On Saturday July 26th, representatives from the 1895 Trust (Chair Lee Daly and Membership Officer Barry Worthington) attended the 2014 Supporters’ Summit at Wembley Stadium.
The Summit, held jointly by Supporters Direct (SD) and the Football Supporters
Federation (FSF), is a gathering of football fans from all over the UK and Europe,
with seminars, debates and workshops taking place.
The Summit opened with a welcome address from Robin Osterley, Chief Executive of
SD, and Malcolm Clarke, Chair of the FSF, before FA chairman Greg Dyke addressed
the conference via video. Dyke’s remarks on the “League 3” proposals, which would
see Premier League sides field B teams in a division between League 2 and the
Conference, were poorly received amongst delegates.
The Licensing workshop on the Football Conference (FC) was chaired by James
Mathie (SD Club Development Manager) with main speaker Nick Igoe (SD Club
Development Consultant). A wide range of topics were touched on within the
Flaws in the FC licensing were pointed out – such as clubs needing
permission from the FC to move to a new home venue whereas mere notification needs
to be given to the FC on change in ownership of a club’s home ground.
What many agreed on was a more stringent focus on clubs’ accounts from a
quarterly to monthly basis if possible to provide more help to clubs and so as to
avoid bigger issues further down the road. While there was plenty of debate about
punishing clubs who go into administration, there was a broad agreement on trying
to find some form of rewarding clubs who comply with licensing.
Simultaneously, Lee attended a session on the Supporter Liasion Officer (SLO)
role, with speakers from Sunderland, Crewe Alexandra and the Premier League.
The speaker from Crewe had some pertinent points, particularly around the poor
maintenance of toilets for away fans and what he was able to do about it. The
importance of appointing an SLO from the fanbase, and not from directors or staff of
the club was also stressed throughout.
During lunch both reps took the time to catch up with contacts from FC United Of
Manchester, Leeds United Supporters Trust and FORAS, who have all contributed
their expertise and advice to the Trust since its formation.
After lunch, a session on the FA Chairman’s Commission’s report was held, with a
representative from the FA present. Although there was some agreement on the
issue of English players not getting enough chances to develop, delegates raised a
number of objections to the report, including the costs it could have for lower league
clubs and the traditional pyramid structure of English football.
The final workshop session then took place, attended by both Barry and Lee.
Speakers from Trusts at Tottenham Hotspur, Cambridge United, Charlton and Leamington all
contributed. Of particular interest was the different sizes of the various Trusts and
what they were able to accomplish, with Leamington’s achievements being amongst
the most impressive: including the acquisition of a minibus, being active in community
events and running anti-homophobia campaigns.
All speakers contributed greatly to the discussion, with their priorities ranging
from campaigning against legalised touting at Spurs to keeping the club financially
sustainable at Cambridge United. Practical ideas around campaigning and
communications were also imparted and will be implemented over the coming
months by the Trust.
As a finale for the event, a Q & A session was held with writers from the Blizzard,
including Ireland’s own Miguel Delaney. However owing to having flights booked for
that evening, both representatives had to leave early for Heathrow.
Overall, the Summit was a great event and a very worthwhile trip. Any members
who may wish to know more or whom would like to attend next year’s event can
contact the Trust at email@example.com.
Thanks to Supporters Direct Europe, who funded flights and accommodation.