2013 AGM Reports

SUNDERLAND AFC SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION 

LONDON& SOUTHERN ENGLAND BRANCH 

ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING

9  DECEMBER 2013

SEKFORDE ARMS

AGENDA

1                     Apologies for absence

2                     Minutes of previous meeting

3                     Matters arising

4                    Committee members reports

  1. Chairman
  2. Treasurer
  3. Secretary
  4. Membership Secretary
  5. Travel Officer
  6. Newsletter Editor
  7. Website
  8. Sales Officer
  9. Social reports
  10. Sports captains
  11.  Football
  12.  Darts

                                                          iii.      Pool

  1.  Cricket
  2.  Quiz

5                     Approval of accounts

6                     Election of Officers

7                     Any other business

  1. Future of Branch Travel
  2. Sunderland Ladies Football team

Present: 

See separate sheet

Apologies for absence: 

Eileen Sproates, Charlotte Mager, Gavin Rennison, John Linin, Caroline Clay, Wendy Searle, Denis Fairbrass, Gavin Bissett

Minutes of previous meeting: 

The minutes of the previous meeting on 29 September 2011 were approved.

Proposed by: Sue Hunter, Seconded by: Helen Robertson

Matters Arising: 

There were no matters arising which were not covered elsewhere.

Committee Members Reports: 

  1. a) Chairman: John Howey thanked all the Committee for their work throughout the year. He also stressed that, if the Branch is to flourish, members need to get involved either by taking part in the sporting activities, travelling or contributing to the website or newsletter.
  1. b) Treasurer: Aidan Daly had circulated his report. He is still unable to finalise the 2010/1 accounts due to an unresolved query with Grand Central relating to an overpayment. Additionally he is now also unable to finalise the 2011/2 accounts as it appears there may be a significant underpayment to Grand Central. Once these queries have been resolved we should be able to finalise the accounts for both years, get them audited and circulated to members. Aidan apologised for the delay. It was noted that donations were again good at £842 and that newsletter costs were significantly down due to the reduced number of newsletters during the year. Overall the branch had a healthy bank balance.
  1. c) Secretary: Richie Cockton had circulated his report. There had been five committee meetings during the year. There was a vacancy on the Committee if anyone was interested.
  1. d) Membership Secretary:Ian Todd had circulated his report. We had ended the season with 470 members. As a result of the reduced number of newsletters during the year, the Committee had agreed to offer a year’s free extension of membership to existing members. Once consequence of not sending out a renewal form, would be a reduction in the level of donations. In response to a question from Helen Robertson, Ian Todd confirmed that there were about 320 full fee members on the mailing list. Brendan Lee wondered whether a hard copy newsletter was still needed or whether it could be done via the website. Ian Todd noted that there were about 40 members for whom he did not have an e-mail address.
  1. e) Travel: Tracey Hawkins’ travel report had been circulated to the meeting. We continue to have a really good relationship and a good deal with Grand Central for home games. Match ticket allocation has generally been met in full. BACS payments are now the preferred method of payment. Brendan Lee asked whether the Branch could campaign for a Grand Central Stevenage stop. Richie Cockton said that Grand Central would love to have additional stops south of York but that the Rail Regulator had consistently refused their requests for further stops. Helen Robertson thanked Tracey Hawkins for the work she had put in on Branch travel over the season.
  1. e) Newsletter:Eileen Sproates’ newsletter report had been circulated to the meeting. Wear Down South had not appeared as regularly as the Committee had hoped but the aim for next season was the production of four issues. Assistance and contributions are always welcome. John Howey felt that an online newsletter would be better although Ian Todd pointed out that the downside to this suggestion was that it then became available to the public at large on the website. The newsletter needed to be produced on a regular basis as otherwise contributions became outdated. Andy Nichol felt that the future lay in an online version rather than a magazine. Helen Burnikell thanked Eileen Sproates for the time and effort she had put in on the newsletter over the years. The deadline for the next issue would be circulated in the next few days.
  1. f) Website:Sue Hunter’s report had been circulated. She tries to update the website as often as possible. The statistics on visits were set out in the report. Nick Burnikell complimented Sue Hunter on keeping the website up to date. It was noted that the website is only as good as the input it receives from members. Sue Hunter had set up an “About You” page but it was rarely used. Ian Todd confirmed that he was receiving membership enquiries from people visiting the website. Photos of Committee members had now been posted on the website. Andy Nichol suggested that members be asked for old photos of Branch activities and members for posting on the website. Andy Nichol also noted that the “This Day in London” section initiated by Dave Hillam is not being updated and may need to be deleted. Thanks were also due to Helen Robertson who had set up a branch Facebook page. The Branch were now actively involved in using new media opportunities.
  1. g) Sales: Teresa Wilkinson’s report had been circulated. It had been a quiet year with only a few sales at the book signing sessions. New merchandise was required and we need to dispose of our old stock.
  1. h) Branch socials: There had been successful book signing sessions with both Denis Tueart and Gary Bennett. John Howey and Ian Todd had been to a presentation by the Club in London to unveil the new website at which the possibility of having former players had been discussed with Jimmy Montgomery. A forthcoming book by Bobby Kerr might also provide the opportunity for another book signing session. The Branch had provisionally booked lunch at the Stadium of Light on Sunday 5 May 2013, the day following the home game with Stoke City, for a 40th anniversary of the 1973 Cup Final social. This would be a good chance for current southern based members to renew acquaintance with former members now based in the north east. The Branch would be running a weekend trip to cover both the game and the lunch.
  1. i) Sports reports: Matt Woolston’s report had been circulated. A summary of the various teams’ performances is set out below:
  1. i) Cricket: The Branch cricket team had had a tough season due to adverse weather and a limited number of players. New players are always welcome. The team had celebrated the 30th Anniversary of playing at Nowton and had been presented with a framed photo as a memento.
  2. ii) Darts: The Branch darts team had had a superb season winning promotion to the top league and narrowly losing in the cup final

