bluestrust.org https://www.bluestrust.org Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:31:47 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 https://www.bluestrust.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/cropped-logo-100x100.jpg bluestrust.org https://www.bluestrust.org 32 32 BCFC Supporters’ Forum 7th November 2019 https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/11/bcfc-supporters-forum-7th-november-2019/ https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/11/bcfc-supporters-forum-7th-november-2019/#respond Thu, 14 Nov 2019 15:31:47 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=15246

BCFC Supporters’ Forum 7th November 2019

Blues Trust attended the Supporters Forum at St. Andrews on Thursday, 7th November. The minutes produced by BCFC showing agenda and answers given can be seen by clicking here.

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If it is broken, fix it https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/10/if-it-is-broken-fix-it/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 06:40:44 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14887

If it is broken, fix it

​For many football fans, their optimism or pessimism about the state of the game is influenced by the last game their team played. Following Birmingham City’s fantastic win on Friday evening, some may be thinking that everything is ok.  But it’s not.

This season we have seen Bury expelled from the League, which exemplified the inequalities in football. Some players in the nearby Manchester teams are paid in millions; the Bury players did not get paid at all when their club sank into its financial crisis. The “fit and proper persons test” for owners did not prevent their club having owners who ruined it. A Guardian article commented,

“Above all, it shows that there is no protection in this world for the social and cultural capital that football clubs exemplify, for the regulatory systems designed to protect them are broken. In these respects, Bury’s fate is just part of a wider set of global trends in football.”

Forever Bury is the supporters trust for the club. It was formed in 2002, when Bury FC was in administration, “with the very simple aim of trying to keep the club alive.”  It is now working to find a way to have a community-based club playing football at Gigg Lane and is raising money through GoFundMe.

I hope that Birmingham City supporters would react in a similar way if our club’s future was threatened. But how should we react to the misfortune of another club? I believe that there are two things we can do. Those of us who can afford to donate, can give to their fundraiser.  And we can support a call for a better regulatory system for football by signing the petition calling for the creation of an independent regulator for football.

Here is the wording of the petition:

We petition HMG to legislate for the creation of an independent regulator for football and subsequently to oversee the implementation of such a body.

We assert that the finances and administration of football are in crisis, that self-regulation has failed and that, without a new independent body, there is a serious risk that clubs will begin to fold.

A year on from the government’s refusal of an independent regulator, the situation for clubs has deteriorated to the extent that we believe the decision needs review.

Full information can be found at http://againstleague3.co.uk/2019/07/30/independent-regulator-epetition-supporting-submission/

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11 Games In https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/10/11-games-in/ Mon, 07 Oct 2019 14:37:29 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14910

11 Games In

Perhaps unsurprisingly, this piece was originally to be titled 10 Games In, received wisdom being that this represents the first chapter of a season before which it is foolish to draw any conclusions. However, given the proximity of our last two games, and how fickle football is to prevailing opinion, I thought it sensible to hold fire until after the Boro game. This turned out to be fortuitous – Friday night saw clearly our best performance of the season and, hopefully, some green shoots of progress.

The key now for Pep will be identifying what worked well – particularly in midfield, where we used the ball better than I’ve seen a Blues side for some time – and developing it.

Success leaves clues, as the saying goes, and the best managers can always be identified by their ability to recognise what they have done right. Managers who are able to transplant success from club to club usually share the ability to harness what they have at their disposal and use their tools judiciously. A common route to failure is to try and shoehorn a system around the players and expose players’ weaknesses by asking things of them that are simply not possible

It’s fair to say that performances in the first part of the season have mostly pointed toward that conclusion.

Although our points total is pleasingly healthy, displays have been generally tepid. Too often it has been difficult to see what the game plan is, difficult to see what might have been happening on the training ground and difficult to see where the clearly talented new players would fit in.

By contrast, our weaknesses have been easy to spot.

