Dear AFT members and Argyle fans,
I became Chair of the AFT in January of this year. A lot has happened in that time and now that the 2016/17 season has finished, I would like to send out a personal update from myself explaining what we’ve been doing as well as the general prognosis regarding the Trust and I wish to thank a few people along the way.
First and foremost, we have not had a Membership Secretary since September last year. Therefore, the main focus has been placed here in order to get ourselves up-to-date on admin and our database as we can’t action anything else without our members. We were operating on a skeleton crew and had become vastly behind with this task. The previous secretary, Bob Wright, was a hard act to follow and I wish to thank him for his contribution to us, as he has still been ‘dipping in’ to help with bits and pieces when we’ve been really stuck. Going forwards, I’d say we’re 90% of the way there now, and although we’ve all been putting in what we can, special thanks must go to Celia Ellacott as she has taken the bull by the horns with this initiative and she is currently working with us on starting a ‘one-date-a-year’ membership system. This will take a while to fully implement but is well on course to being a success. Thank you all members who were affected for bearing with us whilst we got on top of this.
About communication. Our current website is not fit for purpose anymore. I have begun negotiations with some people who are able to help the Trust in starting a new one and it is hoped we will have a brand spanking new website before the start of the new season. Full content hasn’t been discussed yet as the AFT Board aren’t meeting next until early July but I am hopeful we will be able to put out a much more interactive platform for members to use, which includes videos and other activities….more on this to follow in due course. Our Facebook and Twitter pages will continue to operate as normal. Previous issues we had with our email program have now been resolved and we are able to send emails again so please look out for those.
We were delighted to announce that Sonny Bradley was voted the AFT Player Of The Season with a fantastic 40% of the vote. We presented him with his trophy at the Club’s presentation evening a few weeks ago and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Rick Cowdery at the Club for facilitating this for us.
Over the summer (we don’t stop) we have been having a stocktake of all our equipment in storage at Home Park, and will be rationalising what we have and what we need going forward. We will also shortly be purchasing some new flags and display equipment to give ourselves a higher visibility and profile on match-days.
Right, that’s what we’re currently doing and what we’ve been up to. When the new website is working, all our minutes from meetings will be on it for your perusal.
So, where are we going? I should start by mentioning our relationship with PAFC. To date since I’ve been Chairman, I along with Vice Chair Ed Shillabeer have had one very successful meeting with Martyn Starnes and James Brent in person (details in previous comms), however there has also been regular dialogue outside of that meeting which has been extremely satisfactory. They are happy to meet with us again. No formal timetable has been drawn up but the general understanding is that it will be when is necessary due to us having regular communication. Since January, I have forwarded several complaints to both gentlemen regarding issues from fans – mainly to do with the Liverpool match. It’s a fact that they have taken these on, and in one case set up a meeting to talk with one fan over his issues. Therefore, my next bout of thanks goes to both James and Martyn for their efforts with us and with the fanbase in the issues raised.
This is what needs to keep on happening, and I am confident it will as both the Trust and certainly the Club continue to thrive and work well together.
I will finish this update by giving my own stance on some things that have become prevalent to me since I became Chair and must point out, because I think this is important.
I have already met an abundance of excellent people. Many more I have heard of but have still yet to meet both at the Club and within the fanbase. I have become aware there been some personality clashes, issues and disagreements in the past. Some of it involves disgruntlements with former members of the AFT Board, or people that have worked at Argyle, disputes between forums…..etc. Some of this is still ongoing from what people tell me.
I mention this only because I have been asked by some parties what the AFT stance is on these matters and been advised that we should not speak to this or that person/group.
Whilst I accept that these issues are personal to them, I cannot, and will not get involved in such disputes nor take sides and my fellow current AFT Board members feel the same. Other than my comments here, there will be no further mention of this again.
The AFT will look to work with ALL Argyle affiliations, forums and supporters groups, and will promote respect, dignity and fairness for all. After all…we all support the same team, right? The AFT will deal, as it should, with any problems or potential issues fans experience at the Club and work with them to resolve things in the normal way as well as getting involved in any initiatives we can, but we will not get involved with ‘personal politics’. It is not right for us to do so. I hope you can understand and find this fair.
I recently attended the Plymouth Argyle Memorabilia Archive launch evening where former PAFC club secretary Graham Little gave a speech. He recited many fascinating tales of days gone by at Argyle, and guess what? – there were disputes even back then – yet here we are in 2017 and the Club and the fans are still here. He finished by saying something that I thought was extremely poignant and I think is relevant now and I like to leave you with this:
“The past doesn’t matter, it’s our actions in the present and the future that count – what we do today and tomorrow”
Never truer words spoken. New season. New league – let’s roll merrily forwards.
Thank you to all the AFT Board members for their ongoing hard work, and to you for your support (also for reading this very long update!) and I look forward to meeting many more of you in the coming months.