As our members will be aware, the Trust has recently completed its annual election process and is delighted to announce that Siân Davies, Ceri Stone and Rupert Thomas have been elected to the board for the period of two years.
Our members will also be aware that Andrew Cude and Andrew McGlashan have stepped down from the board at this time. We thank them all for the considerable efforts they have made in representing the fans and looking after the interests of the Trust during their time on the board.
We are also particularly sad to confirm that Trust Chair Phil Sumbler has left the board this summer. Phil has served with distinction on the Trust Board and Chair during two periods that have spanned 15 years, which has coincided with the most extraordinary time to have been a Swans fan. We wish Phil well in his “retirement”, but we’re sure he’ll still be a regular feature on the East Stand when crowds return, if he can tear himself away from Morriston Golf Club or his marathon running!
The “show must go on” though and, at its first meeting, the Trust Board has elected the following members to its officer positions, for a period of two years:
Chair – Andrew Godden Vice Chair – Dave Dalton Supporter Director – Stuart McDonald Associate Director – Cath Dyer
New Trust Chair Andrew Godden said “I have known Phil for a long time and worked with him on the Trust Board for the last six years, serving as his Vice Chair for the last two years. I wish Phil all the best for the future and I am sure he will remain a friend of the Trust in the future. Phil is leaving some very big shoes to fill and I thank the board for the faith they have put in me in taking on the role.
To our members I would like to say that, even though the makeup of the Trust Board has changed, the aims of the Trust have not, which are to ensure the existence of the football club we all love and represent the needs and wishes of our members. Those aims will never change and they become more important than ever due to the financial challenges the club will be facing during the current crisis. We are also mindful of the mandate our members have given us to do all we can to address the wrongs that have resulted from the events surrounding the 2016 sale of our club, and that will progress as quickly as it possibly can.”
Last week, the Trust was delighted to inform our members that, as a thank you for their ongoing support, to recognise the financial challenges many of our members may be facing during this current crisis and to celebrate the Trust moving into its 20th year, we are offering free membership for the 2020/21 season to everyone who joined the Trust during the 2019/20 season. Thank you all for your support!
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank those members who have made donations to the Trust in lieu of their membership fees, and those fans who usually renew their membership by standing order but have foregone their refund, for their financial contribution to the Trust. It is critical that the Trust maintains its financial reserves in order to fund the numerous causes we support, such as our sponsorships of the Swansea Junior League and Swansea Schools FA, communicating with our members as well as maintaining financial reserves that could protect the club should the worst happen.
The Trust is only as strong as its members and, in order for the Trust to be as strong a voice representing the fans as it can be, we need to do all we can to ensure our membership levels are as healthy as they can be. As we are aware of the financial pressures that many fans wil be facing, we are happy to announce that half-price membership will be available until 31st December. This means that, instead of the usual £10 Adult membership, you would only be charged £5. There are similar reductions for Senior (£2.50) and Junior (£1) membership.
We ask all our members to do all they can to encourage their friends and family to join the Trust so we can strengthen our ability to look after the interests of the fans within our club. Thanks in advance!
It was a quite surreal sight on 20th June as the Swans returned to competitive action at a deserted Riverside stadium in Middlesbrough to register a convincing 3-0 victory. Many of us were unsure how football behind closed doors would work but it proved to be more exciting and engaging than many feared. We expect a key reason for this is how the end of the season transpired, and it’s difficult to recall a more exciting one as we overturned a 5 goal deficit (with a little help from Stoke) in the last 30 minutes to overhaul Nottingham Forest for the final playoff place.
Unfortunately our season ended at Griffin Park and the semi-final stage, however we’d like to thank Steve Cooper, his management team and all the players for their considerable efforts in keeping us entertained during these strange times. We’d also like to thank those behind the scenes that made it possible for the club to host and broadcast these events, without whom none of that would have been possible and no fans would have been able to witness events via Swans TV (with accompanied commentary from Wyndham Evans!).
Speaking of Swans TV, we thought it helped the fans immensely during this time to be able to watch all the regular season games live, even if it had to be from home rather than in person. For season ticket holders, this option was available for no extra charge for those who were prepared to forego a season ticket refund. On the issue of season ticket refunds for the 2019/20 season, the Trust held very positive discussions with the management team of the club on this issue, with many of our proposals being adopted, as we sought to protect both the interests of the fans, many of whom may be facing their own financial challenges, and the needs of the club during this time. Given the generally positive feedback from the fans, we believe this shows the significant benefits that can arise when the Trust and the Club work together in a collaborative manner. We know many members are starting to ask questions regarding arrangements for the 2020/21 season and, while we have held some preliminary discussions on this issue already, we will be unable to announce more until later in the month when plans can be finalised.
