S.F.C. Supporters Association NOTES OF 2011 A.G.M. – Tuesday 5th July 2011 Present Lloyd Briscoe (Chairman), Geoff Gibbs (Secretary), Jenny Dowden (Treasurer), John Carroll, Mervyn Stoke-Geddes, Peter Keen and Mark Hollis and 38 other SA Members. Apologies were received from Jamie Frazer, Jim Briscoe, Paul Jaques and Bob Sage. Notes of the 2010 A.G.M. The notes of the previous A.G.M., held on 30th June 2010, were accepted as a true and accurate record of that meeting. It was proposed by Peter Burrage and seconded by David Gray that they should be accepted as a true record. There were no matters arising. Chairman’s Report – Lloyd Briscoe Lloyd welcomed everyone to the SA’s 17th AGM and said that this one was his fifth as Chairman of the SA. He said that following back to back promotions over the last two seasons, the latest taking the club to the third tier there was a “feel good” buzz about the club. He reminded members of what he had said at the previous Supporters Association AGM when he had concluded that there was no single reason why fans of the club became SA members. There were many different reasons. He described some of the links the SA had with the club and said that it was important the SA helped the club meet its higher objectives from being a Football League club. Every promotion brought new challenges to both in this respect. As the club’s stature rose then the SA too needed to enhance its profile. This reinforced the need for the two Committee roles involved with the respective media especially local radio and press that were being currently carried out by Peter Keen and Mark Hollis. Lloyd then went on to mention something he felt was relevant for the SA. He described The Football Supporters Federation (FSF). He had attended a meeting of this and was of the view that the topics debated there e.g. ground segregation, safe standing etc. were of real interest to Stevenage. He therefore suggested that the SA should join the FSF and it was agreed by the members present that to do so would be a positive step for the SA. Action: Lloyd Briscoe He then acknowledged the individual contributions made by the members of the SA Committee. He thanked Geoff and Mervyn, John, Peter and Mark, Jenny and the sterling work that Jackie and all the 50/ 50 sales girls did each week. He also thanked Paul Lyme who during the season had decided to stand down from his role as SA social secretary. Lloyd concluded his presentation by mentioning various aspects of the SA’s work of which perhaps non- members are unaware, e.g. organising the annual visit to the children’s ward at Lister hospital. He thanked everyone present for their continued membership. On behalf of the members present, Richard Thom thanked Lloyd for his on-going efforts to develop and raise the profile of the SA, both with the club and also now nationally. 4.1 Secretary’s Report – Geoff Gibbs Geoff’s annual report was backed up by a Powerpoint presentation. He said there had been considerable success in 2010/11 both on and off the field as following the FA cup run; the final SA membership figure had reached 908, a net increase of 393 on the previous year. He mentioned that the SA had gained 460 new members over the course of the season (144 the year before) but expressed disappointment that 70 supporters (87 the year before) had failed to renew their memberships. He stated that 79% of the SA membership now provided Mervyn with their email address – a figure 27% higher than the year before and this was helpful to the SA as this made the overall administration much easier. Geoff also mentioned that Baby Boro numbers had risen by over 200 in the season and were now at 2361. He said the SA had also mailed out around 1200 birthday cards in the year. Geoff then compared the early numbers for 2011/ 12 membership with the final figures for 2010/11 saying the signs at this early stage were similar to this time last year and were therefore encouraging. Geoff then presented a table that showed whilst almost 55% of the SA members came from Stevenage itself, there was a very pro rata representation from all the major towns and villages in the county. A further 88 members lived outside of Hertfordshire, the most distant appeared to be Spain! Geoff described the match day activity for the SA much of which revolved around manning the SA Hut to answer questions from fans and generally promote the SA. Over the last season the SA had additionally helped the club by selling small items of shop stock. The proceeds from these all went directly to the club and not the SA itself. The siting and opening hours of the club shop meant that these “spur of the moment” purchases by East Terrace fans represented a small but unexpected income for the club. Geoff mentioned the help that he had received in doping this from his son Harry and Peter Keen. He described the SA match day ticket draw of 2 winners per game which had provided 46 winners. In addition there had been 2 junior raffles resulting in a mascot for the day and also a special one at the play-off game at old Trafford. He mentioned that the SA continued to sell old badges and programmes and there had been some interest in these particularly on-line now the SA offered this facility. He showed members the new SA pin badge which would be available pre-season. He mentioned another SA achievement which was that the SA had helped raised funds for two local charities. A signed Boro shirt had raised £87 for cancer charity Clic Sargent and a signed football had raised an impressive £250 for the 5th Stevenage Air Scouts. Geoff continued by reminding everyone that the biggest contribution by far to the weekly operations of the SA came from Mervyn Stoke-Geddes. Mervyn continued to provide assistance daily in many ways as the SA’s “super-administrator” & database manager whilst also being the main respondent/contact for SA emails and other correspondence. Mervyn also organised the SA email newsletter and despatched all birthday cards himself. And although unable to attend home games, Mervyn still