12:00am, Sun 7th Jun 2009
Open meeting of the Cardinals Supporters? Society ? 5 June 2009
An informal, open meeting of the Cardinals Supporters? Society (?the supporters? trust?) was held in the Cardinals? Bar at Kingfield on Friday evening. Answering questions were the interim Board of the supporters? trust (Rosemary Johnson, Acting Chairman, George Burnett and Lewis Hulatt) plus three Directors from Woking FC (Shahid Azeem, Chairman, David Taylor and Peter Jordan). This note is being placed on the Club official website, with the agreement of the interim Board of the supporters? trust, for the information of fans who weren?t able to attend the meeting.
The meeting began with a brief explanation of the background to the setting-up of the supporters? trust and some aspects of its legal status as an Industrial and Provident Society. (Further details can be found on the supporters? trust website http://www.cardinalstrust.co.uk/ )
The main purpose of the meeting was to give members of the supporters? trust and others attending an opportunity to hear how the Club proposed to take forward its proposed restructuring and to express views on the future direction of the supporters? trust.
Among the points made were:
The Supporters? Trust
? A formal AGM of the supporters? trust has to be held by the end of November; a substantive Board will be elected at that meeting on the basis of one member, one vote; it is hoped that this meeting will take place before the AGM of the Club (see below)
? Assuming that the members wish the trust to continue in being, there is a range of possible options for its future: from remaining simply a ?shell? to act as a potential rescue mechanism should the Club get into catastrophic financial difficulties, to a proactive lobbying body on behalf of fans which could also purchase shares in the Club and/or exercise voting rights on a proxy basis on behalf of members
? Both the interim Board of the supporters? trust and the Supporters? Club will be considering whether there is a case for merging the two organisations as their aims and objectives in supporting football at Woking and representing supporters?/shareholders? views were similar
The Football Club
? The Club and Chris Ingram are working towards a new structure for the Football Club in which Chris Ingram?s interests will be solely confined to the Holdings Company and will be entirely separate from the Football Club as a ?friendly landlord?
? Chris Ingram (through the Holdings company) owns the ground and surrounding land, but will make the ground available ?for life? to the Football Club at a nominal rent: although he will look to recover his loans, if possible, from the planned development of the ground and surrounding land, the ground itself can only be used for playing football; the development would also finance the new stand
? The existing Directors will be arranging a meeting of the Football Club, at which a new Board will be elected. Voting will continue to be on the basis of one share, one vote, but the Club hopes to include a provision in amended Articles of Association that no individual may hold more than 49% of the available shares; if Chris Ingram?s shareholdings were excluded, the largest shareholder would currently own 24% of the shares
? Providing they approach the Club through the Directors, it will be open to anyone (not just supporters? trust members or existing shareholders) to purchase new/additional shares in the Club or to offer themselves for election to the Board but all applications for shares have to be approved by the Board; when standing for nomination, it would be important to bear in mind the skills needed for the Board and the time required to carry out the various roles
? It is intended to amend the existing ?capital contribution? provisions so that shareholders will not be required in future years to make an annual capital contribution to the Club; instead, it is planned that they should be invited to make such a contribution and that, if they do, those contributions will be converted into additional shares
? The Club is solvent, with no debts, and the budget for this year has been set on a conservative basis i.e. at a level which will definitely be able to be met from income; the playing budget will be re-assessed if additional funds become available; the Club will not spend in excess of its means; improving commercial income is vital
? Graham Baker is recruiting players on a full-time basis but it is open to him to sign players on a part-time basis if he wishes to do so; he has also been asked to construct a ?ladder? so that there is a clear avenue for potential progression right through from the School of Excellence to the first team
? The reserve team will play in the Suburban League, with games being played at Kingfield on Saturdays when the first team are away; no decision has yet been made on entry charges for reserve games
Shahid Azeem said that he was passionate about football, especially local football, and would do his utmost to help the Club. He and his colleagues ? who were all people whom he had known for many years and trusted ? would hope to use their expertise and influence to help make the Club better run, and hopefully more successful, but it would be up to shareholders, in the end, to decide what would be done. He wanted things to be done openly and transparently and wanted everyone to pull together, rather than operating in groups or factions.
The interim Board of the supporters? trust expressed their gratitude to the Club for its help in arranging the meeting.
7 June 2009