ArabTRUST meeting with Dundee United Board 14th December 2016

ArabTRUST meeting with Dundee United Board 14th December 2016
19 Jan

ArabTRUST meeting with Dundee United Board 14th December 2016

Following a meeting between the board of ArabTRUST and representatives of Dundee United in mid December we now attach a summary of the items discussed. Prior to the meeting the club had indicated they would not answer any questions on the financial affairs of the club and that these should be raised at the club's AGM. As the third largest shareholder in the club we will review the club's annual accounts when they are made available and raise questions as appropriate at the AGM.

Both parties agreed that a further meeting would be arranged towards the end of the season.

Gavin Muir
Chair ArabTRUST

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Meeting 14th December 2016

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson and club directors met with the committee of ArabTRUST at Tannadice on Wednesday 14th December.

As was communicated in advance of the meeting, issues relating to club finances were not discussed as the appropriate place for that discussion is the company`s AGM. However, all other pertinent matters raised were addressed.

Attendees: Dundee United: Chairman Stephen Thompson. Associate Directors David Dorward, Colin Stewart, Laura Conway. Club Consultant Jim Spence.

ArabTRUST: Chairman Gavin Muir, Associate Director Stuart Campbell, Secretary Andy McCarle, board members Avril Muir, Colin Clement and Dave Baxter.

David Dorward who chaired the meeting gave a welcome on behalf of the club and club Chairman Stephen Thompson spoke of the desire for a positive relationship with the TRUST.

TRUST Chairman Gavin Muir outlined his vision for the future of ArabTRUST which included assisting the club with its youth development programme, and related community projects both directly and through United for All. He also indicated the desire of the TRUST to expand its future shareholding in the club to better represent its members’ views.

Supporter’s ownership of the club was discussed and while in principle this could be a way forward the harsh financial realities of the Scottish game make this something that would be difficult to progress at this time. ArabTRUST welcomed the recent move towards wider supporter engagement by the club and are fully supportive of the work of the Supporters Liaison Group (SLG) on which they are actively represented.

The main themes covered are outlined below.

Relationship between Dundee United and ArabTRUST:

The TRUST through their Associate Director Stuart Campbell expressed their desire to return to their original founding aims and objectives to assist the club in every way it can to ensure the future of youth development at Dundee United. The club also confirmed their commitment to youth development going forward.

The potential issues surrounding the SFA Project Brave are likely to involve increased investment and resources from clubs wishing to participate in elite level youth development, and these were discussed.

Once the formal details of the criteria are announced the TRUST will have further discussions with the club via the recently formed Youth Development Board. David Dorward stated that he thought that a unique selling point of any bid submitted by the club for elite status could be the involvement of supporter’s organisations and that this might possibly be of assistance in the overall bid.

The meeting also involved an assessment of the TRUST’s contributions and relationship with the club since its inception in 2003 and addressed the future direction of the partnership.

The club re iterated its position as a going concern and the chairman said that at present they are unable to issue any further shares whilst seeking fresh investment.

General Management of the club:
The meeting addressed questions related to the performance targets set for employees within the various departments and how these were evaluated. It was pointed out that similar to all businesses and organisations, on going performance reviews were part of the club’s professional development of its staff. These matters are naturally confidential between employer and employee.

Recent appointees to the board, David Dorward and Laura Conway both gave a synopsis of their professional experiences and their contributions to the club since joining. David as a former Chief Executive of Dundee City Council brings a wealth of public sector knowledge and contacts, and felt that this would be of great benefit in his new role as Chairman of the club’s community trust. Laura, who like David, is a chartered accountant, brings vast experience from the private sector having until recently owned a major business.

The TRUST also raised through Colin Clement the issue of Dundee United paying the Scottish living wage and the Chairman agreed to investigate the matter further and report back with findings.

The club were asked about current and future strategy and how these would be monitored. The Chairman said that significant debt reduction had been achieved in recent years and that the two key elements were a return to the Premiership and the development of young players.

Two aspects were discussed regarding the above. Colin Stewart the Associate Director, with responsibilities for fan engagement, gave a summary of the position.

Home tickets: Currently there is an issue with some fans regarding the lack of availability of cash turnstiles on match days, and the sourcing of match day tickets.

It was explained that major investment would be required to upgrade the infrastructure and that the matter will be discussed at the next SLG meeting on the 14th January.

There is also a desire for away ticket availability to be reviewed, to ensure that those fans attending away matches on a regular basis have the best opportunity of securing tickets when supply is limited.

It was agreed that the club would review the current practices and consult with the SLG to ensure that all supporters are treated equally. The need to engage with wider support base on ticketing matters was also discussed.

Other Matters discussed:
The Chairman reflected on his time on the SPFL board.
He gave a brief summary of where he felt the game was heading generally and emphasised the dangers of some current negativity surrounding the game.