As we move into the close season and look to the future, we remind our members of our recent statements regarding the financial challenges that our club will face, a situation exacerbated considerably by the global pandemic we are all living under. At the current time the club faces the double whammy of being extremely limited in terms of the income that can be generated whilst also having to bear the additional costs that come with continuing football operations during a pandemic, particularly an expensive testing regime.
Within those circumstances, investment into the club would be beneficial. So, the news announced on Friday that Jake Silverstein had been appointed to the board of directors of our club and had “invested” into our club would be seen as a positive. Unfortunately, not for the first time, there are many areas of concern here. Firstly, whilst the Trust were made aware through our Supporter Director that the majority owners were in discussion with Mr Silverstein, the Trust was not provided the simple courtesy of being informed prior to his appointment being made, any agreement being reached or even the announcement itself. Secondly, there is the nature of this “investment” which is, in effect, a convertible loan which will only become investment if converted into shares at a later date. There is no guarantee that would ever happen.
As the Trust stated last week, we cannot accept any act that seeks to devalue the stake the Swans fans have in our football club. We also cannot accept the basic discourtesy of not ensuring we are properly involved and informed on such important matters. With that in mind, we have initiated contact with the majority owners to discuss this, and the other issues that face our club and the Trust’s shareholding.
Shareholding Dispute Update
As outlined in our previous statement, over the last few months the Trust Board has been working closely with past board members and our legal representatives to prepare the comprehensive and complex information that has been required by our QC as a pre-requisite to initiating the legal proceedings that our members have mandated. This has been an extremely complex and time-consuming task which has taken up many hundreds of hours of the time of Trust board members, both current and past, plus our advisors. The Trust Board would like to put on record our thanks to all those involved in this process for their considerable efforts, which has been performed without any financial reward and purely for their desire to look after the best interests of our Swans Trust.
While we are happy to announce those activities have been completed, we still have a number of steps to conclude before we can action the mandate from our members. These can be summarised into two areas, a) our QC finalising the legal documentation required prior to commencing legal action and b) finalising financial agreements so that the Trust is able to proceed with legal action in a manner that protects the Trust and the interests of our members.
As a Trust Board we are conscious that we have not been able to provide progress updates to our members as often as we would have liked. This is largely because the process does move very slowly, especially so in the current circumstances, but we accept we could have been more proactive, particularly in terms of explaining the likely timelines. We hope the following will address that.
In terms of our outstanding activities, we would expect the required documentation to be finalised in the coming weeks. In terms of those financial agreements, while there have already been positive preliminary discussions, this will again take several further weeks to conclude after the legal documentation has been completed, mainly because any partners will need to perform their own due diligence. It is only right that we highlight that it is possible that each of these steps will take longer than we would wish, largely because in many respects they are out of our hands, however we are doing all we can to progress these actions as quickly as possible.
We understand the frustrations of some members that these activities are taking a considerable period of time, and we share them. We should remember that this is a substantial, and complex, legal undertaking which requires the Trust to act with due care and consideration at each step and unfortunately that takes a lot of time and effort. We hope this update helps provide our members with clarity on the current situation and we will be providing more frequent updates in the coming months, even if we are not able to achieve the progress we wish.
To those members that have asked us whether there has been any attempt by the former shareholders and majority owners to resolve these issues in recent months before legal action commences, the answer is no. As previously, if there is any offer received before we commence legal action, we would of course refer this back to our membership. As stated in our 2019 consultation papers, once legal action is commenced then any decision on settlement would need to be made by the Trust board in conjunction with our partners in that litigation.
Phil Sumbler - who we know already is standing down as both chair and board member. Andrew Mcglashan Rupert Thomas Viv Brooks (who resigned from the board some time ago) Tim Bull (who left the board some time ago) And my own. I’m not due to stand for election until next year but I’m standing down now so I can be replaced at this election. Time for someone else to have a go.
Fill yer boots. Exit poll at 10pm, all hope gone by five past, or mass celebrations depending on your perspective.
My prediction, Tory majority of 50 plus.
My hope, the hungest of hung parliaments leading to a second Brexit referendum in the spring to end the madness one way or another. And then another election next autumn hopefully with two different leaders at the helm.
Gauke to quit when Johnson wins. Plenty of others who may not wait to be sacked. More Tories who won’t countenance a no deal scenario on the back benches. If they hadn’t stitched up the timing so well, Johnson might not have lasted a week. As it is he may make it to September purely due to the fact that Parliament won’t be sitting. Next week is going to be fun.
Watched this on BBC1 Wales last night. A very good documentary about the rise of Welsh nationalism in the run up to Charles’s investiture as Prince of Wales in 1969. Covers the FWA, Gwynfor Evans, the flooding of the Tryweryn valley and of course MAC and John Jenkins. Very good watch if you’re interested in that sort of thing.
So where’s your money? Bear in mind that whichever dweeb you vote for if you had a proper vote (which you don’t unless you’re a member of the Conservative Party. Taking back control) is very likely to be the next prime minister of the UK. As terrifying as that prospect is when you look at the list.