Friday
Sep022011

The O's: judicial review granted over the award of the Olympic Stadium

On our website and in the June newsletter, the Trust has supported the objections of Leyton Orient FC’s fans to the award of the Olympic Stadium to West Ham United FC. The Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust's stated position has always been that neither Tottenham Hotspur FC nor West Ham should be allowed to move so close to another League club without the possible effect on Leyton Orient being considered, and that the Olympic Stadium should be what it was always intended to be after the Games; an athletics stadium with other sports (non-football) use. That position hasn't changed, and it is one shared by both the O’s Supporters Club and the club itself.

Whilst Spurs’ case is self-serving, linked directly to the pressuring of Haringey council into further concessions for their proposed development in the borough, the 130-year existence of the O’s in their local community is under threat. In granting a judicial review, the judge decided that the legality of the £40 million loan of tax-payers’ money by Newham council to support West Ham’s bid was questionable. Proceedings will begin on October 18th., 2011. Leyton Orient’s statement regarding the judgement can be read on:http://www.leytonorient.com/page/NewsDetail/0,,10439~2430909,00.html

Friday
Sep022011

Non-League Day, 2011

The Trust gives its full support to this event, as we did in 2010. Details may be found on: http://www.nonleagueday.co.uk 

This contains information on all the day’s fixtures as well as maps, a club guide section and articles from football writers.

Non-League Day is a chance to support these teams for one weekend a year, to see what the hard-working people, the majority of whom are volunteers, at the clubs are doing to keep the fabric of English football alive.

Across the country, many smaller teams walk a financial tightrope between surviving and falling into liquidation. Money is always needed, but there's rarely enough to go round. Barely a month seems to go by without a club resigning their status or being wound up, and the latest high profile collapse of Rushden & Diamonds merely heads a list that is growing at an alarming rate.

Formally, Non-League Day is on Saturday, 3rd. September, but please check your local club’s fixtures list since some matches have been switched to Sunday, 4th.? Please support the day and your local non-league team?

Friday
Jul292011

Trust welcomes Select Committee report

The Fulham Supporters' Trust today welcomes the publication of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee report into Football Governance.

The Trust, along with 35 other supporters' trust, supplied written evidence at the request of the Committee earlier this year. The report recommends introducing a licensing model into English football, applying a stronger and more effective fit and proper persons test with consistency, abolishing the Football Creditors' Rule, amending legislation to assist and empower supporters' trust and calls for urgent reform of the Football Association.

You can read the full report on the Select Committee's website. You can read the Fulham Supporters' Trust submission to the Committee here.

Wednesday
Jul272011

Re-instatement of Funding for Supporters Direct

Last month we stated our concern for the future of Supporters Direct (SD), following the withdrawal of funding intended for it by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), administrators of the Premier League Fans' Fund. Reaction from fans, journalists and politicians was immediate and critical. In mid-June, MP and Trust member, Tom Greatrex tabled an Early Day Motion (no. 1909) in support of the restoration of funding to SD, which received cross-party support and 81 signatures.

Later that month, new acting Chief Executive of SD, Brian Burgess, met with the FSIF; discussions were positive, a line was drawn under the comments made by the previous Chief Executive, and it was indicated that a new application for funding was likely to be welcomed. At the SD AGM on 15th. July, it was announced that the FSIF had agreed to an initial grant of £268,000 to fund SD. The Fans’ Fund panel will meet again in August to discuss the outstanding additional grant applications from SD. 

Tom Greatrex MP said: "Common sense has finally prevailed with this decision - it has been a very unsettling few weeks for the people involved in Supporters Direct - and particularly for the staff of the organisation who work very hard to support and advise Trusts up and down the country.

Supporters Direct work to help give fans a strong voice in the decisions which affect their clubs. To have cut their funding, seemingly as a reaction to offensive tweets from a former Chief Executive, was a crass over-reaction and sent out a signal that the views of ordinary fans didn't matter to the Premier League.

I congratulate Brian Burgess, the interim Chief Executive of Supporters Direct and the Chair of Supporters Direct Dame Pauline Green on the progress they have made, and the support they have received from the Co-operative Party General Secretary Michael Stephenson.

There are still some questions to be answered about longer-term funding, which I hope the Premier League will resolve as soon as possible. There also remains some uncertainty in relation to the ongoing support provided to Supporters Direct in Scotland.

MPs across the political divide have been united in our view that it is vital that Supporters Direct is secure in its long-term funding, but remains an independent and respected voice for supporters' interests in football. Too many of us, either through our own experience with Trusts, or as supporters of Trusts in our constituencies have experience of what happens when fans are left to pick up the pieces of clubs neglected by previous owners. That is why Labour and Co-operative MPs have been at the forefront of the Parliamentary campaign to promote mutuality in football.

What was very clear from the weekend's conference is that the Supporters Trust movement is in great heart, and Trusts in numerous clubs are making decisions and running clubs for the good of their communities and the supporters' interests. That the immediate threat has been removed from Supporters Direct allows the organisation to get on with the vital work they do in promoting and supporting Trusts help make the national game our national game."

Cathy Jamieson MP, who seconded Tom’s Early Day Motion, said: "There will be huge relief for fans up and down the country at this news, I am pleased that this has finally been resolved. The work of Supporters Direct is key to ensuring the fans of football clubs have a strong voice in the way their clubs are run and I am glad this will continue.

It is a testament to all those across the co-op movement that this has been resolved and the Trust is moving on. I am excited that Supporters Trust can be secure in their future and focus entirely promoting the interests of fans. It is a great example of how Co-op MPs in Parliament can have a voice on behalf of the movement and I look forward to supporting the work of the Trust."

Monday
Jul182011

Ashwater Press: an independent voice for Fulham’s history

Trust members and fans of Fulham in general will be familiar with the range of books from Ashwater Press, including the 'Tales from the Riverbank' volumes and the fine tome on Johnny Haynes. For some years, Ashwater have attempted to broaden the scope of their retail outlets, including those of the club itself. It is debatable whether any of their books will (or would have) detracted from any club product, aside from being considerably better-researched and without the embarrassing factual errors that are commonplace in official publications. Regrettably, the club has placed a number of obstacles in the way of any progress, including some financial demands that are both unreasonable and punitive. In a detailed statement, which is attached, Martin Plumb and Ken Coton explain why they believe they have reached an impasse with the club.

It is difficult to avoid the impression that the senior management at Fulham Football Club neither understands, nor has any serious knowledge of, Fulham's rich and chequered history, but believes that it should be used only as sales support to market 'brand product', presumably to those that consider that Fulham's history commenced in 1997. A perhaps more disturbing aspect is the apparent, but unstated, desire for control of the reporting of Fulham's history by corporate personnel whose turnover is high and tenure brief. The Club’s loyal, often long-suffering, fans are the guardians of its history and those more recent its inheritors. This history is best recounted by diligent researchers, those who are independent of ‘brand’ pressures and the need to promote revisionary accounts.

Among several items in preparation or in a state of near-completion are volumes 3 and 4 of ‘Tales from the Riverbank’, ‘Keegan’s Kingdom’ (celebrating the 1999 Champions side) and ‘40 years of Fulham in Colour’. Trust members are urged to read the statement from Ken and Martin on our web-site and look for publication announcements on that of Ashwater Press (http://www.ashwaterpress.co.uk/).

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