Monday
Jul022012

Fulham Supporters' Trust invites Board nominations

The Fulham Supporters' Trust today invites our members to consider putting themselves forward for election to the Trust Board. In accordance with the Trust's constitution and the existing rules, the current Board approved the election procedure during our April meeting and convened an Election Management Group, comprising of three long-standing Trust members and an independent scrutineer, to ensure that all the correct procedures are followed.

Following a series of successful meetings with Fulham Football Club and an unprecedented response to our last leaflet drop of the season before the win over Wigan Athletic in April, the Trust Board took the decision to delay our elections until the end of the season. Whilst our election process should have been completed by the end of the year, we have been hamstrung in recent seasons by a lack of Board members and wanted to give all the new members who joined in the second half of the season an opportunity to take part in the elections process.

At the Trust's May Board meeting, it was agreed that all new members who had joined in the second half of the season would receive the final weeks of their 2012/2013 membership free and that the new 2012/2013 membership year would begin from July 1st (yesterday). In order to allow all new members to exercise their democratic right and elect the new Board, it was agreed that nominations for election would open on July 2nd (today).

At present, we have only four Directors on the Trust Board out of a maximum number of nine. Having more Directors on the Board will allow the Trust to continue to work closely with Fulham FC and represent the interests of Fulham fans. This is a crucial moment for the future of Fulham FC. Having returned to Craven Cottage in 2003, we are close to securing a permanent stay at our historic home as Hammersmith and Fulham's Planning Applications Committee prepares to consider the Club's proposals to renovate the Riverside Stand and increase the stadium's capacity to 30,000 seats. Increasing the size of our Board, will allow the Trust to continue our other activities as well as considering expanding our remit. The Trust is the only democratic organisation currently representing Fulham fans and the power to shape what we do is in our hands.

Any potential Board Director must have been a member since July 1 2012. Trust Board Directors serve a two-year term and, as they were last re-elected in 2009, Gerry Claydon, Neil Springate and Dan Crawford must stand for election again. All three will be seeking renomination, whilst Colin Weeden was elected in 2011 to fill a vacancy and will not be required to stand until 2013. Any member seeking to be nominated to the Trust Board, must be proposed and seconded by existing members, and provide a short statement supporting their candidacy.

If you are interested in standing for the Board but aren't sure what it would involve, then please don't hesitate to contact a member of the current Trust Board. We would be more than willing to discuss the potential workload and are happy to flexible to accommodate those in employment or unemployment, people with families and young children, carers, anybody who has a disability or who has any other concerns that would require adjustments to be made. The Trust are particularly keen to have from potential Board members with a background in finance, law, communications, social media or social policy. Please email us and we will get back to you as soon as possible. 

NOMINATIONS DOCUMENTS

Interested candidates can view or download the following documents:

Since we are expecting significant disruption to the postal service due to the forthcoming Olympics and Paralympic Games and wouldn't wish to discriminate against any of our many members who live overseas, candidates can email their nomination paperwork to the Election Management Group or post their completed paperwork to the Fulham Supporters' Trust Election Management Group 2012, c/o 31 Oliver Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4QF.

Sunday
Apr292012

Trust visits Roy Hodgson

Fulham Supporters' Trust members Mattias Berg and Dan Crawford present Roy Hodgson with his giftA delegation from the Fulham Supporters' Trust visited West Bromwich Albion's training ground on Friday afternoon to present Roy Hodgon with a small gift as a thank you from Fulham's fans after his successful spell at Craven Cottage.

Members of the Trust organised a collection after Fulham reached the final of the inuagural Europa League in May 2010 and the Trust subsequently purchased a case of wine from Neuchatel, where Hodgson managed successfully earlier in his career. The Trust also produced a DVD of Hodgson's best moments at the Cottage, featuring Fulham's great escape from relegation in 2007/08, the team's rise to a seventh place finish the following season and the remarkable run to the final in Hamburg the season after. Both of these mementos were presented to Roy Hodgson prior to his press conference ahead of the weekend derby with Aston Villa.

The Fulham Supporters' Trust would like to thank West Bromwich Albion Football Club, the Club's Director of Communications Jonathan Simpson, and Roy Hodgson for their kind hospitality and wishes both West Brom and Roy Hodgson the very best for the future.