iii)                 Pool: The Branch pool team had had a decent season although sadly a defeat to Newcastle resulted in them giving up their title to that team.

  1. iv) Football: The Branch team had finished in mid table but, as a result of Mark Hay deciding to devote more time to family matters and no replacement coming forward, had now withdrawn from the league and would only play friendlies. A new organiser is needed if we are to resume league football.
  2. v) Quiz: The quiz team finished fourth out of seven in the Home Counties Quiz League.

Approval of accounts: 

As the Branch accounts had not been finalised, it was not possible for them to be approved and it was agreed that they would be posted on the website once approved.

Election of Committee Members:

The following Committee members re-elected

Dick Traynor               Proposed by: Sue Hunter, Seconded by: Richie Cockton

Aidan Daly                  Proposed by: Matt Woolston, Seconded by: Tracey Hawkins

There was one vacancy and a motion was carried to elect Andy McIntosh who had indicated his willingness to stand.

Proposed by: Helen Robertson, Seconded by: Richie Cockton

John Howey who had indicated he was standing down as Chairman was thanked for the work he had done over the years as Branch Chairman.

Rule change 

A change to Rule 7 to bring the Branch more in line with the present day had been distributed and was approved by the members

Proposed by: Richie Cockton, Seconded by: Matt Woolston

Any Other Business:

The Branch had sponsored the Sunderland ladies football team which meant we were mentioned on their website with a link to our website. Ian Todd would e-mail members with details of their fixtures. The presence of London Branch members at their games had been mentioned on Twitter by the team.

Keith Adamson had, following a clear out, brought along a bag of old Sunderland memorabilia which any member could have. A 1973 FA Cup Final programme was set aside as a potential raffle prize and Matt Woolston took the remainder. Keith was thanked for his generosity.

