OxVox COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: Friday 3rd March 2017 (held at Oxford and County Bowls Club, Oxford)
Attendees: Colin Barson (CB) Matt Cavill (MC), Michael North (MN), Jem Faulkner (JF), Simon Bradbury (SB), Trevor Lambert (TL), Maurice Earp (ME).
Apologies: Terry Winter (TW), Graham Butler (GB).
Start: 7.00pm. Finish. 9.40pm
1. Actions from the Minutes of the last meeting held on Friday 9th December 2016
(a) The minutes of the last meeting were agreed with no outstanding items.
2. Finance Updates
(a) TW was not at the meeting, but funds continue to be managed correctly and in excess of £10,000 sits in the Trust account.
(b) PayPal monies from new joiners continue to be drawn down in a timely manner.
(c) The year end accounts are complete and ready for presentation to members at the AGM. The AGM is commented on later in these notes.
3. Membership and Communication
(a) TL led the meeting through the key points from the last meeting and updated the group on current activity:
(b) We minuted 809 members at the last formal meeting in December. This was a pleasing result and showed we had nearly doubled membership in 2 years.
(c) As of 3rd March 2017 the total has risen to 878. The meeting welcomed such positive growth in membership! It is felt by the committee, that a target of 1000+ members was still achievable by the year end.
(d) ME confirmed that we are up to date with membership packs being sent to new members. TL confirmed that the data base is also up to date and running well.
(e) All members who were signed up at a 6 a side competition some years ago have been removed from the total membership, as it is now clear that they will not renew and most likely only joined to take part in the competition. Bloody cheek!
(f) There are 25 members who are due to renew and are now a priority. The meeting went through the list of renewals and it was resolved to contact them again in the coming weeks.
(g) TL confirmed that MailChimp is still under review as a potential replacement for the data base. This will be picked up at the next meeting.
4. Consultation, Data Base and Web Site
(a) Website: Our web developers have added a ‘meeting minutes’ page to the web site and all historic, and of course, future minutes will be up loaded into this section.
(b) OxVox – Oxford Mail column: it was resolved not to bring this back as there is now a good weekly column from the Club written by GBT.
5. EFL Trophy
(a) JF confirmed that OxVox had responded to a request for consultation from the club regarding the format of the EFL trophy this season and to give views on the competition format for next season.
(b) The OxVox view is that there should not be Premiership or Championship club involvement in the competition next season. The competition should be for League 1 and 2 clubs only. This has been communicated to the club.
(c) There is an EFL meeting on the 11th April to discuss the EFL trophy. It is noted that supporters’ trusts across the country, like OxVox, have lobbied their clubs and made it clear that the 1 year trial should not be repeated.
(d) The meeting resolved to inform members of the EFL decision as soon as it is known. The club have committed to keep OxVox informed of decisions made, but have also said that they are opposed to a repeat of this year’s format.
(e) OxVox has never advocated a fans’ boycott during this years EFL Trophy completion, but the meeting did discuss the potential for a protest at the final at Wembley. OxVox has been contacted by other Trusts and the ‘Against League 3’ campaign, to take part in a protest. It was resolved to speak with other Trusts and also contact the Coventry City Trust to see if they have any form of protest planned. In any event, it was decided to speak with members before deciding on any action.
6. Stadium Updates and Communication with the Club
(a) The meeting discussed at length the updated situation regarding the proposed acquisition of the stadium by a Community Group/Trust, or similar.
(b) JF/SB updated the committee on all the most recent meetings with Firoz Kassam, Oxford City Council and legal representatives who are preparing the ‘vehicle’ for the proposed acquisition.
(c) The meeting discussed the appointment of Stewart Donald as a co-opted member of the committee. Stewart will be specifically involved in working with the committee on the stadium project and all agreed that they were delighted to have him involved.
* The following notes have been added after the committee meeting as the meetings in question below took place the day after the committee meeting and it has been deemed appropriate to update members, rather than wait for the next committee minutes.
(d) JF met with Steve Dalton (SD) – OUFC Director. The meeting was held on Saturday 4th March. SD has been appointed by Darryl Eales to be the main point of contact and
communication between OxVox and the OUFC Board. Direct communication between the Trust and Darryl Eales had been limited over recent months.