As much as it isn’t helpful to retread old ground, it is still worth reflecting on the positives of last season where Blues were functional and extremely effective. The manager correctly identified the players at his disposal and played to their strengths whilst trying to mitigate their weaknesses.

We not only scored more league goals (64) than we had since finishing 4th under Hughton (74), we also found the first player to hit more than 20 in a season for 24 years. We had one of the most productive strike partnerships and, according to Sky Sports, the most effective player in the whole league and probably the best header of the ball outside of the top flight.

There was a clear pattern of play, which, although not always aesthetic, was perfectly adapted to the resources we had at our disposal.

Fans were rightly concerned when, in the summer, it became apparent that major surgery was to be preferred to cosmetics. We removed 26 goals from our team with no obvious means of replacing them. We lost both first team wide players, nullifying our most effective threat, and were told to expect a side without wingers.

The pre-season promises of “a fresh and modern footballing philosophy” were starting to look absurd against the reality of a supposedly possession-based team who are not especially good at keeping the ball, and create neither good quality chances nor shots on goal.

The squad is still very much a work in progress and we are particularly light up front and at full back. We currently have four players who could conceivably argue their best position is number 10, no strikers who can run in behind (surely absolutely essential for our style) and one true wide player. It would not take an awful lot for us for us to suddenly be relying on square pegs in key areas: we have looked particularly weak when asking squad players to adapt to unfamiliar roles.

We must also not lose sight of the ten foot tall warning signs concerning the stewardship of the club.

There is the highly irregular situation at the training ground. There is uncertainty as to who is actually in charge of transfers in and out. There was the unusual acquisition of Bernard Sun, who has barely kicked a ball in the Spanish second tier. There are still many, many outstanding questions regarding our FFP status.

The intensity and purpose which characterised Friday night’s win is certainly something to build on. I think most of us would be happy with a season of relative stability in which our style gradually becomes more apparent, bolstered by some sensible additions in January. A few more performances like that will certainly help players and fans feel more confident that what we are trying to do is actually achievable.

Karim Adab

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Why a Supporters’ Trust is useful in a crisis https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/09/why-supporters-trust-useful-in-crisis/ Tue, 17 Sep 2019 09:57:15 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14851

Why a Supporters’ Trust is useful in a crisis

Portsmouth, Swansea City, AFC Wimbledon, Newport County, Exeter City, Leyton Orient, Northampton Town, Chesterfield, York City, Northwich Victoria, Airdrie, Dunfermline Athletic, Gretna 2008, Rushden & Diamonds, Enfield Town etc etc. What do all these clubs have in common? All owe their survival either wholly or in large part to their supporters’ trust. And I suspect there are many more not included on the list.

It must therefore come as no surprise that the organisation leading the way in attempting to resurrect Bury FC is ‘Forever Bury’, the Bury Supporters’ Trust.

So, why is it that supporters’ trusts are the organisations who step in when things go wrong?

First and foremost it is because, unlike most supporters’ organisations, trusts are legally constituted. To use a legal definition it ‘has a ‘Corporate personality’ meaning it is recognized as a legal entity distinct from its members. This means it is like a company and it can enter into contracts, negotiations, take out court cases, has to produce annual accounts and obey other rigorous legal provisions. It has to have a board and directors. Most other supporters’ groups are an affiliation of individuals that do not have a ‘Corporate personality’. This does not make trusts better or worse than other supporter groups but it does make them different.

Trusts have been recognised by both the Government and the Football Authorities as the only supporters’ organisations with a recognised entitlement to be consulted in the event of an insolvency. The following is a quote from the Government Expert Working Group Progress Report published by the Government in Feb 2017.

‘During the course of the group’s deliberations ……. The EFL amended its Insolvency Policy to ensure that in the event of any of its clubs falling into insolvency that the insolvency practitioner assigned will be required to meet with that club’s supporters’ trust, and the trust given the opportunity to bid for the club’. (My emphasis)

During the past few years it has occasionally felt that Birmingham City is a financial accident waiting to happen. As the supporters of clubs listed above have found, in a crisis it is vital to have a strong supporters’ trust that can step in when things go badly wrong. This is why we at Blues Trust passionately believe that we have a critical role to play, why we need the support of more members and why we especially need to recruit more board members.

