The idea of a supporters trust for fans of Birmingham City was first mentioned by Daniel Ivery on his ‘Often Partisan’ website on 27 July 2011. He published two posts about it. Click on each section below to reveal the history of each event.
28/07/2011 Often Partisan: Supporters Trusts - A Way For Fans To Effect Change
So, the news broke. Blues are officially in the toilet financially, and whilst administration hasn’t been discussed by the board (and I’m told is not in the equation in the medium term), it’s going to be a bit of a firesale at St Andrews.
Naturally, this has caused much anger, worry and bitterness amongst Blues fans, and I don’t think it’s inconsequential that the number of people looking to protest against the board and the owners has risen rapidly today. I’ve been quite vocal about my opposition to the idea of direct action against the board, and with the new information that has come into the public domain I thought it was time I offered an alternative.
Unlike many football clubs in the league, Birmingham City does not have a singular umbrella organisation for their supporters groups to congregate under. There’s a fair few supporters groups out there for Blues; most based on geographical location but some flourishing via the wonders of the internet. However, what Birmingham City does not have is a “Supporters Trust”.
A Supporters Trust is an organisation built by fans on democratic principles to give themselves a legitimate voice in the running of their club. Birmingham City have in the last twelve months been active in helping the supporters clubs grow and become an active part of the club itself, but an umbrella organisation is needed so that when times are hard, there is a focal point for people to rally behind. It also can do things like buy shares in a football club – which then give fans a real say in how it is run; get fans appointed to board room level to ensure that the club doesn’t lose touch with it’s fanbase, and most importantly give a united voice which can influence media reporting on the fans.
It’s not like it’s hard to start either. Supporters Direct is an Industrial and Provident Society (ie not for profit) set up by the Government to help build supporters trusts and to make sports more accountable and democratic with respect to the fans. Their website gives a useful handbook in how to set up a supporters trust of your own for your club. Instead of shouting platitudes whilst holding placards, this is a chance to actually do something that the club – and more importantly, the owners – cannot ignore.
It’s something that is going to take commitment, and I will state here and now that if fans want to be involved I will offer my help in setting this up. I have no desire to be the public face of Birmingham City fans whatsoever, but I do have the desire to do something to give the long suffering Blues supporters a proper outlet to vent their frustrations, and to help build a dialogue with the club. I’d also say here and now that my personal opinion is that the aim of the Supporters Trust should not be to force Carson out; but to build a better dialogue between the board and the fans; to force the board to be more open and accountable in their dealings and to take a stake (as in shareholding) in the club. I understand the high feelings regarding Mr Yeung et al, but without a financial white knight on the horizon we’re going to have to deal with what we have and it’s better we work together to make things right than pull the club apart.
If people would like to get involved, please email me – email@example.com – and hopefully we can get the ball rolling. If Blues fans are going to push for a better club, we have to do it in a proper way, and use the system that is set up. Together, we can do it.
29/07/2011 Often Partisan: Supporter's Trust Update
Having floated the idea of a supporters trust on here, I’m pleased to say I’ve been deluged with emails from bluenoses who want to do something positive to help the club. Hopefully from those interested Blues fans a core working group will emerge who will be able to drive forwards the idea of a supporters trust and make it a reality.
I’ve read lots of comments by Blues fans, and most of it does seem positive. It’s not about disenfranchising other groups, or creating a talking shop – a Supporters Trust is about legitimising fans groups and giving them all the chance to have a voice that can’t be ignored by the club. The whole democratic ideals behind an ST would mean it can’t become someone’s private fiefdom, and that those who speak on behalf of the fans would actually be mandated to do so by the fans who have elected them.
I’ll be keeping abreast of how the Supporters Trust idea grows, and I hope to be able to report their initial meeting in the near future.
Fans responded to the idea and a meeting was arranged and held on August 13th, 2011 at Phoenix Community Centre.
16/08/2011 Often Partisan: Supporter's Trust Update
I’ve received this today from the fans who are setting up the Supporters Trust:
The first meeting of the Blues Trust was held at the weekend to discuss how fans of the club may improve their say in how the club is run.
Blues Trust, made up of a cross section of Blues fans, aims to create a Supporters Trust along the lines of those successfully employed at clubs such as Swansea, which is now 20% owned by its fans. Supporters Trusts are run along not-for profit and democratic lines and the intention and should it be successful, will buy club shares and see fans represented on the Blues board.
The Trust’s spokesperson Chris Sanderson said,
‘the current uncertainty over the club’s finances and future has highlighted the need for fans to take a more direct role in how Blues is run.
“The Supporters Trust offers fans a vehicle to increase their profile at the club and work with the board through the current uncertainties.
“As the Trust will be democratic, co-operative and not-for-profit, we aim to make a fundamental difference in how the club is run and the way it interacts with the fans.”
A public meeting for Blues fans to hear more about the Trust will be held over the coming weeks.
24/09/2011 Leaflet distributed before home game with Barnsley
29/10/2011 First Public Meeting for Blues fans
The first public meeting was publicized online and by distributing A5 size leaflets before the home game against Barnsley on September 24. The meeting was held in Phoenix Hall, off Garrison Lane, at 11.30 am before the home game against Brighton.
