A well-attended member’s meeting last Thursday saw two important announcements made by the Club. The first part of the meeting being streamed live on line.
Firstly, Club Director and Trust Board member Spencer Harris announced that first team manager Dean Keates was about to sign a new 3 and half year contract which he duly did to the applause of the members. Spencer said that Dean brought “old school values with a modern approach” and had been “a breath of fresh air” since his appointment last October and that going forward the Club needed a “One Team approach” with everyone pulling in the same direction.
Questioned by Trust Chair Peter Jones, Dean said that he “knew the club and the expectations” that everyone has been “open and honest” from the start and that it “wasn’t about me, if we are all in it together we have got a chance”. Having looked at the squad Dean said there “had been a lot of departures some were easy some less so”. “We are a big club with a big catchment area and should give youth a chance”. Dean announced that Leo Smith had signed a new 2-year contract. He said that every day he receives “about 20 circulars from agents”. Russell Penn was “someone we obviously needed in midfield”. He had wanted to keep Jordan Evans but could not agree terms. He was aware of the 30-game clause in contracts. “It wasn’t really a problem.” His hardest decision was about John Rooney. He tried to keep him and made a revised offer which the player seemed to accept “but it wasn’t signed and when his agent returned with different figures” a loan was quickly suggested by them to Guiseley.
In answer to questions from the floor, Dean said that we did receive a loan fee for Rooney; they pay his wages with a bonus to us if they stay up. He also said that he might possibly consider 30 game clauses in the future for “an individual player but not for everyone”. Dean said that Curtis Tilt will trigger the 30-game clause and “we will try to keep him” although he was likely to attract interest.
Build the Budget
The second important announcement was made by Trust Vice Chairman and Club board member John Mills. He said that the Trust would launch a “Build the Budget” fund to provide extra funds for Dean’s playing budget next season. Trust treasurer (and lead on this) Brian Phillips confirmed that the fund would be solely for the playing budget with a separate bank account for this purpose only. People could contribute with cash at the club shop or trust shop, by cheque or standing order or via a one-off donation by PayPal. A committee to run the scheme consisted of Brian, Dave Bennet, Mike Lewis, Lloyd Roberts, Carl Hogan, Geoff Scott and Paul Parry.
Although Wrexham legend Gary Bennet could not attend the meeting in person he joined by telephone to express his enthusiasm and support for the idea.
In response to questions, it was confirmed that the Build the Budget was entirely separate to and “over and above” anything else fans and sponsors contribute and people should continue with their normal contributions, regular updates will be posted online. Over £650 was raised at the meeting.
Trust Board members were in attendance to answer questions from the floor:
• Mark Williams (Trust Board member and Club Finance Director) confirmed that he had been in communication with Swansea about the Neil Taylor monies. They had been “exemplary” and had disclosed details of the transaction with Aston Villa and consequently the Club had “submitted our invoice to them”. “We have seen the contract and calculated what is due to us”.
• Mark said concert arrangements were “going well”. There had been a recent meeting with the event organiser, promotor and the Safety Advisory Group. The promoter was responsible for ticket sales and costs. “We make money from the secondary spend. We’ve seen the figures from last year and decided not to charge a stadium fee which would have involved us upgrading the facilities etc.”
• In response to a question about whether the Club encouraged investors. Peter Jones said “if people wanted to talk to us we would listen” but there are different ways of investing e.g. sponsoring the stands and ground. It is a Trust matter. If the board received a serious proposal they would have to put it to the members with a recommendation. He clarified that the rumours of an approach from Steve Morgan or Malcolm Walker were not true. Spencer Harris confirmed that the Board were 100% committed to fans ownership and “we believe that we can do it “(i.e. achieve on field success). Board member Colin Williams said” we need to think about what we mean by investment. There is incredible value added by volunteers”.
• In response to a question about the “German 51% ownership model” and that there had been small shareholders in the past, Mark said there was nothing in the Rules to prevent that but reiterated that any final decision had to be taken by the members.
• Trust Board member Dave Jones confirmed that the community share scheme was still in operation. Monies had previously been used for the club shop and towards the frost covers.
• In response to a question about “the Bubble”, Peter Jones nothing was planned yet for next season. “When the fixtures come out we will meet with the Safety Advisory Group”. Mark Williams said he “was against the arrangements and had not attended at Cheater this season for that reason and it also involved additional work for the Club”. Club director Alan Watkin said there had been no discussions yet. Arrests were down and there was a “commitment by the police to return to normality”. The Club were still waiting to hear from the FAW about charges against them and James Jennings after the incident following the final whistle at Chester.
• In response to a question about potential monies from the sale of Wrexham Village. There was nothing to report but none were expected.
• In response to a question of plugging the £200,000 “gap” following the commencement of the Racecourse lease, Mark said “revenues were in line with projections on match days”. The floodlights had needed repair and Mark thanked the Wrexham Supporters Association for their generosity.
• In a response to a question about the lift in the Mold Road Stand, Spencer apologised but said it had been very difficult to analyse the problem with the Spanish made lift as the UK company did not have records about the controller programme. With help from volunteers especially Phil Salmon, a Spanish company appeared to have the answer to the problem which we were hoping would be resolved in the next few weeks.
• Dave Jones said membership stood at about 3200 and that “we were gearing up for next season with some more good news about membership shortly.”
• Trust Board member Paul Smith reminded members about the Auction Night on Friday 24 February. Details were on the Trust website.
• Peter Jones said the end of season player of the year event will be held at the Club on the Sunday after the last home game.
• Colin Williams announced that, thanks to the hard work of Stuart Roberts in particular, the Club was receiving official recognition from The Alzheimer’s Society for our work towards becoming dementia friendly. We are the first football club in Wales to receive such recognition.
• Independent Secretary Alan Fox reminded members that the Trust AGM will be held on a date to be fixed at the end of June but there will be elections to the Trust Board with the opportunity for members to put resolutions to the membership. Details will be announced shortly.