On November 1st 2017, the Glovers Trust met with Insight 63 Ltd - a football consultancy firm, that Yeovil Town Football Club have engaged with to provide future direction for the club. Insight's Mark Palmer requested a meeting with the Trust to talk about his remit, and to obtain feedback. As a result six of the Trust Board met with Mark.
The Trust's notes from that meeting can be read either via a PDF Document or are captured in text form below. They plan to meet again with Insight before the end of the calendar year. The Trust indicate that "the discussions were conducted in a positive manner and touched on a range of topics, such as the short window of opportunity that he is working to and the approach he that he is taking to construct his recommendations to the Club Board".
The notes from that meeting, as produced by the Glovers Trust are as follows:
Mark explained that his company, Insight 63, has been contracted by YTFC to conduct a review of the Club. As part of this he is talking to a cross section of staff, fans and media, and wanted people to be as open as possible with him.
He has been in the background at YTFC in an informal role for 2-3 years. His experience is in working with football clubs to create plans for future development, including restructuring, attracting new investment and ownership, and developing exit strategies. He also has experience of helping to implement these plans.
John Fry and Norman Hayward approached Mark and asked him for an overview of the club. Mark assured the Glovers Trust Board that he would give an independent and honest opinion – he would not risk harming his reputation by not doing so. His review will cover, for example, where should the Club go, what is its natural ceiling, whether the Academy be a separate entity, and the use of land at Huish Park. He feels that the Club is at a crossroads and needs a complete restructure. Part of his remit is to produce a 5-7 year plan to achieve this and move the Club forward. In his experience, significant changes to the ownership of football clubs usually happen prior to the January transfer window, or around the end of May. This enables new owners to affect the team’s competitiveness.
Mark plans to work with the Club for 2-3 days a week, and hopes to present his findings to John Fry and Norman Hayward by the start of the January transfer window. They have promised him they will take his advice seriously, and will not be influenced by the Club’s situation at the time he presents his findings. Mark stated that JF and NH have given him no indication of their long term plans at this point – he feels this is better as it enables him to conduct the review with an open mind.
Mark confirmed that he has chosen to speak to all YTFC employees in confidence to get their opinions. He has also met with Rich Rendell of the Supporters Alliance. He is happy to speak to other supporters groups, although as yet has no confirmed dates to do so. Mark felt that the facilities at Huish Park needed improvement, and confirmed that he has looked at the Club’s planning application process. He hopes to meet with the Council’s Chief Executive to discuss what has happened so far and the way forward. As yet he has no plans to meet with David Bell (YTFC Planning Agent) but would be willing to do so.
Asked about overlap between his role and David Mills’, Mark explained that he is looking at possible investment in the Club, whereas David’s role covers sponsorship and corporate relationships. Mark confirmed no offers or approaches for the Club have been made to date. He emphasized that any investment must be suited to YTFC and have the Club’s best interests at heart. He feels he has good contacts with investors and is confident he would be able to attract investment to the Club if that is what is required.
Mark was asked whether he was aware of the strength of negativity many supporters have towards the current owners. He said that due to his prior involvement with the Club and conversations he has had with various people he felt he had a good understanding of the current situation.
Mark was asked about his involvement with other football clubs in the past. He explained that a lot of his work was covered by Non-disclosure agreements, but confirmed he has worked with Burton Albion and Burnley in the past. He has successfully attracted new investment to other football clubs. He was also involved in setting up the Bournemouth Supporters Trust, and has a good relationship with Supporters Direct. He said that he felt comfortable with the public confirmation of his work with YTFC due to his past involvement with the Club and his confidence in gaining a successful outcome.
Mark was asked about the structure of Insight 63. He confirmed that he is the sole employee, but has access to a team of sub-contractors with specialist skills where required. The company has no physical premises, but has a postal address and meeting space available in London.
Brendon Owen expressed concern at the current state of the Club – there is a strong feeling among supporters that the Club has stagnated badly, and there is no ambition or desire from those that run the Club. Thousands of people have stopped going to games, but are still supporters of the Club. He felt many of these will not return until there is a change of ownership. He also made a case for the Glovers Trust to be involved in any transition process, to represent YTFC supporters. This may also include purchasing shares in the Club.
Mark has agreed to meet with the Glovers Trust Board again later this year.
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