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!!!