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Old 10th February 2020, 16.45:12   #81-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

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Originally Posted by wafc1926 View Post
Agree 100%. The great thing about WST in the early days was that it was a Supporters group which spoke up , and campaigned , for Wrexham fans. Since taking control of the Club, the distinction between perceived Club interests and Fans' interests has become blurred. Recent examples include the hardly believable decision to support the Vaughans by means of a friendly v Bangor City , and the shocking mistreatment of DSA Officials and blatant obstruction of a agm motion voted in overwhelmingly by WST members. I know that several WST board members were outraged by both decisions but , because the power rests with those on both boards , had little or no influence on policy. The resultant , and sadly inevitable, consequence is that many WST members (and ex members ) feel the organisation no longer represents their best interests. For the sake of our Club , and its wonderfully loyal fans , this anomaly should be addressed .......seriously and rapidly.

Originally it spoke for all fans... Now it only speaks for those who choose not to challenge it.
Old 12th February 2020, 15.02:08   #82-0 (permalink)
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Back on topic ….

A response to John Mills' email (see #28-36772) has been sent today, cc all other Board Members:

"Hello John,

Thank you for your response to my general email. It is the only one thus far.

Taking the points that you responded to in order:
1. The Members Meeting on the 17th carries a significant risk of becoming no more than a slanging match against the Board and its members unless a measure of neutral control is applied. It is unthinkable that the meeting should take place without a framework, and the best form for that would be a fairly loose agenda, where time can be allocated for questions to be answered on the subjects likely to arise. It will be futile to try to divert the criticism that is inevitable regarding the performances on the pitch this season, and these will be directed at those who selected the team management, actual management viz. team selection, coaching techniques, match tactics, substitution during matches, and training regimes. There really are very few positive points likely to be made, other than to use results from a very few good performances to demonstrate that ability does exist, though consistency is completely lacking. As short cut to disaster will be any attempt to dismiss the complaints, or to attempt to over-ride them with war-stories about the areas of success that the Board members perceive. Fans really don’t want to hear about some vague community-related indicator when what really matters to them is the appalling standard of football they are witnessing, and the precarious position the club finds itself in on the brink of 6th tier obscurity, with poorly articulated post-match platitudes from a manager who simply does not see things through a fan’s eyes any more.
2. I know quite a lot about what the WST stands for, or at least what is stood for when others were steering it forwards. The original objective was to provide fans with a means of contributing in several different ways to provide a better standard of football for Wrexham. Once the club became Fans Owned, that aspect didn’t change for those fans, but other areas of responsibility HAD to be added in order to make the operation viable. I don’t disagree that applying a community emphasis helped several to embrace the club after years in the wilderness, and that this aspect should be helpful in respect of grant applications, greater co-operation from WAG and Wrexham Council, and support from the wider North Wales community. However, a balance was always going to be required and the fruits of the increased community involvement have yet to translate into the better football experiences expected by fans who are now losing that sense of having ANY say at all in the way that the club is run. Once denied of that pleasure, as has been seen, animosity sets in among an initially small number of fans that swiftly grows into sea of dissatisfaction at virtually everything that the Board implements. WAFC is a minnow in terms of business size, and if the responsibilities of caring for every aspect of its planning and performance is beyond the current hierarchy, then it is time for change.
3. There is very rarely just one participant in an argument. The public image of the disagreements regarding the second disabled viewing platform is quite appalling, and is destroying the praise and good publicity that the club has received from as high as Westminster. From the fact that the Board recommended that the scheme should not be implemented (overturned at an AGM by members who recognised the value of it) to the many obstructions that seem to have been put in its way over the last 2 ½ years, including the public criticism of those who participate – even by you describing them as causing friction when the friction appears not to be one-sided at all, it is high time that the situation was remedied without any further delay and embarrassment.
