MCFC Supporters Trust - Some Key Questions Answered
An anonymous poster has raised some interesting points which we feel deserve an article all of their own, so here it is. Anonymous says "I'd like to know what your real aims are, it seems a lot of talk for nothing at the moment. What are the credentials of the proposed supporters trust? What finances do you have behind you and what do you hope to raise and how? How do you negotiate representation on the board of a multi million turnover football club? As much as your aims are to be admired by the true City fans (and match goers and share holders) out there, what do you seriously want to achieve? "
Thank you for your comments they are gratefully received and you have made some good points. Before we start, we must point out that the trust hasn't been formed, no finance raised, no members have joined and the aims/ objectives of the trust have not been voted on by the members. Bearing this in mind, some of the answers given are a little hypothetical however, it is very important to respond to you and provide as much information as we can.
The reasons why we feel the trust is required are set out in our Mission Statement first published here on 25 September 2006. Our proposals for the aims of the trust will be presented at the Open meeting currently pencilled in for January 2007. We have a draft set of aims but do not feel that it is appropriate to publish these at this early stage. That is not to say that there is anything untoward or antagonistic contained within them, it is simply "work in progress" right now. What we can say is that the aims will be specific to Manchester City and will mirror in some ways the aims of other Supporters Trusts at other clubs inside and outside of the Premiership. We have written an article on Premiership trusts, if you have not read it already please give it your attention and let us have any comments you may have.
We're not sure what you mean by credentials, if you are asking what are the credentials of the people working on this project then we can confirm that we come from professional backgrounds and are based in Manchester, London and Guernsey. Our areas of expertise include but are not limited to accountancy, communications, finance, fiduciary services (company and trust formation/ administration) and IT. We have access to and indeed are regularly consulting with people in areas of expertise that compliment our own and indeed areas in which we profess to not being skilled.
The finances of the trust will be raised from the membership by way of an annual subscription and donation. We are speaking to all types of supporter from those who would like to be a member, to those who wish to donate sums of money, to those that want to donate shares and to those who want to pledge their voting rights. It would be inappropriate to comment on some of these ongoing discussions or indeed the level of likely support but we are supremely confident at this early stage that the trust will receive much backing.
Representation on the board of Manchester City Plc will depend upon the amount of shares under the direct and indirect control of the trust and the views of the trust membership. We must point out that it is our view that any representative of the trust put forward for such a role must have the appropriate background and skills that will complement and enhance the current board. However, we're not worrying about that at the moment as it's a long way off.
What do we want to seriously achieve? Well, we want to pull shareholders and supporters together in a cohesive force for the benefit of our great club and the greater good to contribute positively towards making our club great again. In particular we want to help the club re-engage with those supporters and shareholders who feel disillusioned and remote from their club at this time. The club spends thousands of pounds on advertising campaigns to bring the supporters back, we see the trust as contributing, at no financial cost to the club, to bringing back those supporters and that can only be good; not only for attendance levels and the atmosphere at matches but for the club's finances also. We know that this may seem like some sort of ideal utopia but we feel that there is a real chance of doing this and we would rather try and fail then fail to try.
Finally and far from least of all, Supporters Direct the government backed agency set up to facilitate Supporters Trusts in the UK (and who are now looking to spread into Europe) continue to provide us with regular support and feedback. In fact we have a number of meetings lined up with them over the next week or so. They have been a very important and integral part of what we are doing and will continue to be so. We have already provided them and had accepted our plans for the run up to the Open Meeting next year. We cannot stress enough how important they are to us and the Supporters Trust movement.
The last point to make is that we are personally financing the research, discussion and planning work entirely from our own personal resources and will not be seeking any compensation for this. A significant grant will be available to us with reference to the marketing campaign, the open meeting, registering the trust with the Financial Services Authority etc all such funds will be used directly for this and will not find it's way back to us.
Thank you for triggering this response. As we say to all supporters and shareholders we welcome feedback, comments and questions, please send them to email@example.com and you will receive a response. In some cases, we will contact you personally (by phone) but cannot promise this to all due to the high number of enquiries.
Colin Howell, Colin Savage, Miles Webber & Ollie Goddard