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Old 28th March 2004, 22:32   #1
Karen Matthews
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Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 25
Default COMMITTEE MEETING MINUTES: MARCH 2004

COMMITTEE MEETING

SATURDAY 20TH MARCH 2004 (1.00 P.M.)
The Norseman Room, Samuel Platts, Trafford Park

PRESENT

Jonathan Michie (Chair); Karen Matthews (Company Secretary); Sean Bones (Vice Chair); Roger Brierley (Finance Director); Theresa Towle (Vice Chair); Nick Towle; Margaret Orhan; Lynette Cawthra; Gary Hirst; Mark Thain; Richard Stubbs; Steve Hunt; Eric Downs; Peter Youel; John Lord; Julian Lord; Lawrence Spencer; Tim Shaw; Greg Whittaker; Sue Simpson; Duncan Drasdo; Alan Leaver; Amit Basu; Mike Mooney; K. White; Paul Whatmore; Patrick McEvoy; Michael Pike; John England; Richard Polley; Steinn Olason; Matthew O’Brien; Lynne Sharpe, Andrew Sharpe and Bruce Crawford.

1. WELCOME AND APOLOGIES

Apologies had been received from Oliver Houston; Michael Crick; Helen Sadler; Paul Brooks; John Hurst and Tanya Taylor.

2. MINUTES OF THE PREVIOUS MEETING

The minutes of the previous Committee Meeting held on 11th January 2004 were approved as a true record.

3. MATTERS ARISING

There were no matters arising.

4. NOT FOR SALE CAMPAIGN

Sean Bones explained that an alliance had been formed between supporter groups (SU, IMUSA and the three fanzines) to try to prevent the Club from being taken over. A press conference to this effect, held almost a month ago, had proved very positive and successful. IMUSA are planning to distribute a further leaflet at the Leicester fixture.

The Club has meanwhile been put into an “offer period “ by the Takeover Panel after Malcolm Glazer, the Club's second largest shareholder, said he was considering bidding for the company. The offer period will last until Glazer makes a firm bid or notifies the market that he does not intend to go ahead. If he chooses the latter he will be forbidden from launching a bid for six months. The Panel made its move after Glazer's family released a statement in which it did not rule out a bid. Any shareholder with more than 1% is obliged to declare every additional purchase during the “offer period”.

Jonathan Michie emphasised the importance of ensuring 10% of the shares are not sold in order to prevent a takeover, and explained that 20% (about 40,000 – of which approx. 25% are SU members) are in the hands of small shareholders. If the plc Board was to recommend against a particular takeover bid, SU is confident that around 17% would be influenced by this and vote against a takeover.

Arrangements are currently being put in place to write to 37,000 shareholders to ask them in the first instance to become members of Shareholders United; and in the second instance for their pledged commitment not to sell their shares.

Richard Stubbs said he felt there was a distinct lack of publicity for the “Not For Sale” campaign at away matches and would be prepared to contribute £100 towards an additional banner similar to the one currently displayed on the Stretford End. Richard was thanked for his generous offer and it was agreed that the matter would be discussed further at the next Directors’ meeting on 1st April.

5. REPORTS

Share Scheme and Membership Report
Duncan Drasdo highlighted some key issues as:

SU Funds – reported to be around £18,000 for February including more than £6,000 in donations. SU currently holds shares worth approximately £20,000.

Members – February saw rapid growth in membership with approximately 2,300 new members and 35 renewals during the month. Total SU individual members is now around 10,000 (including March new members to date); and total membership including affiliated supporters’ clubs/branches is now around 50,000 members.

Shares – February share purchase broke through the £100,000 barrier for the first time. Total shares now held within the share scheme is approximately 320,000 and growing rapidly. (This does not include the much larger figure of shares held privately by SU members.)

Duncan advised that there are just over 600 individual members buying shares on a regular standing order basis but hoped this might increase in a month or so when new members reviewed their packs. Some discussion followed about the minimum level of the SO system which is set at £10 per month (includes 50p administrative fee).