Please get in touch with me or another board member if you are interested in standing for election and have questions about that.

Richard Stanley
richardstanley@bluestrust.org

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Board members qualifications https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/09/board-members-qualifications/ Fri, 13 Sep 2019 04:55:16 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14824

Board members qualifications

​We would like to have board members who possess a wide variety of qualifications and expertise in areas such as accounting, media, communication and legal matters. If our club ever ended up like Bury, facing expulsion from the League, board members would need expertise to know how to react effectively.

But professional expertise is not essential. What is essential is that board members are voting members of Blues Trust, have a desire to help and time available to make a contribution. I have undertaken several different jobs for Blues Trust (treasurer, chair and secretary) and my main qualification for each job was that there was nobody else to do it.

Please get in touch with me or another board member if you are interested in standing for election and have questions about that.

Margaret Decker

margaretdecker@bluestrust.org

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Blues Trust needs more board members https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/09/blues-trust-needs-more-board-members/ Fri, 06 Sep 2019 08:39:01 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14786

Blues Trust needs more board members

Before last year’s AGM, some board members spent time discussing what we’d like to do and how we could be better organised. We decided that it would be good to have nine board members. We didn’t get that many. We had five and we co-opted another one during the year.

The current board members have different backgrounds and abilities but one thing in common: we all have lives and other things to do besides Blues Trust work. If there were nine of us, we would have more people to share the work and we would be able to do more.  

In my letter giving advance notice of our AGM, I said that we would welcome some new board members, with ideas on what we should do and a willingness to help do it.  I really meant that; we do need help.    

Please get in touch with me or another board member if you are interested in standing for election and have questions about that.

Margaret Decker
margaretdecker@bluestrust.org

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Bury FC: show your solidarity https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/08/bury-fc-show-your-solidarity/ Fri, 30 Aug 2019 12:58:27 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14745

Bury FC: show your solidarity

We ‘d like to broadcast a message received from the Football Supporters Association (“FSA”) calling for solidarity with fans of Bury FC.

The FSA urges supporters to participate in a minute’s applause this weekend

Football supporters everywhere were shocked and saddened when on the 27th August Bury FC were expelled from the EFL.

A 134 year old institution gone. Generations of fans left without the cornerstone of their community that so many of us take for granted.

We fans often revel in the tribalism of our game but the deep love we have for our own club serves to strengthen solidarity when a crisis emerges.

In the past couple of days there has been an outpouring of compassion, empathy and sorrow from hundreds of thousands of fans across the country and throughout the leagues.

This weekend be grateful that your club has a game to play, that you can continue your matchday rituals with friends and family, like every other Saturday. Soak up the experience and appreciate it… and on the 27th minute, the FSA is calling for supporters everywhere to applaud for one minute in a nationwide display of solidarity for Bury.

Why a minute of applause on the 27th minute? Because on 27th August a football club was expelled from the league for the first time in 27 years. Let’s show that we care and we are angry that this situation has been allowed to happen.

The FSA is lobbying hard to protect our clubs from unscrupulous or incompetent owners – conflicts of interest have to be removed as owners have shown they cannot regulate themselves and our clubs deserve special protections more in line with those afforded to listed buildings. Football clubs are not just another business.

We’ll need your support for that campaign in the weeks and months ahead, but for this weekend, let’s start by showing supporter solidarity with Bury fans on the 27th minute.

 

Blues Trust

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Bury https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/08/bury/ Wed, 28 Aug 2019 16:03:04 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14722

Bury

I kept checking the news on Bury and hoping until I saw the  EFL statement.  The statement expressed regret, it said, “the EFL Board has unanimously determined with enormous regret that Bury’s membership be withdrawn”. It didn’t apologise for its own part in the club’s downfall, for its rules that allowed an unsuitable owner to buy the club but didn’t have any way of getting rid of that owner.

