2017 FaST Annual General Meeting – 27 April 2017 – Chairman’s Report

I would like to welcome you all as members of the Farnborough Supporters Trust (FaST) to the twelfth Annual General Meeting of the Trust. We have enjoyed a positive year for the Trust which importantly has forged closer links with Farnborough Football Club(FFC) to our mutual benefit. At the last AGM I was pleased to welcome Brian Blewett and John Davey to the Board although sadly Rob Matheson has decided to stand down at today’s AGM and I thank him for his efforts and support. For the record Mark McGowan also decided to stand down the day after last year’s AGM and plans for a potential merger with Faith and Football in the Community did not proceed. Consequently we now run with 6 full members and 2 co-opted members leaving 4 vacancies. Any member that wishes to put themselves forward for election at this meeting please make themselves known.

We are fortunate to have two Board Members in Kevin Dyer and Phil Martin who are also Directors of FFC and this enables the Trust to have access to the Football Club Board and put forward ideas for consideration as well as receiving feedback as to the Club’s plans. FFC Directors Rob Prince and Simon Gardener have also attended a regular FaST Board Meeting.

Our membership level has held firm with approximately 50 members through the year but with the club’s fortunes on the field of play improving the Board would very much like to to see a boost in this number over the next 12 months to reflect. Bob Perry, who has done an excellent job as Membership Secretary, has advised that he will step down from today due to family commitments and we thank him for his valuable contribution and loyal service in this role and also previously as a full Board Member. We are fortunate that our Treasurer Paul Spicer has offered to take over this additional position and the Board show their gratitude.

The Trust was pleased that FFC were able to complete the outstanding CVA in April 2016 which led to a significant improvement in the financial stability and security of the club. I am aware that all FFC Directors are determined to maintain this position although sadly a breach of Football Association rules allowing the CVA to be paid up resulted in the club being forced to accept demotion to Step 4 of the non-league pyramid.

On a sensible budget our Football Manager Spencer Day put together a very good squad for the 2016/17 season which has performed well and has finished 2nd in the Southern League Central Division and entered the play-offs. Our thanks go to the team for providing such a good standard of football for us to enjoy and best of luck in the play-offs.

One of the items that FFC asked the Trust to consider was the setting up of a player’s wages fund to help boost the player’s budget. This was given lengthy consideration by the Board and referrals were made to Supporters Direct who provide model rules, support and governance advice to Supporters Trusts to ensure that all would be dealt with in accordance with our rules. Ultimately, a new scheme was launched named Boost The Boro with agreement on all sides allowing FaST to contribute a maximum of £100 per week during the 2016/17 playing season from its own funds but with all fans additionally invited to donate as they wish plus monthly direct debits and cash handed in at each game. This is collected by FaST and handed to the club at the end of each month. I am pleased to advise that you the end of this month the scheme will have contributed £3,600 from FaST funding and £1,930 from fans.By the end of the playing season the overall contribution will be close to £6,000. I think you will agree that this is a very good figure for a new scheme.

One of our main sources of income is from sale of 50/50 matchday tickets and I am pleased to report that sales have held up well despite the fact that attendances have dropped from previous seasons. Recently attendances have started to improve again and hopefully will reflect. The Board offers thanks to Dave, Bob, John and Steve for their efforts.

Another positive note is the return of occasional coaches to away matches. Gary Thornton has kindly taken over the mantle from Dave and Bob and FaST have agreed to offer financial support where needed up to a maximum of £100 per coach. FaST have reintroduced the rebate to members of £2 for each trip starting with the coach to Ashford (Middlesex) on Easter Monday as an incentive to join. Thanks go to Gary for his efforts.

FaST are also very pleased with the success of the FaST Food snack bar which was a project conceived converted and fitted out by our members with the backing of our funding amounting to £3,800. This is now run by FFC and provides valuable income. An example of this was the occasion that FaST lent the club funding to repair the floodlights just prior to the start of the season and the sum involved was repaid ahead of schedule using the burger bar profits. To carry out this work FaST agreed to pay for the hire of the cherry picker in the sum of £390.

Despite the monetary outlays for the various projects and scheme the financial position has remained stable.

A future project to be mainly funded by FaST is the rebuilding of the toilets wrecked by vandalism. This again will be done largely by members in the forthcoming close season and is estimated to cost £1,500.

We are currently in the course arranging for a FaST advertising board to be installed in the ground with the purpose of trying to get our message across to supporters and boost membership. We thank Luke Burford for his design work and also take the opportunity to thank him for looking after the FaST pages that get inserted in the matchday programme and for his work on our website.

Finally I would like to collectively thank all Board Members and other members who have contributed to our work in the past 12 months.

Garry Ward

Keep up to date with your club on Social Media: