This could be important.

3

April 8, 2016 by notjustpumpkinbread

For those of you using Twitter, having a penchant for Periscope and the wherewithal to actually be interested, the Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust meeting was admirably covered last night. Check out @InTheTopOne_ if you would like a blow-by-blow account of the goings on. I’d just like to cover a few things I took away from the meeting.

Firstly, thank you to Richard Antcliff and Thomas Newton for bringing your idea to fruition. To Nicola Hudson from Supporters Direct for attending the meeting and clearing the muddied waters of what a Trust is and can be. To Ian Bason and Alan Digby from the Foxes Trust in taking the time to tell us about your experiences as Supporters Trust members and your road to becoming a Trust. To film maker Jonny Owen for bringing the funnies during the raffle draw and making an impassioned and impromptu speech about the wonder of our club and the fans. Also, a big thumbs-up to Richard’s wife Cass (I hope I spelt that right) who did a sterling job asking people to sign in before the meeting in the face of insurmountable odds – that is to say, a lot of pens that didn’t want to work.

It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there in pursuit of the greater good. I know this isn’t life and death, but to many people of Nottingham and beyond, this club – our club – is a very important part of our lives. We want what’s best for it and under the current circumstances, realise it deserves better. The idea of an organisation with the proper recognition, which is able to affect change for the better, can only be a good thing. Whether it is to make the club aware of disability access issues, improve catering facilities, steer the club in the right direction when considering ticket prices or help to increase revenue from Commercial activities, this Supporters Trust can be an important tool. It will be there to work with the club, not to force changes within the club hierarchy.

What we must understand is we’re all in it together. Here is an opportunity to create a united voice. There is no need to feel marginalised by the forthcoming process. 108 people attended last night; there were 2 abstentions and only 1 person voted against the idea of forming a Supporters Trust. Disappointingly, that person was a representative of the Supporters Club.

It was clear during the Q&A section of the meeting that a couple of Supporters Club members felt not enough had been done by the proposed Supporters Trust to include them. Examples were given with regards to contact between the Club and the Supporters Club on matters raised during this very Trust meeting. While these may be valid, I, as a “normal fan”, had no idea such matters were being discussed. That’s not to say it didn’t happen; it’s just to say there’s no dissemination of said information about matters raised. Communication is  key, even if there’s nothing to say, other than we had the discussion but the Club weren’t interested. I’d rather hear that than not hear anything at all.

But please be assured, this is not a criticism. We are all in the learning phase of this process. I’m in my mid-forties and I’m still learning stuff almost every day. We can all be better informed. We just need to sit down and communicate. Sometimes it’s hard to say the stuff other people don’t want to hear, for fear of being labelled as something we are not. We will only learn from making mistakes. That’s a part of life. Albert Einstein once said “A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” This is something new and it’s proven to work across the country and across different sports.

Let’s not drive a wedge between two groups with a common interest. We all need to be big enough to meet halfway. There will be different voices calling for different changes and hopefully, there will be an opportunity for all to be heard. The formation of a Supporters Trust is a democratic process. You, reading this piece now, have as much chance of becoming a Trust Board Member as I have, as Richard Antcliff has, as Thomas Newton has. Just because they started this process, it doesn’t mean they’re on the inside looking out. It doesn’t mean we’re on the outside looking in either. We’re all part of the same Garibaldi wearing collective. We all want what’s best for the club and the Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust, working within the community and together with the Nottingham Forest Supporters Club can be a collective that benefits all.

Aside from the antics inside the Albert Hall, these are the other things I took away from my time in Nottingham last night. Check out The Alley Bar in Cannon Court, Longrow – they do a mean Hemp Burger; Pip Watts seems to be a really nice lady and a good laugh; Andy Reid was very polite and appreciative when I stopped him in the street at about 22.00 outside the Albert Hall and told him I understood he was trying his best and he had my full support. In fairness to him, he did look like he wanted to be elsewhere, but was gracious enough to stop and listen to what I had to say. In fairness to me, I kept it brief.

Thank you for reading.

COME ON YOU REDS!!!

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3 thoughts on “This could be important.

  1. Trevor Hall says:

    I notice in your article that you say ‘disappointingly’ that person was a representative of the Supporters Club. That person was me, and whilst I am an official of my local branch I was at the meeting in my own right, NOT representing the SC.

    When I first heard about the possible formation of a Trust, I did some research so that I could make an informed decision because I believe that just blindly following the herd can be a mistake.

    As I mentioned last night, I actually wrote to several supporters clubs to see what their relationship with the supporters trust was like. I found that in a large number of cases, supporters clubs had folded completely after a period of time. I also found that in one particular case, the trust had so alienated the owner that he had put the club up for sale, no longer attended matches, had closed the boardroom for visiting chairmen and directors, and more importantly to me as a fan, had withdrawn all benefits that supporters club members had previously enjoyed, i.e cheaper tickets, discounts in the club shop, players evenings at branches etc.

    I also discovered that with that particular football club, membership of it’s Supporters Club had fallen from around 3000 to just over a thousand since the formation of the trust. I do not want that to happen to my club.

    I want to say at this stage that in principle I actually agree with Supporters Trusts, I know that on many occasions they have been a lifeline to clubs. Those depicted in the presentations last night were all such clubs, Wycombe, Portsmouth, Bradford City, Swansea, Leicester City etc., etc. The common denominator with all of those clubs is that they were all heading for administration or extinction. Forest is not a club like that, indeed we are in FFP because we spent too much not because we have to little. Whilst I would applaud a trust with some owners, I do not think there will be any benefit from a body such as this with our current owner. I truly hope I am wrong.

    One of the objectives of the Trust (amongst other things) is for better dialogue with the club and to instigate change, in fact , to have a voice. That is also the aim of the Supporters Clubs that have been in operation for many decades and yet to my knowledge, NONE of the instigators of the Trust has ever put themselves forward for election to become officials of the main branch of the SC. We are also a democratic organisation and anyone can be elected onto it, just as the trust intends.

    With my supporters club head on I fear that our members will desert us for this new all singing all dancing group, I cannot see the average supporter investing their valuable incomes to subscribe to two similar organisations. I was delighted to hear Richard say that the Trust want to co-operate with the SC’s and I sincerely hope that is the case, but he also said that no contact had been made prior to the meeting last night, Why?. Information sent out to the branches, the very core of Forest’s support was poor, Rita Kirk General Secretary of the main branch said at the meeting that she had received nothing from the trust prior to the meeting, this was also the case at my branch even though I had personally given our secretary’s e mail address to them.

    Thankfully we live in a democratic world, and democracy resoundingly won last night, I have no complaints. I sincerely hope that everything goes well and both the Supporters Club and the newly formed Supporters Trust can work hand in hand. One thing is for sure, both organisations can rely on my 100% support.

    I am extremely proud to be a Forest fan and season ticket holder of over 50 years standing, I am proud of our heritage. I LOVE my club and support them home and away, including pre season tours, through thick and thin.

    I made my mind up to vote no last night based on what I heard, what I had researched, and as an individual not as a representative of the supporters club. That is what democracy is all about so I am sorry if you were disappointed, but please don’t be disappointed because I am a member of the supporters club. We give many many hours of our time unpaid, (which may not be true of the Supporters Trust because their constitution allows for paid officials) dedicating ourselves to our members needs, and for the betterment of relationships between ourselves and our beloved football club, and we will continue to do so.

    FTID.

    Like

    • Firstly, can I say thank you for taking the time to leave a comment. There’s clearly no questioning your dedication to this great club and you raise some very interesting points. From the information you have presented there clearly is a bigger picture when considering the formation of a Supporters Trust & the co-existence of a Supporters Club. Rather than addressing them in this comments section, which may not be read by people visiting this site, I would like to respond to your well researched points in a separate piece. Also, I offer you an apology for misrepresenting the Supporters Club & will address that too in the piece. Thank you once again Trevor. I hope we can continue a dialogue in the hope your fears can be allayed & both the Supporters Club and the Trust can continue together.

      Like

      • Trevor Hall says:

        No apology necessary but thank you. As I mentioned, I do not disagree in principal and will give my support to both organisations in an attempt to get the best experience possible for our great club and the people who follow them.

        I am the eternal optimist and believe that given the right direction, leadership and support, we can once again experience a journey that will take us back to where we belong at the head of the chasing pack, after all, who would have thought what was about to be achieved when we languished in a similar position to that which we occupy now back on 6th January 1975.

        Liked by 1 person

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