volunteered to set up the three SA information points at lunch time on match days. Geoff concluded his presentation by listing 8 aims that he felt the SA should strive to achieve over the coming season. Treasurer’s Report – Jenny Dowden Jenny presented the accounts for the financial year 2010/11. She highlighted that the SA had made a surplus of £1423. This compared to a loss of £6800 the season before. The accumulated fund (the net worth) of the SA rose to just over £21k by the end of May 2011. Jenny explained that the high creditors figure (£20k) on the Balance Sheet at 31st May 2011 had arisen because of costs only arising from the play-off final that understandably hadn’t been paid three days later by the end of the 2010/11 financial year. Jenny emphasised the on-going dependency of the SA on the 50/50 draws. She acknowledged the work of those involved with this. This represented two thirds of the SA’s income for the season. It was pleasing as a result of the sales that £20k had, for the second year running, been donated by the SA to the Club. Jenny also expressed her thanks to Brian Mitchell for being Honorary Auditor and auditing the SA’s accounts once again. The adoption of the accounts was agreed following a proposal by Peter Burrage that was seconded by Richard Thom. 4.3 Travel Co-ordinator’s Report – John Carroll John Carroll said that generally during the season the coach arrangements with Chambers had gone very much according to plan. The play-off game at Old Trafford had seen unprecedented demand for coaches generally. He paid tribute to his wife and son who had helped him ensure that this final trip by Chambers coaches went off well. He expressed hope and optimism that there might be similar happiness for Boro’s travelling faithful at the end of the 2011/12 season. 4.4 Communications report – Peter Keen Peter mentioned that besides his other duties he had spoken on Three Counties on a number of occasions throughout the season. His other main tasks were writing the SA programme notes and improving the discounts available to SA members from local retailers. The suppliers’ list had proved a problem to update accurately but this was now being addressed. He hoped that some new suppliers could be added to the list for the coming season. Peter concluded by saying that he had provided input to the programme but on occasions would welcome assistance. 4.5 Media report – Mark Hollis Mark mentioned that the on-line shop had been set up. There had been some teething trouble with Paypal but this was now resolved. Mark mentioned the work done on updating and maintaining the SA web-site and acknowledged Stephen Pattison’s input in this. Mark said that during the 2010/11 season he had written a column in the Comet and was keen to do this regularly during the coming season. 5 Election of Committee for 2011/12 Next, the SA members present accepted nominations for the positions of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. All of these positions were up for re-election this year. The current incumbents of Lloyd Briscoe, Geoff Gibbs and Jenny Dowden, all wanted to continue in office. There were no other nominations. It was therefore proposed by Richard Thom and seconded by Peter Burrage that all three officers should be re-elected. This was agreed by the members present. Like all Committee members they are eligible to stand for two further years before having to seek re-election again. Members were reminded that following Paul Lyme standing down from the position of Social Secretary, the SA Committee remained short of a fund-raiser and/or event organiser. Expressions of interest in this vital role were sought. As Secretary, Geoff introduced this item explaining that whilst there would be no increase in 2011/12 from the level of subscriptions that applied in 2010/11, the 2011 AGM was the right time for the membership to review and agree the appropriate fee levels for the following season. On behalf of the Committee, he felt there was a need to propose a small increase in each of the various fees from 2012/13. He outlined the suggested fee levels. These were that adult subscriptions would rise from £12 to £13; families from £24 to £26; concessions, senior citizens, students and under 18s from £6 to £7 and juniors from £5 to £6. These increases were considered and agreed by all members present. Various matters and issues were raised under AOB. Most had not been raised in advance as had been requested but nevertheless they were heard by the Committee anyway. It was mentioned that the SA would sponsor again the cost of the pocket sized fixture list cards that had proved popular this season. • A member asked if Paypal could be used to pay for travel costs. Although it wasn’t sure if this was something that could be implemented the committee agreed to look into this. Action - Mark Hollis/John Carroll. • It was questioned as to why Chiltern Radio seemingly treated Stevenage as inferior to Luton in their coverage of local football, despite the fact that the former were now two leagues higher than the Bedfordshire side. • Thanks were given to the SA for helping arrange the SFC mascot at Old Trafford. • There was some discussion as to whether a fans forum could be held. Some felt that 2 a season were necessary. Others asked if the Q&A session at this should be restricted to just SA members rather than all fans. However it was concluded that, whilst this might slightly increase membership, it was not practical to restrict attendance to only SA members. • A member asked whether the SA could assist in a more regular and formal way the one-off types of charity initiatives mentioned in Geoff’s presentation. After the above were discussed there were no other matters. The meeting ended at 8.45pm. Open Forum The AGM was followed by an entertaining open forum with Bob Makin answering questions from the audience. One practical suggestion that Bob made was to invite the SA to send the Club detailed costings for a more permanent SA “hut”. The SA thanked Bob for this and said they would do this.