Andy Munro reports on a development of fan power at St Andrews.
Having read about the proposed Supporters Trust in both Made in Brum and the Mail, I decided to go along to the second meeting in the city centre.
The meeting was held at the historic Birmingham Midland Institute in Margaret St and early signs were good, with free tea and biscuits! Initially the size of the attendance (circa a dozen) concerned me until I realised that this meeting was about the formation of a steering group rather than an open ‘public’ meeting. The only person I recognised was the friendly face of MIB’s own ‘poet laureate’Paul (the Gabby Cabby).
It was interesting to hear in the opening remarks that there are over 170 football club trusts already in existence (even the Villa have one),and that Blues have 28 supporters clubs stretching from Norway to Northfield. We were also told that some of the supporters clubs were initially suspicious, presumably seeing the Trust as a competitor rather than a strategic body pulling together all the interests into one supporters voice to engage with the football club and ideally having a place in the boardroom.
There are plans for an Industrial Provident Society which I understand is a type of co-operative and the idea is to have a Trust Board answerable to a large and open membership. Those present felt that it wasn’t unreasonable to aim for 5,000 upwards in terms of membership, perhaps charging a fiver a head.
It was agreed to set up three working groups covering the constitution (Paul and myself kept our heads well down when volunteers were being sought for that one!), Recruitment, and Vision/Objectives.
The next meeting is 6th December and, no doubt, more volunteers will be welcome. This is definitely not a closed shop with Gaddafi-like individuals wanting to seize power. It’s about fans rising above the apathy that’s really beset the club since the days of Brady and Sullivan and getting their act together to join up fan power. Incidentally, one of the reps from a fan website was there and, in my view, one of the tricks will be to involve all those websites, fanzines, supporters clubs and unaligned Bluenoses in a way that increases their voice without taking away the independence of all those involved – the sum of the parts being greater etc.
It will be interesting to see how, and if, this momentum will grow in these uncertain times. For more information, the Trust’s website is www.bluestrust.org