Open Letter to Argyle Fans' Trust

THE following is a letter sent by Argyle Chief Executive Martyn Starnes to Argyle Fans' Trust chairman Bob Foale, in response to public comments made by Mr Foale and the AFT.

Dear Bob

I am writing to you because it has been brought to my attention you have posted an item on social media in which you claim to “clarify one or two facts”. I am concerned that in doing so you have been inaccurate in your some of your comments.

It is not the case that I was “instructed” by James Brent to no longer meet with you. Given the nature of the issues you had been raising with me in the preceding 12 months, I informed you that we considered it unnecessary for me to meet with you as Chair of the AFT on a monthly basis, and that any such ongoing regular meetings would be more appropriately held with our Supporter Liaison Officer. It is part of his job specification to meet with supporters and their representatives. As I have emphasised to you before, the ACV application did not feature in our considerations when proposing this change in our meeting arrangements.

You appeared extremely unhappy with this suggestion. As a result, I asked you to keep the proposed change in arrangements confidential whilst I consulted with James Brent and other Board members to discuss an alternative way forward which we felt was reasonable.

I later came back to you with a suggestion that I would personally meet with you quarterly.  You initially seemed satisfied with this proposal and agreed to proceed on this basis until you and your Committee suddenly made a unilateral declaration of disengagement with the Club.

At no point in time have I or anyone else at the Club suggested we should withdraw from any dialogue with the AFT. Our willingness to engage with all supporter groups – a number of whom have both constitutions and elected leadership - remains, and our doors are open.

I would like to comment on the incidents that appear to have caused you to make your decision to disengage as follows (for the avoidance of doubt, neither James Brent nor any of the other Directors were consulted on or otherwise involved in any of these decisions):-

Lock Up Keys
I have no idea why you were asked to return the keys to the lock up. The instruction didn’t come from me. I have made some enquiries and I’ve yet to establish who requested the keys and why they were requested. Please enlighten me if you can do so. 

Official Passes
Everyone requires an official pass to enter the ground. Even the Chairman, CEO and the Board of Directors are issued with a pass. It is a basic security requirement and I am struggling to understand why AFT committee members consider this to be a problem. The fact that passes may not have been provided in the past was an anomaly and it needed to be addressed.

Match Day Magazine
The Pilgrim production team decided not to commission a column from the AFT this season. The decision was based purely on editorial considerations regarding content. The AFT has its own fanzine and it should be noted that the Argyle Communications Department, players and staff have provided a considerable amount of help to the AFT in its production
We can at least agree on one thing and that is the fact you have definitely not been threatened with a ban from Home Park for asking questions. Nor will you be. I would emphasise again that I am willing to meet with you quarterly if you so wish and that the Club's Board and officers will continue to treat all our supporters groups with the courtesy, respect and gratitude which they deserve.

I am publishing this as an open letter on the Club's website to avoid any misunderstanding. 

Yours sincerely,

Martyn Starnes