The Yellow and Blue 10-point Plan

The Yellow and Blue Logo

The new route to transform the Dons Trust

AFC Wimbledon’s USP and soul is its history, its place in the local community and most importantly being fans owned - that must never be undermined or changed.

This manifesto seeks to reaffirm the current Dons Trust vision:

"To maintain supporter ownership of a successful, financially stable, professional football club playing at the heart of our communities."

Read about how this Manifesto was conceived and created.

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Point 1: Ensure fan ownership

Ownership of AFC Wimbledon by the fans is not something that can or will be traded away. Our club only exists because the fans brought it back into being. This ownership and control is touched on in the constitution of the Dons Trust, it should be enshrined and always remain.

So what could that mean?
  1. Enshrining the vision in the Dons Trust rules.
  2. Consider additional protection within the rules to ensure this ownership and control is permanent. This includes any relevant arrangements or relationships it enters into with the club, and other companies, their boards and ownership.
  3. The Dons Trust must always have absolute control of AFC Wimbledon.
  4. Ensuring that the rules of The Dons Trust strengthens and enlarges the current Restricted Actions. This should include ownership of the club as outlined above, ownership of the ground by the football club, and its location. Additional Restricted Actions could include points raised in the Accord between WISA and the football club based in Milton Keynes, and FSA governance proposals.
  5. The Dons Trust will hold a clear debate amongst its membership about any possible future external investment in the football club itself, with the proviso that the fans ceding majority control of the club is not open for debate for all the reasons outlined above.

Point 2: Celebrate our history

AFC Wimbledon, and its predecessors (Wimbledon Football Club, Wimbledon Old Centrals, etc) have a rich history, and understanding it is part of what strengthens fan ownership.The Dons Trust will look for opportunities to celebrate our history with fans, and the communities we operate in, with the ultimate aim of ensuring the spirit of our club is preserved for generations to come.

So what could that mean?
  1. The Dons Trust collaborating with local groups to ensure we record and commemorate our history. This could include:
    1. Establishing a physical museum at the new stadium.
    2. Creating an online museum and making a film about the club and its history.
    3. Utilising space throughout the stadium where possible to celebrate the club’s history (recognising its full diversity: Women, disabled supporters, LGBTI and BAME)
    4. Recognising the fans’ movement, which played a key role in this history.
    5. Running Stadium tours and history days at the club.

Point 3: Strengthen our links in our local community

The Dons Trust should invest (in both financial and other ways) in our local community, building closer relationships with the new Dons Local Action Group and the AFC Wimbledon Foundation.

So what could that mean?
  1. The Dons Trust should build and develop strong relationships with organisations it already shares a strong synergy with, notably the AFC Wimbledon Foundation, the Dons Local Action Group. and Wimbledon in Sporting History.
  2. Ask the trustees of the Foundation to consider co-opting a member of the Dons Trust Board as part of their governance.
  3. The Dons Trust should also consider nominating a trustee for the Foundation.
  4. Space at the stadium should be provided for the Foundation.
  5. Regular reports from the Foundation should be made available at every Dons Trust Board Meeting.
  6. Encourage the Dons Local Action Group to become a volunteer arm of the Foundation.
  7. Commit to 5% of the club’s revenue being given to the Foundation by 2026.

Point 4: Protect the Football Pyramid

The conditions that led to us as fans having to reform our club as AFC Wimbledon came about because the integrity of the pyramid was compromised. Through our journey back to league football, AFC Wimbledon also stands as an example of the integrity of that pyramid. We will do everything we can to continue to uphold that integrity, and the system of football it represents.

So what could that mean?
  1. Withdraw from the Football League Trophy if ‘B’ teams – such as under-21s or reserve teams – take part as soon as we can (contingent on EFL rules). And at a bare minimum enshrine the current stance of providing the minimal support for the competition.
  2. Actively campaign against anything that undermines the football pyramid, including ‘B› Teams or the effective takeover of clubs further down the pyramid by larger clubs.
  3. Support and help The FSA where possible to help clubs currently in fan ownership or seeking to set up fan ownership.
  4. Actively support clubs and their fans in distress.

Point 5: Celebrate and support the wider fan movement

As fans, we have often felt the direct benefit from being part of a much wider movement of fans. We want to ensure that we do all we can to support and help our fellow fans and those organisations that represent their interests.

So what could that mean?
  1. The Dons Trust could offer to host events and support some of the following (there could be others): Kick It Out, Show Racism the Red Card, Rainbow Laces, Football Welcomes, Football v Homophobia, as well as women’s football and disability awareness. This might include each of the groups having a designated match day a season. This could also include office space.

Point 6: Oppose the franchising of football

As a club, we exist because another town was granted permission to take our league place. This is franchising, and we are opposed to it, regardless of the circumstances or the arguments used. Clubs fundamentally belong to their communities, and no community has the right to take another's club.

So what could that mean?
  1. Any matches with Milton Keynes will involve the following (depending on the rules of league or competition we play in):
    1. No programme, no presence in the boardroom and no hospitality at away matches.
    2. At home matches, no hospitality should be offered to them. If possible, the game should be all ticket. The Dons Trust Board should always issue a statement explaining why they have taken the position they have.
  2. No formal relationships other than those mandated by the league or competition we play in.
  3. Campaign for Milton Keynes to drop the ‘Dons’.

