OxVox COMMITTEE MEETING
Date: Friday 9th December 2016 (held at Oxford and County Bowls Club, Oxford)
Attendees: Colin Barson (CB), Matt Cavill (MC), Terry Winter (TW), Jem Faulkner (JF), Graham Butler (GB), Trevor Lambert (TL).
Apologies: Michael North (MN), Maurice Earp (ME), Simon Bradbury (SB).
Start: 7.15pm. Finish: 9.30pm.
1. Actions from the Minutes of the last meeting held in October 2016
(a) The minutes of the last meeting were agreed with no outstanding items.
2. Finance Updates
(a) TW confirmed that the trust bank balance remains healthy with £10,000 available funds and that there are no outstanding invoices/bills to pay.
(b) TW confirmed that the OxVox ‘treasurer@’ email address is now correctly aligned to TW’s email account.
(c) TW confirmed that PayPal continues to be working well and all monies are being drawn down into the bank account in a timely fashion.
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 678 members at the September 2016 meeting and 795 at the October meeting.
(c) As of 8 December 2016 the total has risen to 809. Fantastic growth in membership!
(d) We are up to date with membership packs being sent to new members.
(e) The database has successfully moved to the new ITWM system. There is a short guide to using it. The system is not very user friendly. Some queries have been raised with ITWM. We haven’t yet used it for any bulk emails to members. ITWM contains a survey module.
(f) 2016 renewals are now a priority. The meeting agreed to send out (by email) reminders to lapsing members.
(g) TL confirmed that MailChimp is under review as a potential replacement for the data base.
4. Consultation, Data Base and Web Site
(a) Website: Our web developers will remove the blank ‘Shop coming soon’ website page and add a page for us to upload meeting minutes, OxVox Mail columns and anything else agreed to be of general interest to fans.
(b) Oxford Mail column: Dropped in its current form in favour of a monthly column of OxVox news. Unclear what word length is acceptable to the Mail. They are looking for novel content. This is under discussion.
(c) Survey/EFL changes: With the recent (contentious) EFL plans now ‘officially’ dropped, the planned members’ survey on them is now seen as unnecessary, however it was noted that with the EFL AGM due in June, that it was very important to keep close to the Club with regard to any potential ‘changes’ that may be being planned to discuss at meeting. We will liaise with Supporters Direct and other fan groups to ensure we are fully up to speed with any developments and will meet the club ahead of the AGM.
5. OxVox Liaison with Thames Valley Police
(a) The meeting discussed the recent meeting with TVP and there was some surprise expressed that there had not been more comment from members regarding some of the info that had been published in the last minutes.
(b) The meeting discussed stewarding and the relationship with TVP. GB will continue to follow up on the relationship between TVP and the Club.
(c) GB will contact TVP for comment and clarification on the recent full acquittal (charges and cases dropped) of a number of fans who went to court recently. The cases had been brought after last season’s Millwall match.
(d) It was agreed that strong representation should be made to TVP and the Oxford Mail where in some cases fans’ names and pictures were published in the local media, for them subsequently to have any charges thrown out by the court. GB will report back at the next meeting.
(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/TW updated the committee on all the most recent meetings with Firoz Kassam (FK), Oxford City Council, Darryl Eales and legal representatives who are preparing the ‘vehicle’ for the proposed acquisition.
(c) CB updated the meeting on the most recent meeting with Populous – stadium architects. Further meetings are planned. Development of the East Stand’s ‘empty areas’ behind/under the stand were discussed. Outline proposals, for this and other parts of the stadium development, are being prepared by Populous and should be available for the Committee to review in early January.
(d) JF confirmed that he met with Wentbridge Sports (sports consultants) on the 10th November in London. Wentbridge are looking at post acquisition opportunities and funding for further development. This will complement the work being carried out by Populous.
(e) JF confirmed that further details and plans have been submitted to FK regarding the Trust’s thoughts, post-acquisition. These include the further development of the stadium. FK has no current issues with the Trust’s plans.
(f) Timings were discussed and JF has formally written to FK with a proposed project path. It has been requested that ‘heads of terms’ are agreed by March/April 2017. This will include formal confirmation of ‘price’ and will therefore enable the Trust to further mobilise the various parties (including the City Council). A final completion date has yet to be agreed.
(g) The City Council (and OxVox) are keen to see the creation of Community Shares, which would see the community/fans given the opportunity to have a financial stake in the stadium facility.
These shares would be made available as part of the acquisition campaign and be a % of the total cost. FK has been made aware of this part of the plan and sees it as a sensible and exciting community element.
(h) JF confirmed he is to meet again with Oxford City Council in early January. It was also confirmed that the Club (DE) is being kept up to speed with the project.
(i) Member feedback continues to be very positive and the project is certainly driving new member growth.
(j) The committee were again reminded of the sensitive nature of the current negotiations and that the need for confidentiality was very important.
7. General Updates and Members’ Questions
(a) JF confirmed that the Blue Plaque project at the Britannia Inn is still very much alive! The Blue Plaque Society have been back in touch to confirm that they are in further discussions with the pubs owners and hope to have a plan and timings in place early in the New Year.
(b) The meeting discussed a proposed OUFC project to support homeless people. This will be discussed further in the New Year.
(c) The meeting discussed members’ concerns at the apparent reduction in communication (social media particularly). The Club have informed the Trust that this is understood and is being addressed. A meeting will be organised in January to meet with GBT and his commercial team to discuss fan engagement.
(d) It was discussed that the Club is still in arbitration with FK/Stadium Company over the stadium service charge. It has been confirmed by the Club that this process should be completed by February.
(e) The Club have confirmed to the Trust that there are no outstanding monies owed to FK/Stadium Company.
(f) It was confirmed by the Club that they have been exploring the potential for a city centre shop, but that nothing had yet been agreed.
(g) The Trust are aware that discussions between the Club and the Stadium Company with regard to the match day restaurant are ongoing, but that nothing has been agreed as yet with regard to re-opening it.
(h) The meeting discussed the Upcoming (March 2017) OxVox AGM. The 18th of March 2017 has been proposed. Preparations/details and the potential for a committee election will be discussed at a separate meeting in January.
The meeting ended at 9.30pm.