The meeting was held because the steering group had contacted Supporters Direct (SD) and been told that they needed to show that Blues fans were in favour of setting up a supporters trust. At this meeting, they explained what a supporters trust was. Those present voted to set a trust up for Birmingham City FC. After that, with help from SD, the steering committee got the rules registered with the Financial Services Authority (which later became the Financial Conduct Authority). The rules were registered on 21 February 2012.
The steering group continued to work on setting up the trust and deciding on some details in the rules. They were told by SD that registration might be refused if they used the club’s name without permission from the club and the club said they’d have to get permission from China. It was decided not to use the club’s name but to call the organisation Blues Supporters Society Limited. The leaflet reproduced on the next page provides a summary of what was said at the April 7 meeting.
07/04/2012 Leaflet given out at the launch meeting
|28/7/2011||Idea of trust mentioned||A post on the Often Partisan blog said that setting up a Supporters Trust would be a more effective way to effect change than just protesting.|
|13/8/2011||First meeting of steering group||A post on the Often Partisan blog said that setting up a Supporters Trust would be a more effective way to effect change than just protesting. Fans responded to this idea and a meeting was arranged and held at Phoenix Community Centre.|
|29/10/2011||First public meeting for Blues fans||
Following guidance from Supporters Direct (SD), the steering group arranged a public meeting on 29 October and distributed notice of the meeting via social media and leaflets given out before game with Barnsley on 24 September.
The idea of setting up a Trust was presented to the meeting and the people present voted that it be set up. A report of this was published on the Blues Trust website.
|21/2/2012||Application was submitted and trust registered with Financial Services Authority
Register no. 3144 R
|An update on progress was published in January. The steering group were told that registration might be refused if they used the club’s name without permission from the club and the club said they’d have to get permission from China. It was decided to call the organisation Blues Supporters Society Limited (not Birmingham City Supporters Society Limited). The trading name is Blues Trust. SD submitted the application and the trust was registered on 21 February 2012.|
The steering groups made some decisions on the rules including the name of the Trust. They were told that registration might be refused if they used the club’s name without permission from the club and the club said they would have to get permission from China. It was decided to call the organisation Blues Supporters Society Limited (not Birmingham City Supporters Society Limited). The trading name is Blues Trust.
SD submitted the application and the Trust was registered on 21 February 2012. The launch meeting was held on 7 April 2012 and the Trust started signing up members.
|20/10/2012||First Annual General Meeting||The first AGM and elections of board members was held on 20 October 2012. The first board members elected were Phil Brown, David Farrell, Steve McCarthy and Andy Munro; they co-opted Lee Bradshaw, John Farmer and Rob Hughes. John Farmer resigned on 1 March 2013.|
|02/11/2013||Annual General Meeting||Lee Bradshaw, Margaret Decker and David Farrell were elected. Phil Brown and Steve McCarthy remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Emma-Louise Hodgson was co-opted.|
|8/11/2014||Annual General Meeting||Peter Bull, Emma-Louise Hodgson, Steve McCarthy and Chris Walker were elected. Lee Bradshaw, Margaret Decker and David Farrell remained on the board to serve 2nd year. Steve McCarthy and Lee Bradshaw resigned on 3 April 2015. Chris Walker was removed on 17 October 2015 as unable to attend due to ill health.|
|3/4/2015||Board meeting||At the board meeting following the resignations of Steve McCarthy and Lee Bradshaw there was a discussion on whether to close down the trust but it was agreed to keep it going.|
|21/11/2015||Annual General Meeting||Margaret Decker, Richard Stanley and Mark Sutton were elected. Peter Bull and Emma Hodgson remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Emma Hodgson resigned on 31 May 2016. Mark Sutton died on 6 August 2016.|
|9/11/2016||Annual General Meeting||Peter Bull, Phil Beardmore and Cliff Horrocks were elected. Margaret Decker and Richard Stanley remained on the board to serve a 2nd year.|
|18/11/2017||Annual General Meeting||Karim Adab, Margaret Decker and Richard Stanley were elected. Peter Bull, Phil Beardmore and Cliff Horrocks remained on the board to serve a 2nd year.|
|10/11/2018||Annual General Meeting||Peter Bull and Cliff Horrocks were elected. Karim Adab, Margaret Decker and Richard Stanley remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Phil Beardmore did not seek re-election.|
|26/10/2019||Annual General Meeting||Karim Adab, Neil Cottrell, Richard Docker, David Roots and Richard Stanley were elected. Peter Bull and Cliff Horrocks remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Margaret Decker and Bob Pickett were co-opted at the board meeting on 9 November 2019..|
|11/11/2020||Annual General Meeting via Zoom||Cliff Horrocks, Peter Bull, Margaret Decker and Bob Pickett were elected. Karim Adab, Neil Cottrell, Richard Docker and Richard Stanley remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Bruce Kyte, Mark Holland, Linda Magner and Christine Street were coopted at the board meeting on 23 January 2021. David Roots resigned on 11 December 2020 and Bob Pickett resigned on 6 March 2021. Paul Champ, Liam Hindley, Paul Kelsall, Rob Simpson and David Squires supported the board as Associates during the course of the administrative year.|
|4/11/2021||Annual General Meeting via Zoom||Karim Adab, Neil Cottrell, Richard Docker, Bruce Kyte, Linda Magner and Richard Stanley were elected. Peter Bull and Cliff Horrocks remained on the board to serve a 2nd year. Margaret Decker resigned with effect from the date of the AGM.|
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