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      Thursday
      Jul302015

      AGM and Board Elections Reminder

      Despite the issues circulated last week the business of the Trust must go on, and that includes re-invigerating its democracy and holding its Annual General Meeting.

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust holds its annual general meeting on Saturday 26th September and at that meeting opportunities exist to join the Trust Board. The board has a maximum of 12 places, at each AGM either some board members are coming to the end of their 3 year cycle (you are elected for 3 years but no prohibition exists to stop you standing again after that time is up) or spaces have accrued due to resignations (also note any co-opted board members must stand for election at the AGM to become full board members). This year up to 8 places could be up for election and if you are a up to date shareholder (nothwithstanding the rewenal issues), you can stand to help the Trust progress.

      So what is the process you ask? Well its this simple:

      *write to the Chair (chairman@lufctrust.org) giving your name, address, contact details, shareholder membership number and D.O.B indicating you are interested in standing.

      *Provide a lufc/trust related biog for circulation and include a personal statement on how you think your skills and ideas will benefit the Trust and the membership.

      *Be prepared to attend a "getting to know you" session with the existing board (subject to confirmation).

      *Receive an explanation of what being a board member entails.

      *Sign the code of conduct for board members (a code has been in place since 2006).

      *Attend the AGM (or if unable to provide a supporting statement) and if elected start your 3 year term as a board member.

      This application process is open from today until 12th September. All applications will be acknowledged by the Elections Management Group (EMG), which by our own policies is cahired by an Indpenednet no member and can only otherwise include shareholders who are not standing for election. In the event of a ballot, independent adjucdicators apponted by the EMG will count the votes cast by shareholders in attendence at the AGM.

      Further information including an agenda will be provided about the AGM when confirmed. The board of the Leeds United Supporters Trust looks forward to receiveing your application.

      Monday
      Jul272015

      Leeds United Pitch Matters - second guessing Uwe.

      Stephen Clark puts himself in Rosler's shoes for the big kick-off.

       

      The season is now just a fortnight away and after the training camp in Austria and Norway, Uwe Rosler has just one more fixture to fine tune things before the season kicks off against Burnley. The lack of incomings into the squad is a little worrying and one can only hope that the departure of Billy Sharp is the precursor to some movement in the next seven days, because as it stands the squad does not look that different to the one which ended last season in lower mid-table.

       

      What we can be sure of is that the team will line up on the 8th August in a 4-3-3 formation, however there are still some places up for grabs in that starting XI. This week, having only seen very brief highlights of the two games on the continent, I’ll just quickly take a guess on Uwe Rosler’s first official selection.

       

      GOALKEEPER: Marco Silvestri

      Barring an injury, it appears that Silvestri will regain the number one shirt he gave up through “injury” at the end of last season. If he can learn how to catch the ball and become more commanding in his penalty area, we have a real top class keeper.

       

      RIGHT BACK: Gaetano Berardi

      The Swiss full back appears to have become a favourite of Rosler and has been used extensively in the pre-season campaign. His appearance at left back against Frankfurt appears to have been an experiment to give Wooton a game on the other side, but I would be very surprised if Berardi isn’t wearing the number 2 shirt for the opener.

       

      LEFT BACK: Charlie Taylor

      No real surprises here as Taylor is practically the only left full back at the club.

       

      CENTRE BACKS: Sol Bamba and Peppe Bellusci

      Bamba will be the captain of Rosler’s side and it appears that Liam Cooper hasn’t done enough in pre-season to convince Rosler that he is ready to cement a place in the side. As much as Bellusci’s antics at the end of last season sickened the majority of the fan base, and as capable of a catastrophic error he is, I just feel that his experience will see him given the nod for the game against Burnley. Central defence is an area which leaves me a little worried for the season ahead.

       

      MIDFIELD THREE: Alex Mowatt, Lewis Cook, Tom Adeyemi

      There is little doubt about two of the three players that will be the heartbeat of the team for the season ahead. Cook And Mowatt were our two best players last season and on their young shoulders rest all our hopes. Adeyemi hasn’t been brought here to sit on the bench and his goal against Hoffenheim shows he can be the box to box player we have been looking for. A knock to Bianchi, who had been featuring heavily in pre-season, should give the loanee from Cardiff the first chance to cement his place in the side.

