Vice Chairman's Comments
Dear Members and Supporters,
On-wards and upwards!, A great end to the year on the pitch and a pretty good start to 2019, excepting the “blip” at Bath.
Gary Johnson seems to have galvanised the team and supporters and he’s undoubtedly generated a togetherness that hasn’t been witnessed at the club for many years.
The away following at Bath was unique for our league and should have been one of the best occasions supporters have been involved in on our travels for some time. Unfortunately the actions of a mindless minority spoiled the day somewhat for many and damaged the club’s reputation,which had already been tarnished after incidents at Evesham and Weston-Super-Mare. Hopefully the club will take decisive action if any of the culprits are identified; although without any arrests being made and therefore offences committed, it’s not going to be easy to ensure we weed out the troublemakers.
TUST liaised with Bath City Supporters Liaison Officer, Nick Powell before and after the game and this was useful in relaying information to our fans and helping Bath prepare for the game and learn from what happened-which they were very keen to do.
With further big away followings likely as we push for promotion in the coming weeks, particularly at Chippenham on Good Friday and at Woking, we will be contacting the Supporter Liaison Officers of our host clubs (if they have them), or the representative supporter organisations in the same way and hopefully play a part in working to avoid further problems at future games.
TUST continues to be busy on several other fronts as the summary of the minutes included in this Newsletter shows.
We have taken up the ticketing issues encountered by many at the games over the Christmas period-many of which had to be “fielded” by our Matchday Ambassadors.
We have liaised with councillors over the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the council and the club which has now been deemed unnecessary and withdrawn by the Mayor and are pursuing our own MoU with the club which would be very helpful in setting out the future relationship and purpose of our meetings with club staff and owner.
Concern has been expressed at the lack of communication and engagement from the club on initiatives such as the Fan Zones, Match Day Ambassadors and the future of the Junior Gulls.
Hopefully we will meet with club staff and/or George Edwards soon to collaborate on these projects, all of which serve to improve and enhance the profile and image of the club off the field as the progress on it gains further momentum.
Our Strategy sub-group has also be busy discussing the future role of TUST, the appropriate responses we would need to make to the various scenarios that could occur in the future as regards ownership of the club and how we need to prepare for these.
This work is on-going and the input of members to this process would be very welcome. Please contact me or any board member if you would like to contribute.
Your February update includes:
A summary of Board Meeting held on 21st January 2019, including recent events at TUFC, a report from the TUST Strategy Group, liaison with TUFC, the Premier League Fans' Fund, and the Finance and Membership report. Finally please take a look at Support TUST with the Torbay Lottery and our up to date financial report.
Robin Causley ( Vice-Chair).
Summary of Board Meeting held on 21st January 2019
Recent events at TUFC
As it had been an eventful couple of months since the last meeting, the Vice Chair summarised events on and off the field including the ticketing arrangements for the Boxing Day match, the crowd trouble caused by a small minority at Bath, the proposed Memorandum of Understanding between the Club and Torbay Council (which had now been rescinded) and the failure of the Club to liaise with TUST or support joint initiatives.
The Strategy Group
Provided a written summary of the meeting held on 9th January and highlighted the key points and proposed actions as follows;
• It is considered unlikely that the owner will suddenly withdraw his interest in the foreseeable future.
• TUST should strive to build its reputation and gain the trust of the directors of the Club as a fundamental step towards its goals of ensuring community involvement and the sustainability of the Club.
• TUST could consider funding some positive projects for the Club as an incentive for the directors to engage.
• The trust’s objectives need to be clarified. There are many variations in the way in which these are expressed and the priority they are given across various documents including the Rules, our website, the brochure etc. In addition, views expressed by some fans in person or on social media indicated misconceptions about what TUST stands for. The Secretary to draft proposals for the next meeting on which the membership would subsequently be consulted.
• Wider membership must be encouraged as a priority, possibly by reducing subscriptions or even removing them completely. Particular consideration to be given to the possibility of junior membership as an alternative to the Junior Gulls, possibly in partnership with the Torquay United Community Sports Trust.
• Seek to identify TUST members who may be willing to make significant financial contributions in the event of it being required.
• Explore other potential means of raisng funds if required such as crowd funding.
• Seek advice from similar clubs which have had to re-launch as phoenix clubs as part of a plan to be prepared for the worst case scenario.
Liaison with TUFC
The board were concerned with the apparent unwillingness of the Club to engage with TUST in any way. A lengthy letter had been sent to George Edwards at the begining of the year setting out TUST’s wish to work with the Club and offering constructive views on the ticketing arrangements and other aspects of the administration of the Club. No response had been forthcoming despite a further request. A number of other matters had been awaiting a response from the club including our own proposed MoU. There is also a lack of support for some of the joint initiatives such as the Matchday Ambassadors and Fan Zones.
Suggestions for addressing this issue were agreed including face to face contact with representatives at the Club.
Premier League Fans’ Fund
The latest Fan Zone held in Boots on 8th December had again been successful. Next dates would be 9th and 23rd February but it had been agreed with the bar manager that the speed goal would be moved outside in future as it took up too much space.
However, it was also reported that George Edwards does not wish the Fan Zone to continue in Boots as he wishes to create an adult sports bar environment and does not think the presence of children is appropriate. This raised further concerns about the lack of support for younger fans and it was questioned whether this and apathy towards the Junior Gulls indicated the ownership’s lack of long term interest in the Club.
Robin Causley reported that plans were being made for future outreach events at Paignton Sports Academy, Great Parks Community Centre and KEVICS. Discussions were also being held with Teignbridge and South Hams councils.
There was a final tranche of grant due and consideration would need to be given to the future of the equipment purchased after the current project finishes to ensure its legacy is retained.
Finance and membership report
The Treasurer presented the quarterly update indicating TUST account balances of £37,052.06 and the PLFF account of £133.84.
Current membership stood at 366 including 9 corporate members. She reported that she was looking at the possibility of using a marketing professional to promote TUST to potential corporate members.
Support TUST Support Your Community
Balance 5th December 2018
Account 1: £4238.22 Account 2: £33596.45
Premier League Fans Fund: £7964.84