Background to Supporters Trusts
In January 2000 the government recognised what football fans have known for some time, that supporters can play a positive role in the game of football and, in particular, the running of football clubs. Partly in response to the 1999 Football Task Force report, the government announced an initiative to help give ordinary people a voice in running the clubs they support, by encouraging the development of Supporters’ Trusts
Supporters’ Trusts aim to improve the relationship between football clubs, supporters, and their communities by a ‘bottom up’ approach, thereby making clubs more accountable to the people they serve. The trust is owned by the fans and the community, to serve the fans and the community, and not for the profit of it’s members. It is based on a democratic process of open membership, where each member has one share and one vote. The trust must be truly representative of all the fans it seeks to represent and is typically run by a non-executive board of directors drawn from the community within which it is based. It provides a forum whereby supporters’ views are strengthened as one group represents them
As a result of the Government’s encouragement of Supporters’ trusts, an organisation – Supporters Direct – has been established. Supporters Direct offers legal and practical advice to groups of supporters who want to form a trust, therefore enabling them to influence the future direction of their football club. To date Supporters Direct has been contacted by over 100 clubs and more then 50 Trusts have been established at clubs throughout the UK. Supporters’ trusts have been developed at a diverse range of clubs and examples can be seen at Northampton Town, Crystal Palace, Celtic, Bournemouth, Manchester United, and Chesterfield.