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Board Elections – the Nominees

CHRIS HUNTER

I was co-opted onto the Trust board in November 2016, just after the AGM, as the newly-elected board felt that we needed a dedicated, and full time, Membership Secretary; the role I have been fulfilling daily ever since.

During my time in this role, membership has increased from 141 to just over 1,300. I’ve spent hundreds of hours over the last year building different databases, analysing, searching and correcting data.

I’ve been the first point of contact for members over the last year, especially in the early stages of the new board forming, when pretty much everything was done manually.  Nowadays, we have a much more streamlined system in place, which is a massive help.

I am also responsible for sending out the new membership packs, which are now up to date, and this year I’ve managed to send out the vast majority of the 1,300 packs. I have frequent contact with suppliers and different helpdesks that we use, and over the last year, I have been able to build up a good working relationship with them.

I am also one of the website administrators, and I have been managing the data on there since it was launched in April 2017.

The Membership Secretary Role is just part of being on the Trust board. It’s a team effort and I’m happy to help were I can, hence why I’ve been involved in all other major projects.

I have a big personal interest in safe standing, I have lots of knowledge on this which will help the Trust over the next three years. I’ve also appeared on Radio Leeds a couple of times talking about it.

I have also built up a very good relationship with different authorities. I’ve met different councillors and local MP’s to discuss plans and ideas the board have. I have attended FSF meetings and know the majority of the regional board. From attending these meetings, I now have contact with other teams’ Trust boards, which has been a massive help both to me personally, and in maximising the reach of the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust.

The most important thing though, is I’ve built up a very good relationship with all the other board members and we work well together, as you can see from the results over the last year. I see them frequently and we talk to each other every day (and night).

I’m also in the middle of assisting on other projects, which I’d love to continue and hopefully we can bring you good news in the near future.

The last year has been very hard work and very challenging, I know what I’m signing up to do and I know what is ahead. I’m prepared to continue to put my own time aside to help the Trust. I believe over the last year, with the amount of time I’ve put in, I have the skill-set, knowledge and personal skills to manage the Trust’s membership for the next three years.

GARY DEVONPORT

I was co-opted onto the Trust board around 12 months ago. Due to the way the board is structured I have played a part in all the major projects the Trust has been involved in over the last year, as the board members are in constant contact and all decisions are taken as a group after being discussed collectively. However, my main role on the Trust board has been to head up the podcast.

The podcast was a vague idea that the board had discussed but didn’t think they could get off the ground. I had been talking to the chairman about possibly starting a podcast and we decided to give it a go, and although I started with no experience of the equipment, software, presenting or producing a podcast, I learnt very quickly and since starting the podcast I have developed the show into what we hear today.

We started off with around 600 listeners and since then, over 18 episodes to date, we have grown to have around 5000 listeners. We have also developed the podcast into a product that our listeners and members enjoy and that is very well received, well respected and has featured prominently in the iTunes charts. We have attracted several guests from local media, popular culture and football circles in and around Leeds United, including the club’s managing director Angus Kinnear.

An average show takes around 15 hours work a week in total, from discussing ideas with other board members, to contacting and arranging guests, planning the shows, recording, editing and promoting. I have also set up and run a Twitter account for the podcast which I use to help promote each episode.

Although the podcast has been my main role, I have also attended meetings with the club, the Leeds United Foundation and other groups to further help the Trust and its members as well as the wider Leeds United fan base. I have also contributed to some of the many media requests the Trust receives, as this is shared out between available members.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the Trust board and am committed to providing a service for our Trust members. I have developed some great personal skills over the last 12 months and I feel I am best placed to continue this work. I am honest and hardworking and have formed an excellent working relationship with all the current Trust board members, which I would very much like to continue and develop further. There are a number of Trust projects I would like to get involved in over the next few months and years, and there are also lots of exciting plans for the podcast which I would like to help develop.

The Trust board is a very cohesive unit and I believe it makes absolute sense to keep change to a minimum and maintain the board with the individuals that have contributed to its success over the last 12 months. I will continue to work hard to make the Trust’s objectives and aspirations a reality and in this respect, having already enjoyed a year as a co-opted board member, I think I am in a good position to further the work I have already put in.

