WISA AGM 30/05/2002
Minutes of Annual General Meeting
Thursday, 30th May, 2002
Wimbledon Community Centre, St. George's Road, Wimbledon
Kris thanked everyone for coming and explained that whilst the focus of the meeting was our reaction to the FA
Commission decision two days earlier, certain formalities had to be dealt with first.
2. Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Ruth & Chris Abrahams, Charlie Bell, Barbara Dunford, Michael Dunford, Alan
Edwards, Paul Fletcher, Joanne & Pat Fotheringham, David Godfrey, Mark Hillyer, Tim Hillyer, Rupert Jeffery,
Trevor Pearce, Neil Presland, Danny Rye, Eddy Rye, Elaine Taylor, Stephanie Timms and Valerie Webster.
3. Minutes of last meeting
The minutes of the last meetings (OGM on 24th January and EGM on 6th April) were agreed and there were no
4. Membership fees for 2002/03
The meeting agreed to maintain the existing fee levels, i.e:
§ Adult £5
§ Concessions £3
§ Household £10
§ Life £100
5. Treasurer's report
Nicole Hammond summarised our position for the period April 2001 to March 2002 as c.£32,000 received and
approximately £27,500 spent, the significant items being:
Aeroplane & banner 675
ICM survey 4,560
Stadium design & expenses 606
Fans Utd day 3,640
Balloons & demo items 1,225
"Community thing" & advertising 5,675
T-shirts (various) 4,015
Printing, postage & sundries 4,580
Standing orders were launched last August and Nicole thanked all those who had contributed in this way. This is
generating a regular income of c.£500 per month and has really made a difference.
6. Examiner of accounts' report
Erik Samuelson reported that he and Heather Jackson had examined the accounts and "they were fine". He
thanked the current Treasurer for the work done and offered his best wishes to her successor.
7. Re-appointment of examiner of accounts
The meeting voted in favour of Erik Samuelson and Heather Jackson being re-appointed account examiners for
8. Election of committee
The following were elected to the committee:
Chair Kris Stewart
Vice Chair Nicole Hammond
Secretary Colette Mulchrone
Treasurer Peter Bowles
Publicity Officer Kevin Rye
Webmaster Ronan Warde
Membership Secretary Mags Hutchinson
Newsletter Editor Simon Wheeler
Club Liaison Officer Graeme Boulton
General Committee: Charlie Bell Mark Lewis
Joe Blair Laurence Lowne
Karen D'Amico Richard McGregor
Rob Dunford Ian Pollock
Sean Fox Charlie Talbot
Marc Jones Lee Willett
9. Future plans
FA Commission decision
Two days earlier, on 28 May, the FA Commission had given permission for WFC Ltd to move to Milton Keynes.
Kris explained his understanding of how this process worked. The Commission was appointed by the FA, at the
request of the Football League (FL). It sat as if it were the board of the FL and had all the powers of the FL. The
FL and FA made representations to the Commission stating their opposition to the move but have said they have
no choice but to accept the Commission's decision.
Today (30 May) the FA released the text of the Commission's findings. A quick perusal shows the Commission
effectively accepts the argument that WFC Ltd is in a unique or exceptional position. WISA's lawyers are
studying the document to see if we have any grounds for a legal appeal.
In addition, we will raise a complaint with the Independent Football Commission (IFC), a body set up by the
government. The IFC can accept a complaint from us, review what has happened and give an opinion.
Establish a new club
Since football's governing bodies keep claiming there is no right of appeal and a legal challenge raises further
obstacles, not least the length of time such processes can take, some supporters have proposed starting a new club.
This club could take its place in Ryman Leage division 2 next season under a ground-sharing arrangement with
another club in the vicinity.
The three proposals tabled for tonight's revised agenda are therefore:
(a) Whilst under the current ownership of WFC Ltd, we do not attend any Wimbledon games next season,
wherever they may be played and whatever the team may be called (unless part of a protest)
(b) We should continue to fight Koppel's plans for Milton Keynes
(c) We should work towards the formation of a new football club to join the appropriate league next season
It was pointed out that (b) and (c) are not mutually exclusive and discussion was opened up to the floor.
There was a lengthy and impassioned debate on the merits of these strategies, particularly (b) and (c).
Some felt creating a new club now was defeatist and premature until all avenues had been explored. There was
also a view that this would play into Koppel's hands and be misinterpreted by the media as us giving up or no
longer caring, particularly as the new MK stadium is far from ready. Other specific ideas included:
§ The Commission's decision could be challenged by a judicial review
§ Gjelsten had appeared on Norwegian TV saying they were now prepared to spend £40m on a new stadium in
MK. This refutes their claims of poverty and could be used to challenge the decision
§ Take the campaign into MK itself. The proposed stadium has no planning permission; we should therefore put
pressure on local politicians, etc.
