Forest Green Rovers Supporters Club

Annual General Meeting held on

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Carol Embrey Suite, FGR Stadium, Another Way, Forest Green, Glos, GL6 OFG.

                                                          Minutes

Trading Name:         Forest Green Rovers Supporters Club

Registered Name:    Forest Green Rovers Supporters Society Limited

Registered Number: 30509R

Attendees – Ian Crawley (Chair), Richard Gray (Treasurer). Neil Munro (Secretary), Ron Oswell,  Sandy Jack, Alan Beard, Paul Pettipher, Neil Newport, Allen Grant, Jacky Hoskin, Steve Hoskin. Bill Greenoff.

Apologies – Mike Starke, John Clapp, Peter Gould, Phil Butterworth, Phil Doble, Tim Barnard, Kath Gray, Les Richards, Gordon Martin, Clive White, Kriss White, John Fowles., Dave Gowling, Martin Williams.

Introduction

Ian Crawley (Chair) welcomed everybody to the AGM.

As the AGM is not quorate the meeting will be held and the minutes circulated to give the members the opportunity to comment on any decisions made.

  1. Approve 2018 AGM Minutes

Decision: The 2018 AGM Minutes were accepted unanimously.

  • Chair’s Report (Overall Report on Supporters Club Activities)

Ian Crawley reported – An excellent year of progression for FGR FC, the team and the Supporters Club, with a new website in place and a pin badge for every member.  The increasing numbers attending away games is really noteworthy. FGR had more away fans at Bournemouth on a weekday evening than Manchester City had there the previous Saturday afternoon.  And the nearly 1000 FGR fans at Cheltenham definitely out sang the home support.

We have a very positive and active Board, particularly well served by new Board members this year – Penny Smith and David Gowling. 

They each brought new skills and experience. Penny sadly could not continue on the Board. I thank her especially for her focus on the Women’s Team and how the Supporters Club could best support them, e.g. getting girls included in the Skills Schools Scheme.  We welcome new Board members and Supporters Club members.

The Rovers Raffle is going from strength to strength, helped by the introduction of card payments on the first floor of the main stand.  Last Saturday against Plymouth was probably our best ever income – over £900 – helped by the large crowd, but also through having seven people selling the tickets. Thank you for your regular efforts. We welcome more volunteers to sell tickets.

Last year we provided funds to pay for the Academy goals on the school field next door and to promote the Club on their minibuses.

This year we have provided £20,000 to support the provision of the new gym bar and to upgrade the three outdoor kitchens. We have agreed with the Club placing plaques to acknowledge this in each location.

Our annual programme of two quiz nights a season, is contributing over £1500 to support the Womens’ teams.

We continue to subsidize the away travel, jointly with the FGR FC, where necessary.

This season we are sponsoring Matty Stevens, home and away this season. Its great seeing him play well and score.

We have been actively involved in the innovation this season of the Fan’s Forum, where fan’s from each of the three home stands share issues, concerns and aspirations about the match day experience with Henry Staelens, the FGR FC Chief Executive and other key staff.

Through these meetings and SC meetings with Henry we continue to pursue:

* Improvements to the facilities and the experience at The New Lawn.                                                                   * Value For Money ticketing and away travel.                                                                                                               * More timely and effective communications with fans on all FGR teams and games.                                           * Ways in which fans can best be engaged in getting the right facilities built in to the new stadium, and benefit from effective travel and access arrangements to the stadium location.

To conclude, I want to give special thanks to:                                                                                                              * Paul Pettifer, whose excellent on-coach management of the away travel, is a key part of the increasing numbers travelling to support FGR away.                                                                                                     * the entire FGR FC staff team at The New Lawn, who do a great job, with I suspect fewer numbers than most other League 2 clubs.

The Chair’s report raised the following questions –

Alan Beard asked how children became involved with Skills Schools and the Academy. It should be better publicised.

Action: Ian to investigate how children applied to attend Skills Schools & the Academy

Pin Badges – Sandy Jack has been a SC member for over 30 years but he said  earlier in the season, before he had had an opportunity to re-join,  when badges were handed out in the Gym Bar to SC members at the same table as him he had been told that he needed to join SC to receive a badge. Sandy was offered a SC Pin Badge but he kindly said to give it to the Bulgarian FGR Supporters (See Para 4 and below). Members can collect badges from the SC table before matches. (Situated in the Gym Bar or the Concourse)

Post Meeting Note – Niko, who runs a small football museum in Bulgaria wrote ‘Your letter made me very happy again – you’re so kind, I don’t have words to express how grateful I am for what you do for a stranger like me!  Me and my father may have more than 10, 000 football items from all over the world, but be sure that the FGR match programme and the Supporters Club badge will be one of the most special in our small museum! And the reason is that they are about a unique club from football’s home country and they are sent to us by a great new friend :)’                   Niko and his girlfriend plan to come to an FGR match next year.

Cheltenham Coaches – Sandy Jack pointed out that one coach had only had 4 people on it. Paul Pettipher explained that there had been a hiccup and FGR had slightly overbooked the coaches. Fortunately KB Coaches had quickly provided an additional coach. Lessons will be learnt.

Ambassadors Coaches – Sandy Jack asked how many Ambassadors travelled as compared with the number of adults ?.

Ian Crawley said the Ambassadors’ away coaches represent an important investment in the future of the club. They were paid for through external sponsorship by Grundons, although the SC has in the past contributed.

