Foxes Trust Political Lobbying Receives Good Response

The Foxes Trust has continued dialogue with a number of local MPs about the Government’s Fan-Led Review of football.

Our most recent meeting was with Jane Hunt, MP for Loughborough and the surrounding area, which includes the new training ground at Seagrave. She asked for a meeting at which we discussed the Trust’s relationship with the club across several owners since forming nearly 20 years ago, as well as providing a greater understanding of what the Trust hopes the Fan-Led Review will achieve.

In a previous article we featured a meeting with Liz Kendall, Leicester West MP, who after the meeting wrote to Tracey Crouch MP who is leading the Review, and received the following reply:

I have received your letter following your meeting with the Foxes Trust. I just wanted to assure you that I have been asked to make interim recommendations by the summer and a full report in October/Autumn. You’ll note that the Terms of Reference for the review do look into both an independent regulator and much more meaningful engagement with fans at board level. Although I think after the FA cup victory, many are looking enviously at the relationship the LCFC owners has with his fans.”

Leicester South MP, Jon Ashworth, whose constituency includes the King Power Stadium, also wrote to the Department for Culture Media and Sport and received a response from John Whittingdale, who is Minster of State for Media and Data, while Andrew Bridgen MP, representing North West Leicestershire, received a similar response from Nigel Huddleston, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Sport and Tourism.

MP for Harborough, Neil O’Brien also wrote to Tracey Crouch, Alberto Costa, MP for South Leicestershire wrote to the Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden and Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, has written to The Department for Culture Media & sport, to Tracey Crouch MP and to other organisations involved with football.

All the MPs detailed above have offered further assistance as the Review progresses.

Foxes Trust Board member, Stuart Dawkins, who coordinates the Trust’s contact with national and local politicians, commented: “It is great that our local MPs are keen and willing to engage and take action on the Fan-Led Review of football and we thank them, for their time. Circumstances, notably the plans for a European Super League, have set up a chance for there to be real change on the topic. Let us hope that the Review and Government use that opportunity well.”

Loan Reports – Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall

Today, Kevin Harper, Media Officer of the Luton Town Supporters Trust reports on a very successful loan spell.

Picture courtesy of Gareth Owen (Luton Town club photographer)

“When Luton Town signed Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall on loan for the 2020/21 campaign, I have to admit I wasn’t sure what we were getting. I knew he had a few games for Blackpool the season before but in truth I had never heard of him.

I knew we were getting someone talented though. I could work that much out from the reaction to his signing of our manager Nathan Jones, who claimed at the time that his eye had been on Kiernan for a while. He spoke with a passion that suggested we’d signed someone good.

Good doesn’t really cover it though. What we would go on to see throughout the course of the campaign was the makings of a special footballer, one who I’ve gone on record as saying he is the best I’ve seen in a Luton shirt since the days of us winning the League Cup in 1988.

It took a few weeks for Dewsbury-Hall to establish himself in our squad but from the moment he made his debut at Sheffield Wednesday in October you could immediately tell he was something special.

His comfort on the ball was immediately apparent as was the confidence to want the ball despite having been with us for less than three weeks. Then there is his quality which is of an extremely high level.

We are a side who switched between formations for a lot of last term as we evolve in the Championship. We would switch between 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 and occasionally into a three at the back one before finishing the campaign in our diamond formation which unearthed James Justin a few seasons ago.

Dewsbury-Hall was comfortable in all of them. He played the deeper position in a 4-2-3-1, the left side of the three in the middle in a 4-3-3 and on the left side of the diamond and shone in all of them.

He is extremely comfortable on the ball and his left foot is a wand. He is a player who finds space with ease and doesn’t take the easy option, he’ll be brave on the ball and play the pass that is best for the team.

If you go by his pure statistics with us you would think he had an average season but don’t let that fool you. He would have had a lot more assists had our forwards had their shooting boots on.

