NOTES OF 2012 A.G.M. – Tuesday 3rd July 2012
Lloyd Briscoe (Chairman), Geoff Gibbs (Secretary), Jenny Dowden (Treasurer), John Carroll, Peter Keen, Mark Hollis and 43 other SA Members.
Apologies were received from Jim Briscoe, Mervyn Stokes-Geddes, Keith Berners, Bob Sage, Malcolm Ware, Arthur Wood and Steve Mellor.
2. Notes of the 2011 A.G.M.
The notes of the previous A.G.M., held on 5th July 2011, were accepted as a true and accurate record of that meeting. Members present proposed and seconded this. Two matters had been included in the notes with actions. These were:-
for Lloyd Briscoe to take the necessary action on behalf of SFC SA for it to join the Football Supporters Federation and
for Mark Hollis and John Carroll to consider whether it was practical for Paypal to be used for travel bookings in future.
Referring to these actions, Geoff Gibbs stated that the first had been implemented and would be mentioned by Lloyd in his Chairman’s report. But regarding the second, he said the SA Committee had reviewed this but had reached a consensus that using Paypal in the way suggested was simply not practical at the present time.
3. Chairman’s Report – Lloyd Briscoe
Lloyd welcomed everyone to the SA’s 18th AGM, this one being his sixth as Chairman of the SA. He reminded all present that last season the SA had donated a massive cheque for £30k to the Club. He added he was proud that, by the end of the playing season, SA membership had risen to over 1000 members. He therefore concluded that the SA had had another successful year, and gave thanks to John Carroll for all his work “on the buses”. He then mentioned the activities and benefits that SA members received, talked about resources and the SA’s links with the Club. One of the objectives of the Club had been to obtain football league status. Now that had been achieved, Lloyd wondered how best should he and the Committee take the SA forward especially as most appreciated the Club at present was “punching above its weight”.
He mentioned the importance of the Club (and also the SA) being visible in the local community. With this in mind he added that the SA had attended the previous weekend a 6-a-side event run by the local Polish community that had the aim of supporting the “kick racism out of football” campaign.
Lloyd continuing by describing how he had made sure the SA had become part of the Football Supporters Federation. He had attended recent meetings and had engaged favourably with his peers from other clubs. He described a survey he had instigated across all the clubs to determine what match day music different teams ran out to and what was played when a goal was scored. He had received replies from the majority of clubs. His favourite was probably the one from Leyton Orient who said they were didn’t play any celebratory music for goals as a home goal happened so rarely the Orient faithful were stunned (into silence) when it did.
Lloyd mentioned the local situation concerning Hitchin FC and their ground, Top Field. He was keen that the SA supported Hitchin in any way it could to help them preserve their current ground. He mentioned the forthcoming friendly against Hitchin on July 24th and said that games between the two clubs could be traced back as far as the 1920’s.
Returning to the SA itself, Lloyd said that he was pleased that Baby Boro continued to go from strength to strength. He commented on the manning of the SA hut on match days by Geoff and Peter, the efficient organisation by John of the travel to away games and things less obvious like the visits to the Children’s Ward at Lister Hospital by some of the players arranged by Jackie and Claire Hickey. In conclusion he praised the whole SA Committee for their work over the past year, thanking each individually – Geoff and Mervyn, John, Peter and Mark, Jenny and last but not least Jackie and the 50/50 sales girls.
Members expressed their appreciation of the efforts that Lloyd had undertaken over the last year, in particular raising the profile of the SA externally through the Football Supporters Federation.
4. Officer Reports
4.1 Secretary’s Report – Geoff Gibbs
Geoff’s annual report was accompanied by a Powerpoint presentation. He said that another year had resulted in even more success – both on and off the field. Following the FA cup run, the final SA membership figure had reached 1002, 94 more than the previous year. He mentioned that the SA had gained 285 new members during the season but expressed disappointment that 191 supporters had decided not to renew. He added that 84% of the SA membership had now given their email address to Mervyn and this was particularly helpful for the SA as it made the administration so much easier. Geoff also mentioned that Baby Boro numbers rose by 204 in the year and this had now reached a cumulative figure of 2565. Babies up to 5 years old currently totalled 1026. He said the SA had also mailed out around 1160 birthday cards during the year. Two junior mascot draws were provided by the SA with the winners leading out Boro against Oldham and Chesterfield.
Geoff then compared the early numbers for the SA’s 2012/13 membership with the final figures for 2011/12 saying the signs at this early stage were encouraging as they appeared better than at this time last year. 130 more members had joined compared to this point in the previous season with more providing email address and significantly more joining though the e.shop. Membership numbers for the coming season were very encouraging.