Monday
Apr232012

Fulham Supporters' Trust statement on Craven Cottage

The Fulham Supporters' Trust this morning calls on Hammersmith and Fulham Council to abide by its earlier commitment and secure a permanent future for Fulham Football Club at our historic home by approving the pending planning application to renovate the Riverside Stand.
The Council has already approved the principle of increasing Craven Cottage to a capacity of 30,000 and this scheme carries far greater public support than any of its predecessors. Ninety one per cent of local residents endorsed the proposals in a detailed consultation process undertaken by the club. The scheme also delivers tangible community benefits, such as opening up the Thames path to provide a Riverside walk that links Craven Cottage with Bishop's Park. In last week's poll for the Hammersmith and Fulham Chronicle, 81% of residents agreed with the statement that major redevelopment was a price worth paying for a riverside walk.
Fulham Supporters' Trust chairman Gerry Claydon said: 'The Fulham Supporters' Trust enthusiastically endorses these proposals, which offer the opportunity for Fulham Football Club to build on the team's outstanding recent success and plan for an exciting future at Craven Cottage'.

 

Friday
Apr202012

Why football governance matters

Supporters Direct's Kevin Rye on why the governance review is another missed opportunity for football

"If you look across sport, it is very clear to me that football is the worst-governed sport in the country, without a doubt."

Hugh Robertson MP, Minister for Sport and the Olympics, January 2011 

Football was given its most recent chance to reform as a result of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee review of Football Governance, last summer. The report provided some pretty radical thinking on the big issues affecting our game.

The report was the result of pledges secured by the Trust movement in the Conservative manifesto and the Coalition agreement. In their October 2011 response, the Government supported the the Committee’s recommendations from, threatening legislation if the authorities failed to act strongly enough.

The areas that were of greatest concern to the Committee, and Government, were:

• Reform of the FA

• Club Licensing

• Supporter Engagement and Supporter Ownership of football clubs

• Supporters Direct’s funding situation

• Unsustainable debt

• The number of insolvencies

• Fit, proper and transparent ownership

• Asset Protection

Supporters Direct produced three papers in response to the Committee’s report:

• SD Key Principles of Club Licensing, highlighting a progressive pathway for increased supporter rights in terms of relationships with their clubs

• SD Financial Regulation Issues, which identifies financial and regulatory barriers for supporter investment and outlines proposed remedies

• SD Agenda for Expert Group - the purpose was to suggest the terms of reference for group to examine how recommendations for increased supporter engagement could be delivered.

These were submitted to the football authorities, Mr. Robertson and over 500 MPs. The FA, the Premier League, the Football League and National Game finally published their response to this review on March 9th. Although we saw the acceptance of basic principles such as licensing, and the introduction of Financial Fair Play in the Premier League and Championship – something SD called for – fundamental reform that would make football fit for years to come was avoided, and a whole series of issues, it would appear, are potentially being kicked into the long grass and in some cases avoided entirely.

An example is the debt issue, so important to all of us, and the whole of football. The word appears just once – but unfortunately it’s referring to the “debt of gratitude to volunteers” working across the country for football. Yet the word ‘debt’ appeared over 50 times in the Select Committee report alone. Guardian journalist David Conn, who knows more about these issues than most, accused the FA of surrendering their authority with ‘barely a whimper’.

The response is far too vague on far too many issues. Supporter rights and responsibilities – where supporters’ trusts would work towards a formal role at a club as part of the licence conditions – was a key issue for the Trust movement. We will be seeking discussions with the FA and Leagues in the football pyramid as well as the Minister for Sport.

One of the other major issues for us was our own future funding. The committee and the Government made a major play of the need to secure future funding for SD through football, the Government itself saying “a solution to provide funding for the long-term future of Supporters Direct… should not be beyond the skills of the football authorities”. But the authorities have almost completely ignored this, saying instead that we “should primarily rely on funding raised from its membership or their own initiatives.”

The financial commitment alone of supporters’ trusts has averaged £2.5m a season since 2000 (money which has often been part of dealing with debt and insolvency problems that the authorities have failed to get to grips with – there have been 92 insolvencies in the top five divisions since 1992) that have cost the game £5m during this period, or a net investment of £25m.

We have outlined our views to our over 140 English and Welsh affiliated trusts. We also need to identify the opportunities we have as movement to force further change, working with trusts as partners, and their over 250,000 members – in other words you.

Saturday
Mar102012

Trust statement on football governance

The Fulham Supporters' Trust believes that the response offered by the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Association today to the parliamentary inquiry into football governance is sadly inadequate. The recognition of the benefits of a club licensing system is a positive step, but the football authorities must put forward detailed measures to ensure the sustainability of the clubs up and down the country. With many of the Premier League clubs now hamstrung by debt - and the spectre of Portsmouth still fresh in everyone's mind - we had hoped that the governing bodies would have enthusiastically embraced the licensing system put forward by Supporters' Direct.

The supporters remain the lifeblood of the game, and whilst a commitment to 'consult with supporters' on the relevant FA boards represents progress, it falls some way short of the Coalition Agreement's pledge to 'to support the co-operative ownership of football clubs by their supporters'. We would strongly urge the Government to consider changes in legislation should the proposed reforms fail to deliver genuine power to the fans.