The meeting began with Paul Maitland discussing the new structure for the club:
“There will be a board of directors, the members of the board of directors will be required to put in a certain amount of money at the start of every season. The board will meet on a monthly basis. They will be in control of the clubs finances. Beneath this is the management committee, these will consist of associate directors and volunteers. They will manage the day to day running of the club. The committee will have a chair that reports to the board of directors. They will relay the feelings and ideas of the management committee.”
Paul also discussed the outlook of the club, saying that “we have to stop looking at this as just a football club, we have to run as a business.”
“we have to make prudent financial business and streamline business at the top of the club.”
Speaking on the news of increasing the number of shares. It was explained that “there is no money or people waiting to come in and buy the football club, there is no one from the outside looking to buy a large amount. This increase in shares is mainly for those currently holding shares that wish to increase their quantity.”
Paul Maitland and Simon Etherington have been approved by the current board to join it (as Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. They are awaiting the results of a “fit and proper persons test” to come back. They are hopeful this can be sorted out in time for next Tuesday’s EGM.
On the topic of the disabled cabin that was recently built.
The club were told that it would comply with the required rules and regulations. This was untrue. The club need someone to do a structural calculation and make sure that it is safe to use. We were told that it will “hopefully be done in the next few months”
On manager Bobby Wilkinson:
Paul Maitland said “The manager is leading form the front, everyone else went on holiday after the Dover game. He hasn’t stopped. I was on the phone to him at 1am on Wednesday!
“Bobby was at Leicester City’s training ground. He managed to get himself an invite in to see what they are doing. He is going to spend a few days at the Welsh international set up. I’ve never seen anyone like him. He is relentless. We have shown him our budget, we have given him his budget and we were met with a resounding yes from him.
On the clubs recent signings:
Paul Maitland said “Bobby builds teams. Since Christmas he has had 4 scouts out every week watching potential players. He had plans for players if we went down and has plans for players in this division. Every deal is pre planned. We have a target A,B,C,D system. We’ve pretty much scouted every team in the south! It won’t always be perfect. But it never is in non league. He has been relentless for months. I’m begging him to take a holiday so that I can get a break!”
“He’s coming down for a few days in June, he’s going to coach at Champion for a few days.”
“He’s not interested in managing in the National South any longer than he has too, I share that ambition with him!”
The floor was opened up to some questions following this.
“How did you arrive at 15 percent for the increase?”
Speaking candidly, they explained “we looked at 7.5 percent and doubled it!”
“People were getting close to the maximum amount so that had to be changed.”
“Over the last 10-15 years we haven’t been able to spend anything on stand preservation. there were areas of stands that have been sectioned off. We have issues with the roof, is there a plan to over the next 5-10 years to do some work on the ground?
“Our budget does show a profit, we are being as careful as we can. As soon as there is cash available, we will meet to discuss what work should be prioritised. It is extremely unlikely we are going anywhere in the near future. Therefore, we need to look at making the Bob Lucas Safe.”
“Will the Supporters Association still be on the main board?”
The unequivocal answer was yes, we were also told that there will be a representative on the management committee too.
“Can you try and put a number on the amount that the directors will have to put in?”
Paul Maitland explained that it is open to discussion, however he illuded to the fact that it may be between 2,500 – 10,000 pounds. They are cautious that they don’t want to miss out on a good director because they cannot afford to be on the board. In this eventuality, the other board members would compensate and potentially increase their own amount of money they commit.
When asked whether they are all happy with the changes that are to be made. It was explained that “It’s a great opportunity, some people think there is someone coming to descend with money on the Bob Lucas. It gives the fans the opportunity to go and buy shares of the football club. The more shares that we own as fans of the club. The safer it is to avoid one person coming and hoovering up some shares.”
If supporters wish to purchase shares, there is an application form available in the office or on the club website.
“If the team have a great season, are there plans in place if we get promoted?”
“I’d like to think the lessons have been learnt from the last trip there (the National League), we are now in greater financial control. We have budgeted realistically this season, so that there is some profit left over if we get to the National League.”
It was made known that:
“If we were to go up, it may not be the most attractive season. What we will not do is stretch the club to stay in the National League if it puts the club at risk.”
Paul Maitland added that the club have secured a training location that will save the club £10,000.
“What difference did it make that we didn’t get relegated?”
There are some big teams In our league now, we did a budget for each division. It was quite a difference between the two. That’s why some of us backed him (financially) so that we could get him over the line.
“We had people on the seafront at the Expo asking us about the great escape. These people were from up and down the country”
Bobby Wilkinson was praised with improving the clubs publicity massively.
“Are there any potential risks on the horizon?”
“Compared to where we were this time last season, we are much better off”
In august we had £2,000 in the bank, no transfer budget, no money from friendlies, no season ticket money.
The club are trying to make sure that the preseason friendlies are at home so that they can receive the financial benefits.
Is the introduction of the patrons draw admitting that we couldn’t secure a sponsor?
We found out that three companies pulled out of deals to be front of shirt sponsors. Hence the introduction of the patrons draw.
Simon Etherington added that the club are actually £10,000 better off because of the patrons draw.
What about the 80% rule on special resolutions?
Paul Maitland said that a tidying up was to take place in reference to rules like this. No one knew where the origin of this rule came from. The plan is to change to a majority system.
“What’s happening with commercial sales?”
“We are doing alright at the moment, it’s a collective effort. We have Bob doing a bit and we are doing bits and pieces too. We know lots of people going out and looking (for sponsors). We implore the fans to do the same. Right at this minute employing someone to do so is not in our budget.
Paul Maitland explained how “Many clubs tried to come in and get Bobby even when we were perceived to be struggling. His CV is impressive, and he is here to do his best for us. When I looked at Bobby as a potential manager, there are a few examples of him working magic on the final game of the season. There’s something about him, he has that touch to do something that no one thinks he should.”
“Is there a consensus among all shareholders this is the right thing to do?”
“Yes, we have spoken to all of the shareholders and they agree this is the right thing to do.”