Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Notes of CFCST Open Meeting held on Sunday 28th Oct 2012


Here are the notes of the latest CFCST open meeting.  If you have any questions, please e-mail them to cfcstrust@gmail.com - we will aim to respond within 24 hours.

1.  Activity since last meeting
1.1  Website
Cliff Auger advised that discussions re a proper website (as opposed to the current primitive blog) are underway. Celia Mindelsohn will work with Stuart Kinner to progress the site, which will incorporate a straightforward process in terms of joining the trust.

1.2  Overseas Supporters
David Chidgey has contacted a wide variety of supporters groups at home and overseas. Feedback received has been favourable.  One key challenge will be to ensure that overseas membership is actively encouraged. There were Chelsea supporters at the meeting from Brazil, The USA and Australia, who were supportive of the idea of a trust.
1.3  Meeting With Other Trusts
Paul Jeffrey and Ross Mooring went to a meeting two weeks ago with representatives of some other PL trusts, including Manchester United, Arsenal and Fulham. At present, 12 PL clubs currently have trusts. There are quarterly PL trust meetings to which the PL themselves are invited.  Other trusts offered to come and talk to this meeting, but it was felt the time wasn’t right at this stage, and we should focus on setting up our own trust.

2.  Aims & Objectives
A draft set of aims and objectives were circulated in advance of the meeting.  These have been revised in the light of feedback received and the second draft is listed below. If anyone has any comments, additions or suggestions, please e-mail cfcstrust@gmail.com by Friday 2nd November.

The CFCST will be :-

·         A non-profit making Supporters Trust, with membership open to all Chelsea Football Club supporters worldwide;

·         Wholly independent of Chelsea Football Club but seeking an ongoing positive dialogue with them;

·         Run on a democratic one member, one vote principle with annual board elections and regular meetings;

·         Committed to proactive and mutually beneficial dialogue with the club and other stakeholders including the local community, local council, relevant media and other supporters groups. 

Aims

The Chelsea FC Supporters Trust will aim to :-

·         Encourage the board of Chelsea Football Club to take into account the interests of all supporters (both UK and Overseas based) and of the local community (businesses, residents, local authorities etc) when making decisions that impact upon them;

·         To actively and professionally engage with all relevant stakeholders on matters of interest and concern to Chelsea supporters;

·         Act as an effective means of communication between club and supporters;

·         Build on the work done by the Fans Forum in enabling issues of concern with supporters to be raised with the club;

·         Work with Supporters Direct and other Supporters Trusts on pan-club issues like ticket prices, kick-off times;

·         Work in partnership with existing supporters groups, websites, fanzine, podcasts  etc without detracting from their independence.


Short Term Objectives (Up to end 2012/13 season)

·         Agree a constitution, conduct an effective membership drive and elect a board;

·         Open a dialogue with club officials (including the Supporters Liaison Officer) and other stakeholders;

·         Create an effective membership communications platform.

 
Medium / Long Term Objectives

·         Participate in the Fans Forum from the start of the 2013/14 season;

·         Build an effective working relationship with the Supporters Liaison Officer and apply pressure for this to be a stand-alone role;

·         Affiliate with as many Chelsea supporters groups, fanzines, websites, blogs, podcasts etc. as possible;

·         Improve two way communication for the benefit of supporters and the Club and build effective relationships with other stakeholders, including the local community;

·         Actively promote sale of CPO shares to supporters;

·         To have an elected supporters’ representative on the CPO board;

·         To have an elected supporters representative on the board of Chelsea Football Club.

3. Membership Structure/Fees
There is a clear desire to keep membership fees to a minimum, and to make the membership process as smooth as possible. The two-tier model (low membership fee with voting rights, free membership with no vote) is seen by some to have merit. There is also a school of thought that would prefer to have a one-off joining fee and no further charge. It is clear that further thought will need to be given to this, to develop a clear and appropriate structure before the membership drive begins.

