“In the Building” – RamsTrust AGM 2023

“In the Building” – RamsTrust AGM 2023

RamsTrust were pleased to hold their first face-to-face meeting for some time when they met for their 2023 AGM at Harrison’s Hub, Pride Park Stadium, Derby on Thursday 7 September.

Members were joined by various guests: the Speaker David Rose, Deputy Chief Executive of the Football Supporters’ Association; Derby County Community Trust Head of Community Simon Carnall; and Rams Heritage Trust provided a display of shirts reflecting the recently launched ‘Colours of the Rams’ and other memorabilia, thanks to Paul Tattershaw, who is also a RamsTrust member.

A raffle was held to win copies of ‘Clough, Maxwell and Me’ the autobiography of our External Director, Stuart Webb. RamsTrust would like to thank all our partners that made the event such a successful evening.

The usual business of the AGM was conducted first, including our Chair’s Report from Hilary Leam, which you can read HERE; the presentation of our Annual Accounts by outgoing Treasurer, Pete Drew, which can be viewed HERE and a presentation on the rationale for changing our Rules from Secretary Angie Kerry. The new version of these is awaiting ratification by the Financial Conduct Authority and will be uploaded to our website as soon as that process is complete. All the related proposals from the AGM agenda were voted on and accepted unanimously.

Our Board for 2023 – 24 was elected. RamsTrust elects new Board members on a three-year cycle and this year six places were vacant. Five candidates stood and were duly elected/re-elected onto the Board at the meeting as follows:

Steve Kitson;

Jim Coyle;

Ollie Wright;

Hilary Leam;

Elaine Dean.

RamsTrust would like to thank Rebecca Hamilton for carrying out the independent examination of the accounts and John Boyle and Tanya Noon for their work on the Election Management Group.

After the Prize Draw and a short break, David Rose gave his speech on the work of the FSA. Dave introduced himself by saying he has much experience of Football Trusts, and quite a lot of heartbreak, being a Mackem and Sunderland supporter! He is now proud to work for the FSA, who represent clubs across the whole football pyramid from the Premier League to non-league, including women’s teams and community owned clubs.

The FSA focus on improving the game from a supporters’ perspective. Big wins in recent years have included the £30 price cap on away fans’ tickets in the EPL (they are trying for a similar cap in the EFL); increased allocations at Cup finals for grassroots supporters, lobbying against the introduction of the European Super League.

More recently, the Fan-led Review led by Tracy Crouch has dominated their work. There has been scrutiny from Westminster into the dominance of the Big Six Clubs, but this review allowed supporters input into the process. It is fair to say that Government were very impressed with the quality of evidence that fans provided and this has been the main source of reference for the “Crouch Report”.

The recent White Paper and its proposals will go ahead in this session of Parliament, with the government confirming that “fans are the most important stakeholder for any club”. We are those fans.

Key facets of the report are well-known, with the introduction of an independent regulator for football and the formation of fan advisory boards (Derby County are a possible early adopter in this respect.) Dave was particularly pleased to see that the independent regulator will be truly independent, a new body, and not tagged onto another regulatory body. It is early days but looks very promising for fans.

Dave talked about the Sunderland experience of running a supporters’ trust. Their own ‘Red and White Army’ was launched in choppy waters for the Club in 2017, with free membership and a survey of supporters, sent out by the Club on their behalf. This got 15,000 responses! Quickly converted into a Trust and affiliated to the FSA, it was a great start.

Dave took questions from members on a range of issues, and offered continued support from both the FSA and the Red and White Army with the future work of RamsTrust.

Hilary rounded off the evening by thanking speakers, supporters and especially our members for attending. It had been a good AGM, and RamsTrust will try and deliver a mixture of face-to-face and online events in future.

Post AGM notes:

Video facility: we did offer a Zoom link for members to join the meeting, but this was limited and we understand the sound wasn’t great. Our apologies for that; we will investigate a better way of providing hybrid meetings in future.

Board Officers: under the Rules of supporters’ trusts, officials are elected at the Board, rather than the AGM. We held our first meeting of the new Board this week and the following were elected:

Chair: Hilary Leam

Vice-Chair: Jim Coyle

Secretary: Angie Kerry

Treasurer: Ollie Wright

Stuart Webb was confirmed as External Director for a further twelve months.

An updated list of Board members can be found on our website HERE.

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