Below is our chairman’s last report as Nick is standing down after setting up our association back in 2007 and holding the post of chairman for 10 years.
Chairman’s Report 2017
Hello & welcome to this the 10th “yes” 10th’ Annual General Meeting of the Exeter City Disabled Supporters Association and the following is my 10th and sadly my last report as your chairman.
We’ve been fairly busy again and the following is what’s been happening here at ECDSA over the past season:
Ambassador: Former England Premier League & FIFA Assistant Referee Mike Mullarkey continued as our ambassador and attends meeting when possible.
President: For a very short time Danny Butterfield continued as our president until he left the football club to take up a job at Southampton FC. The great news is that Lee Holmes accepted our offer to replace Danny and Lee kindly supported us attending some events through the season, so thank you Lee for your fantastic support. We had the pleasure in sponsoring Lee Holmes training kit.
Windbreaker board: We continued sponsorship of our board at the front of area 2 in the Main Stand.
Match day accessible parking: We continued to allocate accessible parking on behalf of the football club. This ensured that all spaces were used on match days by those with disabilities only.
Level Playing Field membership: We continued to be fully paid up members and this ensured we could get any legal advice and support if needed on any disability issues.
Bucket collection: The football club again kindly gave us the opportunity to have a bucket collection which this time was the Portsmouth game on 27th August and we raised a fantastic amount through fans overwhelming generosity and the half-time given up by all our bucket collectors, thank you.
New banners: Sign’s Express very kindly donated 2 banners so we can advertise ourselves a bit better and enable us to become more visible.
Stadium Manager: We welcomed Mark Latham, the clubs newly appointed stadium manager and Mark has been attending all our meetings and we’ve been working with him on some issues and he’s been fantastic in helping us sort out these. Issues ranging from: repainting of lines in the designated bays; coat hooks, reposition of loo roll holders and running water in the accessible toilets; signage; accessible parking relocation and painting plus installing a new radar key locking system. The relocation and painting of accessible parking spaces plus locking system all paid for by our association most recently.
Christmas draw: Draw took place on 14th December here at the Park and was attended by City players Lee Holmes & Jordan Moore-Taylor. We welcomed Simon Willcocks & Russell Lemon from Exeter Nissan together with Stuart Doderer from ‘GreenMyBusiness’ all of whom helped to draw the lucky winning tickets for the prizes they had donated. We had 20 prizes up for grabs and we must thank all those who so kindly donated prizes: Exeter Nissan, GreenMyBusiness, Midas, Subway of Sidwell Street, Mr D Herniman, Grays of Worcester, Hartley’s Certified Accountants, Mr D Collinge, Exeter City FC, Exeter City Supporters Trust, One Game One Community and ECDSA committee members together with everyone who sold and purchased tickets.
Re-development: Our representatives have had many meetings with Justin Quick (the club’s adviser on developments) and we’ve all been working on the concerns and issues we had with the plans and we hope Justin has taken on board all our worries as redevelopments have now started. We will continue to keep an eye on things and we look forward to hopefully seeing the changes we’ve kindly asked for and within the redevelopments limited budget.
ECDSA Partnership: A first for us, we have formed partnerships with Exeter Nissan; GreenMyBusiness and most recently, Signs Express. This is a show of our success over the years and we welcome their support and working with us, like they did when we held our Christmas draw and Anniversary event.
10th Anniversary event: On Tuesday, April 18th we hosted our 10th anniversary event at St James Park, with all money raised going to the Reverse Rett charity. We wanted to give something back as we’re always raising funds to help our football club, so we decided to use our anniversary event to raise awareness of Rett Syndrome, and to help raise some vital funds for medical research conducted by Reverse Rett. Our first president and who held this position for four years was former City midfielder Bertie Cozic. Bertie’s daughter Lily-Rose has Rett Syndrome, which affects nearly every aspect of a girl’s life: their ability to speak, walk, eat and even breathe easily. I’m sure you’ll all agree that this was the best and most fitting way to celebrate our 10th Anniversary. Amount raised to follow. I sure you’d like me to go over what we’ve achieved over the past 10 years “here goes, only joking” as I’m sure you’ll all want to go home tonight.
Most Improved Player award 2016/17: Members were asked again to vote for their ‘Most improved player of the year’ and this year’s winner was Christie Pym. The trophy was presented to Christie by committee member Martin Robertson and our trophy sponsor Steve Gazzard at the club’s end of season ball.
Social media: We now have our own Facebook page, which allows us to get our news out more quickly and effectively.
New ECDSA badge/logo: With support from Scott Palfrey (ECFC marketing) we we’re able to refresh and update our logo with a new design and look, which we had made into fantastic looking limited-edition pin badges. All new members and those renewing will be given a badge as part of their membership at no extra cost.
We continue having ties with other supporter groups namely: ‘One game, one community’ group; East Devon Grecians who continued their support with our group by continuing their membership with us. Also, the Supporters Trust and the Football Club.
Membership is still at a steady level and long may it continue. We’ve high hopes of the association having over 100 members, which I’m sure will be achieved one day in the near future.
Our association is still supportive of the South West Disabled Fans’ Experience Forum as founder members with last year’s forum taking place at Bristol City and was another great success with the next forum taking place at Newport County in October this year.
As stated at the beginning of this report this is my last chairman’s report.
As your chairman for the past 10 years I hope I’ve fulfilled my duties well and with dignity.
It’s been a real privilege and honour being chairman to this fantastic association and I’ve been able to work with some fantastic people. In my time as chairman Jeanne and David Jones have been by my side as founding committee members and have supported me through some very differcute times and without them I think I would not have lasted 10 years, so thank you both for your fantastic support and continued friendship.
The association will continue to be a success as it has done for the first 10 years under my chairmanship and will continue to do so under the stewardship of new chairman and committees in years to come.
I would like to finish by thanking the committee for all their hard work and time given for the benefit of our members and Exeter City over the past season. Our partners, Exeter Nissan; GreenMyBusiness and Signs Express for their support. Mike Mullarkey and Lee Holmes for their fantastic support of our association and to all our members for their continued support and to Exeter City Football Club for allowing us to use their facilities, again for free, for our meetings and finally to you all for attending this year’s AGM.
Thank you all for your fantastic support over the years and thank you so much for listening.
Nick Saunders, ECDSA Chairman – Date: 11th July, 2017
Below is a statement from our Ambassador Mike Mullarkey.
‘I am sorry I am unable to attend the AGM this evening. I am currently on holiday in Spain and whilst it sounds idyllic I am being thrashed at golf by my Son and a good friend of mine so you can imagine the abuse I am taking…. nothing I am not used to!
I would like to commend the Committee Members on another tremendous year for the Association. To Nick and all the team, the work and dedication you put into improving things for disabled supporters of our great club is hugely appreciated and an inspiration.
It says everything about the organisation that whilst hosting an event to commemorate our 10 Year Anniversary, the decision was taken that funds raised should support Bertie’s very special charity. A fantastic gesture and I was delighted to be present to support that event.
My change of role in my professional life has not made it any easier to attend meetings etc. So, for this I apologise and would understand if you wish to take the opportunity to seek an alternative ambassador?
Lastly, I must add my tribute to Nick as his tenure as Chairman comes to a close. Your work in getting the association up and running and then steering it so well through the last 10 years, building membership and, just as vitally, links with the club has been just outstanding.
The Association is in a tremendous position to push forward still further and you should be immensely proud for what you have achieved.
I look forward to seeing you all soon.