4.  Indicative Vote
The meeting voted by a significant majority of those present to proceed with setting up a trust.

5.  Timeline
The proposed timeline is as follows :-
31/12/12 – Supporters Direct approve constitution.  Paul Jeffrey and others from the working group will work with SD to ensure the appropriate work is done.
1/1/13-30/4/13 - membership drive.  This will require everyone who supports the formation of the CFCST to ensure an effective and comprehensive membership drive takes place.
May 2013 or Aug 2013 - (depending on membership, timing etc) - elections for CFCST board

6.  Any Other Business
6.1  Future Meetings
There were c30 people at the meeting at its peak, around half of those at the last one. A number of apologies were received and it is clear that Sunday night is less than ideal in terms of getting numbers to attend meetings (the match result didn’t help, either). The next meeting is likely to be in January or February, and it is to be hoped that a 12.45 or 15.00 Saturday game presents itself. If not, thought will clearly have to be given to the most appropriate time, and how to attract more attendees.


6.2  Notification To Club
Cliff Auger advised that he had notified relevant club officials of progress with setting up the trust and would continue to do so.
6.3  Communication
Although we have a website being set up, and a twitter account (@cfcstrust), the Facebook account set up needs to be far better utilised. Tim Rolls will talk to Celia Mindelsohn, who has volunteered to make the CFCST Facebook presence more meaningful and useful.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Agenda for next CFCST open meeting 18.30 28/10/12

 
The next Chelsea FC Supporters Trust (CFCST) Open Meeting, open to all Chelsea supporters, will be held at 18.30 on Sunday 28thOct (after the Manchester United league game). The venue is the upstairs meeting room at The Atlas Pub, 16, Seagrave Rd, London, SW6 1RX (close to West Brompton tube station). http://www.theatlaspub.co.uk/contact-us/
 
Given the lack of Saturday home games until 2013, there is no obvious time for a meeting that would suit all potential attendees, but holding it after the Man Utd game was the most popular option from feedback received. Because of this, it is accepted that many who would like to attend the forthcoming may not be able to. To ensure non-attendees feedback is taken into account, any comments/ideas etc e-mailed to us will be collated, circulated in advance and shared at the meeting.
 
The last meeting was well attended and lively, if inevitably slightly chaotic (the room layout didn't help), and the majority of feedback we have received is that it was worthwhile and interesting. If you haven't seen them, the notes from that meeting are available on this blog. Having covered a number of necessary introductory issues last time, this meeting should be more focused, and allow debate on key issues, including a decision on whether we proceed with setting up a Supporters Trust.
 
The meeting agenda (together with some brief background reading for some of the agenda items) is detailed below.

AGENDA
 
1.  Activity since last meeting – quick update
2.  Aims & Objectives
It is important we have a generally agreed set of aims and objectives to work towards.  Below are a ‘straw man’ draft set for discussion at the meeting – these are clearly not set in tablets of stone. If you could take the time to read and think about them before the meeting that would be appreciated.

The CFCST will be :-
·         A non-profit making Supporters Trust, with membership open to all Chelsea Football Club supporters worldwide;
·         Wholly independent of Chelsea Football Club but seeking an ongoing positive dialogue with them;
·         Run on a democratic one member, one vote principle with annual board elections and regular meetings;
·         Committed to proactive and mutually beneficial dialogue with the club and other stakeholders including the local community, local council, relevant media and other supporters groups.
 
Aims
The Chelsea FC Supporters Trust will aim to :-
·         Encourage the board of Chelsea Football Club to take into account the interests of all supporters (both UK and Overseas based) and of the local community (businesses, residents, local authorities etc) when making decisions that impact upon them;
·         To actively and professionally engage with all relevant stakeholders on matters of interest and concern to Chelsea supporters;
·         Act as an effective means of communication between club and supporters;
·         Build on the work done by the Fans Forum in enabling issues of concern with supporters to be raised with the club;
·         Work in partnership with existing supporters groups, websites, fanzines etc without detracting from their independence.

Short Term Objectives (Up to end 2012/13 season)
·         Agree a constitution, conduct an effective membership drive and elect a board;
·         Open a dialogue with club officials (including the Supporters Liaison Officer) and other stakeholders;
·         Create an effective membership communications platform.

Medium / Long Term Objectives
·         Participate in the Fans Forum from the start of the 2013/14 season;
·         Build an effective working relationship with the Supporters Liaison Officer and apply pressure for this to be a stand-alone role;
·         Improve two way communication for the benefit of supporters and the Club and build effective relationships with other stakeholders, including the local community;
·         Actively promote sale of CPO shares to supporters;
·         To have an elected supporters’ representative on the CPO board;
·         To have an elected supporters representative on the board of Chelsea Football Club.