John Howey closed the meeting at 9.35pm

Chair’s report

December 9th 2013

May I firstly take the opportunity to thank the other committee members for their hard work throughout the year.  As we all know positions on the committee are all carried out “in spare time” and often when we go through difficult times for the branch, our capacity is stretched.  I’d like to thank the rest of the committee for their diligence, tenacity and hard work this year in producing newsletters, emails, reports, websites and spending hours speaking to companies in the name of the branch.

Speaking of which, the committee have had a great deal of their time taken up with the travel situation, and we were sincerely hoping to have an acceptable solution with which to update the members at the AGM (hence in the main, the delay).  I must assure members we have tried to exhaust as many avenues as we can, and that we of course have the best interests of the branch and its members at heart. We will continue to strive for the best possible deal that we can.

In your emails to me, members have expressed an interest for more social events, and we would like to widen out branch activities to include watching tv matches together and meeting up more regularly for London away games.  I’m positive that in increased social calendar will offset this season’s somewhat off-key performances, and will look forward to getting to know more members at social get-togethers in the coming months.

It is though, important that other branch members recognise that if the branch is to flourish it needs input from as many members as possible, participating in a many of the branch activities as possible. It also needs new members. I would urge any of you who have been thinking of getting involved to do so; be it by writing an article for the newsletter or the website, taking part in the sporting activities or attending branch functions.  Equally as importantly, if you think there is anything else that you would like your branch to be doing, or have ideas for how to attract new members, then please do let us know.

Thank you for your continued support.

Helen

Branch Accounts – detailed accounts can be viewed by clicking HERE

SUNDERLAND A.F.C. SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION
(LONDON & SOUTHERN ENGLAND BRANCH)
BALANCE SHEET AT 31ST MAY 2013
2013 2010
FIXED ASSETS
Computer Equipment 248 816
CURRENT ASSETS
Stocks 0 1534
Debtors 2207 4981
Bank Balances 17814 6752
20021 13267
CURRENT LIABILITIES
Creditors & Accrued Expenses -6879 -2276
13390 11807
RESERVES
Brought Forward 11807 10035
Surplus (Deficit) for year
2010 1772
2011 1274
2012 -108
2013 417
13390 11807
MEMBERS OF COMMITTEE
Signed :  A DALY Signed :  H WRIGHT
   (Treasurer)    (Chairperson)

Membership Report to 2013 AGM 

My report this year is difficult to make interesting rather than just factual.  The Committee’s decision to agree a year’s free membership meant that, other than by their sad passing, we lost no members only added to our total through newcomers, resulting in a net membership on 30th June of 497.

Renewals this season are significantly down, perhaps because of the uncertainty about future travel arrangements and whilst that has been ongoing, I’ve so far not felt it diplomatic to chase the defaulters.

May I use this opportunity, however, to remind members of their ability to contact any Committee Member direct.  The address list for Branch emails is generated from the membership database and is consequently maintained by me.  I am merely its Postmaster.    It follows that simply replying to a Branch email, irrespective of its signatory, does not go direct to the writer.  I cannot, and should not, be expected promptly to forward mailbox comments to the appropriate Committee Member.  Can I please therefore appeal to members to use the addresses chair@weardownsouth.com,travel@weardownsouth.com, newsletter@weardownsouth.com etc. more diligently.

Ian Todd

Enrolment Officer

Travel Officer Report

AGM

9th December 2013

We have had another good year using Grand Central, who have continued to provide the branch with a really good service. We have had a price increase to £40 for adults and £20 for concessions upon receipt of the relevant travel cards. For the first time this season we were issued with Carnet tickets which made running the trip very easy for us as a branch and you as the traveller.

Match ticket allocations last year were pretty much met, with the amount of people booking with me reducing year upon year. I am sure that this is due to the fact that most match end up going to General sale.

