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Feb
8

Trust Directors Talk Us Through Their Roles – Part 9

The latest Trust Director to have had their piece published in the Matchday programme and then on here is John Derben.   John outlined his role on the board of Wycombe Wanderers Trust as follows:

“Good afternoon and welcome to the fans of Portsmouth FC – my old stomping ground when in my teens I saw them win back-to-back Division 1 Championships in 1948/49 and 1949/50.

My allegiance these days is with Wycombe Wanderers and has been for the past 15 years. During that time, I have served on the football club board and currently on the board of the Supporters Trust, where I have several areas of responsibility.

As chairman of the board of Frank Adams Legacy Limited, the actual owners of the stadium, I – together with my colleagues – look after the interests of the supporters. Working together, we provide financial security to the football club who lease the stadium and maintain the fabric as part of their responsibilities.

Volunteers now play a significant role in helping the club to reduce the cost of maintenance and redecoration. Volunteers also sell programmes and run the car parks, with more than 20 in total working around the stadium on matchdays. We are called PALS and have over 100 volunteers signed up. If you would like to join our happy band, contact me on 01494 441145 for the forms.

As chairman of OWWSA (the Official Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Association), I represent the fans on the Trust board and co-ordinate the activities of the PALS volunteers.

OWWSA regularly raises funds for the club through events, run by my wife Sandie, and organising a coach service to all away games, run by Rena Frontalski and Graham Roberts. This amounts to between £6,000 and £10,000 each year. If anyone would like to join OWWSA, it costs just £12 a year – Graham Roberts is your man to contact. OWWSA membership entitles you to a £4 discount on every away coach trip.

The safety aspect of the stadium is overseen by Buckinghamshire County Council through a committee called the SAG (Safety Advisory Group). All the public services play a role on the SAG – police, fire brigade, ambulance service, St John’s Ambulance and Wycombe District Council (environmental health and building surveyors departments).

The club is represented by the stadium manager Gordon Reilly and safety officer Trevor Morgan, director David Cook, and myself. I have attended the SAG for the last five years partly because of my past professional background and partly because of the work our volunteers do to protect our supporters. This is one of those tasks which goes on in the background in the overall running of the football club.

This year, Gordon, Trevor, David and I have been rewriting the safety certificate which governs all aspects of health and safety in and around the stadium. This is a mandatory document designed to protect not only our supporters and staff but all visitors to our facilities. In my role, I attend the pre-match stewards briefings and support the stadium manager and safety officer as and when required.

Life is never boring at Wycombe Wanderers. All the directors of the club and Trust boards give their time voluntarily and it’s a pleasure to work with such dedicated teams and for a dedicated band of supporters.”

Feb
7

Trust Directors Talk Us Through Their Roles – Part 8

Squad Photo during the Wycombe Wanderers 2016/17 Team & Individual Squad Photos at Adams Park, High Wycombe, England on 1 August 2016. Photo by Jeremy Nako.

The latest Trust Board member to talk us through his role is Mark Burrell.

“I’ve been a Trust Board Director for two years, and then joined the football club board in June 2015, working on a purely voluntary basis to create a sustainable football club and group, and build a legacy.

Each director’s role is based on their skills and experience; mine is bringing business transformation and corporate / strategic finance expertise as the Group Finance Director across the finances of all three companies – the Trust, WWFC and Frank Adams Legacy Ltd.  I chair the Group Finance Committee where we grapple with the detail of the group finances and how to make funds work for the best of all, and ensuring we do not have to pay unnecessary tax.

My finance update at the Trust AGM and Finance Forum showed that we have good reason for optimism with the strongest results and finances since the Trust took control.  Some highlights are: we have made real progress both financially and with our systems and processes; we have made significant reductions in debts in the group (including from the well-publicised receipt of the Jordon Ibe monies); we have formalised and extended all outstanding external debt arrangements; and we have agreed repayment plans with all parties as we continue to meet our financial promises.  