3. Membership Structure/Fees
There seems to be a desire to keep membership fees to a minimum, and to make the membership process as smooth as possible. The two-tier model (low membership fee with voting rights, free membership with no vote) is seen by some to have merit. There is also a school of thought that would prefer to have a one-off joining fee and no further charge. Under 16's cannot have a vote in a trust, but could still become non-voting members.

As examples, here are the annual fees charged by some other PL trusts :-
Arsenal: £30 pa or £2 pm via standing order (although they are unique in their aim of AFC share ownership)
Manchester United: £15 UK / £10 overseas
Fulham: £10 pa
QPR: £5 pa
We can debate the various options at the meeting.  In addition, we need to ensure that overseas supporters, both in terms of clubs but also individuals, are encouraged to join.

4.  Differences between CFCST and other supporters groups
A number of people have raised the issue regarding what makes a Trust different from other supporters groups.  Here are some ideas, we would welcome debate on these points (and others you may have)

·         All members can democratically participate, with regular meetings, annual elections and one person, one vote built into the constitution – thereby ensuring the elected board is held to account;
·         Demonstrably inclusive with membership open to all Chelsea fans in the UK and overseas;
·         Affiliation open to all supporters groups in the UK and overseas, fanzines, websites, podcasts, blogs;
·         Broadly representative demographically and geographically;
·         The credibility that comes with being part of a wider, more powerful network of supporters trusts and the liaison with Supporters Direct;
·         Actively hold the club to account with professional representation  e.g. the opportunity to interpret and explain club accounts etc to members;
·         The opportunity to build close links with the local community (residents, business, local authorities etc).

5.  Indicative Vote
We would like to get a sense from the meeting as to whether proceeding with the formation of a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust has broad support. To this end, a show of hands will be sought. We are keen that those unable to attend the meeting can participate in this vote. 

If you cannot attend, Supporters Direct have an e-mail address CSTconsultation@supporters-direct.coop
to enable you to give your opinions on the formation of a trust, and any related issues. Please let us have these by 12.00 on Sunday, so they can ensure the feedback is fed into the meeting.Assuming the vote is positive, the proposed timeline is as follows :-
31/12/12- SD approve constitution;
1/1/13-30/4/13- membership drive;
May 2013 or Aug 2013- (depending on membership, timing etc) - elections for CFCST board

6.  Any Other Business

We look forward to seeing as many interested parties as possible at the meeting, which will last a maximum of 90 minutes, finishing by 20.00 latest. If you have any comments, concerns or questions on the meeting or any aspect of the CFCST process, please e-mail us at cfcstrust@gmail.com and we will be happy to respond.

 
Regards
CFCST Working Group
e-mail -  cfcstrust@gmail.com
Twitter - @cfcstrust

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Responses to questions raised before start-up meeting


Responses to questions raised in advance of
CFCST start-up meeting held 22/9/12

Because of time constraints, not all questions/issues submitted in advance could be discussed at the Chelsea FC Supporters trust start-up meeting last week. Apologies for this.  Here are the responses , which have been reviewed by James Mathie of Supporters Direct. If you have follow-up questions, please e-mail them to cfcstrust@gmail.com.

1.  What is a Supporters Trust?

1.1  What is a trust? Why is it different from existing supporters groups? Can’t they do everything a trust does?
There are two approaches to this answer
Operationally
A supporter’s trust is a fully democratic organisation with formally incorporated as a Community Benefit Society which is a type of mutual registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). It has limited liability status, and assets and liabilities are held collectively by the members rather than by individuals.

It is built on a one member one vote basis which is enshrined in the constitution, and any surplus made will be either kept as reserves or reinvested back into the organisation to fulfil its objects. An annual return must be filed with the FSA and any rule changes must be agreed by the members and are only effective once accepted by the FSA.  
Other supporters groups will be unincorporated which is likely to be the right legal model, but by being incorporated as a Community Benefit Society there is more flexibility in what can be done and protection of the democratic principles.

StrategicallyFor many fans are the moral owners of club, but until supporters can become involved in legal ownership, it’s always easier to ignore or patronize than actually listen to. Supporters have been consistently ignored for many, many years, and if asking nicely for a hearing would be all it took, it would have worked long ago.
On one level a supporters’ trust acts as the guardian of the future of the football club; if they believe that the club is heading in the wrong direction or being run incompetently and not in the interests of the fans they will not be afraid to criticise. But, they’re not there to be relentlessly critical. They are also about helping the club, tapping into the skills and expertise of their membership and offering solutions and not just posing problems.