Action: Phil Butterworth to provide a statement of the numbers travelling on Ambassadors coaches.

Post Meeting Note: Phil Butterworth wrote ‘The next Ambassador coach will be to Swindon (7 March 2020), all past trips have been very well supported – 50 went to Exeter (12 October 19) and 50 are going to Swindon. No other club, to my knowledge, runs these type of trips for young supporters.’

Further PS: Phil Butterworth noted that each young people must be accompanied by an adult, as neither the Club nor the SC can take responsibility for unaccompanied children.

Web Site: Alan Beard and Sandy Jack said that information disappears off the FGR web site; for example coach pick up times are posted a month or so before the match but by the time of the match the information has dropped down on the web site and is difficult to find.

Alan Beard suggested putting adverts in local papers regarding forthcoming matches so that new or non-regular attendees would see them.

Ian said that the SC is raising communications issues with CEO Henry Staelens.

Paul Pettipher suggested that in the South Stand the area between the Changing Rooms and the stand should be covered. People don’t want to stand in the rain eating and drinking.

SC has previously  raised this with FGR and Tim Barnard had previously costed the roofing work at £8,000. The SC has offered to pay half. CEO Henry Staelens now recognises that this work is worth carrying out.

Allen Grant said that the Gym Bar is very noisy, wooden panels or curtains should be added to act as baffles. Neil Newport did not like the mirrors and suggested adding photos of players.

Post Meeting Note: Dane Vince (Stadium Manager) wrote ‘Gym bar noise will be due to the high ceiling and lack of baffle. Will add it to the ‘to look at list’, maybe an end of season thing.

We are looking to add stuff into the Gym bar like photos, but won’t be changing the Mirrors (they are glued to the walls anyway)’

SC suggested and FGR have accepted the idea of putting a CCTV camera pointing at the pitch and screens in the Gym Bar along the mirror wall and at the Outlets.

Post Meeting Note: Dane Vince (Stadium Manager) wrote ‘Whilst it is possible to stream a live games into a onsite bar, you need special equipment, pay a licence fee and there are special rules too. So afraid we can’t just use CCTV.’

Concern was expressed by Neil Newport about children playing on the Gym Bar stage as potentially somebody might fall through the window.

Action: Ian to raise safety concerns of children playing on the Gym Bar stage with FGR.

Post Meeting Note: Dane Vince (Stadium Manager) wrote ‘The windows are double glazed, so will be robust.’

  • Treasurer’s Report (Financial Accounts to 31 May 2019)

Richard Gray talked through the annual accounts.

The Raffle is the main source of income – £19.000.

Main Expenditure:-

Academy Minibuses – £1,800

Web Site – £1,200

Skills School Sponsorship – £600

FGR Women – £1,000 (Quiz Nights)

Surplus – £8,000

£75,000 assets including cash.

Accounts were produced prior to £20,000 donation for the Gym Bar.

Sandy Jack said that he would have preferred the £1,000 given to FGR Women to have been given to FGR Youth

It was pointed out we have also given money to FGR Youth e.g. Skills School & Academy Mini-buses.

Jacky Hoskin said that Women’s Football is growing and it could represent the future of FGR.

Decision: The accounts were unanimously agreed.

Disappointment was expressed at the lack of FGR SC Board members present at the AGM.

  • Secretary’s Report (Membership)

Target has been to have 200 members.

Comparison of membership end Oct 18 and end Oct 19.

 Members
End Oct 18133
End Oct 19198
Change+ 65

Since then 3 members have renewed and 1 new member has joined.

So 200 members target has been achieved. The 200th member was the new member who had not previously joined, their excuse being that they were not born until October 2019.

A lot of overseas interest in FGR. Today e-mails were received from a couple of supporters in Bulgaria who hope to attend an FGR match early next year.

On Saturday a supporter in France had been in contact as to whether he could join the SC even though he wasn’t vegan.

  • Motion 1 :- To appoint  Chris Latham as Director of the Society

Chris has been active on the committee and his particular strength was IT.

Decision: Motion to accept Chris Latham was passed by ten votes for and two votes against.

The rationale for the votes against was that Chris was not present and they did not know who he was and so in that context did not feel they could vote for him.

  • Any Other Business

Sandy Jack asked about the Supporter Director role as nobody knows who they are.

Part of the rationale for the old SC merging with the Trust was that they would be given a place on the FGR Board – a Supporter Director. Martin Williams took on the role but the FGR Board never met and after a year Dale Vince said the Board would never meet and dissolved the Supporter Director Role.

Martin Williams is still on the SC Board and contributes some of the SC Notes in the programme.

Alan Beard asked about SC relationship with FGR.

SC has regular meetings with CEO Henry Staelens. He has delegated authority but has not shared exactly what that covers. The meetings have included the Gym Bar, Outlet kitchens etc. FGR do not accept everything SC suggests. The income from the Raffle is the only thing that gives us any say, we have no actual power.

Apart from money FGR ask for help with volunteers, which we do in conjunction with the Ambassadors – programme sellers, flag waving etc.

There will be a sea change if/once the new stadium planning permission goes through as FGR will want to get the Supporters on board.

Cheltenham Town, who have a much bigger fan base, Supporters Club is on the verge of folding.

Close

Ian thanked everybody for attending and their contributions.

Neil Munro – FGR SC Secretary – 20 Nov 19

Corrected at the SC AGM on 17th November 2020 and then approved