Furthermore, despite Covid-19 restrictions, I got to know Kiernan a little through a couple of interviews I did with him for our podcast and our Virtual Awards Evening – where he scooped four awards. He is a nice guy who has an obvious confidence and belief in his ability without being arrogant with it.

Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall was brilliant for us. It was a joy to watch him play. I’ve absolutely no doubts he is going to go right to the very top and be a superstar, although I certainly won’t complain if he fancies another season developing his skills at Kenilworth Road!

We thank Kiernan for the season he gave us and look forward to following the career of a man we’ll be hearing a lot of over the years to come.”

You can read more about Luton Town Supporters Trust here

Survey: Fans say they will attend fewer games because of VAR

Earlier today, the Football Supporters’ Association published its initial findings from a survey of over 33,000 fans, the largest consultation of its kind on VAR.

In his role as a Premier League representative on the FSA National Council, Foxes Trust board member Steve Moulds is taking a lead role in the VAR working party who carried out the survey

There were clear messages from the fans taking part with 95% of those who had experienced VAR in-stadium and 94% who had watched matches on TV said that VAR had made watching football less enjoyable.

The initial findings are published on the FSA website Survey: Fans say they will attend fewer games because of VAR – Football Supporters’ Association (thefsa.org.uk)

Sky Sports News ran an extensive piece about the survey throughout the day and published an edited version on line, with Steve being interviewed https://www.skysports.com/watch/video/12322848/var-survey-fans-unhappy-with-how-its-working

The Working Group is continuing its work over the summer and aims to discuss the findings with the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) who are the body responsible for match officials in English professional football.

Fan-led Review – will this summer mark real change in football governance?

Written by Steve Moulds

The FSA’s National Council met on 24 May, primarily to discuss FSA’s submissions to the government’s Fan-led review of football.

The chair of the review, Tracey Crouch MP, joined the meeting to outline the procedures and timetable. As this was one of her first acts as chair, it clearly indicated her determination to make this review ‘fan-led’.

Crouch explained that evidence to the review will be given through a series of interviews, with individuals, organisations and supporters’ groups invited to make presentations at sessions divided along the lines of the FSA’s structure of networks for the whole of football. She went on to explain that her intention is to submit an interim report in July with a full and final report published in October.

A panel of experts has been appointed to advise and support Crouch as she considers the evidence presented. Panel members include: Kevin Miles (Chief Executive, The Football Supporters’ Association); Roy Hodgson (former Crystal Palace and England manager); Professor Denise Barrett-Baxendale (Chief Executive, Everton FC); Clarke Carlisle (former Burnley player and former Chair of Professional Footballers Association); Dan Jones (Partner, Football Finance); Dawn Airey (Chair, FA Women’s Super League); David Mahoney (Chief Operating Officer, England and Wales Cricket Board); James Tedford (Former Secretary, Southport FC); Godric Smith (Director, Cambridge United); Danny Finkelstein, independent member. (Biographies of panel members are available on the DCMS website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-announces-expert-panel-for-fan-led-review-of-football)

Crouch made a point of stating: “The report will be my report as chair, not the panel’s, and a clear Terms of Reference has been laid out. The advisory panel will join the fan-led evidence sessions and advise on technicalities which arise from within their area of expertise, but it does not sign off the final report.

“The fan-led review has full government backing, unlike previous football governance reviews which have either been led by Culture, Media and Sport committees, or football itself, meaning that in all of those cases, Government has not had to act on their recommendations.”

The Panel met for the first time on the 24 May and Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for the Department of Media, Culture and Sport (DCMS) was also in attendance. He indicated that the government would make available the parliamentary time necessary to bring in any legislation required in the recommendations of the review.

The FSA commenced the evidence submissions on 25 May with an introduction to and summary of the full evidence it will present. This takes the form of ten, thorough evidential documents that deal with key themes around football governance that comprise: Stewardship (club licensing); Independent regulation; Club ownership and supporters rights; Supporter engagement; Protecting and developing the football pyramid; Womens’ game development; Football finances.