       

      WIDE MEN: Sam Byram and Lee Erwin

      Byram has looked the class act of pre-season and I honestly believe that he has a bigger future as an attacking player than as a right back. The left hand side is THE area that is wide open, but as we are at home on the opening day, and expected to take the initiative, I’m hoping that Rosler takes the most attacking option. Erwin looks like the only player in the side, apart from Byram, who looks like he can run at a player with pace. He may be raw, and I don’t expect him to start every week, but to start the season with a bang, I think he has to play.

       

      STRIKER: Chris Wood

      A big money signing, it would be amazing if he didn’t start the season as the number 1 striker. To be fair he doesn’t have a lot of opposition, particularly as our only “natural” goalscorer, Billy Sharp, has moved on. Wood is big, quick and powerful, three of the things you look for in a striker. If he can add goals, then we might do rather better this season.


      It will be interesting to see what sort of team Rosler selects on Saturday against Everton. Will he treat it as a full dress rehearsal for the Championship kick off, or will it be it a last chance for players to force their way into the reckoning? Either way it will be nice to be back at Elland Road on a Saturday afternoon. Let’s hope it’s the first of many enjoyable trips over the coming months.  

      Stephen Clark.

       

      Friday
      Jul242015

      Interim Chair Weekly Update: Turning problems into potential solutions

      Welcome to the latest weekly update from the Interim Chair of the Leeds United Supporters Trust – unfortunately, it’s not all the greatest news…

      It’s been a strange old week for the Trust with a lot of unsettling issues appearing after we scratched the surface of our position ahead of the 2015 AGM. As a board, and in conjunction with our governing body, Supporters Direct, we have set about to try and solve the problems that have arisen.

      In publicising these to members, I want to clearly state that these problems are not the fault of any individual or even group of individuals, beyond the fact that all board members, both past and present, share some collective responsibility. This is mitigated by the fact this organisation has rightly spent years firefighting issues the club and others have lit, issues that became the Trust’s main focus.

      The Trust’s status as a co-operative society

      This could be under threat. It appears we have failed to submit annual returns (known as AR30s) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA, previously the FSA) for the past seven years.

      This will be a complex thing to deal with, as some of the information needed for those returns is now difficult to recall.

      While this has the potential to be very serious in regulatory terms for a co-operative society, the board is committed to ensuring that status remains.

      To do so, we have enlisted the help of an FCA expert who will work pro-bono to advise us on how to get the regulatory body to accept our apologies for back-dated returns and not impose a fine. Hopefully, this means we will be fully compliant by the time of the next AGM on September 26. It’s a tight timetable, but one we hope to meet and to ensure such oversights do not re-occur.

      LUST accounts

      Unfortunately, this is another thorny issue. As I believe was mentioned at our 2014 AGM, the 13-14 accounts were not audited by the time we all met. For a variety of reasons, they had still not been audited by the time I took on the interim chair role.

      I have asked the qualified person who audited the Trust accounts up to 2013 to do so again, both for the outstanding 2013-14 ones and, when ready, the 14-15 accounts that we will present at the forthcoming AGM.

      Shareholder membership and renewals

      At some point over the last two years, the system by which shareholders are reminded of renewal times has failed, a technical rather than human issue. It is possible (and very extensive checking of records and data is required to 100 per cent confirm this) that as a consequence, a significant number of shareholders may not have known their shareholding period had expired.

      This applies to where people were paying £5 a year and not to those whose £100 contribution offers them life-time membership.

      The solution to this unfortunate situation? A return (temporarily) to old school techniques and a lot of hard work. I will be writing to everyone on our system who has ever been recorded as a shareholder and inviting them to renew in advance of the AGM. I will also ask if they would like to donate an extra £5 to cover the ‘missing’ year, but appreciate that not everyone will be willing to ‘make up’ for what is, after all, a Trust error.

      Clearly free membership is not affected by the news, but it goes without saying that our finances have suffered a considerable knock-on effect.

      In this age of austerity asking for generosity is a difficult pitch, but if any shareholder/free member wishes to donate they can do so. The perfect solution to both the shareholder renewals and the finance issue would be if all our free members signed up as shareholders in the next two months – changing from a free membership to a shareholder one can be done on the website homepage.