Our records and processes are at levels of clarity and consistency not seen before, as I work with Dawn Evans (the club’s Finance Manager) and Martyn Broughton (the independent Group Treasurer), and with our auditors, Haines Watts, who have provided outstanding service and support through the year.

This all builds towards creating a sustainable football club for future generations and, financially, we know where we are and what we need each season for various scenarios. 

We have finance plans in place that, like our competitors, rely on “football fortune” to work, through cup runs, player sales or sell-on fees. We work to ensure this continues, without guarantees, so we need to look at the best model for the ownership and funding of our football club and group.  Trimming our budget or expanding it with inward investment, which would mean selling part or a controlling interest in our Club – as a Trust Board we are investigating routes open to us.

2017 is very exciting for us all both on and off the pitch and we work for the best results we can deliver, constantly and rigorously looking at how best to “balance the books” as a Trust-owned club ensuring we continue to develop, commercially and financially.”

Jan
8

A Boost for the Share Scheme

The Share Scheme is still alive and doing well!  Many thanks to all those who have already contributed and/or are still doing so for the next few years.

This month an existing WW Trust Share Scheme shareholder Gareth Hayes wanted to acknowledge the 21st birthday of his son Amos by making an investment for him in the football club.

‘Our own Gareth‘ was on hand on Saturday to present Amos with his share certificate supported by (left to right) Nigel Kingston (Share Scheme Chairman), Trevor Stroud (Trust Chairman), Alan Cecil (Share Scheme Administrator) and on the far right is Gareth Hayes.

If you can help boost the finances of your club, then please go to http://www.wycombewandererstrust.com/share-offer

Jan
3

Trust Chairman Looks Ahead At 2017

In case you missed this in the Newport match programme, ‘Parklife’ Trevor Stroud, Chairman of Wycombe Wanderers Trust had this to say about the year ahead:

“As we start a New Year, I have more optimism for the future of our Football Club, than I have had since we took ownership in 2012. Not only do we have, in my opinion, the strongest squad we’ve had for many years, playing good football and scoring lots of goals, but off the field we have made real progress both financially and with our systems and processes.

When we took ownership of WWFC we had no overdraft facility and increasing total debts that had peaked at £2.92m (June 2015) which by the end of June 2016 had been reduced to £2.4m, with a further significant reduction last November following the well-publicised receipt of the Jordon Ibe monies. We have formalised and extended all outstanding external debt arrangements, and have agreed repayment plans (albeit small payments!) with all parties as we meet our financial promises.

We have an effective Trust Board, who put in many hours every month on a voluntary basis, to ensure that we continue the progress we have made, working to build a sustainable football club for future generations. (I even allowed them new name badges, so you know who they are!)

We have a Club Chairman who has transformed the business aspect of the Football Club, again on a totally voluntary basis (and has had a pretty good influence on on-field activities as well).

We have one of the brightest Managers in the EFL, who represents our Club so professionally at every opportunity. Have you ever seen him refuse a picture or an autograph?

We have one of the best pitches in the EFL, courtesy of a hard working groundstaff, ably managed by Ivor Beeks.

Oh, and we have the Beast as well!

However, the New Year is about looking forward not back.

Footballing wise, we have a great 3rd round F.A. Cup tie against Stourbridge on Saturday. This will be a difficult match, as it may well be the biggest game they have ever played and they will be very keen to do to us, what we’ve done to higher placed teams so many times before. In the league, we are two thirds of the way to safety, and in a good place to push for a play-off place.

Off the pitch, we will need to continue the debate regarding the best model for the ownership and funding of our Football Club, going forward. We’ve relied, as do many of our competitors, on “football fortune” to survive, be it via cup runs (including the much maligned Checkatrade trophy), player sales or sell on fees. We can of course hope, and do our best, to ensure this continues, but there are absolutely no guarantees that it will.