Being a Supporters Trust would allow us to join the membership of Supporters Direct (SD). SD work towards and promote supporter involvement and ownership in Clubs, and there are networks we could benefit from such as the links to other trusts at many other PL and FL clubs.  As an example, there is a quarterly PL Trust Network meeting, and ongoing support from Supporters Direct, so a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust clearly has the opportunity to identify and apply best practice.

1.2  What can a trust realistically achieve at a big club like Chelsea? It is easy to see their impact at much smaller clubs, but I struggle to see what the goals could be.
It is for the trust membership to decide the goals, but these would be more than just ‘housekeeping issues’.  Input to any redevelopment of Stamford Bridge or move to a new ground, and having a supporter on the board of the football club are both potential long term goals. Being a representative and credible voice for Chelsea supporters is a sensible aim, and one which is in our control. We hope this will have a bearing on the Club’s willingness to listen and consult but there are other stakeholders relevant to the Club that we can form partnerships with.
1.3  What works at other clubs won’t necessarily work at Chelsea given the ownership structure.
Regardless of the ownership structure, effective dialogue with the club is clearly paramount. We can learn from what has (and hasn’t) worked at other clubs – as an example the Arsenal Supporters Trust has formal dialogue with the club on a regular basis..


1.4  We don’t have the same issues as clubs like Man U, Portsmouth, Leeds etc so I can’t see the point of a trust.
See response to 1.2 above. The general theme of consultation remains but the issues might change, and we shouldn’t become wedded to just one issue, if we set up a Supporters Trust it should be with the aim of existing for future generations.
1.5  You say a trust is democratic and transparent and that sounds a good thing but what does this mean?
A trust has a board elected annually by their membership, who also vote on key issues. The whole idea is that the priorities and key actions of the trust are decided by the membership, and if they don’t like what the board are doing they can vote them out. In addition by law we must have an AGM presenting accounts and filing a publically available annual return.


2.  Trust Membership
2.1  How would membership work? Why should people pay good money and receive nothing in return.  What would membership fees be spent on?
The membership process will need to be thought through. One possible model is to have a small membership fee (say £3-£5) which gives voting rights, and separate to that a free non-voting option The money raised would pay for administration of communicating with the membership so things like meeting room hire, printing, postage, web hosting etc., which in the scheme of things are relatively small costs so fees will be kept to a minimum.

The fee for membership will always be low as we want to be inclusive, but there may be times where we need more money which can be achieved through various means.

2.2  How will you build membership?  How can you elect a committee when you don’t have any members?
If it is decided to proceed with the trust, we will be looking for all interested parties to spread the word about membership, in addition to using social media, blogs, web sites, fanzines etc.  Realistically, it will be the end of the season before a board can be elected, as you would want a decent pool of members before  holding elections so that being an elected member of the Board meant something. Until then, there would continue to be a working group.


3.  Approach of a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust
3.1  I am concerned it will be too aggressive and hostile, like SAYNO became – it would need a more diplomatic approach and aim to work with the club.
We believe that an ongoing, constructive dialogue with the club is the way forward that is not to say that ‘difficult’ issues shouldn’t be raised, or that all responses are just accepted, but confrontation should not be the default position.


3.2  It needs to avoid becoming a ‘narrow issues’ pressure group.
We agree that focussing on a couple of issues, however emotive, is not the purpose of the rust, which should look to have short, medium and long-term targets , to be decided by the membership.


3.3  There is a real opportunity to build a mass supporters movement, but this will not be easy. How do you intend to do this?
By trying to build a large membership, and behaving in an open and democratic manner, we believe a trust can play a significant role in putting representing the most important people in any club, the supporters, to the club and other stakeholders. There will have to be delegated responsibility to the Directors elected to serve by the membership to move things forward, but they will operate within the confines of the rules and the aims and there still needs to be constant 2 way communication and proper consultation with supporters on big issues.

4.  Relationship with Existing Supporters Groups
4.1  Do you intend a trust should replace the existing supporters groups? Do you intend a trust to become an umbrella organisation of supporters groups? What do the existing groups think about this?
A key issue going forward would clearly be the relationship with existing groups and a sensible dialogue would need to take place. It is not for a trust to ‘replace’ existing groups and rebranding a supporters group is definitely not what this is about.