(e) The meeting with SD discussed the updated stadium situation and SD also outlined to JF the current status of the service charge arbitration with Firoka that is now coming to a conclusion. JF and SD also talked about the communication difficulties that had developed between OxVox and the club in recent weeks and it was agreed that the relationship could be improved and that both JF and SD would endeavour to improve the situation.
(f) JF, Firoz Kassam (FK) and Stewart Donald met on Saturday 4th March. The meeting was highly constructive and discussed a variety of options that could help facilitate a deal with the stadium. FK reiterated that he is still committed to a stadium deal and detailed the key points required he was looking at to move things forward. JF and Stewart welcomed the openness and agreed to come back to FK over the coming weeks with further proposals.
(g) JF will update Bob Price (Oxford City Council) on the meeting with FK and look to set up a meeting by the end of March to discuss the ongoing Council involvement in the project. Funding (commercial loans) have already been established as available, but this meeting would look to flesh out the future infrastructure issues around the stadium.
(a) The Blue Plaque project at the Britannia Inn is still very much alive! The Blue Plaque Society have again been in touch and it is hoped to have this in place by the end of this year.
(b) The meeting discussed a proposed project to buy Checkatrade Trophy Final match tickets and travel for deserving school kids and/or people who otherwise would not be able to go to the Wembley final. It was decided to try and organise this through the OUFC Community Trust, who would be best placed to identify the right people and help with organisation. The committee agreed to purchase up to 50 tickets and fund a coach. It was decided to pay for this through Trust funds, rather than run a fund raising campaign. Members will be informed of the details and costs ASAP. JF will meet with Kate Longworth (Community Trust) and Mick Brown at OUFC to discuss the project.
8. OxVox AGM
(a) It was agreed that the OxVox AGM will take place on the evening of Thursday 25th May. The venue, timings and agenda will be communicated in early April.
9. General Updates and Questions from Members
(a) The meeting discussed the recent turnover of staff at OUFC and the recent news regarding Richie Blackmore – Head of the Academy. Given recent club statements regarding a potential review of the academy, OxVox will contact the club for comment.
(b) The meeting discussed rumours picked up from fans about other potential ‘leavers’ from the club. None of the rumours have been substantiated, therefore will not be commented on in these minutes. JF will however ask the club to comment.
(c) Junior away days. The club will be asked if a ‘junior away day’ will be organised this season.
(d) Training ground situation and Oxford City. There has been no further news on either, but OxVox will ask the club for comment.
(e) City centre shop. There had been talk of a city centre shop, but nothing firm has been heard for some weeks. OxVox will ask the club for any updates/timescales.
(f) OUFC AGM. The Club AGM is overdue and OxVox will enquire as to when the AGM is planned for.
(g) Age 60 for concessions. The meeting discussed that some clubs provide concessions for over 60’s rather than over 65’s. OxVox will find out if OUFC plan to look at this.
(h) Stewarding and agencies being used. There do not appear to have been any issues with Stewarding in recent weeks, which is good news.
(i) Interim chief safety officer – It has been suggested that Ian Mixter would be a good guest speaker at the next OxVox open members’ meeting. JF will pick this up.
(j) Twenty’s plenty campaign. Some clubs in the championship have adopted a £20 match ticket policy for away fans. OxVox will discuss this with the club as part of the consultation on season ticket and match day pricing for next season.
(k) What’s going on with the pitch! Lots of questions from members on what appears to be a badly cutting up pitch – particularly in front of the South Stand. OxVox will ask the club to comment.
(l) Pubs/clubs to become ‘official’ club venues. It has been suggested by members that pubs and clubs around the county could be designated as ‘official club venues’. OxVox will pick this idea up with the club.
10. Any other business
(a) Michael Appleton. The committee wished to record its appreciation of the professionalism of Michael Appleton and the exemplary way in which he has conducted himself and managed the playing squad under the pressures of this first season in League One.
There being no further business to discuss, the meeting closed at 9.40pm. The Bowls Club were thanked once again for their hospitality.