The Origins of Foxes Trust- Part One October 2002
In early summer 2002 a few fans raised the possibility of the need for a Supporters Trust at Leicester City. It took the looming financial crisis in October and the opportune timing of the first ‘fans parliament’ at the NEC to allow the idea to become a reality.
After attending the fans parliament, Lynn Muollo, Nigel Ritchie and Wendy Bennett were inspired to hold an open meeting to see if there was enough support amongst Leicester city fans for the idea of forming a Trust.
Sky Sports News shows Lynn & Wendy speaking at the 1st Fans Parliment
We booked a night at the Stadium’s nearest pub, enough to hold 150 people. We put a call out via e-mail lists and fans websites and we managed to get 15,000 leaflets printed and delivered from Brighton in 3 days, ready to blitz the home game that Saturday.
The news came through that the players had done a deal with the club on wages, as had staff, and we spent Saturday doing interviews about how things were looking up. We were woken on the Monday morning at 8am to the announcement, totally out of the blue, that Leicester City was to go into administration. The ball game suddenly changed. Total panic and bewilderment set in.
The media frenzy began and we had meetings with Gary Lineker and his consortium. For the three of us initially involved it was totally constant at this point; 24 hours a day, calls, e-mails, interviews.
Nigel Ritchie does a live interview with East Midlands Today
The learning curve about Trusts and administration was vertical rather than steep. Our heads were spinning. It quickly became apparent from e-mails and calls that the venue would not be big enough. We asked the club for help, and they kindly allowed us to use the Great Hall (500 seated).
Over 600 crammed into the room to listen to Supporters Direct’s Simon Binns, Northampton’s Brian Lomax and the Owls Trust’s John Hemmingham.
The vote was 600 for and 0 against for starting a Trust. The only thing that went wrong all evening was our failure to photocopy enough sheets for people to sign up to the working party. Over 150 wanted to be involved in that.
Fans vote to form Foxes Trust
In the following days we were inundated with emails & messages of support. Including an email from one of the senior members of staff at the club saying “I thought the meeting was fantastic and as an employee but also a fan, it was great to see some optimism around the place again after a few pretty awful days.”. These inspired us to keep going.
The press coverage was great. Apart of course from the complete misquotes. With the high level of media coverage Leicester had that week, we were in demand. But Lynn’s comments that we would look at what Gary Lineker’s Consortium had to say and wouldn’t be backing anyone yet was printed as “we fully support Lineker’s consortium”. Never trust the press!
The first working party meeting took place just 48 hours after the meeting in the Great Hall. If the last few weeks had been hectic it wasn’t about to let up as we set about getting Foxes Trust set up…..