City Supporters Trust
|Supporters Club chairman Phil Warren speaks at the launch of the new Trust||City Mayor Geraldine Gillespie and Gloucester MP Parmjit Dhanda join Phil Warren and City manager Chris Burns to cut the Trust's cake.|
|Parmjit Dhanda & Mayor Geraldine Gillespie toast the Trust's launch with their new Gloucester City mugs.||Members of the Trust's acting board join representatives of Supporters Direct and Gloucester's Mayor and MP.|
The Supporters Club had become a central piller of the club since it was reconstituted and revamped in February 2001, a time when the club was felt by many to be running into a hopeless dead end. The club finances were in a perilous state, confidence in the club's board and management were at an all time low, club communication was poor and morale on and off the pitch was ebbing away. Out of several meetings and long discussions between supporters a new reinvigorated movement emerged. A small band of activists, including the late Pete Chase, managed to enthuse a larger group of fans to play our part in ending the seemingly endless cycle of crisis. A new committee was formed with a mix of those who had previously opposed the board with those who urged greater tolerance with the aim of appealing to all sections of City's fan base and receiving the widest possible support.
Since that time the reformed Supporters Club has played a major role
in helping begin to build the club back to its former strength. Over two
and a half years the Supporters Club raised well in excess of £90,000
which has been donated to the club for use on many projects. Fans helped
meet regular utility bills, paid for ground and pitch improvements, training
equipment and donations to assist with club expenses - even paying off
old transfer debts to enable the club to avoid FA fines. They have also
assisted with travel for the first team, physiotherapist equipment, and
considerable regular financial assistance to ensure the continued success
of the Youth Team. The club also become an integral and trusted partner
in planning the future of the club and communication with officials and
club owner Eamonn McGurk has greatly improved.
Gloucester City Supporters Trust are delighted that Gloucester's MP Parmjit Dhanda, Mayor Geraldine Gillespie, and local councillors all agreed to attend the grand launch of the Trust. Supporters see this as a major boost to the profile of the club, and a major statement of faith from these officials that they want to see football thrive at Meadow Park. There were also representatives from Supporters Direct, the national body charged by the government to assist in the creation of Trusts for football clubs, and representatives of Trusts already created for clubs from our level of the pyramid. The new Trust has received support from club officials who will also attend, along with representatives from the playing squad and youth team. It is hoped fans will show their support, and for those who may need extra encouragement the bar will be open and refreshments provided.
In itself the Trust does not necessarily radically change the work of the Supporters Club, but rather provides a mechanism for it to grow and develop. Many fans may not immediately notice much of a difference but behind the scenes the Trust will have more status and be able to increase its profile within the footbal club and the wider city. However, achieving Trust status is not a panacea and there is much hard work still to be done. The Trust will have to continue to battle to raise funds as the club continues to face serious money problems and will also have to continue dialogue to ensure the club positions itself at the heart of the local community and that the wishes of fans are considered in deciding our future direction.
The launch of the Trust is an opportunity for all of us to ask ourselves what more we can do to ensure the club not only survives but thrives. Your football club still needs you.
To donate money direct to the Supporters Trust by standing order, download and complete this form and hand it in for forwarding to your bank.
Click here to read the Supporters Trust full constitution.
This is a copy of a mailshot drafted by committee member Mike Dunstan and sent to all members of the Gloucester City Supporters' Club to outline the proposal that the Club evolve into a Supporters Trust.
In this mail shot you will have received an invitation
to a meeting to raise the idea of a Football Trust for Gloucester.
That meeting will be open to all and will be followed by the AGM
for Supporters club members only – your attendance at both is vital
as we look for the best way to move forward. This sheet seeks to help
you make informed decisions when the time comes – probably the most important
decision since the reformation of the Supporters Club three years ago….
Some of your questions answered….
What is a trust?
A trust, in simple terms, is a democratic, not-for-profit
organisation of supporters committed to strengthening the voice of supporters
in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links
to the community it serves. It differs from a Supporters Club (which may
have very similar aims) in that it is legally set up as an Industrial
and Provident Society (IPS).
What is Supporters Direct?