Those in favour of immediately setting up a new club highlighted the following:
§ Time scale: if a new club is a viable prospect for next season, there is very limited time in which to make the
§ The alternative, given that we do not want to watch Koppel's team next season, is no football at all
§ As the season wore on, how many would continue going to MK or wherever Koppel's team is playing to carry
on protests from the car park?
§ A new club would give us something positive to concentrate on, rather than the past 11 years of negativity
§ a new club is probably more achievable than defeating Koppel
There was also a middle ground, with people advocating setting up a new club and continuing to fight Koppel,
§ Lee Willett stressed that with 21 people on the WISA committee, 10 on the Trust committee and the several
hundred present this evening, we should have the resources to do both.
§ The point was made that we have to contemplate the possibility we might lose our fight against Koppel's plan
and any sensible person would have a fallback position. Having our own team established would offer the
supporters we are trying to persuade not to go to MK/Selhurst a credible alternative.
There was also discussion on precisely what we are fighting Koppel for. The key things were seen to be the name,
badge, history and colours.
A vote was called on proposals (a) and (b). Both were convincingly carried.
Proposal (c) to form a new club
Kris temporarily relinquished the chair to address this issue from the floor. He explained that, as Chair, he did not
usually express his views but would like to give his opinion on this occasion. Like others, he had been fighting
hard but believed we now find ourselves in a situation where there is no appeal within football - the FA and FL
agree with us and the IFC may also agree but this does not make any difference. Therefore, whilst he did not
intend allowing Koppel an easy time, he wanted to watch some football, without having to go to Selhurst or
giving Koppel's club any more money.
Instead, Kris said, we now have an opportunity to build a club. It will be really hard but the club is about us and
our traditions. He had been talking to Ivor Hellor and was fairly confident we can find somewhere to play and can
start playing this August in Ryman 2. If we carry on fighting and Koppel's club dies, then we will take it back. We
will fight him for the name, history and badge but we already know that the history is ours - we don't need a judge
to tell us we are Wimbledon Football Club!
Kris resumed the chair and debate continued, new themes including:
§ Merton Council - they said they would pursue Plough Lane whether WFC came back or not. What is their
current position? Kris explained he was meeting Andrew Judge the following evening.
§ What would happen if we defeated Koppel and ended up with two clubs? There were suggestions that one club
could act as a feeder to the other.
§ This is not just our fight with Koppel about relocation - this is a concern for the whole of football. Other league
clubs should be encouraged to call an extraordinary general meeting of the FL and Northampton Town, Luton and
Rushen & Diamonds in particular should be persuaded to consider a formal challenge.
§ Information on non-league football - Trevor Williams explained that Ryman League Division 2 is three
promotions below Conference level. In Ryman 2 last season the highest crowd was 248, with an average gate of
75. Player costs were minimal, being paid expenses only in the region of £30 per match. The Ryman League is reorganising
next year and it is in our interests to join now as there is the danger that ground requirements may alter
to our disadvantage.
A formal motion was proposed that we specify exactly what we are fighting Koppel for, namely, the name, badge,
history and colours.
Proposal (c) - set up a new club
Proposal (d) - we fight Koppel specifically for the name, badge, history and colours.
Both were resoundingly carried.
10. Any other business
a) It had been rumoured that Koppel was looking for another league ground to share at but no club is interested. In
addition, it has been claimed Koppel asked the police for permission to play at Selhurst behind closed doors but
the police refused. Kris confirmed both stories were true to the best of his knowledge.
b) The meeting was asked to ratify that we ask every football fan in the country not to attend any match involving
their team playing away to Koppel's team. The meeting agreed.
c) Ivor Hellor asked for a straw poll to determine how many people would be interested in buying season tickets
for our new club. The answer was given with an overwhelming show of hands. Ivor then described the current
funding dilemma. In order to secure a ground-share agreement for next season, we need to be able to commit
£20,000 within 2 weeks. Whilst the Trust had the funds and (hopefully) members would consent, a special
meeting to agree this could not be convened before the deadline. It was therefore proposed to ask supporters to
send cheques for £200 to the Dons Trust as soon as possible for "season ticket advances" to provide the necessary
The meeting having concluded, many repaired to the Wibbas Down (Wetherspoons) for further conversation.