In supporters we trust?

I was handed a flyer before the Brighton game by a very nice chap, sadly just before kickoff so with no time to stop and chat, detailing a forthcoming meeting being held by a group of supporters keen to set up a Supporter’s Trust for fans of Nottingham Forest.  Judging by the number of folks I saw handing out flyers, I imagine many of you came into possession of such a flyer.

Must confess that my knowledge of Trusts of this nature are confined to ones that have been setup in emergency situations, to bail clubs out of financial meltdown – of course, Notts County have one, and Swindon Town – setup largely to deal with the crippling problems faced by those clubs on a financial front (I believe) – although a quick Google search suggests they’re a lot more commonplace than I had realised.

Being a reasonably frequent visitor to message boards and the like, I find it really really tough to imagine a significant group of Forest supporters to ever find a situation where they are in accord with one another – so it is hard to imagine a single organisation or entity being able to truly act in the interest of all supporters – however, I do applaud the proactive stance in taking action if folks believe things are amiss.

The flyer mentions four agenda points that they are presumably hoping to address through the formation of a supporters trust for Forest fans:

To encourage the club to take proper account of the interest of it’s supporters and of the community it serves in it’s decisions.

To develop a formalised and structured relationship with the club.

To strengthen the bonds between the club and it’s communities.

To give supporters collectively the opportunity to acquire and have a stake in the club.

Certainly the first three points are all noble aims – I’m not quite sure how they will be achieved.  Arguably the interest of Forest supporters is to see Forest win – preferably in an entertaining manner.  Now, I think it’s obvious to say that this particular point hasn’t been a rip-roaring success for a number of years now – but I don’t think that the powers-that-be have massively different interests.

That said, more specific concerns that are usually confined to message board moaning could easily be raised with a more formalised relationship between the decision-makers at Forest and representative members of the fanbase – whether it be the over-draconian security staff who supplement the matchday stewards, the continued placement of away fans in the loudest bit of the ground, all that kind of stuff.

The opportunity for acquisition of a stake in the club seems more fanciful, and in idealistic terms would seem a good thing – assuming the eventual Trust was truly representative of the club.  The problem here is that acquisition will require investment, which means that perhaps membership will be dependent on disposable income – something we all have less of thanks to season ticket prices!

You only have to glance over the river to see how the Trust model can go wrong – their need was more dire than ours, but even now the Trust is seen as an exclusive clique who are riding a (fairly meagre) gravy train, holding out on potential investment to retain their ‘power’ and generally not really doing a great deal to improve things – whether that is true or not, or the bitter machinations of supporters of the ‘Pies who didn’t get involved, I couldn’t say.

Knowing the nature of our supporters and how keen they are of forging divisions between one another over the pettiest of issues, I do struggle to envisage how a Forest Supporters Trust could work out without either a clique-like mentality developing, or being built upon the foundations of a particular viewpoint or stance – to the detriment of those who may have different views – at which point, of course, it would alienate those supporters who may have a different perspective.

Now, in fairness, the communications I’ve seen from the folks organising the meeting have been very inclusive – and they seem to be genuinely interested in ensuring they get a good turn out of people across the spectrum of Forest supporters to vote about the establishment of a Trust – certainly they are talking the right talk, and with plenty of notice I shall be making an effort to attend to learn more – as I’m happy to admit I’m pretty green about the whole issue of Supporters Trusts.

So if you fancy learning more about the proposal on offer, then you can check out the website for the proposed Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust, which will give you the details you need for the meeting which is taking place on Monday 21st April at The Village Hotel in Chilwell – which just off the road to Long Eaton on the retail park with Porcelanosa and Halfords on it.

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The secret diary of Terry the kitman.. part five

Terry is full of rage after being shunned and humiliated in his own domain during the Walsall match, and Smoulderwood’s positivity-drive is hitting him hard in the pocket as well.  Woe is the world of our favourite kitman, it seems!

Disclaimer time: this is, of course, entirely a work of fiction – largely for my own amusement.  Any resemblance between the characters portrayed, and any real person or persons – be they an employee of Nottingham Forest or otherwise – are entirely coincidental!