Dear Members and Supporters,
Firstly, it is important to acknowledge and praise the good work being done on and off the field at our special club.
The team building has been really encouraging in support of the excellent work in securing so many of last year's squad on contracts before the end of last season. The significant investment in pitch improvements was also evident for all to see on Tuesday, which was an encouraging evening for the great numbers of supporters who turned up. It has also been noticeable, in the first three friendlies, how many younger players from the academy have been on the bench and taken part. It reflects well on the partnership TUFC have developed with South Devon college, I played and managed the first ever SDTC football team there back in the 60's, when it was at Newton Road, so it's close to the heart! Furthermore, the marketing of the new kit seems to have hit a positive chord with most supporters, and the TUFC videos and interviews are all of a very high and informative standard.
Now to the really disappointing aspect of the club's directors continuing failure to support TUST initiatives, or in fact engage in any purposeful or positive way since they were appointed early last season.
The most recent example of this came on Tuesday evening when our voluntary team of matchday ambassadors, who have been doing this for a year now, were turned away with an impersonal message being sent down from the directors at the last minute saying 'we are not doing matchday ambassadors anymore'. One of our voluntary team had travelled 65 miles down from North Somerset to be there on time for duty.
The successful TUFC Fan Zone and TUFC outreach events held throughout last season were launched, organised and run by TUST volunteers and Torquay United Community Sports Trust. The club gave these family-friendly initiatives no meaningful support during the latter part of the season and we have not been able to move forward with plans for the coming season, due to the same lack of engagement.
We have repeatedly been asking for a date for the presentation of the TUST Ian Twitchin memorial shield and player trophy, awarded in this first season to Liam Davis for making the most first team appearances. This has still not been fixed due again to a lack of response, despite TUST's first written request being made over two weeks before the final match of last season, together with an offer to help collect the POY votes.
After numerous requests, director and chief executive, George Edwards, has promised, a few weeks ago, that he will arrange a meeting with us this month. We look forward to this as being a means to discuss positively the things we can do to support our club and raise its profile in the wider community, all on a voluntary basis. It will also provide an opportunity to resolve the issues re non engagement and explain the hard work many of our team have put into some great initiatives over the last year in order to achieve this.
In the meantime, we provide below a summary of the board meeting held on 4th July.
Looking forward to hopefully an entertaining and successful season for TUFC, and to continue to develop our club's connectivity and standing within the community both locally and further afield.
SUMMARY OF BOARD MEETING, 4TH JULY
Liaison with TUFC Representatives of TUST have been promised a meeting with Club CEO, George Edwards. The board were hopeful that a meeting would be offered shortly so that TUST and the Club can establish a positive relationship and work collaboratively on initiatives such as the Matchday Ambassadors and Fan Zones to prepare for the new season.
Press release A press release summarising TUST’s achievements during the season had been sent to representatives of the local press and, after some chasing, mentions by Dave Thomas relating to the TUST award to Liam Davis had appeared in recent editions of the Herald Express.
Politicians TUST had maintained a dialogue with our MP and local politicians. The new leader and deputy leader of the Council had expressed interest in a briefing from TUST and this would be arranged shortly.
Football Supporters’ Association The Chair had attended the recent AGM of the newly merged organisation (SD and FSF) and tabled some of the reports that had been presented. The Bill tabled by Chris Matheson, labour MP for Chester, proposing statutory scrutiny of clubs in crisis had been passed by all parties, unopposed, and would now go through the legislative process required to become an Act. This would create an independent regulator with the powers to undertake forensic audits of club owner's governance and activities where sufficient concern has been expressed in view of the club's sustainability and future, equipped with tougher sanctions where necessary. This would be recommended to the FA in the first instance, and any independent regulatory group would not include any club owners, or anyone who would be regarded as a having possible conflicts of interest.
The chair also had the opportunity to meet the Non League National Network council informally after the AGM to update on various issues. The many clubs who the FSA have previously or are currently taken up in casework with, due to various crisis situations, were discussed.