4.2  We don’t need another fans group, we have enough already.
A trust is different from other fans groups, as explained in 1. above.

4.3  How can a member of an existing supporters group realistically get involved in a Supporters Trust?
There is nothing to stop a member of an existing group from getting actively involved in a trust (or vice versa) and indeed a number have already expressed an interest in doing so.
5.  Relationship with Club
5.1  Do you intend to join, supplement, replace or ignore the Fans Forum?  The Fans Forum is ineffective and needs replacing in my opinion, but I’m not sure how a trust could do this.
There is a general feeling amongst many supporters that the Fans Forum is ineffective. What a more effective means of dialogue is, would need to be worked out. We would hope that through the vehicle of a Supporters a Trust representing a number of supporters, we could come back with suggestions as to how the Clubs engagement with supporters could be better – whether that is through an improved Fans Forum or a different means.  


5.2  There are issues that have been raised with the club for years (ticketing, match day experience, stewarding etc). Why would a trust be any more successful than the Fans Forum?
See response above.
5.3  How do you intend to interact with the club?  Why would the club engage with a trust – are they obliged to given the ‘official’ status?
The club are not currently obliged to recognise a trust, but we believe that given the incorporated status, backing of Supporters Direct and plans to optimise membership, our case for the club to talk to us will be stronger, although this will probably not happen overnight. The Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO) role is an example of the changing attitude Clubs and Football Bodies have towards supporters, as it is now a requirement for Clubs wishing to compete in Uefa competition to have an SLO. Something that SD has been working with Uefa to bring about.  
6.  Involvement of Overseas Chelsea Supporters
6.1  Would overseas supporters be able to join?  Foreign fans deserve a voice, and I suspect the club would be more supportive if a trust provided a mechanism to do this.
We are very keen to encourage overseas supporters to join the trust and will ensure that the process to do this is straightforward.


6.2  If a trust is set up, it would be good to have an overseas rep on any committee – Skype could be used to make this practical.
That is a very good point. There is an obvious logic to having an overseas rep on a trust board, although of course it is for the membership to decide the structure of the board. The rules that SD use are flexible in allowing participation from people who can’t attend Board meetings in person and for people to vote who can’t attend meetings.


7.  Goals – Short, Medium and Long Term
7.1  Who decides what the targets of such a trust would be? A self-appointed committee?
The Trust Board would be elected by the membership, who would decide on targets and priorities in an open and democratic manner.


7.2  What would the goals of such a trust be? Club ownership is clearly unrealistic, and our owner is not a divisive figure, unlike (e.g.) the Glazers.
Club ownership is clearly not a realistic goal. A long term aspiration, however, could be a supporter representative on the football club board.  All goals, however, are decided by the membership.

Next steps in formation of Chelsea FC Supporters Trust

Since the start-up meeting last weekend, discussions have been held with James Mathie of Supporters Direct. The purpose of the discussion was to talk through the next steps for the CFCST after the start-up meeting (which JM thought was positive and supportive), focussing on what needs to be done before the next meeting, which will either be on 28/10 (Man U game) or 11/11 (Liverpool game) . At present, majority feedback received seems to be that after the Man U game is the most popular time.
A number of key issues were discussed :-
 
1. Preparation For Next Meeting
A number of issues can be addressed before the next meeting. Based on his experience elsewhere, JM suggested setting up a Working Group containing the four ‘originators’plus a few other volunteers who made it clear after the meeting they were keen to play a pro-active role. The Working Group could look at the following :- * SD have a model constitution which they suggest we use, tweaking as necessary (e.g. re overseas members). We don’t need to finalise it at this stage, but clear aims and objects would be
useful to present to the next meeting;
* i
dentifying differences between the CFCST and existing supporters groups ;

* possible membership structures / fees;
* it was agreed that contacting other PL trusts to learn what has, and has not worked, for them could only be beneficial.
JM suggested the Working Group meet (probably w/c 8thOctober) and that he would be happy to attend and facilitate the meeting. Those who expresssed an interest in getting actively involved immediately will be contacted re Working Group membership.
2. Purpose of Next Meeting
a) To receive feedback/proposals from the Working Group on, amongst other issues :-
* draft aims/objects;
* thoughts on the differences between the CFCST and the various existing supporters groups
* thoughts on membership structure/fees;
* feedback from discussions with other trusts re their experiences with set up, membership drives, club liaison etc..
 
b) To vote on whether to proceed to the next step –working with SD to formalise the constitution.
 