We can “cut our cloth” to what we can afford, which would mean a further reduced player budget and an inevitable tumble down the leagues. The other route would be to look for inward investment, which would mean selling part or a controlling interest in the Football Club. As I said at the Trust AGM, your Trust board are currently investigating routes open to us, and at an appropriate time I will call a special meeting to update members and have a debate about our findings. In the meantime, you have the reassurance that the Club cannot be sold without the approval of 75% of Legacy Members (members who have held a season ticket for more than three seasons). 

I am really excited about what we might achieve in the coming year, and would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your family a happy, healthy and successful 2017.”

Jan
1

500 Club Showing Its Worth As Jamal Stays On

Speaking on the news that loan goalkeeper Jamal Blackman has had his loan period from Chelsea extended until the end of this season, Manager Gareth Ainsworth had this to say:

“There’s a lot of work to be done in January to keep this squad as strong as it can be and to give us a real chance of achieving something in the second half of the season.
The 500 Club has played a massive part so far and I’d like to thank everyone who’s contributed because the fans here can make such a difference.”

The 500 Club was set up to bolster Gareth’s playing budget, initially in the January 2017 window, and we already seen the Scott Kashket and Jamal Blackman deals.

If you can help boost the sum already raised for this purpose then please go to www.500wanderers.co.uk

Dec
20

Final 2016 Board Meeting – Summary

The WWSGL (Wycombe Wanderers Trust) Board recently met for their final monthly meeting of 2016. A summary of the discussions are below.

AGM:

• As confirmed at the AGM, Colin Treacher has retired by rotation, replaced by Lawrie Read (unopposed).

• Jordon Ibe: as members found out at the AGM, the Jordon Ibe monies had been received, which has allowed the entirety of Steve Hayes’ debt to be repaid, as well as leaving a surplus.

• It was agreed that the Trust’s Registered Address be changed to Adams Park following Colin Treacher standing down from the Board.

• A further finance forum was held on 8th December to discuss the financial aspects and slides presented on the night. This was only attended by two members so we assume members are happy with what they have been shown/ told. If not, we have a Trust table at every home match in the Calendonian Suite, ran by our Directors on a rota basis, so please come and see us with any further questions.

Player Fund:

• With all promised subscriptions included, the Player Fund total now stands at £50,680 with over 290 contributors. The Board still hopes to see further donations coming through over the next couple of weeks prior to the January transfer window opening. This represents significant progress since the AGM and the announcement of Scott Kashket signing a 2 and a half year contract.

• There was a widespread belief that the impressive total donated by supporters show what the fans of Wycombe Wanderers want to invest in: the playing squad.

• The funds generated so far amount to a superb total which will really help Gareth Ainsworth’s budget in January.

• There had been no recent change in the total investment of the Share Scheme, which still runs in conjunction with the 500 Club Player Fund.

Club News:

• The new general manager, Michael Davies, had been announced and will start on 9th January 2017.

• A new range of club shop items arrived just prior to the Leyton Orient match on 17th December. All proceeds now go to the club and fans are encouraged to have a look at what is available.

• Corporate hospitality sold out for the Leyton Orient match.

• Tickets for the Stourbridge FA Cup 3rd Round match at Adams Park on Saturday 7th January are now on general sale.

PALS:

• John Derben reported that 6 volunteers were attending the stadium twice per week, carrying out various maintenance tasks including redecorating the toilets, maintaining the fire exit route behind the Frank Adams Stand and jet washing throughout the stadium when required.

• The thanks of everyone in attendance is always noted for our loyal volunteers. We will continue to recruit new volunteers for tasks as they arise.

WWSET:

David Roberton updated the meeting on the following points:
• Meetings have been held with the Berks & Bucks FA who are very supportive of the Club’s approach to ladies’ football.
• Additionally, meetings have been held with other local Football League Clubs to better understand best practice within their operations. Watch this space!