4. For three Board members to resign from their roles over alleged personality clashes with one DSA official beggars belief! Board members need to be bigger than that! Their responsibilities to the club’s owners, i.e. the fans, extends way beyond a small viewing platform.
5. The finger of responsibility for causing rifts with the fans, witness the criticisms that are currently levied against the Board, really doesn’t lie with the fans. Fans merely react to given situations and the way they are presented, usually by the club itself and more often by its spokespeople. When those individuals fail to communicate accurately and effectively with their investors, the result is a great divide between the fans and the thing that they hold dearest to them - in recreational terms anyway. I have personal experience of the club's failure to communicate, and to corrupt the circumstances of that failure too. It is inexcusable, and one of the major reasons why fans’ faith in the Trust’s ability to make progress is compromised.
6. You highlight abuse towards you that is based on rumours. I agree that where that abuse is underserved, then it is totally unwarranted too. There are several fans who do accuse you of actions that would be reprehensible if they occurred, and that is a matter which may well be raised next week. Would you care to make a public statement denying responsibility for any of the actions claimed to be yours? I would hope so and so would many others who have appreciated your positive contributions towards the Trust.
7. It was gratifying to see action being taken to publish the overdue Minutes for November and December’s Board meetings. I appreciate that after Alan’s departure, difficulties might have occurred in producing these, and there is definitely a difference in their quality compared with previous Minutes. While I appreciate that minutes are generally designed as a reminder to those present of actions taken and due from that meeting, where a membership of several thousand people complain about a lack of transparency between the Board and club members, the minutes can provide a very effective picture of what has happened, what is planned for the future, and how it is to be achieved. At the culmination of a meeting which has taken its attendees several hours of work, it is disappointing to note from these last two Minutes that much of the meeting is concealed within files that are now inaccessible. That is a move totally counterproductive to transparency and makes a nonsense of the concept that the Board is working for the owners. The Board had, previous to these publications, been described as a “closed shop” and I tend to agree with than on the basis of evidence seen. Beware of the kind of “media storm” that you predicted in your email if the Minutes didn’t appear. Granted there is a great deal of detail about community matters within those Minutes. The failing is in providing the fans with the kind of information that makes them feel that success is coming their way.
8. Most if not all fans have reconciled themselves to failure again this season. For most of us, success can only be measured one way after so many years in this league, both under private ownership as well as under fans ownership. For me, there is little difference between those two models, apart from the peace of mind that fans ownership offers against repeated “grabs” by those who have no real interest in Wrexham and its Football Club. Many fans see this last point as one that is fading with the passage of time, which is why it is doubly important now that fans are put in a position to recognise the efforts being made to secure promotion. The fans certainly aren’t half-hearted in their support for the club, and the club and Trust need to demonstrate that they are not more interested in off-field matters than in the raison d’etre for the club that THEY saved from extinction.
9. Do please resurrect the WST/Club Forum and make it open to all, with encouragement within it for every fan to become a member. It’s no use having a forum if no one knows of its existence.

Having given up several years’ income – and the trauma in home-life - to be a founder of the Trust, I do empathise with your feelings now. However, the issues that you are facing with abuse from fans did not begin as a result of one simple false accusation, did it, and the criticisms levied at several of the other Board members contains many truths. If those criticisms can bring about change, they will cease as surely as success on the field too would make them fade into obscurity. That’s football.

My apologies too for the length of this message.

Regards,"

Any subsequent reply or comment will also be posted here to keep you informed.

Last edited by The Only Way Is Up; 12th February 2020 at 15.04:02..
Old 12th February 2020, 20.28:58   #83-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

Re point#4.

The DSA is about far more than just "a small viewing platform" BTW (apologies in advance if I've misinterpreted your words ... It's late, I'm tired!).