ROBERT ENDEACOTT

I am currently on the Trust board, serving as a co-opted member, and have enjoyed my few months’ time doing so.  I have given much of my time to the Trust already and I hope to have contributed positively and supportively throughout.  Whether my work for the Trust so far has been specifically linked to Future Trust or not, I have tried always to work hard, honestly, dutifully, selflessly and responsibly, for the benefit of the Trust and, equally as importantly, the Trust membership.

I would like to continue my efforts for the Trust and its members and believe I am an ideal candidate to do so.  I believe I am qualified for the job specifications as one of the two Future Trust board members and am confident in my abilities to fulfil all the needs of the job and to help the Supporters’ Trust continue to succeed and to prosper in terms of membership numbers and the Trust’s reputation in the world of football supporter organizations.

In addition to the above, I anticipate that my work as a published author and editor (and unofficial artist!) together with strong and established links with Leeds United AFC put me in good stead to be of good use and benefit to the Trust and its members.

In closing, if for whatever reason I fail in this application it will not stop me from offering help, support and advice if needed as a ‘humble’ Trust member.

DYLAN THWAITES

I have been a Leeds fan since 1972 and have followed the club home and away for many years. All of my children (aged 24, 22 and 8 years old) are also Leeds fans which I consider to be successful parenting. I watch games from all over the ground – this season alone from the East, Kop, South Stand, North West, North East and cheese wedge – and go to about 10 aways per season, so I think I have a good understanding of the various needs of Leeds fans from all walks of life. I have been writing for The Square Ball this season too, in a series that looks at the impact supporters can have on the club. I was one of the founders of Leeds Fans Utd, a group which raised and still holds, over half a million pounds which one day we hope will be invested into LUFC  in return for a fan interest. I was CEO of the group for two years.

My business knowledge will help the Board in general and I think I can bring innovative thinking to Leeds fans of the future via the Future Trust initiative, and ensure subsequent generations are just as passionate as our generations have been.

 

 

 

ROB HOLMES

I’ve been a Leeds fan since I was very young attending my first game on 1st January 1990 v Oldham and getting my first season ticket in 1993, which I have held ever since.

I’m a huge admirer of the work the Trust has done over the last 12 months to reengage with the fans and would like to offer my support to the Board.  I’m a sports account manager for Ticketmaster, having previously worked at various venues and stadiums so have an in depth knowledge of sporting events, sports admin and specifically ticketing issues.  Given the recent and ongoing debates about ticket prices, I feel that I can add value to any conversations with the club, and also with other Trusts, in order to ensure that fans feel they are getting a good deal on ticket prices.  I’d like to lead on any future conversations about new and innovative ways to charge fans for tickets.

I travel to lots of away games so have good relationships with many of the other supporter groups, and have a great knowledge of the challenges that Leeds supporters all over the country face at games.  There’s a number of Trust projects that I would like to get involved in, particularly the Future Trust initiative, which I see as crucial to bringing the next generation back to the club.

 

 

DANIEL KILBURN

After being behind the scenes managing, building and updating the Leeds United Supporters’ Trust site since the start of 2017, I would like to put myself forward for the vacant Infrastructure Board Member role. I would bring a wealth of knowledge to the role given my career as a Web Developer and have a keen interest in using technology to make repetitive and mundane tasks easier. Since working behind the scenes on the current Trust site, I have been able to automate several tasks that have made life so much easier for the current board members. I foresee many further opportunities to continue to do this.

To date, I have built a professional and custom mobile friendly site for free (which took 28 hours to build) and also provided the Trust with completely free web hosting, which I will continue to do so for the next 3 years. Prior to the launch of the new site, the members’ database was managed rather difficultly using numerous Excel spreadsheets. I facilitated the transition from an Excel spreadsheet into a MySQL database managed by WordPress which has made Chris Hunter, the Trust’s membership secretary’s job, much more efficient.

One thing I am keen to resolve (which has been a rather difficult issue to sort) is how to automate the renewals process for members who joined the Trust before the new website went live. This would be the first priority for me if elected to the board.

I have already demonstrated that I am willing to give up much of my free time to further the work of the Trust and would look forward to continuing that if elected.