The continued use of BACS payments has been well received by members since it became mandatory, bar the few of exceptional cases and for match ticket allocations where using cheques continues. There have been a few occasions when travellers have paid their BACS payment but have not emailed me to confirm that they are travelling, but using the carnets have allowed us to accommodate any problems that have arising. It is important to remember that I am not notified of any payments that information goes to the Treasurer.

I would also like to thank all our members who travel with us over the year, some who travel regularly and those who only travel once or twice a year it is always a pleasure to have your company and I thank you for your good behaviour and making my job as fun as it always is.

Many thanks

Tracey Hawkins

Web Officer’s Report AGM

The website continues to provide travel information, sport updates and forthcoming fixtures, as well as other news we think may be of interest to members. Contributions from members are actively encouraged, and we set up a page “About You” as a result of requests from members – but it is very rarely used.

Stats-wise we have had 27,792 to Weardownsouth.com over the last 12 months, a significant increase on the 12,550 the previous year. Use peaked in June with 3,230 hits, with 181 in one day. A new high. Is the cricket team really that popular? Apparently so!!!

Fact, figures and oddities

  • As with last year, travel and membership remain the most popular pages
  • In September 2012 people were most likely to visit the website between 12 – 1pm but by April it had shifted to between 8 – 9pm. In June 2013 it was pretty consistent all day long – were you that bored?
  •  It is also worth mentioning a lot of hits for the newsletter – send us your contributions guys, please!!!
  • We have also seen a lot of interest in the cricket, darts and quiz pages – darts was the most frequently searched page in November 2012. I hope this has resulted in some new faces coming forward? If not, please do – new players are ALWAYS welcome!!!
  • People normally reach the site directly by typing in WearDownSouth or via Google. However, since May I have noticed some oddities with very strange sites showing as referrers e.g. the hairclippers.com and bestrussiangirls.com!
  • 30- 50% of our traffic it’s hard to track the origin of; a further 30 – 40% of traffic is normally from the UK. But we have visitors from more than a dozen countries including Romania and China
  • What did people search for that resulted in them coming to Wear Down South? Well here it really does go from the sublime to the ridiculous – I can prove all the following if necessary:

o     SAFC supporters association – of course

o     Wear Down South telephone number/travel

o     Cricket trip

o     Whatever happened to Charlie Hurley the footballer

o     Which part of London is in Sunderland

o     Jim Minton African Cup of Nations

o     Jim Minton London Youth

o     Ian Todd SAFC

o     What to wear to a wedding down south

To date Jim is the most cyber-stalked Branch Member and Ian the only Committee Member to be subject of a search this last 12 months!

That’s all from me, hope it was of some interest. New ideas and contributions always welcome,

Sue Hunter, Website  

Sports Report 2013 

Football:

The team are no longer part of the APFSCIL league and, this season, are to my knowledge no longer playing friendlies. Sadly there was seemingly no one willing to take over the captaincy from Mark Hay after last season.

Darts:

2013 was a mixed year for our fortunes on the dartboard, brilliantly reaching the cup final, (then not playing well in the final itself), finishing 2nd bottom in the 1st division then beating Bolton 10-1 in the playoff to retain our 1st division status.

Pool  :

We finished 3rd in the league and then our cup run ended rather abruptly. We were also the only team to beat the mags this year so spoilt their chances of a 100% record. We’ve had a thinner squad this season (metaphorically speaking only, of course) and really need to find a few new players for next year. Let me ( matthewwoolston@hotmail.com  ) or Jim (mintononthego@googlemail.com  ) know any suggestions / email addresses.

Cricket  :

The fact we still exist is the big plus to take from this season. We have struggled for numbers at times but have welcomed a few new and returning faces. The season was once again rounded off with the tour to Nowton CC. We enjoyed great success in the bar and little success on the pitch. Onwards and upwards…

Quiz:

We finished 5th out of 7. There are now 8 teams in the league and as always we are looking for new players. It is a team game so you don’t need to worry about being put on the spot. Contact Duncan Quiz@weardownsouth.com to find out more.

Cheers

Matt