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Old 9th February 2020, 13.12:05   #25-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

Back on topic, the following has been emailed to the Board today. I wonder if they will reply this time:

To: John.Mills@wst.org.uk; josh.williams@wst.org.uk; Bryan.Still@wst.org.uk; Stephen.Lloyd@wst.org.uk; Sarah.Smith.Howard@wst.org.uk; Gavin.Jones@wst.org.uk; Spencer.Harris@wst.org.uk; Mark.Williams@wst.org.uk; rob.stock@wst.org.uk; simon.rhodes@wst.org.uk
Subject: Members' meeting - 17th February 2020


Fellow fans of WAFC,

I’m addressing this to you all as there seems to be no single address on the website with which the appropriate individual can be reached with generic requests and messages. I would like to think that this is why earlier messages addressed to membership@ have failed to draw a response.

Communications embracing transparency is a hot topic among fans who are concerned that despite the club being “Fans Owned” they are frequently left in the dark regarding matters considered important to them. This even extended to there being no time stated for the Members’ Meeting scheduled for the 17th February.

Many feel that attending a meeting that has no specific agenda may be pointless, and therefore a waste of time and fuel. Indeed, that could help explain why such meetings have been under-attended in the past, creating a false impression that fans simply aren’t interested in anything other than the results after 90 minutes of match play. This is merely a reflection of many fans’ circumstances and not their interest in a lifetime’s support for the club that they love. There have been comments about this today on social media, culminating in a suggestion that fans who are unable to attend such meetings be invited to do so using Skype or Line conference call facilities as just two examples. I would have imagined that you’re aware of the facility, and wonder why it hasn’t already been utilised to at least offer greater inclusion to those who complain that they can’t attend. Is there a reason for this of which we should be aware?

Others (myself included) have been concerned at the delays in posting minutes of your monthly meetings on the WST website. For many of us, it is the only way to gain a perception of the activities in which you are involved to take this once-great club forward, and therefore back to where we should be. Rather sadly, there is a glaring absence of detail about that in the minutes currently available, the latest being those for your October meeting. Whilst it was held late in the month, leading to the next scheduled meeting being due at the end of November, the minutes for that are way overdue. I wonder therefore if you are aware that it is a legal requirement for such meetings to be produced much earlier than this. Sadly, the missing minutes add to the growing sense of disillusion among supporters.

Some of you have an awareness of the frustration felt by so many this season, as you have social media accounts where many supporters aren’t shy to express their feelings on a variety of topics related to the club, such as team management (including coaching, team selection and player acquisition and retention) team tactics including substitutions, and the allocation of funds across the different areas of club management. Some feel very strongly about the disabled facilities (and the second platform delays in particular) while others focus on the way some former players have been treated by the club in recent times. Simply reading this short list provides a hint at the anger felt by many that fans are being ignored by the management, who quite happily accept the funding provided by match and season tickets, membership subscriptions (when they are received – many who became members have lost track of their status due to the lack of communications in that regard) and so on. Others are concerned that the club/Trust is losing revenue as a result of not seizing upon opportunities suggested by fans: one older fan wanted to make a legacy to the club. I did exchange emails with Richard Ulrich and Mark Jones about this subject, quoting Tranmere Rovers’ success in that area. That communication was around sixteen months ago and ended when I was told that it would be discussed with the board. It was never followed up, and I doubt that the club has any idea about the potential value of such donations from lifelong fans. In a former role, I dealt with legacies to my then employer – a small charity. That organisation received 160,000 from legacies in 2018/9 alone, so I’ll never be persuaded that making fans aware that they can still help the club after they pass on is a waste of time and effort.

It has been suggested in view of the disturbing lack of feedback to fans who have communicated with you about their offers of help that a record of such communications – and the results – be kept for public access. Such a record now exists, and I hope that you will respond to comments made here. Silence tends to condemn instead of helping with the main thrust of this email, i.e. communications, inclusion, and transparency.

Finally, I see several references to a “forum” mentioned on your meeting minutes to which you post more details, but have been unable to find such a facility. Is this a closed forum for your use alone, or is it open to the wider ownership of the club to inspect?

Again, good luck to the club during what remains of this season.

Yours sincerely