3. Longer Term Timeline
If the next meeting approves going ahead and forming a CFCST, the finalisation and approval of the constitution will take possibly 6-8 weeks. Membership fees cannot be taken until the constitution is approved. A temporary ‘volunteer committee’ would need to be set up. Assuming CFCST is a formal legal entity by 31/12/12, a strong membership drive can start in the New Year. Once membership has been built, elections for a Trust Board can be held (hopefully by the end of the season) and dialogue with the club can begin.
 
4. Other Issues
a) SD have a one-stop ‘membership tool’ which can take subscriptions, send e-mails, create a membership database etc. This would cost CFCST £25 a month to use. There is no compulsion to use this.
b) An announcement re the timing of the next meeting will be made once further feedback is received regarding the optimum time.
NB - If you are on Twitter, the Chelsea FC Supporters Trust twitter account is @cfcstrust .

Monday, 24 September 2012

Notes of CFCST start-up meeting held 22/9/12

 
If you have any questions about this or any other post, any e-mail sent to cfcstrust@gmail.com will be responded to. Our twitter account is @cfcstrust .
 
First of all, thank you to those who attended the meeting at the Barrow Boy after Saturday's game. To get 70+ people to a meeting on a Saturday evening is very heartening, especially given the fact that the purpose of the meeting was to inform, as opposed to making firm decisions. We also received apologies from a number of people who, for various reasons, cannot make meetings at that time.
Despite the challenges of the meeting room (you should have seen it when we arrived at 17.15....) our feeling was that there was plenty of passion and plenty of energy in the room and, given the general response at the end, a feeling from most present that a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust was an initiative worth pursuing, accepting it will take time and effort to set it up and develop it properly.

Apologies that not all questions raised in advance were not responded to, we simply ran out of time. Apologies also to those who pointed out in advance that this was likely to be the case. It is notoriously difficult at such start-up sessions to predict the way the meeting will go, and it would have been wrong to limit contributions from attendees. A written response to all those questions will be circulated by e-mail later in the week.
It was very useful to get a wider perspective in terms of the trust movement from James Mathie of Supporters Direct and to hear about activity at trusts at PL clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United. Many thanks to James for giving up his evening to support the meeting, and also for staying behind to answer individual questions. It is clear that we can learn from other Trusts in terms of their successes and failures going forward, and to have the advice and support of Supporters Direct will certainly be a major help to us.

A number of major issues were raised including the following :-
  • Scepticism from some attendees about whether a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust would ever be effective given the club ownership structure.
  • A need to clarify how a trust would interact with existing groups.
  • There are different models at different clubs and this would need to be carefully worked through.
  • A general recognition of the ineffectiveness of the Fans Forum, although clear concerns were expressed about how effective a Trust would be in dialogue with the club.
  • A desire to ensure that the overseas Chelsea fan base are encouraged to participate in the Trust.
  • Given that a major issue for many Chelsea supporters in recent years has been the future of the CPO, and given that a Trust would obviously be a totally separate legal entity from the CPO, there would need to be careful thought about if (and how) a Trust would be involved in CPO issues that arise in the future.
  • The Supporters Liaison Officer role at the club was seen to be a key one going forward.
  • A desire to set membership fees as low as realistically possible (especially given the very low costs of running such an organisation).
  • It would need hands-on effort from a large number of people, using a number of different mechanisms, to maximise membership, to demonstrate to the club & other stakeholders the support the Trust had.
There are a number of steps to go through before a Trust can be approved by Supporters Direct and hence begin signing up members. These will be talked through with James Mathie and be the subject of a further e-mail later this week in terms of what we need to do before the next meeting and asking for help in doing this.

A number of people approached us after the meeting to offer their active support, and we are very grateful to them as clearly the more people actively involved, the more effective the development of the Trust will be.

In terms of the next meeting, there are a few potential options, and we would like to canvass your views in terms of what you think would work best for you and any friends/family you have who may be interested in attending :-
Man U 16.00 ko Sun 28/10/12 – meet before (13.30 for 75 mins) or after (18.30 for 75 mins)
Liverpool 16.00 ko Sun 11/11/12 – meet before (13.30 for 75 mins) or after (18.30 for 75 mins)

Sunday games are probably not ideal for many people, but our next Saturday 15.00 kick-off is three days before Xmas (and even that may be moved) and it is important to build momentum and impetus before then. There is no time/date in the next couple of months which will suit everyone but your responses (to the e-mail address above) will give us an indication as to preferences.

