I’d be lying if I said that this last couple of weeks have not been hard for members of the Blues Trust board. We all have lives and other things to do apart from trying to sort out where the trust should go from here.
But there is a positive side. The resignations of two board members have forced us to stop and think about what we are doing and if we need to do some things differently. I’ve been jotting down my ideas on what a trust manifesto should include (see below) and will be discussing it with some of the other board members before the Wolves game on Saturday. I’d like to emphasise that this is a first draft; it’s a starting point for our discussion, not the end product.
If you would like to join the discussion, we’ll be in Hennessy’s Bar, (30-31 Allison St, Digbeth, B5 5TJ) from about noon on Saturday; we’ll be in the downstairs area, by the Meriden Street entrance. Send me an email if you have comments but can’t be there on Saturday. You can also come and find me at a home game. I sit in the back row of Kop block 28, in seat 434 of row 18.
Chair of Blues Trust
Blues Trust believes that Birmingham City supporters should have more of a say in the way our club is run.
We want our club:
- to have a long-term future, not a quick fix.
- to be run in a sustainable way; we believe that stability is more important than short-term success.
If the choice was ours, our ideal owner would be a person or group that:
- has some connection with the club or with the Birmingham area.
- cares as much about the club as the supporters do.
- will listen to the supporters.
We want to be a fit and proper supporters group, one that an owner can communicate with. For us, this means:
- having a legal structure that ensures we are run for the benefit of the club and community; we were registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.
- being financially accountable; we are regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
- being democratic; each member has one vote
- being honest and transparent.
We believe that we can best achieve our aims by working as a team and that:
- there needs to be a cross-section of Birmingham City fans on the board, one that reflects our eclectic fan base.
- board members cannot run the trust effectively without help from other members of the trust.
- the trust should co-operate and work with other Birmingham City supporters groups, respecting the contributions made by different groups.
Our short term priorities are to:
- monitor developments in Hong Kong and elsewhere that affect our club and take appropriate action; for example we might decide to inform fans, write to regulatory bodies or help to arrange protests.
- improve our communication with Birmingham City supporters. We will communicate through our website, social media, emails and meetings. We will encourage fans to communicate with us by conducting surveys and holding open meetings.
- increase our membership: a supporters’ trust without members is meaningless.
- encourage members to consider putting themselves up for election to the board at our AGM in the autumn. We will invite any that are interested to our board meetings to give them an idea of what they would be getting into.
Our long-term aim:
- is for supporters to own shares and have at least one Supporter Director on the board of Birmingham City Football Club.
Ideally, we would like at least 51% of the voting rights of the club to be controlled by a democratic and inclusive entity that would reinvest profits back into the club. However, we realise that this is almost impossible to achieve at a club of our size. It took a series of catastrophes to bring Portsmouth to the low point from which their fans were able to rescue them and we have no desire to emulate their slide down the leagues.
We hope that the club will be sold soon but know that supporters won’t be able to choose who buys it. However we believe that any potential bidders who care about the long-term future of the club will consider the fan base. We would like to be able to show that a significant proportion of Birmingham City fans want owners who care about the long-term future of the club and who will run it in a sustainable way. We know that not all supporters feel this way. Some don’t care who owns the club as long as the team is performing well on the pitch.
We want to survey fans views. If we find that a large number of fans agree with our views, we can move ahead and plan ways to make our voices heard. If not, we will keep right on trying to persuade fans that they are an intrinsic part of the club and should have a say in how it is run. We will also be prepared for any crisis that may come.