OxVox Committee Meeting Minutes
Date: Monday 22nd October 2018. Venue: Oxford City & County Bowls Club.
Attendees: Colin Barson (CB), Wes Harrison (WH), Matt Cavill (MC), Maurice Earp (ME), Simon Hathaway (SH), Trevor Lambert (TL), Paul Peros (PP), Dave Thornton (DT), Ali Wolfe (AW).
Apologies: Jemma Hayward (JH), Michael North (MN).
Start: 7.00pm. Finish: 10.15pm.
1 – Minutes of last meeting
Agreed with no amendments.
2 – Actions arising
The Trust would not be taking up sponsorship of the club’s under 18 team due to affordability but may consider some support for the Women’s team: costs to be investigated.
3 – Long term issues
Our recent statement to members had been generally well received.
We discussed at length recent events, including club announcements about a possible new stadium, the changes at board level in the club, and developments on and off the field. We reiterated the need for the Trust to continue to participate in discussions with the various parties involved within and without the club, for the benefit of our members and the wider fan base.
Our practical aim in the short, to medium, term is to hold further meetings with, among others, the club’s incoming directors and the new financial director, MD Niall McWilliams, City and County Council leaders, the club’s planning consultant, and Firoz Kassam.
We noted that Niall McWilliams at the fans’ forum had anticipated saying more about the stadium options under consideration after some 4 to 5 weeks, and we look forward to hearing more shortly.
4 – Stadium and training ground issues
- OxRails: The initial trial rail was now successfully implemented and had been used for several matches with no adverse issues. The Sports Ground Safety Authority annual conference had recently been held at the Kassam Stadium and OxRails had been featured. The next stage will be to add a second rail and then to expand the project to cover the upper section of the East Stand. OxVox is not directly involved but is in regular contact with safety officer Ian Mixter and is monitoring developments.
- Safety group / Manchester City match: The official report is awaited regarding the crowd issues following the Manchester City match. OxVox’s involvement has been to pass on any comments received from fans and to relate our own experiences on the day. We have been invited to take up a permanent position on the club’s safety group and DT has agreed to take on this role. This will ensure the Trust is represented in safety discussions.
- Arbitration dispute and effects on the club: It is unclear to us which are the remaining substantive issues to resolve in order to obtain a full resolution of the current arbitration dispute between the club and the stadium company. We have repeatedly voiced our concerns about the situation and its adverse effects on the operation of the club on match days and at other times.
- Training ground: Progress is taking place at the training ground and the pitches are now bedding in. Delays in obtaining electricity grid connection and water supply have been very unhelpful. We are monitoring progress.
5 – Projects
- Sensory room: The ‘soft launch’ of the room at recent matches had been very successful. We felt the next stage was to raise the profile and awareness of the facility and would be working with the Community Trust to encourage publicity to relevant schools and other groups.
- East stand mural: Progress on this has been delayed due to other priorities. The hoped for completion date of October will not be achieved but we will return to this project as soon as feasible.
- 125th anniversary: On Saturday (27 October) a framed commemorative photograph of the first Headington United team will be presented to the Britannia Arms in Headington for permanent display in the bar there, to mark the site and date of the formation of the club. SH has organised this and has also set up the anniversary Yellow Army walk from the Britannia to the Kassam Stadium which will start after the presentation. We have invited Tiger to join CB in presenting the picture to the pub, and club director Zaki Nuseibah and MD Niall McWilliams will be among the walkers along with CB and others from the committee. DT remains in contact with the Blue Plaque Society and we hope that the plaque can be made and placed externally on the pub in the not too distant future.
6 – Treasurer’s Update
TL reported that the trust held £12,138 in its bank accounts at 28 September, after payments for the sensory room equipment which totalled £1,691.
Bank signatory issues were now resolved although TL had that morning received a new registration form from the bank which required further details of the Trust’s structure and Board (i.e. the committee).
The Financial Conduct Authority had now approved and uploaded the Trust’s 2015-16 and 2016-17 accounts and registration details but were asking for the same information for 2014-15: TL to produce from records. Fee of £67 is now due to the FCA for this year.
With the 2017-18 financial year having ended on 30 September, preparation of the accounts for that year is now underway with a target date for completion of 31 December.
Full membership of Supporters Direct for the Trust will cost £100 in the coming year and provides access to professional advice in many areas. The committee accordingly agreed to maintain OxVox’s membership.
7 – Secretary’s Update
Membership: The membership total had risen from 1,010 to 1,021 since 1 August, reported ME and TL. Many September membership renewals had been received (29 life members, 16 three year renewals). Remaining non-renewers are being contacted. ME suggested a special life membership badge be created and this will be discussed with MN.
Match day stall: A stall was run prior to the Plymouth match in the stadium bar. It was successful in that several new members signed up or renewed and there were good conversations with fans. The new display banners produced by SH aided visibility but we need signage outside the bar to increase awareness. Provisional future dates for the stall would be 17 November, 19 January, 9th February, and 30 March.
Membership initiatives: DT would circulate his notes on OxVox commercial sponsorships for committee discussion.
8 – Members’ meeting
The date of 14 November had been agreed and circulated to members. Attendees from club and stakeholders were being finalised this week and members would be informed of details of the meeting’s agenda and venue as soon as possible. Actions: CB, PP, AW to confirm attendees.
9 – AOB and close
The meeting ended at 10.15pm. All present thanked the Bowls Club for their hospitality.