The minutes of the previous AGM, held on December 10 2012 (see here for our review) and EGM on August 12 2013 (see here for review) were accepted unanimously, as was the accounts for the year ended June 30 2013. Peter Swann and Keith Wagstaff were re-elected as directors, with Forrester Boyd re-appointed as auditors and president John Godfrey and all vice-presidents were re-elected en bloc.
An ordinary resolution, followed by four special resolutions dependent on the passing of the ordinary resolution, were all passed unanimously to allow the authorised share capital of the company be increased by £1million to £2m, creating an additional 50,000 ordinary shares at £20 each. The Iron Trust voted in favour of all of the above. This was all quickly concluded and the AGM closed.
The AGM was followed by the presentation of four images of the proposed new stadium. These have not yet been released by the club, and photography was not allowed. Key points revealed regarding the stadium were:
- The club have identified a venue for the stadium, but would not confirm where it is. It was heavily hinted it would be close to the current M181, with “access via two roundabouts to a dual carriageway”.
- There is no agreement yet with the current owner of the land on the club’s preferred site (in a Radio Humberside interview the following day, Mr Swann said no offer had yet been made).
- The stadium would likely be named via a sponsorship deal.
- The club believe the cost of the stadium would be £17/18m.
- Planned facilities include indoor 4G and outdoor 3G football pitches, hotel, gym, office space, restaurant, creche and NHS or teaching facilities.
- Initial capacity would be 12,000, with possibility of expanding to around 18,000. This would largely be to capitalise on away followings should the club return to the Championship.
- Club hope to move in for the start of the 2015/16 season.
- The stadium could host England youth internationals.
Questions from Iron Trust members which were put to the SUFC board by members of the Iron Trust board:
Has the board given consideration to a safe standing terrace at the new ground?
This was the first issue addressed, after the meeting was shown four images of the potential new stadium, which chairman Peter Swann stressed were very early in the process.
We have been told we can’t, but if the Championship allow us to put one in we will. I’ve got no problem with it. I’ve got nothing against it. What we’ve got to do is move to a Championship standard and FA standard ground. There’s no point moving to something we’ve then got to put seats into. If the Championship turn round and say we can have a standing area in that stadium, then we will have a standing area. I’m up for it. We only had 500 seats at Gainsborough. I love standing areas.
Scunthorpe’s average attendance so far this season has been calculated at 3,587 people. This is up from last season’s 3,332 average but down from 4,339 the season before. Is it financially viable in the board’s opinion to construct a 12,000-seat stadium when the average attendances are much lower and declining overall?
Mr Swann stressed that one of the main reasons behind the move was so the club could generate revenue on non-matchdays. This includes the hotel, creche, NHS/teaching facilities and use of the community sport facilities.
The key is to make it sustainable even if gates are not there. You cannot rely on matchday footfalll alone.
In the directors’ report (page 6) the club sees the need to develop new relationships and to connect with the community on a more day to day basis. At what stage do the directors envisage consulting with fans on the new ground proposals?
Mr Swann re-affirmed his commitment to consulting with supporters over the make-up of the stadium.
The fans are important. The Trust will be an important part in that, but it has to grow first, and they will be involved in the new stadium,
Does Steve Wharton have any involvement with the club?
Mr Swann confirmed that Mr Swann has no current involvement with the club, which is run by the board of directors. In addition, Mr Swann said he intended to take over the loan currently owed to Mr Wharton by the club, which would then be repaid on an interest-only basis. He also confirmed an offer had been made to former director Dennis Hobson to buy his shares, but had not heard back.
The SUFC tradition of the first-team manager being present to answer questions was not continued, as Mr Swann explained he did not want put pressure on caretaker boss Russ Wilcox.
- After a suggestion from the floor, the club will ask Mr Wharton if he would accept a role as vice-president.
- Mr Swann suggested a willingness to accept new members onto the board of directors, in particular a commercial director and financial director.
- The club are not aware of all the clauses in Gary Hooper’s transfer from Celtic to Norwich City, as neither club are part of Football League agreement to share details with clubs who benefit from sell-on.
- £225,000 received by the club this summer includes money received from the Hooper sell-on, Bobby Grant sell-on and Mark Duffy’s move to Doncaster. More money is expected next summer as part of the Hooper sell-on.
- Around 40/50 applications had been received for the manager’s position after the sacking of Brian Laws. Mr Swann “met a couple and spoke to a few over the phone”. He confirmed Steve Cotterill was interested, but has since been appointed manager of Bristol City.