THE NEW SEASON
Ian Twitchin Trophy A perpetual trophy had been purchased and a smaller version that the winner, Liam Davis, could keep. This was organised as a result of the suggestion and generous donations coming from TUST members, and supported by a donation from TUST itself. It being agreed upon enthusiastically with Ian Twitchin's family and friends, the club was then contacted.There had been no response from the Club to requests to set a date for the presentation at a pre-season game as yet, but efforts would continue.
Membership campaign It was agreed that pre-season would not be a good time to launch a membership campaign. With such a positive vibe around the Club at present and continuing improvements on and off the pitch, it was unlikely that many new members would be recruited or that this should be the focus. In the meantime only a few members’ subscriptions had lapsed and it was pleasing to note that numbers were holding up well.
There was a discussion about membership fees and whether lower charges might increase numbers. Two important considerations were the amount required to be held on account for a ‘rainy day’ and the funds that might be needed going forward for such initiatives as supporting the Torquay United Community Sports Trust and TQ1 club. These issues were being considered by the Strategy Team and would be incorporated in to its report to the board in due course. The aim is to have the TUST strategic plan ready for presentation to the membership at the AGM in October. Members could then make informed decisions on this.
Business sponsors and networking TUST had joined Paignton Chamber of Commerce as a further means of networking and encouraging business involvement with the Club. Torquay Chamber of Commerce had also been contacted, and we hoped to attend their next meet up. MT and others continue to attend TUFC Breakfast Club.
Match / ball sponsorship The previous proposal for members of the board to sponsor a match or match ball, from their own pockets, was discussed. Details of the costs were provided from the TUFC commercial brochure. It was felt that the increase in cost of sponsorship and advertising packages was excessive and may price some supporters out of the market.
A few match tickets for use by the Torbay Holiday Helpers’ Network was suggested as a deserving cause. This group offer breaks to children and their families with serious illnesses or who have suffered bereavement and a number of tourist attractions in the area offer free tickets to the network. It was agreed that a request should be made to TUFC to consider donating some match tickets.
PREMIER LEAGUE FANS FUND
Fan zones and outreach events There were no firm plans for Fan Zones yet as the fixtures had only been released the previous day but it was anticipated that a few would be run throughout the season.
The speed goal and other attractions had been offered to local festivals and other opportunities were being sought.
Support for Torquay United Community Sports Trust (TUCST) / TQ1 Club With the Strategic Plan in mind, it was agreed that a firm proposal from TUCST for any financial support it requires re the TQ1 young supporters club is needed for consideration, sooner rather than later, in order to be discussed and then presented to the membership, hopefully by the AGM.
TUST/TUCST name and acronyms It had been suggested at the previous meeting that TUST may wish to consider changing its name to avoid confusion with TUCST. Various thoughts on this matter had been made via e-mail exchanges in the following days with several suggestions for alternative names being proposed.
However, on reflection, the meeting agreed that this would be an expensive and time consuming exercise and now was not the time for such a fundamental change. It may be revisited at some stage in the future.
TUST mission statement and objectives
The board have approved the new statement setting out TUST’s purpose and strategic direction following a period of consultation with members and also some favourable feedback from other supporters trusts.
MISSION- to promote good governance and seek to ensure the long-term sustainability of our club for the benefit of current and future supporters and the wider community.
This will be achieved through the following five objectives:
REPRESENTING SUPPORTERS: Being the democratic and representative voice of supporters and strengthening the bonds between the Club and the communities which it serves.
PROMOTING SUPPORTER INFLUENCE: Achieving the greatest possible supporter and community influence in the running and ownership of the Club, whichever action seems viable and necessary by members.
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT: Promoting responsible and constructive community engagement and encouraging the Club to do the same.
GOOD GOVERNANCE: Operating democratically, fairly, sustainably, transparently and with financial responsibility and encouraging the Club to do the same.
BEING INCLUSIVE: Being a positive, inclusive and representative organisation, open and accessible to all supporters of the Club regardless of their age, income, location, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexuality or religious or moral beliefs.
Support Your Community
Balance 26th March 2019
Account 1: £6013.10 Account 2: £33636.45
Premier League Fans Fund: £6911.39