Annual General Meeting: Wednesday 22 June 2022, held at Billington & Whalley Brass Band Club, from 7.30pm.
Present: Chair John Murray and 19 Members
Guest: Josh Boswell (brfcs)
Apologies: Andy Young (via Zoom), Anthony Green, Tracey Crouch MP
1. Welcome & Introductions
In welcoming all attendees,John Murray referred to the following matters which would be discussed at the AGM and in which the Trust were involved:
- Fan Led Review
- Football Supporters Association AGM on 16 July 2022
- Membership of the Trust 650 members
- Asset of Community Value (ACV) on Ewood Park to be renewed in 2023
- Marketing Prospectus, 2nd Edition sent to Club in April 2022
- Role of the Trust as a “critical friend” to ensure the long-term health of our Football Club.
2. Fan Led Review
A Zoom Slide presentation from Andy Young outlining the 36 recommendations published by the Review body. The Trust had submitted its views to the Review Committee, which had been chaired by Tracey Crouch MP, who unfortunately had been unable to attend the AGM. She had submitted her Report to the Government (currently Secretary of State for Media Culture & Sport Nadine Dorries). The Government has promised a White Paper this summer with it largely endorsing most of the Review.
The Trust had written to all local MPs and having received a reply from Kate Hollern, MP for Blackburn also had a Zoom meeting with her.
- The EPL and EFL are lobbying MP’s regarding the Review. The EPL are against the proposal of an independent regulator but it will be in the White Paper.
- The Government would select members to the independent regulator.
- Rick Parry, Chair of the EFL has proposed alternatives to the current method of parachute payments.
- Gender and ethnicity included in the Review.
- The importance of strategic discussions between the Trust and BRFC was stressed. The Club was supportive of the Review. Needed to be taken to the Fans Forum and any Fans Consultation Meetings to be discussed with BRFC. Members were still sceptical of liaison with the Club, especially the Consultation Event.
- It was agreed that a key aim of the Trust was to be professional and strategic in order to be the key body to be representative of the fans on any future structure, whether Rovers Board or Shadow Board.
3. AGM Formalities
Bank Account £15,521
- Sponsorship has been provided to 4000 Holes fanzine, brfcs website and Rovers Radio. The Trust is keen to eliminate ’in fighting’ amongst the fans and fan groups
- Josh from brfcs requested content from the Trust for the website.
- Confirmation that the Trust is a Community Interest Society and it is mandatory to charge an annual membership fee. Of its 650 members( up slightly since 2021) up to 200 thought they were automatically paying the annual fee, and the Trust was trying slowly to sort this out.
- Elected from 2021 were J.Murray(Chair); D.Miller; M. Ellison; A.Young
- Standing for Election were A. Green(from 2020 Board) and P.Bolton(for re-election). This brought the Board up to 6, plus M.Graham as co-opted Board member. The Board therefore has the ability to co-opt 5 more Members.
- Officers for 2022/23 were: P.Ridehalgh (new Secretary); P. Dickinson (Treasurer); and M.O’Neill (IT Support). John Murray said he had other persons to meet re skills in Crowdfunding and liaison with Members
- 9 Newsletters had been produced by the Trust since the last AGM.
- 5 Board Meetings had been held during an Omicron-affected year. The Trust Board meeting in May had included Rovers CEO, Steve Waggott. After considerable discussion on the CEO’s role and performance, it was agreed that the Trust needed to meet with BRFC staff to properly be the ‘critical friend’!
- Life membership was presented to OZ Jones who had been a founder member of the Trust and a Board member until 12 months ago.
4. Inter-Action with Club
- Slide presentation from Duncan Miller outlined research findings on the fall in attendances and season ticket sales.This led to a lengthy Q & A session
- Marketing Prospectus to be updated and presented to BRFC again in October 2022. The current Edition on Trust web-site: - Comments and ideas still requested
5. Trust Priorities
- Fan Led Review
- ACV on Ewood Park
- Increase social media content of Trust
- Continue support of 4000 Holes to attract membership
- Consideration on streaming 2023 AGM
- Increase membership to 1000
- Safe Standing was debated, especially in a 2/3rds empty stadium. It was coupled with the State of the Riverside as a priority. The Chair suggested that US stadia had ‘bleachers’ areas, and with the rise in prices on the decaying Riverside, this needed to be pushed –linking it to pricing issues and Safe Standing.
6. Any Other Business
- Trust should develop plans for 150th anniversary of BRFC in 2025. It is believed that an unofficial group has already been formed by BRFC. This was linked to the Heritage Agenda the Trust was taking leadership on, but we do need ‘early wins’.
- Discussion re season ticket offering and specifically the costs for Under 25’s and Under 11’s ., with comparisons to PNE mentioned.
AGM ended at 2145 and adjourned for informal discussions.