Fans Council:

• It has been agreed that Mark Bowring will head up a revised Fans’ Council where representatives from each sector of the Stadium will participate so that issues can be brought forward to the Club / Trust for review and action as appropriate.

The Trust Board will meet again in mid-January 2017.

Thanks for reading.

Dec
20

Trust Directors Talk Us Through Their Role – Part 7

Now it’s the turn of David Roberton to explain some of his input into the Football Club via the Trust Board:

“As a grandchild might ask – “ … and what do you do grandad?”.

Firstly as a Trust member I try and participate in fundraising activities including the Walk to Oxford, the Snowdon Climb and most recently the Ride to Amsterdam with Keith Ryan and Keith Scott.

Secondly, as an elected representative on the Trust Board, I try to make myself visible and available to answer members’ questions by serving real ale in the newly renamed Caledonian Suite and having a season ticket on the terrace, even though the latter means the risk of abuse from Al and Phil or interrogation from Richard.

However, each Trust Director now has a specific role and I currently represent the football club on the board of Wycombe Wanderers Sports & Education Trust (“WWSET”), the charitable arm of the football club. WWSET is a part of ‘One Wycombe’ and is expanding and developing its role in the local community through the leadership of Paul Foley under the guidance of a board headed by Steve Edgar.

WWSET runs a diverse range of activities within the community, all of which aim to provide opportunities for improvements in health, education, social inclusion and sports participation, including football. Supporters of Wycombe Wanderers will be aware of the fact that following the Trust takeover of the club in 2012, a painful decision had to be made to disband the youth academy which under the guidance of Richard Dobson had provided an enviable record in developing players for the first team, many of whom including Matt Phillips, Russell Martin and Jordon Ibe would go on to play at the highest level.

Whilst it is unlikely that the club will be able to reinstate a youth academy in the near future, the development of talented local football players by Wycombe Wanderers has not stopped. Through the WWSET Elite Centre, boys aged between seven and 16 receive four hours of professional coaching each week, plus play matches against other professional clubs, elite centres and academies, and whilst there is no opportunity for them to further their development through WWFC, in recent years more than 70 boys have gone on to join academies including Arsenal, Chelsea, Reading and Spurs, including 10+ already this season.

Through WWSET, the reputation and name of Wycombe Wanderers as a club who play an active role in giving local children opportunities in football is being maintained.  In the summer of 2016, WWSET  made another step forward by announcing the formation of an Elite and Development Academy for girls and teams will be run at under 10, 11, 12 and 13 age groups. The first competitive matches will be played against Northampton Town on December 21st. My role is to help ensure that the planned WWSET activities complement those of WWFC in the community.”

Dec
20

Trust Directors Talk Us Through Their Role – Part 6

Ohoto by Ann Priest)

The latest Trust Director to explain their particular role is our Membership Secretary and representative of the Ex-Players Association, John Bignell:

“November is the busiest time of the year for me in my role as  Membership Secretary. Subscriptions become due at the beginning of the month so updating the database as over 1000 standing order and cash payments come in is a very time consuming exercise. Cash and cheque payers need reminders to pay, mostly by email for those that have it but also by post for others. Standing orders and email does make life easier so my plea to those members who are able to but haven’t yet done so is let me have an email address and contact me to set up a standing order.

The need to have the database updated and correct is important as only paid up members can be admitted to the AGM and vote on key issues.

Earlier in the year I was asked to join the board of Frank Adams Legacy Limited my brief being to oversee the recording and displaying of the vast quantity of club memorabilia and records. John Taylor, vice chairman of Wycombe Wanderers Ex Players Association has worked closely with me on this with help from Trust members Lawrie Read, Dave Goulding, Phil Ball and Alan Hodgson.

If you have not been into Monty’s bar (formerly Scores) this season I urge you to do so to take a look at the updated project undertaken  throughout the summer. You can now see more historical photos, trophies and artefacts around the bar and surrounding areas, creating a visual chronology of the club from its foundation in 1887 right through to the current day.

