The second of our articles on the Supporters Direct organised Midlands Regional Conference concentrates on the various topics covered by the series of workshops.
This was entitled Trust AGM & Election and was headed up by Dave Boyle Deputy Chief Executive of Supporters Direct. It covered practical advice relating to Supporters Direct policy on good practice and planning for the annual vital and important meeting for all supporters trusts. For further details on this workshop please refer to the separate article on the conference by John Adcock, who has written a brief resume of this workshop.
Entitled from the Terrace to the Boardroom this basically covered what it means to operate a football club and dealt with the evolution from being a supporter to owning and running the Club. This evolution has taken place, to various degrees, at the following clubs/associated speakers:
Phil Tooley – Chair Chesterfield Football Supporter Society, Paul Hajduck – Chair Rushden & Diamonds Supporters Trust, Lee Carter – Chairman AFC Telford United, Anthony Goodwin – Chair Telford United Supporters Trust
The main reason for me personally wishing to attend this workshop is that all these representative have now figuratively speaking turned from ‘poacher’ to ‘gamekeeper’ and so I was most interested to ascertain how the roles differed and how I could relate that to the role played by Tim Davies and Andrew Taylor at our own club. It helped me see the wider aspects that make up running a football club. I was pleased to note that the overall message to come out was how the club must ‘talk, talk, talk’ to its key stakeholder i.e. the fans themselves……
Lunch break was spent viewing the wide range of products and materials exhibited at the event as well as spending valuable time networking with other trusts, establishing contacts etc.
Afternoon Workshops: Workshop 1:
Again headed up by Dave Boyle Deputy Chief Executive of Supporters Direct, this covered Community Interest Companies and detailed what they are and how they could help the Trust movement achieve its goals. Again, for further details on this workshop please refer to the separate article on the conference by John Adcock, who has written a brief resume of this workshop. For more details on this Community Interest Companies please refer to www.batesweston.co.uk
Lead by Tim Thomas, Associate Partner at Cobbetts Solicitors Charnwood, this covered aspects of Employment Law and detailed information for those trusts who are now moving into the area of employing staff to perform trust functions.
As our members are well aware, at present all FT roles are undertaken on an entirely voluntary basis and it is anticipated that this will remain the case for the foreseeable future.
Entitled Trusts at larger clubs, this basically covered how the Trust organises itself when there is little likelihood of it owning the club in the foreseeable future. In was chaired by James Proctor, Development Officer for Supporters Direct in Scotland with the following speakers
left to right: Stephen Smith – Media Relations Director, Rangers Trust, Ian Bason – Chair of Foxes Trust, Darryl Keys – Director, Sheffield Wednesday Supporters Trust, Steve Powell – Director, Arsenal Supporters Trust.
Mainly concentrating on the interaction (or otherwise!) and relationship with the actual football club, this workshop also tackled the various ways that Trusts in this position seek to recruit and retain members. As well as being able to take away various learning points to put into operation at our club, the overall point that was hammered home to me was how healthy our own Foxes Trust relationship is with Leicester City (& visa versa) compared to other clubs, who were extremely envious of the interaction established between club and trust supporter here at Leicester City.
The final article of the Regional Conference will look at the closing debate and get the personal viewpoint of the day from Foxes Trust Board Community Board Member John Adcock.