18/02/2009 : Achieve By Unity Fans Partnership : Achieve By Unity Fans Partnership : Extraordinary Meeting
18 February 2009 : Achieve By Unity Fans Partnership : Extraordinary Meeting
Achieve by Unity Fans Partnership
Extraordinary Meeting, Wednesday 18th February 2009, 5.45p.m., Boardroom


In Attendance
John Fry – Chairman
Martyn Starnes – Chief Executive
Jean Cotton – Club/Company Secretary
Dave Linney – Commercial Manager
Adrian Hopper – Media Manager
Clive Robinson - Hospitality Manager
Peter O’Riordan – Accountant
Sara Bradley – Supporter Liaison Officer
Rod Hallett – VP Chairman
Darran Jones – G&WSC
Sharon Swain – DSA
Martin McConachie – Supporter Representative
Cyril Pomeroy – Supporter Representative
Len Brooker – Supporter Representative
Dave Lilly – Supporter Representative

Apologies
Rich Rendell – G&WSC Chairman
Fiona Grant – G&WSC
Kevin Farley – Supporter Representative
Richard Culham – Supporter Representative
David Burnett – Supporter Representative
James Hillier – Stadium Manager
Sue Parsons – Ticket Office Manager


An extraordinary meeting took place to discuss Russell Slade and the Club parting company.

John Fry opened the meeting by stating that he thought that it was an appropriate time to call a meeting in order for the representatives to ask questions.

He added that things happen quickly in football, but there was always rumour and speculation.

He explained that the Club had experienced a very busy week; in fact a very busy weekend and it had become necessary to for the Club to act due to a press leak the previous week. Prior to that the situation had been dealt with in absolute confidence.

He added that the situation had not been of our making, John Fry’s making, the boards making, the Chief Executives making or any of the staff.

He couldn’t say anymore about the Russell Slade employment situation for legal reasons. The whole matter was being dealt with by our lawyers.

However, the Chairman did confirm that it was not a football related manner and had nothing to do with the performance of the team or the players or any of those aspects.

John went on to say that changes were necessary to make sure that the club gets as maximum benefits as possible, is as progressive as possible and financially secure as possible.

Neither Steve Cotterill nor anyone else had been lined up for the job.

John said that he understood how the fans feel but the Club could only issue press statements that had been approved with the lawyers.

Russell’s departure had the unanimous backing of the Board, It wasn’t just a John Fry decision and it was all recorded and done in a correct manner.

John acknowledged the criticism and understood the difficulties in convincing fans but stated that sometimes changes have to be made in the best interests of the Club.

John appealed for the support of the fans and was hopeful there would be an announcement in the next 24 hours about a new manager.

Martyn added that when supporters do raise a genuine concern, whether it’s been on the forum, by letter or e-mail, more often than not the club invite them in to discuss their concerns. Occasionally they will come in and have a chat with us, but frequently they won’t.

The Chairman said that personnel at the Club were available to talk to genuine fans about genuine concerns because you never stop learning in life or in football and if there’s something that can be learnt to try and improve things we should do that.

1. The Timing of the announcement

The Representatives expressed their views regarding the timing of the announcement. They stated that Supporters were disappointed and angered by the fact that it had happened at this stage of the season, especially after four wins in a row.

Martyn Starnes stated that the timing was outside of the clubs control.

It was the culmination of a process that had been going on for a little while, and the legal advice was that we had to come to a conclusion of that process and give effect to the decision the board had made sooner rather than later.

We had to follow that legal advice.

2. The Club Statement Released on Saturday

The Representatives stated that when the statement came out on Saturday, supporters were thinking that Russell had left the Club. They asked John and Martyn, why the statement had come out just before 3.00 p.m. on Saturday.

John Fry stated that the press release probably wouldn’t have emerged if information hadn’t been leaked to the press and onto the forums.

The press release was prepared on the Thursday to be released on Saturday morning, however because Adrian Hopper was on the road travelling to Peterborough and didn’t have a laptop and it needed to go out we had to put it up on Saturday afternoon.
The statement had nothing to do about Russell and in hindsight should probably have been released on Monday.

3. The Club Statement Released on Monday

The Representatives asked why the Press Release that came out on Tuesday couldn’t have come out on Monday. The statement contained two lines and it was felt that the club didn’t care about the supporters.

John Fry explained that the wording of the statement that was put out on Monday was down to the Clubs legal team. We couldn’t say anymore due to the discussions taking place at that time.

Dave Lilly asked if the Club would consider someone from the Club (i.e. Sara) having an official login on the Green Room to stamp out rumours. He also suggested that at the same time the club could put out a statement on the official site to coincide with what was being stated on the Green Room.

Martyn stated that he could understand his point, but there were practical problems

It has to be said that the fair proportion of the rumours that go on there are just rumours. However, Sara may not know the situation and would have to contact John or Martyn to obtain an answer. Is it the best use of the Chairman’s or CEO’s time to deal with this?

Meeting Closed: 7.45p.m.
Next Meeting: Thursday 26th February 2009



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