On Friday 15th March, it was the 50th Anniversary of Swindon Town’s famous 1969 League Cup Final win over Arsenal. It was also the date of our latest Annual General Meeting (AGM) and so we took the opportunity to host an evening of celebration with fellow supporters.
We promoted the event using our website and social media, our monthly newsletter to members, by handing out flyers outside the ground, and with various mentions in the Swindon Advertiser.
Nearly 400 people registered to attend the event, and over 300 were in attendance at the MECA. Thank you to everyone that came along and helped to make it such a fantastic night.
The night got underway at 6pm with a free welcome drink for all attendees and a free buffet, courtesy of our corporate sponsors.
Formal proceedings kicked off at 6.30pm with an overall introduction from our chairman Steve Mytton, who ran through the Agenda for the evening before introducing Mike Welsh as host for the Legends Q&A.
John Trollope, Don Rogers, Joe Butler and Frank Burrows were in attendance, and all of them were given a hearty and rapturous applause as they were introduced to the fans. There was a great atmosphere.
We were also delighted to have Wembley’s first ever Mascot with us, Carol Welsh, along with her famous teddy! The story of how that came about was relayed to the audience, it was fantastic to hear.
Throughout the legends section, several video clips were played:
- An introductory video with newspaper clippings and music (3 mins)
- A video of match action (2 minutes)
- Several clips of fans views of the achievement (5 mins)
Right-click and download or simply click any of the above links to watch them yourself. A lovely trip down memory lane!
The Q&A was followed by several presentations. First off, each of our legends received a framed cartoon depicting the 1969 League Cup final, which was created by the very talented Town fan David Squires.
David contributes to the Guardian on a weekly basis and has a huge following of fans around the World. This week he took the opportunity to recognise our greatest ever achievement – you can see it for yourself here.
It’s a brilliant, funny piece, and we would like to thank David for sending us an advance of the cartoon, we had a copy even before the Guardian audience. The legends were delighted!
In preparation for the event we also worked with another Town fan to produce a fantastic infographic for supporters to take away on the evening.
It’s a really great memento and if you missed out, you can still download one here and print yourself. We also have a handful of prints leftover that we will give to Great Western Reds to sell at their end-of-season BBQ.
We framed one of these A3 prints for each of the legends in attendance and Town fan Richard Banyard presented them. Richard is the man behind the best fan website on the internet: www.swindon-town-fc.co.uk. You can read about his website and amazing dedication by clicking here.
We had approached Richard in the build-up to the event and asked him to pull together the statistics around the cup run, which was then turned into a fabulous graphic by our official designer, Nicola Woolford (who has helped us with artwork for several years).
On the night we wanted to recognise Richard, and so we made him the second recipient of a Trust Hero award (the previous recipient was Roger Bunce). These awards are for supporters who have gone the extra yard and made a special effort for the club. Richard was genuinely shocked when asked to come up on stage to accept the award from Town hero Don Rogers.
After the presentations, we brought the Q&A to a close and invited supporters to pick-up their free infographic memento. The legends were on hand to autograph copies, and they were certainly in demand!
The queues finally settled after approximately 90 minutes of signing! There was a lot of admiration in the room for our heroes and we would like to once again thank Don, John, Joe and Frank for giving up their time.
You can see more photos from the signing sessions in the gallery at the bottom of this page, along with a general selection of others from the event.
Onto the AGM itself….
We kicked off with the AGM formalities around board election and annual accounts before moving onto some important rule amendments.
Incidentally, you can view the Trust AGM Presentation by clicking here
Board Introduction and Election
Over the past year we have seen four new members join the board, and so we completed the re-election process that we conduct at every AGM.
All board members introduced themselves to the audience.
Our Treasurer Alan Jones summarised the accounts for 2017/18.
For those that are interested, they can be found online, along with all of our accounts for the last decade, by clicking here.
Model Rules Amendment
A number of rule changes are required to factor in the Trust’s responsibilities relating to the proposed purchase of the County Ground, and so secretary Cliff Ponting talked the audience through several proposals that we then asked the audience to vote upon.
- Implementation of Supporters Direct 2016 rules
- Introduction of an ‘Asset Lock’
Note: The definition of an Asset Lock was explained:
An asset lock is a constitutional device that prevents the distribution of residual assets to members. The purpose of an asset lock is to ensure that the public benefit or community benefit of any retained surplus or residual value is cannot be appropriated for private benefit of members. Asset locks are a defining feature of community shares, because they remove the scope for members to make speculative capital gains resulting from the dissolution, disposal or conversion of the society into a company.