Geoff then described match day activity for the SA much of which focused on manning the SA Hut, promoting the SA and being on hand to answer questions or queries from both members and non-members. Once again the SA had helped the Club by selling certain items of shop stock. The proceeds from this went directly to the club and not to the SA. Over £1700 had been taken in sales of merchandise from the 16 home games where the SA had been allocated stock by the Shop. He also mentioned that the SA regularly sold SA badges and old programmes especially on-line or on match days to “ground-hoppers”. Geoff described the SA match day ticket draw (from thanks to Andrew Green his infamous “shoe-box”). Over the season this had provided 46 winners from the SA’s membership as from each draw two winners received a ticket to a forthcoming home game.
Geoff continued by stating the Committee had held three meetings during the season in November, March and June. He referred to the main agenda items that had been discussed, amongst which were:
Membership of the Football Supporters Federation
Reduction in SA membership prices for the final few weeks of the season
The size of the financial contribution from the SA to the Club
The completion of the SA page in the match day programme
The survey across clubs by Lloyd on entrance and goal music
The possible distribution of some of Mervyn’s work as SA Administrator to the rest of the Committee.
Geoff also mentioned a number of other SA developments. He referred to the SA eNewsletter and the SA’s website. He mentioned that the club shop had now become more integrated with SA membership so that discounts could be taken up when items were now bought on-line. He said that the usual end of season SA members draw for their SA player of the year had taken place although sadly the Club had declined the “spoof” end of season awards that the SA had enjoyed previously. However the SA will be sponsoring once again the fixture cards and the SA had agreed to sponsor the Supporters Team kit providing all of the squad were or became SA members.
Geoff reminded those present of the on-going contribution made by Mervyn throughout the year (not just the playing season) describing the many different aspects of what he does for the membership “behind the scenes” and perhaps at times unnoticed. The SA could not function as effectively as it does without Mervyn’s knowledge, dedication and stamina. On behalf of the Committee and also those members present Geoff thanked Mervyn, (unfortunately absent and missing his first AGM for family reasons) acknowledging his tremendous contribution to the smooth running of the SA.
Geoff concluded by briefly comparing the Committee’s performance over the whole season with its aims, something he had outlined at the previous AGM.
4.2 Treasurer’s Report – Jenny Dowden
Jenny presented the accounts for the financial year 2011/12. She focused on the 50/50 match day draws which significantly had raised over £35k gross income. She mentioned that as a result the SA Committee had this year made its largest ever contribution to the Club. The amount of £30k was 50% higher than that paid over in each of the previous two years and had led to a net operating deficit of £6.3k. However with an opening balance in its’ reserves of £21k, the Committee was willing to see this reduce to just under £15k at its Balance Sheet as at 31st May 2012.
Jenny emphasised the on-going dependency of the SA on the 50/50 draws. She acknowledged the work of Jackie Berners and her team of sellers. She thanked the all the girls and also acknowledged the help of the Club’s Cash Office who had made her cashing up easier by exchanging her volume of coins for notes. Jenny also recorded her grateful thanks to Brian Mitchell for being the SA’s Honorary Auditor and once again auditing the SA’s accounts for free.
A question from the floor asked for more information about the £4k spent under 50/50 expenses. Jenny replied saying much of this resulted from printing costs. The total expenditure in this line of the accounts was very similar to the previous year. Another question related to on what the £30k contribution from the SA would be spent. This was an understandable and indeed a perennial query. The SA had asked the Club to earmark a certain item(s) of expense so that all the membership could see that something tangible had resulted from their efforts. The conclusion was that the Club regard this as a small windfall to their overall turnover of £2.5m. It was likely that Phil would say it help progress his programme of capital works on things such as the Main Stand car park. However the SA said it would continue to request that their annual donation is spent on something specific and transparent.
The adoption of the accounts was agreed following a proposal by Richard Thom that was seconded by Peter Burrage.
4.3. Travel Co-ordinator’s Report – John Carroll
John Carroll said that during the season the coach arrangements with Chambers had generally gone very well. The second away game at Bramell Lane had proved the most difficult with well over 90 supporters travelling by coach. He thanked the regular travellers who had helped him and acknowledged the on-going support he had received from his wife and son. He commented that the coaches were always run for the benefit of the SA membership and once again thanked everyone who had helped him in different ways.
4.3 Communications/Media Reports – Peter Keen/Mark Hollis
Peter said that this had been a busy season on the SA’s communications front. Mark mentioned he had frequently been interviewed on local TV and radio. He had also written regularly in the Comet and was intending to do this again regularly throughout the coming season. Peter mentioned his main task was writing the SA page for the programme and that there had been some editorial problems along the way. However in the main the page had been filled with interesting copy each home game.
Peter also mentioned that he had tried to improve the discounts available to SA members from local retailers. Keeping the Suppliers’ list accurate and up to date remained an issue and notifying members of any changes although the SA enewsletter was possibly the best way to address the latter. Peter had received an offer from a member, Geoff Millman, to help him with this. The Committee hoped that some new suppliers would be added to the existing list for the coming season.
