There has been much talk of protests over the past few days, the result of which has seen a group of fans establish a Birmingham City protest group in order to vent their frustrations. The past eighteen months have undoubtedly tested Birmingham City fans’ patience and resolve following relegation from the Premier League back in 2011, coupled with Carson Yeung’s ongoing trial for money laundering charges and the Club’s perilous financial state.
As far back as August 2010, a group of Birmingham City fans met and discussed the idea of forming a Supporters’ Trust; a democratic, non-profit organisation run and owned solely by the Club’s supporters. Its aim: to improve communications between Birmingham City and its fans, encourage increased openness and transparency at Board level and to unite all Birmingham City fans behind a single, unified fan voice.
On February 2nd, little under a year to the day since it first registered its rules with Supporters’ Direct, Blues Trust will be hosting a fans’ forum meeting to discuss and formulate a comprehensive plan of action that all Birmingham City fans can – should they choose to – be a part of.
It is completely understandable that fans want to act in order to influence change and safeguard the future of Birmingham City; however the Trust’s message ahead of the fans’ forum meeting remains clear.
A peaceful protest – in principle – may seem like a very good idea, and as a Trust we would welcome any supporter action which helps bring media attention to our plight. The problem is that nobody can fully guarantee that any protest will remain entirely 100% peaceful; it only takes a single individual to hastily do something they may then later regret to turn a peaceful protest into a violent one. Such a threat poses a significant risk to fans’ credibility – if things go wrong, it will be the fans that get blamed, thus potentially harming any sale of Birmingham City Football Club.
I would like to take this opportunity as Chairman of Blues Trust in urging all fans to attend the Trust’s fans’ forum meeting on February 2nd. There are a number of alternatives to simply launching a protest that should be considered before making a definitive decision as to a comprehensive plan of action. As Birmingham City fans we have a duty to ensure that our actions – however well intended they may be – do not jeopardise or have a detrimental effect on Birmingham City Football Club. It is also worth noting that Birmingham City currently have a £20,000 suspended fine after fans invaded the pitch following the Club’s Carling Cup Quarter Final victory in December 2011.
The Trust’s fans’ forum meeting is being held at the Royal George Hotel & Bar prior to the Nottingham Forest game and will commence at 11am. On behalf of Blues Trust, I hope all fans consider attending. It is time to unite behind a single fan voice and move forward together; let’s make it happen.
(Chairman, Blues Trust)
(Details of the Trust’s forthcoming fans’ forum meeting can be found here)