12th of July 2019

Stour Space, Hackney

1. Welcome and apologies

Kevin Hind opened the meeting at 1.10pm, by welcoming everyone, as Acting Chair, as the EGM had yet to ratify the new Committee.

Apologies: Natalie Morgans, Cliff Sparrowhawk. Iain Crinson

2. Update.

Sue Watson gave an update of recent events. Since the AGM, and the subsequent resignation of the previous Chair and Vice Chair, the acting committee had been working hard on proposals to move forward with a focus on the members and attracting more members into an independent organisation that is outward looking.

3. Ratification of new committee

Kevin Hind explained that the only remaining committee members from the AGM were himself and Debbie Donovan.

The following members were proposed by George Mann and seconded by Diane Hind:

Sue Watson – Chair, Kevin Hind – Treasurer, Terry Land – Vice Chair, Jack Hart – Committee member and Match Day Service, Debbie Donovan – Secretary, Natalie Morgans – Comittee member

Agreed with one abstention  

It was also agreed to post their names and positions on the website

4. Constitution

The revised constitution was distributed and the changes, which were marked in green, were discussed. The changes were made to make it more streamlined, fully consistent and therefore     easier to understand and operate within.

It was suggested that the renewal date (3.10) should change from the 1st of June to the 1st of September, as the season would have started and members would remember to do it.  KH to arrange that. Agreed.

The proposal to change to yearly subscriptions of £1, instead of a one off joining fee was also discussed again.  Agreed.

The revised constitution was therefore proposed by K Cliff and seconded by K Hind (member observers), to be put to the full EGM for ratification. Agreed. 

5 Code of Conduct

COC applies to both committee members and wider membership and two copies of the revised COC had been circulated before the meeting.

Recent events had highlighted that we needed a more rigorous constitution which included an expectation that comittee members would not do anything which brings WHUISA into disrepute.

There was a question about point 5.10, relating to committee members declaring all potential conflicts of interest. SW clarified that it related to membership of any other WH group. A list of such groups will be produced for agreement.

It was also agreed that the wording of point 2B would be changed to “recognise collective responsibility”.

The revised Code of Conduct was then proposed by Andy Ellis and seconded by Dianne Hind. Agreed Unanimously.

The meeting agreed to swap points 6 and 7 on the agenda to aid smoother debate

7. Motion on Club Engagement with Independent Supporters’ groups. Andy Ellis proposed motion which outlined that only WH and Hull will not communicate with independent supporters groups. However, we wish to be independent of the club in order to represent the real views of the fans.

WHUISA is committed to staying independent and not joining the OSB, as even though they are meant to be “consulted”, it is in name only, as the OSB was not even told about the season ticket price increase, or the Socios, let alone consulted about them.

There was a question from the floor as to how we establish communication with the club and using figures such as Trevor Brooking or Roberta Moore as a conduit was suggested by a member, but we were all clear that it is the club’s Liaison Officer, Jake heath, with whom we need to meet and have open communication. When that is attempted, we are referred to the OSB. We would also not be allowed to take any of our own minutes of any meetings, as the club insist that they control any record of all meetings held.

As we do not own our own ground or manage our own stewarding, Expedia and E20 will also not talk to anyone about legitimate fan questions and we are again referred to the OSB. A key stakeholder is also the Met Police Advisory Group and we have a good rapport with them. The Safety Advisory Group oversees safety at the ground, but their meetings in Newham are very secretive and the only way to even get the minutes is through Freedom of Information requests. That is no way to engage with fans.

WHUISA needs to stress the lack of function at the OSB and wants to be seen to be demanding a credible alternative, based on proper accountability. The club must also adhere to PL rules on fan consultation. We will therefore be joining Hull. HU and the FSA in signing a joint letter, before also contacting MPs, the Dept of Culture, Media and Sport and UEFA.

The key person is David Sullivan and we need to be talking directly to him. Motion proposed by Andy Ellis. Seconded by James Kearns

Agreed Unanimously

Motion on Socios

WHUISA objects, and will challenge the monetisation of supporter engagement.

There was limited debate on this motion, as the room was in agreement with it, both in letter and principle. 

Proposed by Mike Casagrande. Seconded by Eamon Quinn.

Agreed Unanimously

6. Campaign Priorities and Plans

The list discussed at the Cttee meeting, held just before the EGM, on the proposed priorities for the coming year was put to the meeting, namely:

7. £700 for mascot. We discussed a delay in raising this, as WHUISA had previously auctioned one off. However, we can say that it is an issue from the previous committee on which we have reflected and have changed our position.

6. Gold and Sullivan’s loans to the club. We question why, in principle they are loans and not investments. There are also issues with the level of interest raised. Even though Mike Ashley also makes loans to Newcastle, he does so at 0% interest.

5. The £10 charge for a place on the season ticket waiting list. Why the charge? How     long is the waiting list? Why is it not transparent?

4. Football Development. It is reported that the Academy is a shambles and that     those working there do not even have compatible IT equipment. Its record for producing new talent is lamentable and recruitment and retention of youngsters is poor. There are also issues with the role of the Director of Football.

3. Proper fan representation to the club, instead of the OSB, which is toothless and not independent.

 2. Socios. We object to that in principle.

 1. Karren Brady. She was brought in to sort out the migration which has not been effective. The management of the corporates is also very poor. Therefore we question her ability to bring full value to her post. In addition, her Twitter account and Sun newspaper column bring the club into disrepute. The possible purchase of a player failed as a result of an article she did for The Sun.

The committee will want to challenge her role based on her competency, value for money and lack of professionalism at the club. It will not be in any way based on her gender and we will distance ourselves from any of the more overtly sexist criticisms of her whilst making clear what the focus is.

Members also wanted to raise that the FSA also looks at the professionalism of club   CEOs and KB would not pass such a test. Competency questions need to be asked about issues such as: Corporate renewals, commercial income, sponsorship, as well as the reputational damage she causes. Since the move, we have not pushed on as a club, and have gone backwards, but still she stays. WHUISA will be asking why.

It was proposed from the floor that the following issues were added to the list for the  coming year:    the chaotic crowd control to Stratford Station and the general condition and appearance of the ground. The Cttee accepted this unanimously and also that attracting new and active members, through independently representing their views was to be WHUISA’s number one priority.

The amended Action Plan for the coming season was unanimously accepted by the meeting.

The meeting ended at 2.40pm, with 25 members having been in attendance throughout.