You are right however, that JM's claim regarding the resignations of a trio of WST board members, does indeed beggar belief. Mr Mills has painted himself in quite a pathetic light, with that ridiculous insinuation.
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Old 12th February 2020, 21.31:37   #84-0 (permalink)
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No reply even to your original email from the Chairman of the WST says a lot about him.John Mills really needs not be the only board departure.
Old 13th February 2020, 03.40:23   #85-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

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Originally Posted by Rob Edwards View Post
No reply even to your original email from the Chairman of the WST says a lot about him.John Mills really needs not be the only board departure.
We are an impatient lot, football supporters. Let's not forget that our volunteer board also have full-time jobs that pay their salaries which enable them to support their club and their families, and that they sacrifice huge amounts of family time that the rest of us can enjoy. There are many though who would argue that one shouldn't commit to the role of Trust/Club director if one can't justify those sacrifices.

Now, in a sense of fairness, TWO more board members have sent responses to the email sent on 2nd February which started this off. They will appear in this thread shortly.
Old 13th February 2020, 03.43:02   #86-0 (permalink)
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Reply received from Steve Lloyd on Wednesday evening:

Thank you for your email and the topics you have raised.

I agree with you in that communication could certainly be improved and we must find a way forward which the majority of supporters are happy with. The WST introduced an internet Q&A session with the intention of improving communication after listening to our fellow supporters/members which sadly did not work out as planned, leading to the resignation of the media manager after his integrity was called into question. I believe the amount of questions sent in shows how much interest supporters have in our club and it is certainly a huge positive which I have taken from the process. Sadly, the downside of the amount of questions being sent in was the amount of time required to answer them in the detail in which the supporters would wish for and not all questions were answered. I believe the Football Club board have offered other solutions to the grievances aired about questions not being answered following the first and what sadly looks like being the only one for now. I am unsure whether there has been any progress on this front but, as with any new venture, it will always take time for it to work as you initially envisage.

I would have no issue with a more structured members meeting with an agenda where all the different sub-groups could be questioned as an example if members feel it would be better. I am certain all ideas will be looked into as the club is the fans and without our engagement it will be inevitably weaker. Match day is an obvious way to engage with the wider fan base in person and I know many of the existing board members have match day roles such as myself where I volunteer in the ticket office which does make it slightly more difficult certainly before the game. There is little doubt however the internet and live streaming of meetings is the most efficient way to reach a wider audience but I know there were issues raised about poor sound quality.
Whichever medium is used to engage with fellow supporters it needs to be done well but also needs supporters to be patient during its initial phases. Sadly, time is minimal at present due to the position the club finds itself in, that is something we have to take responsibility for and rectify as quick as possible.

With regard to the minutes being posted on time, you are correct, this needs to be done efficiently without fail and although there have been mitigating circumstances recently with the change of secretary it cannot be used as an excuse. There are enough of us who sit on the WST board and someone could have taken the responsibility (myself
included) to ensure this was completed, certainly a lesson learned for the future.

Supporters express their opinions in many ways and social media plays a huge part in that. There is little doubt poor performances on the field has led to much frustration being expressed online. Football is a passionate game and will be a huge strength for the club to utilise over the coming decades, however, there is a line between passion and personal abuse which has sadly been crossed recently. Abuse, in any form, cannot be tolerated from anyone if the club are to maintain/attract board members who are willing to offer their time and skills to move our club forward. I have been disgusted by some of what I have seen on social media recently and whoever is responsible should be held to account and dealt with accordingly by the relative authorities. Whilst it shows people care there are, in my opinion, better ways to express their passion and show their frustration.

A further, much bigger concern are those supporters who are no longer attending games and have expressed their reasons as due to not feeling part of their club any more. This needs addressing, I am realistic in my expectations of the WST not having 100% support but if previous WST supporters feel they are no longer part of the club then there is something going wrong. The WST need to listen to the concerns of these supporters and take their concerns seriously if they are to feel they are a part of their club once more. Again, this will no doubt take time but regular, transparent discussions alongside a degree of understanding and patience will hopefully help start to repair the trust and disillusionment they are feeling.

I agree the WST needs to be as transparent as possible however there will always be sensitive information which cannot be shared. This will always cause some supporters to become upset but for the club to run effectively I believe it is necessary. Personally I believe there is certain sensitive material such as detailed contract details which should not be shared with anyone apart from the appointed football club board members. I am sorry the idea about legacy payments was never followed up, it is certainly something which would be worth looking into and something I would possibly join up to myself depending on the details.

There is little doubt the club has lost many valued volunteers in recent years which is something which needs addressing at the earliest possible opportunity as the club is worse off for it. I will make it a priority for next season to build the volunteer base back up and get more supporters involved at their club. It our club and we are stronger when we are united but, sadly, there are currently many divisions. I hope the current situation can be resolved by direct actions from the WST board and some understanding from supporters. The WST board must not hide and must be prepared to work harder than ever to build the trust back up, not through words but actions. Even though it will be a difficult task this is about your club, our club my club and that is the only thing which is important. The WST must also work with all of our supporters groups who provide a vital link to their members and amazing, valued support to the WST organisation.
Unfortunately, the relationship with the DSA is strained at present although I hope, at the least, a professional working relationship can be established in the short term. I believe a way forward can be found but both sides have to be prepared to work through the current difficulties and find the right solution for Wrexham AFC. It is a cause of much frustration to me personally regarding the continued delays to the building of the second platform and I have expressed my thoughts at members meetings regarding the matter.

Finally, I hope some of the negativity can to be put aside and the focus shift to supporting the team for the last 12 games of the season. We are in a relegation battle and everyone pulling together for the next three months will give the team the best chance possible of staying in the division. Who knows what the summer holds but there an excellent opportunity for those supporters who are wanting change to get involved and run for the WST board and help shape the future of our club.

I believe the summer will give the club an opportunity to thoroughly assess the position it currently finds itself. I believe supporter input into this process will prove a vital part in starting to build the relationship back up. This should be the start of more regular engagement sessions with supporters as we seek to move forward as a group. We cannot accept mediocrity and much ensure there are significant improvements in every aspect of our club. I believe it can be achieved but will take a lot of hard work as there is an incredible amount of passion for our football club being expressed.

I can be found in the club shop on a match day although it can get busy as it gets closer to kick off time should you (or anyone else for that matter) wish to speak to me in person or in the Cent after the game.

Kind regards,

Steve
Old 13th February 2020, 03.45:44   #87-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

Reply received from Robert Stock a few hours ago:

Apologies for my delay in replying to you - had a very busy few days with work/family commitments and dealing with Junior Dragon matters.
Also, emails to membership@wst.org.uk do not come through to me so I did not see your email the first time you sent it.

I completely agree with you that communication needs improving in many areas. This is something that we have already began to discuss and work on as a board, examples being the online Operational Board Q & A sessions and the recent sharing of a Facilities Update and DLO Update on the club website. On a personal level, I do strive to keep updates on Community matters (particularly the Junior Dragons) as regular as possible on the club sites and social media. I appreciate that this is only a start though and more needs to be done over the coming weeks and months.

I agree it should be explored if meetings could feature some type of Line conference call or the meeting being filmed and having the option of emailing questions in. I appreciate it must be difficult for exiled fans to attend such meetings and I will bring this up for discussion with the board.

I know that the issue with the delay in the posting of the minutes from recent meetings has now been resolved and was due to us having to appoint a new Secretary.

I completely understand the frustrations of fans over our on-field issues this season - I'm sure you can appreciate we all feel the same.
My personal belief is that things are now on the up (touch wood!) and have full confidence in the management team. I also fully share frustrations in the delay over the new disabled platform. Whilst I understand there have been legitimate delays in the process, it greatly disappoints me that it still has not been built. As a result, it also frustrates me that the great work that the club, DLO and DSA have done (and are still doing) in making the Racecourse a more inclusive environment then gets overlooked. My hope is that the club and the Working Group that has been established can now work together to ensure the platform is built as soon as possible.