Point 7: Deepen engagement with the Dons Trust membership

The membership of The Dons Trust is the bedrock of the ownership of AFC Wimbledon. The Dons Trust Board is there to serve the members, and the members should be engaged and consulted with, regularly and for specific issues.

So what could that mean?
  1. Ensure and deliver an annual survey of the membership (in common with most supporters’ trusts).
  2. Run consultations with the membership at least every three years to guide the Trust’s medium and long-term objectives.
  3. All Dons Trust meetings could be made accessible via video conferencing and recorded. The secretary would then look to ensure these recordings are made available within seven days.
  4. Advertise times of all Dons Trust Board meetings and make it easier for members to attend them. The notes of these meetings should be made public within seven days.

Point 8: Stronger Governance structure

The Dons Trust is not a passive organisation. It has a critical role to play in the ownership of AFC Wimbledon, and so must be a well-governed, transparent, member-owned, community organisation that owns and controls a professional football club. Those on the board must be responsible to those members. The board must at all times act responsibly in executing its role as owner and custodian of the football club.

So what could that mean?
  1. The Dons Trust Board should always set the club’s vision, aims and objectives.
  2. The Dons Trust Board should always be the ultimate decision-making body for the Football Club Board and any other boards it is involved in because of its role. It should be directly involved in setting the vision, aims and objectives for all of these boards.
  3. Each subsidiary must have a majority of DTB members on their respective board. Instead of Dons Trust Board members as individuals being named directors, The Dons Trust itself could be the director on the Football Club, PLC and any other boards on which it sits (in common with, for example, institutional shareholders in other businesses such as pension or investment funds). If this is not possible the Memorandum and Articles of Association will be amended. This will mean that anyone attending board meetings on behalf of the Dons Trust Board will always be acting in the best interests of The Dons Trust. This will also allow the Trust to more easily send who it needs to the meetings, potentially changing the person depending on the issues discussed.
  4. The agendas of FCB and PLC Board meetings should be approved by the Dons Trust Board.
  5. The boards of the FCB, PLC and any other boards of companies controlled or owned by The Dons Trust providing regular, written reports to each Dons Trust Board meeting, and presenting to them where requested.
  6. Supporting the football club by assisting with any reviews of staffing and volunteer levels.
  7. Recognising and celebrating equality, diversity and inclusion, including in the club’s recruitment policy.

Point 9: Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the Dons Trust Board

Although the Board of The Dons Trust is made up of volunteers, some specialisation is needed to ensure that the organisation can properly execute its functions as owners of the club. Any specialists needed can be sourced through elections, or by co-option according to the rules of The Dons Trust.

So what could that mean?
  1. Ensuring descriptions for each of the following board members roles are created: chair, treasurer, human resources lead, communications lead, commercial lead, and community lead.This will include a commitment to the vision of the Dons Trust and in particular to continued and long-lasting fan-ownership.
  2. Ensuring that the Board co-opts the roles above, or other required skills, where they are not present via elected members.
  3. Each year the annual report will be published looking at how the board performed against their objectives, and made available to members within seven days. This report would then be the focus of a special online Dons Trust meeting, held at the end of that month.
  4. Dons Trust Board members should not be involved in the day to day running of the actual football club or the stadium: The Board sets direction, ensures scrutiny and exercises its authority commensurate with that role.
  5. Rigorous agendas are set to ensure Dons Trust Board meetings are focussed and time limited to help encourage a wider range of Board candidates.
  6. Any matchday volunteering undertaken by the Dons Trust Board should be allied to being visible and approachable to members.
  7. The Board should expand the remit of ‘volunteer manager’. This should be a non-board member. The role will oversee a volunteer pool of general and expert volunteers who can help the Dons Trust Board and its companies. This will include running an annual questionnaire for all members, to list their day job, qualifications, skills and experience; and their availability to work, do pro bono work and/or volunteer for the Dons Trust, the Dons Trust Board and the football club.

Point 10: In all instances AFC Wimbledon will look to procure items locally, ethically and environmentally friendly

As a fan owned football club, rooted in its local community, AFC Wimbledon and its associated companies should always be seeking to work with local businesses and suppliers - particularly SMEs. The Dons Trust should work with the football club and its associated companies to develop a procurement and supplier strategy that reflects this.

So what could that mean?
  1. Ethical Consumer magazine will conduct an audit to measure success.
  2. Review ethical procurement standards with CIPS or other sustainable organisations to establish a clear set of goals
  3. Engage with local businesses via groups such as the Merton chamber of commerce to review how the club procures goods/services so it is more inclusive/visible. And define what we mean as local.
  4. Engage with other clubs on potential collaboration for generic supplies like utilities, to leverage joint buying power.
  5. Take a lead on joint procurements like iFollow to ensure they meet club needs.
  6. Measure the likes of volume of spend spent locally and carbon footprint, and then agree measurable improvements and benchmarks.

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