Supporters' Trust Movement

By Cameron Macdonald
Sun, 23rd Feb 2003 12:00am

On Thursday 20th February a small band of Clyde supporters held a meeting at Broadwood stadium to discuss the possibility of setting up a Clyde Supporters Trust. Representatives of all sections of the Clyde support were invited to attend the meeting, arranged to formulate a proposal for the setting up of a supporters trust.

Supporters Trusts now operate at many clubs up and down the UK, at clubs as large as Manchester United and Celtic and also at many non-league clubs south of the border. They are a way to allow the ordinary supporter of a club some influence at his or her football club. Recently, the supporters' trust at Port Vale was given preferred bidders status in the fight to save their club. Supporters' trusts have also taken over the running of Lincoln City and Chesterfield.

Whilst in no way attempting to take over the reins at Broadwood, a supporters' trust at Clyde would be a way of bringing in much needed finance to the club by possibly purchasing blocks of shares. This would obviously give the ordinary supporter a strong and independent voice in the future running of the club. There is also the possibility of securing a place on the Board of Directors for someone democratically elected by members of the trust.

The basic definition of a supporters' trust is a democratic, not for profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves.

The current Government are trying to encourage as many clubs as possible to have a successful supporters' trust and offer financial assistance through the supporters' trust initiative, Supporters Direct. They also provide legal assistance to set up the trust.

Many trusts at other clubs have been formed because of well documented financial problems, or to allow supporters a voice at clubs where directors have disregarded the views of the fans. Clyde's directors have already given assurances that a supporters' trust would be welcomed and fully recognized by the Clyde board. Indeed were it not for the financial input from the Chairman, the club may well have struggled to survive up until this point.

James Proctor of Supporters Direct will soon meet with the representatives who were at the meeting on the 20th February and discuss what the next steps should be in setting up the trust. There will then be a public meeting held at the stadium to gauge support and to elect a committee for setting up and running the trust.

In the meantime anyone wishing further information should email [email protected] or telephone Cameron Macdonald on 07973-283804.