I am not familiar with the legacy idea you referred to - I think this must have been discussed before I joined the board. I must admit this is not an area I know much about, but if you would be willing to send me any information about it, I will gladly raise it with the board.

Regards,
Robert Stock
Old 13th February 2020, 04.05:05   #88-0 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dlrwrexham View Post
Re point#4.

The DSA is about far more than just "a small viewing platform" BTW (apologies in advance if I've misinterpreted your words ... It's late, I'm tired!).

You are right however, that JM's claim regarding the resignations of a trio of WST board members, does indeed beggar belief. Mr Mills has painted himself in quite a pathetic light, with that ridiculous insinuation.
I apologise if the words chosen seem to diminish the value of the viewing platform to fans who would use it - that wasn't my intention at all.

In the overall scale of the issues facing the club and its fans, the amount of time that it has taken up for all concerned and on both sides of a fence that has grown out of all proportion seems extraordinary.

EVERY club should provide first class viewing facilities for less-able fans and those who attend with them, be they their friends or their assistants.

Others who placed obstacles in the way of such facilities, be they stadium officers, board directors, local councilors or anyone else should be grateful that THEY don't need those facilities for themselves, nor (in all likelihood) for their friends and families.

The minutes from the Board's December minutes suggest that progress is being made, but that was over 8 weeks ago, during which time much more complicated structures have been built - such as a 2-storey 1,000 bed hospital in China, from start to finish in just 10 days with the first patient admitted on that 10th day!

That comparison illustrates perfectly the lack of priority afforded to the 2nd platform at the Racecourse... Those responsible: Be ashamed!!
Old 13th February 2020, 04.16:11   #89-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Email and letters to the Board

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Originally Posted by The Only Way Is Up View Post
We are an impatient lot, football supporters. Let's not forget that our volunteer board also have full-time jobs that pay their salaries which enable them to support their club and their families, and that they sacrifice huge amounts of family time that the rest of us can enjoy. There are many though who would argue that one shouldn't commit to the role of Trust/Club director if one can't justify those sacrifices.
Re impatience. That is true and it is has been this way since year dot. In that sense there is no difference between a privately owned club and a club owned by the community of fans.

Although I am perhaps biased I would suggest Wrexham's Fans have been more patient than 99% of most other clubs. Especially in the last 15 years.

During our club's greatest success' in the 70's the club was run by volunteers who had full time jobs. All local men with a love for Wrexham Football Club. They also sacrificed huge amounts of family time ( i can vouch for that) for the rest of the fans to enjoy, but it was also considered a honour and privilege to do it.

Sadly the current WST board members have not experienced success (apart from the FA Trophy) to know what success feels like, so their collective experience of running WAFC must have been terrible. That is genuinely sad.

We all need to experience and enjoy success to make up for the difficult times.

In our own history, the reason we started to go backwards after the success of 1978 was new board members arrived in the 80's who wanted to tap into the success and glory of a successful football club in the higher division and acted like they were big fish in a small pond. Really ego driven and petulant behaviour. Refusing to sit together in the same row as directors. Human kind does not change unfortunately.

Actually when Arfon resigned the Wrexham board offered the role to Gordon Lee who had just left Everton and he accepted it. The late Norman Wilson then club secretary decided to call a EGM while some directors were overseas on holiday and announced to the Press Wrexham had appointed Mel Sutton. That act alone created incredible division amongst the board which lasted for years. The writing was on the wall and it took many years until Brian Flynn managed to turn the tide. I don't think that story has ever been known.
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Old 13th February 2020, 06.56:23   #90-0 (permalink)
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Fair and honest reply’s from Steve Lloyd and Rob Stock, two of the good guys who I believe are a credit to the WST.
I note that their reply’s focus on responding to the questions raised and not bleating about personal skills and the cost of replacing own volunteer time like JM chose to do. It really highlights the difference in characters.
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