Every month or so our current Swans Trust members receive an update on a variety of issues that we have been working on.
Earlier this week every Trust member was emailed our September update, extracts of which we’ve included for wider information below.
If you’d like to automatically receive these updates plus other regular news from the Trust then you can join the Trust here
Football Club Update
Since our last monthly update to members, it is safe to say that a lot has changed at our football club. We start with the departure of Trevor Birch from his role as chairman of our club. While relations between the Trust and the majority shareholders remain disappointing, Trevor’s tenure as Chairman did see a considerable improvement in relations between the Trust and the club’s management team, which in many ways is even more important in dealing with the day-to-day issues that impact our football club.
It is safe to say that a change in that management structure was not on our wish list, so we were disappointed to learn of Mr Birch’s departure to take up a role at Tottenham Hotspur. Clearly the timing, and the speed of the departure, were less than ideal. However, we wish Trevor Birch all the best in his future role.
The Trust was pleased that the club has moved quickly to install Julian Winter as the new Chief Executive of the club. The Trust had the opportunity to interview Julian prior to his appointment and, during a very long and wide-ranging discussion, was interested to hear about his views and previous experience, particularly in community related matters. The link between the club and the community is fundamental and we look forward to that being strengthened in the future. We wish Julian all the best in his role, which he started on Monday, and we look forward to working closely with him in the future.
An area the Trust has worked closely with the club in recent times relates to the refund options for the 2020/21 season tickets, as the ongoing health crisis means we remain unable to attend the Liberty Stadium on matchdays. The Trust was glad to see that many of our suggestions were implemented and, while not everything we wanted was included, we are pleased that the club has made every effort to look after the interests of the fans whilst also seeking to protect the financial health of our club. Given the relatively low take-up of refunds, our aims look to have been achieved. As noted in the announcements, the proposals regarding future discounts are only an initial offering and we will be working closely with the club if the crisis continues beyond the end of the year.
On the playing side, it has been pleasing to see the Swans get the season off to a strong start, with a hard-earned 1-0 win at Preston followed by a home draw against Birmingham City. It has been great to see Joe Rodon return to the starting line-up after a long lay-off, Marc Guehi and Freddie Woodman returning for another season, plus Morgan Gibbs-White, Korey Smith and Jamal Lowe strengthening our squad. Hopefully we can continue this positive start as we aim to emulate or better last season’s Top 6 finish!
At this time, we would like to send our best wishes to Nathan Dyer who, whilst still training with our club, will not be part of the squad going forward. Nathan has been here for over 10 years and has played a massive part in our successes during that time, even earning a Premier League winners medal during his loan spell at Leicester City. While it is disappointing his departure has occurred with barely a mention, the Trust would like to recognise a true club legend for everything he has achieved here!
While we are happy to state that relations with the club’s management team remain strong, the Trust does have to note the appointment of Gareth Davies, the club’s CFO, to the board of directors of our club. Whilst the Trust has no objections to this, particularly at a time when financial factors are increasingly critical, it is noticeable that there has yet again been zero consultation on this matter from our majority owners. This is clearly unacceptable but has been a running theme of their time here. It is no surprise their stock remains low amongst Swans fans when they fail to act with basic levels of courtesy to the fan’s representatives in the club.
On a related note, we have previously mentioned the club announcement that Jake Silverstein is to be appointed to the board of directors, which we anticipate will be updated at Companies House shortly. The Trust remains of the view that it is inappropriate that someone who has not actually invested into our football club, rather has lent money to it (albeit in the form of a loan that could be converted into equity in the future), is appointed to the board of directors.
Trust Board Update
In our last update, we noted the results of this summer’s election process and the election of the new officers of the Trust board. Over the last month we have also looked at appointing a new Trust Secretary plus looked at co-opting new board members to work alongside our elected board members.
The Trust is delighted to announce that Paul Barrett has been appointed to the role of Trust Secretary. Paul brings a wealth of experience to the role, both from his professional life plus also his other role of Secretary of the Senior Section of Fairwood Park Golf Club. You can read more about Paul at https://www.swanstrust.co.uk/paul-barrett/
The Trust is also delighted to announce that Adam Lewis has been co-opted on the Trust Board. Adam brings a wide range of strategic, advisory and consultancy experience from a variety of roles in the public and private sector and we are sure he will be a major asset to the Trust Board. You can read more about Adam at https://www.swanstrust.co.uk/adam-lewis/
As you will know, to thank our existing members, to recognise the financial challenges many of our members will be facing and, with the 20th Anniversary of the Trust approaching, we extended FREE membership for 2020/21 to those who were members last season.
In addition, for new members, we have a special offer of a reduction of 50% to our normal rates, which is available until the end of this year. These initiatives have been taken to encourage more fans to join, in the knowledge that a healthy membership makes a stronger Trust. We have been very pleased with the response and uptake so far and will continue to be active in the coming months promoting the reasons why fans should join us. Any help you can provide to encourage more friends, family and Swans fans to join will be greatly appreciated.
The Trust Board would also like to take this opportunity to thank those of you who, very generously, have recently made donations to the Trust, either in lieu of membership fees or in addition to membership fees. It is through the continued generosity of our members that we are regularly able to support local organisations, such as the Swansea Junior League and Swansea Schools F.A. For example, our most recent donation to the Swansea Schools F.A. has gone towards the purchase of a new ride-on mower to help maintain their pitches. Thank you all!
The DSA was delighted to host a socially distanced coffee morning with 24 of its members outside Verdi’s on the 15th September. This fundraising event, in aid of Macmillan Cancer, raised £122.25 for this very worthy cause. This was the first time we have been able to host a coffee morning for some time and was thoroughly enjoyed by all in attendance. We hope to host further events in the near future, so please stay tuned to https://www.swansdsa.org.uk/ or the DSA’s social media channels for more details!