Supporters Direct is an organisation which has been set
up to encourage and help fans representation in the football world. They
offer practical, and significant financial, support to Supporters groups
wanting to set up trusts and have been instrumental in setting up over
70 trusts already - from Tottenham Hotspur to our level and below.
Why do we need to change?
We don't NEED to change, but it may be in our best interests
to do so. There are lots of pros and cons, but being a trust will allow
us to do all we have been, and potentially more in the future.
Things are going pretty well at the moment at Gloucester City,
but we must not become complacent – we all know that success and crisis’s
are always around the corner in equal measure at all football clubs….
What will be different?
On the face of it not a lot, the aims of the Trust will
be broadly similar to the aims of the Supporters Trust. However, being
a trust means that we can potentially do even more (such as own assets
rather than just donating it to the club, or maybe in the future owning
shares in the club, or even owning the ground! A trust can do these things,
a Supporters Club cant. It is also true that a trust may be eligible for
grants to perform community projects. Whilst these may not seem like a
high priority now, they will be vital to raise awareness around the City
of the existence of the football club.
What will be the same?
We will still work flat out to earn money to help our football club progress. We will also use the influence gained from this to ensure that supporters views are recognised by those running the club. We will also ensure that the trust is fun to be a part of.
Is it going to cost me money?
No - there will be an annual fee just as there is with
the supporters club. The only difference is that this fee will buy you
one share in the Trust, rather than being simply a member. All memberships
would be rolled across to the trust so that a second annual fee would
not be required, and those who get their Supporters Club membership free
(200 club members) will have the same rights with the trust.
Will we still have a committee? Who would be on it?
We will still have a committee, although legally it will
be called a Board! Any member of the trust, including Committee members
from the Supporters Club can nominate themselves (or agree to be nominated)
for the new Board. It is then a case of a formal vote of trust members.
Could we have a trust and a Supporters Club?
It is the view of the committee that it is not in the
best interests of Gloucester City Football Club to split the support it
gets from its fan base. We would therefore not support a situation where
we have both.
So what happens next?
Well the bottom line is that you decide what happens
next. The open meeting will end with a vote on whether a Trust should
be set up. If that is "no" then the matter dies here and now.
If the vote is "yes" then a motion will be put to the members
of the Supporters Club immediately afterwards at the AGM asking for their
approval to dissolve the Supporters Club and transfer its assets (money
and shop stock in the main) to the trust once it has been set up. Again,
if the answer is “no” we don't proceed. If the vote is yes then the various
forms and legal work will start to set up the trust. At both decision
points the decision is taken by all of us - the fans.
So by Monday we could have a Trust?!
Well no, it is going to take some time, probably a few months to get the legal work done to set up the trust, then elect its officers etc. Only when the trust is fully functional will the Supporters Club be dissolved - we have a lot of work to do in the interim!
That all sounds a bit complicated - are we up to it?
It is complicated, but broken down into smaller chunks
it sees less daunting. A lot of the processes and practices of the existing
Supporters Club far exceed those needed by such an organisation, so the
more formal arrangements needed for a Trust should not be a problem for
Where can I get more information?
From the GCAFC Supporters Club Committee members, or
from the Supporters Direct website.
There will also be experts from Supporters Direct at the meeting to answer
DRAFT AIMS OF A GLOUCESTER CITY TRUST (To be ratified
by its members).
safeguard the future and best interests of Gloucester City FC
|To directly support Gloucester
City FC through the raising of funds.
|To be democratic, open
and transparent in the running of the trust so as to appeal to all
Gloucester City FC supporters and encourage their active involvement
in the Club.
|To protect the interests
of Club members
|Through good conduct, provision of financial aid, and open and honest dialogue a to increase members influence on the future of Gloucester City FC.|
To engage with the local community to strengthen links between it and Gloucester City FC and to raise awareness throughout the City of the football club
Back to Gloucester City Supporters' Trust page
While enthusiastically supportive of the aims of the Supporters Trust. The T-Ender website is totally independent of the Trust and the opinions and views expressed on this site should not be seen as necessarily representing those of either the Trust or it's board.