Supporters' Trust for Portsmouth FC
An open meeting was held last night at the Rifle Club, Goldsmith Avenue, to gauge the general feeling for starting a Supporters' Trust for Portsmouth FC. Over 60 people attended and, to cut to the chase, eventually voted unanimously in favour.
The panel included James Mathie from Supporters' Direct and Steve Powell from the Arsenal Supporters' Trust. Ex-Pompey and England player, Ray Crawford, was there to give his support. It was chaired by Portsmouth Independent Supporters' Association Chair, Barry Dewing who was ably assisted by Colin Farmery from the Portsmouth Virtual Alliance. Yours truly made up the numbers.
James explained the general concept of Trusts and Steve talked about Arsenal's relationship with its Trust and the need for Trusts in general. The panel gave examples of the work of other Trusts ranging from ownership of Exeter City, Bristol fans involvement in the design of City`s new stadium and Newcastle's petition of 23,000 signatures challenging Mike Ashley's plans to sell the naming rights to St James Park.
A lively, probing Q and A session followed from an audience that included representatives from Supporters' Clubs and websites besides many that were there to decide just for themselves. Some voiced concerns over membership costs and others over transparency. The panel assured them that annual membership fees need not be high (a nominal £1 a year was discussed) although higher 'life' memberships could be run alongside. Annual accounts would have to be referred to the Financial Services Association ensuring that all monies would be accounted for.
It was agreed that the secret of success was the numbers involved rather than the amount of money on hand. Relationship between our Football Club and the community were considered to be very important and the Trust should work towards improving this.
Several people spoke in favour of a Trust that would support our Club but also seek to influence its future running. The Trust would ideally work beside the existing Supporters' Clubs and in conjunction with them.
Chichester solicitor, Tony Foot, stressed the amount of support that a Trust could gain from the many fans outside of the immediate Portsmouth area.
Names of volunteers were collected to form a working party to draft the 'nitty gritty' with a view to another open meeting in January to agree the proposals and elect a committee.
All in all, a good evening with a positive outcome.
Watch this space.
If you're interested in assisting the working group or fancy standing for election to the Committee, then contact me - firstname.lastname@example.org.
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