Web Site

No major developments to report other than the Members Forum is now very vibrant!

Media Report

Sean Bones reported good relationships built with the media who are now pushing the SU message. Whilst some items have been awkward to comment on, considered better to give the SU viewpoint rather than nothing at all. Thanks were expressed to Sean for all the time he has devoted recently to making appearances on Sky and MUTV.

Patrons

Debbie Horsfield interview will feature in the next Newsletter. Margaret Orhan said she had enjoyed meeting the script writer and had found her to be a very passionate supporter who feels strongly about SU’s cause and prepared to offer some assistance through her media contacts if and when necessary.

Pat Crerand has accepted an invitation to become a patron and Margaret was hoping to set up a meeting with him in the near future. Anthony Farnell has just re-gained his World Title and would be happy to wear a SU tee-shirt or have a badge sewn onto his shorts.

Still chasing Mark Chapman (Theresa to supply phone number) and Alex Stepney. Margaret to establish current stance of Eamon Holmes and report back to the Committee.

Of the 19 patrons, Margaret estimated that probably 10 would be willing to become actively involved.

Financial Report

Roger Brierley reported that to date monies in the current account amounted to £13,639. The first mailing planned to all existing shareholders likely to cost between £7,000 and £10,000 but SU now have the money to go ahead.

Recruitment Report

Sean reported a terrific response with money coming in being used to recruit more members. Current membership thought to be circa 10,000. Sean said his message to fans was spend £10 now and join SU to save the Club from takeover, rather than end up paying £10 extra on every match ticket in the future! He is designing a leaflet to emphasise this message using a type of flow chart with pictures – any ideas welcome.

Referral reward scheme also now offering members £1 worth of shares for every new member they recruit. Viral emails also still being considered to deliver “short and sweet” messages around the world.

Once the “offer period” has ended, SU will re-consider an insert in the match day programme, promoting the message “own a piece of the Club”.

In line with the planned pre-season tours of both China and America, leaflets are being mailed to supporters’ groups in both countries. There are presently 170 SU members in the USA and they are being encouraged to promote SU membership to their own branch members. (The banner on the SU web site has been designed by one of these USA members.) In addition SU is attracting a great deal of publicity on World Talk Radio.

Newsletter

Theresa Towle reported that the print-run for the December issue had been 5,000 with the March 2004 issue being closer to 10,000. The next edition of the newsletter would feature a new look.

The implications of having a wider readership has raised the issue of liability insurance – thanks to Paul Whatmore for his research into this.

Fans’ Forum

Gary Hirst joined the meeting straight from the Fans’ Forum meeting and reported on some of the items discussed there.

Fine-tuning the ticketing system had been raised by Carl Evans and anyone with an opinion on this is asked to email Gary at hirst@colgrave.freeserve.co.uk.

Peter Draper had spoken about Sponsorship Strategy – looking to reduce.

Gary had asked about the Club’s proposed arrangements for ensuring Nike does not exploit child labour and was advised that MU was using Nike’s own monitors to keep their eye on the situation.

A representative from the Premier League is attending the next Fans’ Forum meeting to discuss safe standing.

6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Samuel Platts

Karen Matthews advised that the management of The Samuel Platts was considering letting the room to corporate hospitality clients next season unless SU wanted to hire the room for every home fixture as in the past. It was agreed that Karen would meet Richard Porter to agree terms and report back to the meeting in May. New members should note that SU members who show their membership card at the door will be admitted free of charge to The Sam Platts on days when The Norseman Room has been hired by SU for either meetings or socials.

7. DATE OF NEXT COMMITTEE MEETING

The next meeting will be The Annual General Meeting scheduled for Saturday 8th May 2004 and commencing at 1.00 pm in The Norseman Room, Samuel Platts pub, Trafford Park (last home fixture against Chelsea). Please note this may be subject to change should the fixture be moved – details will be posted on the web site.
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