a process of a public vote to select the final options. Copyright had to be obtained for some iconic images.

AW and SH had considered funding options and recommended a crowd funding/justgiving approach, which would invite fans to contribute to the project. The committee fully endorsed this approach.

Given the length of time this had been in discussion, we will seek renewed affirmation from Firoka that they support the installation of the mural.   

The aim is to have this in place for the start on the 2019-20 season. A kind offer of assistance to install the mural has been received from Denton Builders.

9 – Sensory Room

A revised scheme of operation for the sensory room is being co-ordinated by the Community Trust, reported AW. Niall McWilliams has taken a positive role in assisting the ironing out of teething problems and there will be improved PR about the room to give its existence a higher profile before and on matchdays.

10 – AOB and Close

The next meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 March, and will be a short meeting, mainly for AGM planning.