We will also be looking at whether there is a more suitable meeting venue in and around Fulham Broadway – if anyone has any ideas please let us know.
 

Saturday, 22 September 2012

This post details the agenda for the 'start-up' meeting and lists issues raised / feedback received to date, which will be discussed at that meeting.  All Chelsea supporters are welcome at the meeting.
 
Agenda – Chelsea FC Supporter Trust ‘Start-Up’ Meeting
18.15 Saturday 22nd September 2012
Upstairs at the Barrow Boy Pub, North End Road, SW6

Purpose of meeting – to give Chelsea supporters a chance to learn more about what a Supporters Trust is, what it stands for, what it could realistically achieve & why it is felt Chelsea should have one.

 

1.  Welcome & Introductions.  James Mathie of Supporters Direct will be participating in the meeting.
(Pass round sheets to get e-mail addresses of attendees)

 

 

2.  Background – quick refresh on how the meeting came about.

 

 

3.  What a Supporters Trust is, why it is important, what a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust could realistically achieve, the Supporter Liaison Officer role etc.

 

 

4.  Discussion on feedback and challenges already received (attached), questions from attendees & from live Twitter feed.

 

 

5.  Next steps. If mood of meeting is supportive, a follow-up meeting in 6-8 weeks (need to be clear what that would cover/achieve & who is going to do the work leading up to that meeting)

 

 

6.  Any Other Business




The meeting needs to end by 19.45 latest
.....................................................................................................................................................

Themes to feedback received regarding possible setting up of
Chelsea FC Supporters Trust (CFCST)

The following is distillation / summary of the themes raised in the various feedbacks received regarding the idea of forming a CFCST. This list focuses on challenges and issues raised. These points will be discussed at the start-up meeting on 22/9/12. 

What is a Trust?

What is a Trust? Why is it different from existing supporters groups? Can’t they do everything a trust does?

What can a trust realistically achieve at a big club like Chelsea? It is easy to see their impact at much smaller clubs, but I struggle to see what the goals could be.

What works at other clubs won’t necessarily work at Chelsea given the ownership structure.

We don’t have the same issues as clubs like Man U, Portsmouth, Leeds etc so I can’t see the point of a trust.

You say a trust is democratic and transparent and that sounds a good thing but what does this mean?

Trust Membership

How would membership work? Why should people pay good money and receive nothing in return.  What would membership fees be spent on?

Would overseas supporters be able to join?

How will you build membership?  How can you elect a committee when you don’t have any members?

Approach of a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust

I am concerned it will be too aggressive and hostile, like SAYNO became – it would need a more diplomatic approach and aim to work with the club.

It needs to avoid becoming a ‘narrow issues’ pressure group.

There is a real opportunity to build a mass supporters movement, but this will not be easy. How do you intend to do this?


Relationship with Existing Supporters Groups

Do you intend a trust should replace the existing supporters groups?

Do you intend a trust to become an umbrella organisation of supporters groups? What do the existing groups think about this?

We don’t need another fans group, we have enough already.

How can a member of an existing supporters group realistically get involved in a Supporters Trust?

Relationship with Club

How do you intend to interact with the club?

Do you intend to join, supplement, replace or ignore the Fans Forum?

The Fans Forum is ineffective and needs replacing in my opinion, but I’m not sure how a trust could do this.

Why would the club engage with a trust – are they obliged to given the ‘official’ status?

There are issues that have been raised with the club for years (ticketing, match day experience, stewarding etc). Why would a trust be any more successful than the Fans Forum?

Involvement of Overseas Chelsea Supporters

Foreign fans deserve a voice, and I suspect the club would be more supportive if a trust provided a mechanism to do this.

If a trust is set up, it would be good to have an overseas rep on any committee – Skype could be used to make this practical.

Goals – Short, Medium and Long Term

Who decides what the targets of such a trust would be? A self-appointed committee?

What would the goals of such a trust be? Club ownership is clearly unrealistic, and our owner is not a divisive figure, unlike (e.g.) the Glazers.