      I will be writing to all free members between now and the AGM asking them to consider that option. We can hope and dream of 10,000 shareholder members (even if that would mean a very potentially crowded AGM).

      The AGM

      In slightly less problematic news, the planning of the AGM continues. You may have seen the announcements on the time and venue (Saturday September 26 at noon, Leeds Civic Hall) plus the rolling programme of announcements around the election of board members. Our election policies require us to have an independently chaired group in place to oversee the election, and I will be announcing its composition in next week’s update.

      In summary

      So a bad week then? Well if you will forgive me, no. I’m pleased to have hopefully got to the bottom these potential issues so quickly.

      I stated very early on into my period as Interim Chair that I wouldn’t shy away from difficult truths and decisions. The difficult things have come early – and that gives those of us on the board time to put our house in order. That will allow us to ensure the one thing we are all striving for: a successful 2015 AGM that re-invigorates the Trust for the steady work ahead.

      I repeat what I said earlier, that no individuals are to blame for the system failures that have accrued over the years, but you can rest assured that it will be volunteers, not systems, that put things right.

      Please bear with us over the coming weeks particularly on shareholder membership enquires.

      Till next week (where hopefully better news will be the order of the day).

       

      Michael Green (Interim Chair)

      Tuesday
      Jul212015

      Leeds United Supporters Trust Board (updated)

      Following recent changes at the Trust we circulate the details of board members as they stand.

      The Board of the Leeds United Supporters Trust is presently as follows:

      Ross Davidson (up for re-election 2015)

      Michael Green, Interim Chair (up for re-election 2017)

      Chris Liversidge (up for re-election 2017)

      Danny Murphy, Secretary (up for re-election 2017)

      Jeremy Walker (up for re-election 2015).

      Co-opted to the Board, by the board for a term up to the 2015 AGM:

      Stephen Clark

      Martha Zantides.

      The board has a maximum number of 12 voting members but can co-opt as many non voting members as it sees fit. This update will be further updated if changes occur. If any shareholder is interested in being co-opted for between now and the 2015 AGM they should contact the Chair. Equally if any shareholder wishes to be appointed at the AGM (26/09/15) the Chair is happy to explain the process (deadline for applications 12/09/15).

      We would like to take this opportunity to thank those board members who have departed since the 2014 AGM, including Henry Walker, Steve Clay, John Bond, Mike Brennan, Mick Newton and of course the ex Chair Paul Keat.

      Additionally the board have non voting advisors on specialist areas that attend meetings when required:

      James Ellis (media)

      Jill Parry Bronsky (independent examiner/audit).

      Tuesday
      Jul212015

      Be Part Of The Trust Team

      Stand to be a board member.

      The Leeds United Supporters Trust hold its annual general meeting on Saturday 26th September and at that general meeting opportunities exist to join the Trust Board. The board has a maximum of 12 places, at each AGM either some board members are coming to the end of their 3 year cycle (you are elected for 3 years but no prohibition exists to stop you standing again after that time is up) or spaces have accrued due to resignations (also note any co-opted board members must stand for election at the AGM to become full board members). This year up to 8 places could be up for election and if you are a up to date shareholder, you can stand to help the Trust progress.

      So what is the process you ask? Well its this simple:

      *write to the Chair (chairman@lufctrust.org) giving your name, address, contact details, shareholder membership number and D.O.B indicating you are interested in standing.

      *Provide a lufc/trust related biog for circulation and include a personal statement on how you think your skills and ideas will benefit the Trust and the membership.

      *Be prepared to attend a "getting to know you" session with the existing board.

      *Receive an explanation of what being a board member entails.

      *Sign the code of conduct for board members (a code has been in place since 2006).

      *Attend the AGM (or if unable to provide a supporting statement) and if elected start your 3 year term as a board member.

      This application process is open from today until 12th September. All applications will be acknowledged. In the event of a ballot, independent adjucdicators will count the votes cast by shareholders in attendence at the AGM.

      Further information will be provided about the AGM when confirmed. The board of the Leeds United Supporters Trust looks forward to receiveing your application.