Action: Peter to invite Geoff Millman to help the SA Committee wherever feasible
5. Election of Committee for 2012/13
The SA rules state that the Committee members serve for two years and then stand down or seek re-election Three the current Committee were due for re-election this year. They were John Carroll, Peter Keen and Mark Hollis. All of their positions were up for re-election this year and all wanted to stand again. There were no other nominations.
It was agreed by the members present that all three officers should be re-elected. Therefore they were reappointed and all are eligible to stand for a further two years before having to seek re-election again.
Members were reminded that the Committee still did not have anyone holding the position of Social Secretary and invited members to consider volunteering to help in some capacity with fund-raising and organising events. Members were advised that, following his expression of interest in helping the Committee, Geoff Millman would become part of this by invitation but not as an elected officer.
As Secretary, Geoff introduced this item.
He said that the AGM was the right time for the membership to review and agree the appropriate levels in future. He said that would be a small increase in 2012/13 from 2011/12 (this had already been agreed at last year’s AGM). However like many bodies the SA had been hit by the substantial uplift (30%-38%) in postal rates. He said that the Committee thought it was possible to bear this in the coming season but that an increase in rates was required for 2013/14.
On behalf of the SA Committee, Geoff proposed the following suggested increases
Adult subscriptions to rise from £13 to £14;
Families from £26 to £28;
All concessions, i.e. senior citizens, unemployed, students and under 18s from £7 to £8.
The SA Committee proposed no increase in the junior rate recommending this remained at £6.
It was emphasised that all concessionary rates for SA members would be determined by the SA Committee and its membership and not by the club. The SA was not tied to any concessionary rates that were chosen and implemented by the club in respect of ticket prices etc.
These increases were considered by those present. Neil Smith proposed that they accept the Committee’s recommended new rates. This was seconded by Harry Gibbs and agreed by all members present.
7. Membership Cut-Off – All Ticket Games
In Mervyn’s absence, Geoff explained that the two FA Cup games with Spurs had stretched Mervyn, the SA’s Administrator to near breaking point. To cope with the volume of interest in such a short period (in this case over just 24-48 hours) the Committee thought a new procedure was necessary to prevent any reoccurrence should Boro be in this position in the FA Cup again. Whenever Boro remain in the FA Cup, the proposal was to close SA membership after Round 2 (i.e. early December) for a month until the 3rd round draw was known. A decision as to when the SA would reopen for new members would be taken By the Committee in liaison with the club and obviously depend on the 3rd round opposition that Boro drew and the venue. Taking this step would ensure that any decision about temporarily suspending SA membership would be made in conjunction with the club but allow the SA to keep on top of all the administration. This suggestion was accepted by those present.
8. End of Season Awards
Some present regretted the loss of the SA’s End of Season awards and wondered if another event might replace this. There was general dislike for anything on the pitch immediately the season had ended but some thought that a players’ dinner might be worth considering. However it was difficult balancing the spontaneity following a critical result on the last day of the season with the pre-planning needed for any event. If the result was adverse then any event scheduled for that evening or a few days later could end up very flat. Some members thought that an event just for SA members might still be worthwhile especially if this could be linked in some way to a fundraising function. It was suggested that maybe a poll on the SA website asking members for their ideas and options for an event around the season end was worthwhile.
Action – Mark to design the wording for a poll to be put on the SA website.
9. Social Events
The Committee asked for volunteers to take on the responsibility of arranging events and providing even more for the benefit of the members. The person who they had hoped would take this on hadn’t been proactive and so they were once again looking for a volunteer from the current membership.
Update- at the meeting no-one present volunteered but post-meeting Amanda Harper-Ives and Fiona Currey kindly volunteered to try and organise some SA member events once more.
A few issues were raised under AOB. Two had been raised prior to the AGM by members (as the Committee requested) but as it happened these had already been discussed under other items, i.e. use of Paypal and on what did the club spend the SA Committee’s donation. Geoff said that the minutes of any SA Commitee meetings would be published on the SA Website.
After the above were discussed there were no other matters. The meeting ended at 9.05pm.
The AGM was followed by a very informal but informative forum where Bob Makin answering questions from SA members and providing insight for those present into certain aspects of the administration involved with day to day activities of running a Football Club such as negotiating with players and their agents re contracts. Bob mentioned that the club were planning to open a separate ticket office once the work on the Main Stand and car parking had finished.
The SA thanked Bob for his assistance at the beginning of last season in getting a brick built SA “Hut” completed. The only thing really missing was an electrical point in the Hut as without this using it for evening matches was somewhat impractical e.g. shop stock sales could not be undertaken in the dark and the absence of light reduced the number of games over a season where the SA could help the club with shop sales in this way.