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Monday 20 January 2003
Open Meeting held on Saturday 18 January 2003

A packed open meeting before the Godalming and Guildford game heard AFC Wimbledon Chairman Kris Stewart outline the timetable for the next few months. Stewart told fans that the club has a difficult timetable ahead of it.

AFC Wimbledon will be asked to apply for promotion in February at which time the club will have to say where it will be playing. The club have managed to negotiate a special agreement so that it is able to nominate two possible grounds.

If the club is going to leave Kingsmeadow, where it is in the first year of a three year licence, then it has to give notice in late February and would have to pay a penalty clause.

Tooting and Mitcham have made a planning application which is expected to be decided on in March.

Brentford, who have an option to move to Kingsmeadow, have to make such a decision in March.

The Ryman League will then inspect the grounds of those who have applied for promotion in April.

The club knew of the Brentford option when it moved into Kingsmeadow and knew that if Brentford chose to exercise their option then we would have to move elsewhere. However, this season's games at Kingsmeadow are secure, contrary to any reports elsewhere. The club has yet to agree any fees for next year, but has written to the Khoslas asking for a quote.

AFC Wimbledon is helping Tooting and Mitcham with their application for grants to help them improve their ground, but discussions with them are purely on a ground share basis and have no further connotations. Any money that AFC Wimbledon puts into the Tooting and Mitcham ground will only be done if it makes sense for the club.

In response to questions from the floor, Kris made the following points:

If the work that Tooting and Mitcham are planning for their ground does not happen in time for next season, then the capacity will remain at about 3500. There would also be fewer seats and covered areas than there are at Kingsmeadow. However, the contractor is relaying the pitch, as the current one is liable to flooding.

AFC Wimbledon has not been in contact with Brentford over their decision as it may be seen to be interfering in other people's contracts.

If the club were to groundshare with Tooting and Mitcham then the two clubs would try to work together as much as possible. However, the issue of putting AFC Wimbledon colours and crests on the ground is a contentious one. Technically and legally AFC Wimbledon could not be equal partners with Tooting and Mitcham but would try to have an even mindset.

If AFC Wimbledon moved to Tooting and Mitcham then it would still be keen to move on to a ground of our own as soon as possible. Merton Council have been told this and they have understood it. The directors do not think that their attitude to us will change, but need to make sure that the issue of AFC Wimbledon remains in the public view.

Club Finance Director Erik Samuelson gave details of the cashflow at the club. The unaudited figures he produced showed that AFC Wimbledon had made football profits of 98,769 up until the end of 2002. In addition, there had been merchandise profits of 29,234, profits from the sale of Yellow and Blue of 22,516, donations of 41,186, sponsorship of 41,168 and sundry income of 2,569. Overheads came to 48,559 and tax on profits was 29,901. This left a net profit after tax of 156,982

Erik confirmed that the club was liable for tax, but he was looking at ways in which some of the educational and other work might be made eligible for tax relief.

Whilst the club tries to be as open and honest as possible about its finances, there are some contractual relationships which have to be kept secret and the club tries not to break such confidentiality clauses as it will harm our negotiating position in the future.

Whilst the day-to-day running of the club is still in the hands of people who are not paid, there is a proposal that this position should change in the near future.

Some players are paid an amount which in some cases is more than could be justified strictly in terms of travel and footballing expenses. This is at the discretion of Terry Eames and we declare all such payments to the Inland Revenue.

Commercial Director Ivor Heller announced that all match sponsorships for Saturday games until the end of the season have been sold and that bookings for all forms of sponsorship were being taken for next season. More merchandise is being planned and this will include a third strip, in white, which will be launched on February 8th.

Lou Carton-Kelly, the Clubs Operations Director, announced that numbered seats for season ticket holders should be available next season and that a larger non-smoking area would be considered.