Trust representatives attend FSF/Supporters Direct Supporter Summit

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 view of the pitch from the venue

The view of the pitch from the venue

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.

Barry, Ben Shave of SD Europe and Lee

Barry, Ben Shave of SD Europe and Lee

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

licensing context.

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.

The workshop on licencing begins

The workshop on licencing begins

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 shelstrust@gmail.com.

Thanks to Supporters Direct Europe, who funded flights and accommodation.

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