The display traces key moments including the FA Amateur Cup Finals of 1931 and 1957, the eight Isthmian League title wins, FA Trophy and Play Off glory at Wembley under Martin O’Neill, the transformation into a successful professional side and eventual elevation to the Football League in 1993. There is scope to refresh and update this area and new improved lighting is due to installed imminently. The Ex Players Association have kindly funded this project and we are very grateful to them.

We are now looking at other areas of the stadium where more items of our illustrious history can be shared by all. Many thanks to all who have offered help and encouragement with this.”

Dec
5

500 Club Helps Secure Kashket Deal

scott-kashketWycombe Wanderers Trust chairman Trevor Stroud says the club’s signing of striker Scott Kashket on a long-term contract underlines the importance of the 500 Club initiative.

Kashket put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half year contract on Monday afternoon after an outstanding spell in the light and dark blue quarters, scoring nine times in nine appearances since joining in August.

Contributions from supporters into the 500 Club have enabled the Chairboys to commit to the signing of the 20-year-old striker, and Stroud says he hopes fans will realise the significance of the part they have been playing.

“The 500 Club is a fantastic initiative which gives fans the opportunity to shape the future of their club on the pitch,” he said. “We all know the limitations on the playing budget and Gareth and his staff have done a fantastic job in assembling the squad which is currently producing some superb results and performances in both the league and two cups.

“Keeping Scott at Adams Park is a major success story of the 500 Club but we want there to be many more, and I would urge any supporter who hasn’t yet contributed to dig deep and put their £150 into the pot to keep this momentum moving forward.”

The 500 Club asks for contributions of £150 per person – payable as a one-off sum or via monthly instalments – with assorted rewards on offer from a series of prize draws which recognise the support of those who have played their part.

Launched in September, the initiative is aimed at raising £75,000 for the playing budget, to be used in the January transfer window. More than half of the target has so far been raised with four weeks to go until the window opens.

To sign up to the 500 Club, visit 500wanderers.co.uk, or visit the Trust table inside the Caledonian Suite on home matchdays.

Dec
4

New Director Joins Trust Board

At last weeks’ Trust AGM, 4 directors were appointed to serve on the Trust Board.

Alan Cecil, had already served 2 spells of 3 years, retired by rotation and was re-elected.

David Roberton had been co-opted to fill a vacancy during the past year and was now re-elected.

Similarly David Smith had been co-opted earlier this year to fill a vacancy and therefore was required to seek election to the Board, which was agreed by all present.

lawrie-readWith Colin Treacher retiring from the Board after 6 years, his place was taken by newcomer Lawrie Read, pictured right.

Trust Chairman Trevor Stroud paid tribute to the work done by Colin not only in the areas of Membership and as Company Secretary but also in many other ways both seen and unseen. Colin was presented with a framed first team shirt signed by the first team squad.

For full details on Alan, David R, David S and Lawrie (plus the rest of the Trust Board), click here

Dec
2

Slides from Trust AGM

The minutes from the Trust AGM held on Wednesday 30th November will be sent to members in due course.

In the meantime here are the slides used during the meeting. agm-301116

See separate article below for the Q&A held with Andrew Howard , Club Chairman

 

Nov
12

Jordon Ibe Transfer Update

jordon-ibeAfter working for a few months now to secure our sell on share of Jordon’s transfer from Liverpool to Bournemouth, the Club directors are finally making very real progress. 

As we have previously said, we have been limited in the information ‎we can give out because of very stringent confidentiality clauses in the various contracts. 

Whilst this problem remains, we expect to be able to give an update at the AGM on Wednesday 30 November and you have my assurance we will say as much as we possibly can. 

I appreciate the lack of information has been frustrating ‎- it has been frustrating for us as well – but equally I know you wouldn’t have wanted us to do anything that could have jeopardised the Club’s position. 

Updates will be provided shortly after the AGM for those of you unable to attend. 

Trevor Stroud
Chairman