This restriction on the use of assets means that any residual assets, after all members’ share capital has been refunded according to the rules of the society, must be transferred to one or more of the following: another prescribed community benefit society, a community interest company, a charity, a charitable community benefit society, a registered social landlord (subject to conditions), or any equivalent body in Northern Ireland or a state outside the United Kingdom.
All proposals were approved unanimously.
We were then joined by representatives from other supporters groups, namely the Swindon Town Supporters Club (represented by Hannah Clinch, who is also now a Trust board member) and Great Western Reds (represented by Jay Collett and Luke Hodgson).
Hannah outlined the background of the Swindon Town Supporters Club, who formed in 1931. She explained how the Supporters Club focused on helping the Club by fundraising and were responsible for many initiatives such as the refurbishment of the Legends Lounge, the provision of an annual Christmas Party for Senior Citizens, the purchase of all-weather pitch covers, among many other things. It was very enlightening for many of the audience and we had good comments afterwards from those in attendance. You can join the Supporters Club by clicking here
The next guest Speakers were Jay Collett and Luke Hodgson representing the Great Western Reds Fans group. Jay explained that the group’s focus was to create a supportive and buoyant atmosphere by the production of visual displays such as banners and TIFOs.
Unfortunately the planned display for the Town End for Saturday’s home fixture against Port Vale could not go ahead due to Health and Safety concerns caused by bad weather.
Jay confirmed that the Great Western Reds Group would hold another end of season barbeque at the Cricket Club prior to the last home game and once again donations would be sought for the Swindon Food Collective (formerly the Swindon Food Bank).
Jay concluded his presentation by informing members that Great Western Reds merchandise was available from their online partners www.theterracestore.com – with all profits from sales being put towards future displays.
County Ground Update – Crowfunding / Community Shares / County Ground Custodians Joint Venture
The final section of the meeting was given over to an update on progress relating to the County Ground freehold project.
Trust Chairman Steve Mytton reviewed the origin of the project, the move from a single bid to a proposed 50/50 joint venture with the Club, and reminded members that the Joint Venture initiative was still “work in progress” and of course still dependant on approval from the Swindon Borough Council cabinet and scrutiny committees.
Alex Pollock then updated members on the proposed method of raising the Trust’s share of the County Ground purchase price – Crowdfunding.
A Crowdfunding expert has been selected by the Trust for helping the Trust raise the necessary funds for this project – www.crowdfunder.co.uk, based in Newquay and generally recognised as experts in the field of crowdfunding.
Alex outlined the following points regarding the Crowdfunding process:
- The Trust has some confirmed backers already
- The 50% sum would be raised by using Community Shares
- We need 2300 fans to buy a share to meet the requirements of a community focused acquisition
- The Community Share price will be £19.69
Rob Angus then gave members an update on Community Shares – a method where a Community Benefit Society can raise funds.
Rob outlined the fact that no matter how much a member contributes they will only receive one vote on any matters referred to Community Shareholders thus ensuring a fair playing field for all subscribers.
The final section of the update on the County Ground Freehold project was covered by Steve Mytton and James Phipps.
The proposed vehicle for the joint venture between the Supporters and the Club will be referred to as The County Ground Custodians which will be setup as either an LLP (Limited Liability Partnership) or a Nominee Company .
The structure proposed ( but still in draft format and not yet agreed ) would be the appointment of an Engagement Board consisting of representatives from all the Supporters Groups, Community Shareholders, Swindon Borough Council, former players and other interested parties. This engagement board would report to a supervisory board consisting of a Non-Executive Chair with two Senior Representatives from the Club and two representatives from the Community Shareholders.
A general review of the advantages of ownership was given outlining the need for ground redevelopment to improve the match day experience and generate more revenue. James Phipps reminded members that this was still an ongoing discussion with the Club and Swindon Borough Council and that there was still a great deal of work to be done on this project – members were invited to submit any ideas that they have on this subject via the usual channels, i.e. Email, Social Media, Website or to discuss with Board members after the meeting was concluded.
We finished the evening with live music from Back2Back, who did a special version of “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams, dedicated to our heroes.
All in all, it was an excellent night, and we’ve had lots of good feedback in the days that followed. Please keep your messages and questions coming in, we always like to hear from you, so don’t be afraid to get in touch.
A long post! Thanks for reading….