The Premier League Network will be called to submit its evidence on 14 June. The main submission by the FSA will be on 16 June.

Rumours around the various parties expected to give evidence to the review indicate that the expectation is the outcome of the review will result in the appointment of an independent regulator for football.

Already, post the European Super League fiasco, we have seen a few clubs such as Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs attempt to pre-empt any potential outcomes by creating positions on club’s Boards for supporters or advisory fans-parliaments. The Premier League has also pledged changes to its rules to prevent clubs trying to form a break away Super League. It has also, probably wisely, negotiated an additional three years to its existing broadcasting contracts, presumably to avoid any potential fall-out from the review.

Foxes Trust will be compiling its own submission to the review, relevant to the particular circumstances of our own club and supporters. It will call on our struggle with administration and lessons learned from that period, plus our more recent history with the clubs current owners.

The Trust are willing to hear from members who have ideas or significant contributions to make around ideas for the future of football governance, as long as they are directly related to the review’s terms of reference (see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/fan-led-review-of-football-governance/terms-of-reference-for-the-fan-led-review-of-football-governance).

So to answer the question at the top of the page … let us hope so. It has been a long time coming!

Steve Moulds is a Foxes Board member responsible for national football issues. He is an elected member of the FSA National Council.

Loan Reports – Josh Knight and Admiral Muskwe

As the season has now ended, we have contacted a number of Trusts where Leicester City players have been on loan to get an end of season fan’s view of how well they did. We kick of the articles by gaining the view of David Cook, Wycombe Wanderers Trust Director on both Josh Knight and Admiral Muskwe.

Josh Knight

When Josh joined the Club on loan for the 2020/21 season, our first in the Championship, we knew something about him from his loan spell elsewhere in League One and we weren’t disappointed.

Josh settled into the Club culture very quickly and whether playing at the heart of the defence or in midfield, his performances during a very difficult first few months for the Club, attracted attention even when all that fans could do was to follow the team on iFollow.

Injuries and a highly debateable sending off, limited appearances to an extent in the second half of the season, but whenever Josh was on the pitch, we knew that we would get 100% effort and the odd strike on goal. Josh’s time at WWFC will be remembered, Gareth Ainsworth commented on both Josh and Admiral as “They were both real great additions to the squad and developed as young men as well as young footballers.”

And then to cap it all, Josh was awarded three trophies at the End of Season awards, some achievement for a ‘loanee’:

  • The Wycombe wanderers Worldwide Phenomenon – 2nd Place in the Player of the Year award
  • Supporters’ Player of the Year – 1st place
  • Players’ Player of the Year – 1st Place

Admiral Muskwe

Admiral joined WWF in January, when the Club was in need of a goalscorer. Like Josh, he settled into the Club culture very quickly, but scoring goals in the Championship is never easy and it took a while for Admiral to find his scoring boots! Admiral’s first start saw WWFC beat Preston 4-1 in the FA Cup third round, a win that was rewarded with home tie against Spurs. We had to wait until April before having a goal eventually voted by the fans as ‘Goal of the Season’ and that was Admiral’s strike in the 46th minute at the Liberty Stadium, giving us a 1-0 lead that stunned Swansea’s promotion chasing squad.

I had the pleasure of being there for that and we felt that we had thrown away 3 points after being pegged back to  a 2-2 draw, Admiral’s contribution that day was enormous.

At the End of Season awards Admiral declared that it was “the best goal I’ve scored”. A large number of fans agreed that it was the best goal that the Club had scored all season and one that would live long in the memory! On behalf of WWFC, I would like to add that we have enjoyed the contribution of two very decent young men, both of whom have a bright future ahead of them. If that future were to be at WWFC at some time in the future, we would consider ourselves to be very fortunate.

Read more about Wycombe Wanderers Trust here