If nothing is done to change the way that football is regulated, then Bury will not be the last club to be thrown out of the league.  One day it could be Birmingham City FC.

What can we do to stop this?  For a start you can sign the petition asking for an independent regulator.

This makes me think of John Donne’s poem, For whom the bell tolls.  With apologies to him, here is my football version of that:
No club is an island, entire of itself; every club is a member of the League, a part of football. Any club’s death diminishes all fans, because we are involved in football. Therefore never send to know for which club the bell tolls; it tolls for you.

Margaret Decker

This is John Donne’s original poem:

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

This is Margaret’s personal view, not an official statement.

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St Andrews ACV status renewed https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/08/st-andrews-acv-status-renewed/ Fri, 23 Aug 2019 10:35:50 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14687

St Andrews ACV status renewed

Blues Trust is pleased to announce that it has today received confirmation that St. Andrew’s has been reauthorised by the Council as an Asset of Community Value.

Asset of Community Value (‘ACV’) status is ascribed to land or buildings of important local cultural or historical standing following successful application from local organisations, such as the Trust. The registration lasts for 5 years, and renewal can only be sought once it has expired. The Trust applied to the Council regarding this in January when the previous period elapsed.

The key principle of an ACV is that buildings or land under it must be offered for purchase to the community should a prospective buyer register an interest. This means that if plans were underway to sell the ground to a different company, that a 6 month window of opportunity would automatically arise in which the community could seek alternative buyers.

We would like to offer our thanks to Birmingham City Council for their assistance over these last few months.

Blues Trust

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New Season Post https://www.bluestrust.org/2019/08/new-season-post/ Mon, 19 Aug 2019 08:22:55 +0000 https://www.bluestrust.org/?p=14648

New Season Post

BCFC

 

2019/2020 New Season

Welcome Bluenoses and Blues Trust members to the 2019/20 Championship season for our beloved Blues.

Let’s all hope it is a successful one.

The new ‘caretaker coach’ Pep Clotet now needs our full support. Whatever happened with the previous manager should have no reflection on Pep who has demonstrated a real desire to make us successful and clearly has a closer relationship with the CEO than was previously the case. The move to a more attacking and fluid style of play reflects what the board indicated they want to achieve (although failed miserably when Zola was here!) and Pep seems committed to try and make that work.

We have welcomed to the club a record signing in Sunjic and what seems to be possibly two masterstrokes in Crowley and Villalba. We have yet to see what Gimenez can offer in attack, but he scored 20 goals last season in the Spanish second division, so maybe a player to watch develop.

In many ways it was a shame to see Isaac Vassell leave the club after so long in rehabilitation and just coming back into full contention. Then he scores on his debut for Cardiff City; you couldn’t write the script!

At the time of posting we are 3 games into the new season and have 4 points on the board. Not a bad start, although the result against Forest has possibly taken the shine off a little. It is still a position many would have gladly taken at the end of July. It is worth noting that it took us the first 8 games of last season to get to 6 points, so by comparison this is a better start.

This season we would once again request the BCFC board to become more interactive with the Blues supporters groups and to create a more effective and constructive dialogue so that clearer information and the reasoning behind decisions can be made available. To this end the Trust will continue to be working pro-actively to gain access to the information we believe the supporters are entitled to.

Key information is needed from the directors re the clubs position with EFL FFP rules. With the club still suffering significant financial losses (being subsidised by the owners) will we again breach EFL FFP rules in the coming season(s)? The directors seemed to sleepwalk into the situation which caused the EFL penalty last season – a detailed statement explaining how the club can keep within EFL FFP rules would give some comfort that they have this in hand this season.

So we must keep our hope going and see how this new team develops over the coming weeks. In the meantime the Blues Trust will continue to look for ways to improve the supporters’ relationship with the directors of the club to hopefully improve the supporters understanding of decisions being made by the board.

Blues Trust

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