NTFC Supporters Trust held its 2022 Annual General Meeting at the Obelisk Centre in Northampton last Thursday (23 February) with 27 members in attendance.
A summary of the meeting is as follows:
Trust chair Andy Roberts gave a report to the meeting and reflected on a difficult year, the Trust’s 30th anniversary year.
He said: “The year 2022 saw the Supporters Trust – the original Trust – mark its 30th anniversary with a number of celebratory events, rounded off by a free anniversary raffle thanking members for their loyal support.
“But it proved a difficult year, with the Trust at loggerheads with NTFC’s owners David Bower and Kelvin Thomas over the sale and future use of historic community land behind the East Stand at Sixfields.
“For five months, the Trust was a bidder for the freehold of the old athletics track land. That bid, however, has now been withdrawn.
“Our backer reneged on a joint agreement and the fundamental change proposed was considered by the Trust’s board not to be in the best interests of building a progressive football club and complying with our core mission – the preservation of a professional League football club in Northampton.
“The debate around the land has at times been unhealthy and my hope for this year, and future years, is that parties on different sides of any argument now commit to civil and constructive debate and dialogue. After all, we all have the same goal, a better and stronger NTFC.
“The board has nevertheless demonstrated commendable tenacity in seeking clarity around the intentions of the football club’s owners and, looking ahead, the Trust must continue to challenge if it is thought that the club’s interests – not necessarily the same as those of the club’s owners – are not being represented.
“The Supporters Trust is not a Supporters Club. It is an important distinction to make and those of you with long enough memories will recall the late great Brian Lomax being thrown out of the County Ground by then NTFC chairman Michael McRitchie in 1992, because the club chairman felt that the Trust should be handing over money it had raised to the football club and providing unquestioning support.
“That relationship was not acceptable then. It should not be acceptable now. The Trust is a shareholder of the club and entitled to ask questions of it and Trust members should expect nothing less of its board.
“We have been discussing our evolving plans for an Infrastructure Foundation with Brian Lomax’s family and we are delighted to receive an endorsement from Catherine and Emily for the plans, which will have the club’s Community Trust at its heart.
“And we are grateful for the support given to us by board member Ian Atkins during the last year - Ian always worked closely with the Supporters Trust when he was the manager at Sixfields in the late 1990s and his counsel on all matters football reform has been invaluable.
“He has also generously donated shirts and training kit from the club’s Wembley years which we are looking to auction for a charitable cause later this year, 25 years after that famous win over Bristol Rovers and the second visit to Wembley.
“Ian has learned a lot about the land issues at Sixfields during his time on the board and is fully supportive of our position, which is to ensure that the old athletics track land behind the East Stand is preserved for future club and community use benefit.”
Vote on Board Resolutions
Supporters Trust members voted in person and by proxy (through the meeting chair) on a number of board resolutions, so as to give the board a mandate going forward.
The board resolutions are as follows:-
That any development of the ACV land should be in the long-term interests, and for the sole benefit, of NTFC only and not those of its owners or other third parties.
VOTES FOR: 52 VOTES AGAINST: 9
That any proposed developments on the ACV land be approved by the Supporters Trust.
VOTES FOR: 48 VOTES AGAINST: 8
That no director who has left the Trust’s board for breach of his legal or fiduciary duties be permitted to be re-admitted as a director.
VOTES FOR: 51 VOTES AGAINST: 10
That none of the money held by the Trust as “rainy day” money should be used for any purpose other than one approved by an EGM of the members of the Supporters Trust.
VOTES FOR: 55 VOTES AGAINST: 1
That to ensure best value for money the club obtains at least three competing bids for completion of the East Stand and appoints independent quantity surveyors (building cost consultants) to vet the bidding process and the subsequent works.
VOTES FOR: 52 VOTES AGAINST: 10
The Trust’s current membership stands at 727.
Bob Clarke told the meeting that the accounts for year ended 31st August 2022 had been prepared with Clifford Towers the Independent Reporting Accountants in accordance with the requirements for Industrial and Provident Societies.
There was no requirement to have our accounts audited and the board considers that the accountants report and opinion is sufficient to provide transparency and credibility.
Our income improved to £8,513 with better Trust Travel Club income of £3,000 up from £895 after the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.
However the setting up of the rival “Teyn Travel” club will have a detrimental and immediate impact on the income for the 2022/23 season.
Club 500 Lottery income from 145 members was £4,449 a small reduction of £301 on last year. The board urges all Trust Members to support Trust Travel when we run coaches and Club 500. The last coach this season will be to the final game at Tranmere.
Membership Fees were down to £707 from £1,133 after a reduction in member numbers to 725 from 744.
Expenditure remained well controlled at £4,880 down from £4,919 even allowing for a one-off cost of £2,000 for a land survey report undertaken by Delta Simons.
Merchandise cost includes the 30th Anniversary cost for Phipps beer written off in the year.
Printing, postage and stationery was lower at £554.
Accountancy fees were higher at £480 and are likely to double next year.
Meetings of the Trust Board continued to be held on Zoom which proved successful and the cost was modest at £130.
The major cost to sponsor the NTFC Women’s Team in 2021 of £3,000 was not continued after contract terms could not be agreed.
The net surplus for the year was £3,633 up from £2,205 last year.
Our balance sheet improved to £152,212 from £127,030 with the inclusion of the combined value of the bank account balances for both Club 500 and Trust Travel total £21,568.
Fixed assets of £71,954 is the shares of £1 each held in NTFC at cost.
Our cash held in the Co-op and NatWest bank accounts is £80,258 up from £55,076.
This represents our 'Rainy-Day Fund' as voted for by Trust Members.
Our fully paid and called up Share Capital was £725.
Meeting chair Bob Souster informed the meeting that the board had been carrying eight vacancies during the past year during which time there had been three resignations - Barry Collins, Simon Miller and David Rawlings.
At the AGM, 3 board members were required to stand for re-election and all did so. One board member, Stefan Krywawych, decided to step down so this meant there were 12 vacancies to fill.
Nominations were received from the following:-
As the number of members putting themselves forward was fewer than the number of vacancies, all were elected unopposed.
Any Trust member interested in attending a monthly board meeting should email firstname.lastname@example.org