Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
I have literally just walked through my door, well not even my door - my brothers door just outside of Exeter - having been to the latest Pompey Supporters Trust meeting, one that I am VERY glad I went to.
Living where I do, here in Devon - and a non-driver - it makes attending meetings difficult. I had planned to go to the first one, as I was in Pompey, but illness prevented this, the second was one I could not make, so although I felt somewhat of an 'outsider', I am glad that I took Ken up on his invitation to go and an offer of a lift back to my brothers on his way back as it was WELL worth it!
Some essential elements of this Supporters Trust, which in fully recognised now as of the end of December 2009, were confirmed and some other interesting information, from some very well informed and passionate Pompey fans was found out.
A fee of JUST £5 across the board for everyone has been set - this £5 gives you a yearly membership and entitles you to 1 share in the Pompey Supporters Trust, legal requirements limit you just to this, it does not matter if this is the only contribution that you make, and you can make further donations, 1 share is all you can get and this entitles you to the same voice as ANYONE else, no matter how much they put in.
There will have to be a board, or committee in place, but these are not 'self appointed' as such, of course there needs to be a working committee, but it is vitally important to stress that these are very much working to the 'for the fans by the fans' motto and ARE all as passionate about the club as you or I. This is about fans looking out for the clubs best interest.
Clearly a few areas still need to be ironed out and some fine tuning done but this is something that can ONLY benefit us as supporters and allow us to help the club that we all love.
This £5 annual membership fee will see you issued with an individually numbered certificate, which you download and print online or have posted to you - via 2nd class postage - so you really do feel like you have a stake in something, and this Supporters Trust does give us a good chance of having some say in our club, but also helping organise events and so on in the local community, with the community also very important to the club.
There was of course some passionate debate going on, but once again I stress this is because it involved people who care so much about the club - so for us as a club to be setting this up, or properly done and with guideline help from those who know the ins and outs of the Supporters Trust and how it works, so long as this is done in the right way, as I feel it WILL be, we cannot lose.
A big announcement at the start of the meeting saw it revealed by Colin Farmery that SAF been in contact with him, as he has regularly, and it is proposed that his 10% stake in the club go to the Supporters Trust!
Although quite how this works, and what he is looking for in return for this is unknown at this point although he feels that it is important that the club bring on board the Supporters Trust to be more sustainable and that it is important for the local community to play a part in the club to have a greater transparency.
SAF is a non-executive board member so if, and as said this is something that if far from ironed out, his 10% stake is gained by the Pompey Supporters Trust it 'could' bring a seat on the board - which I guess would be filled by SAF? Although he WILL NOT become the head of the Trust even if this happens. There are still plenty of issues to be ironed out on this one, as no one really knows what he wants, if anything, for this 10% and what it would mean to the Trust?
More on this SAF issue will follow...
There were several legal minds at this meeting who know a fair amount out 'winding-up orders' and 'administration', with it thought that the worse case scenario for Pompey with this winding up petition issued recently, and the court date in February - which 'should' make the true extent of debts known - most likely seeing this court adjourned as would probably happen again, and again, with it unlikely that the club will be wound-up. Administration, although also unlikely - all being well as it is NOT only the club that suffers, those owed money, plenty of which are local businesses could be seriously affected too - is probably the worst case scenario, even then it is not thought that this would happen, and neither is thought to be that close, talk of weeks or months is most probably wide of the mark...
Further news announced revealed, from a person who would know as they are employed by the club, that debts - all be it at the lower end are starting to be paid off, which is a good sign and more importantly probably meaning that those, maybe local to the club that probably need this more than most, are starting to be looked after?
Whatever though, debts starting to be paid is a positive step, right?
The MOST important thing that we look at here though is the Supporters Trust itself, lets not get sidetracked by other issues.
This IS happening and will be a good thing, as mentioned it needs a little tweaking and fine tuning and full disclosure, which I would hope we get, but will be in very, very good shape in time for the next planned meeting. So, I would urge those that CAN make it to attend the next open meeting at The Riffle Club on Tuesday 19th January at 7.30pm.
An official date for the launch of The Trust is not known at this point, although I would imagine that it is not far off at all and would be known at the next meeting, which again IS open to anyone.
PLAY UP POMPEY!
Date:Tuesday January 5 2010
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