“Yes and no,” is my answer to the question in the title.
Yes, you should trust Blues Trust because it set up in a way that makes it accountable. It is a member of Supporters Direct1 (SD), who helped a group of Birmingham City fans set it up. This means that it has to conform to the guidelines laid down by SD; for example, a trust must be democratic and have its accounts audited or independently examined.
However, I would also say, “No, fans shouldn’t trust Blues Trust before they have checked it out. You should not trust people or organisations until you know enough about them to convince yourself that they are trustworthy. Anything that involves people is subject to what Francis Spufford2 calls the “human propensity to foul things up”. (Spufford actually uses a different verb beginning with ‘f’.)
In the news last week there was a report3 about the jail sentence given to Oldham Athletic Supporters Trust finance director, who stole money from that trust. The upside to this sad story is that this crime was brought to light by the chairman of the trust, who didn’t try to hush things up. The way that trusts are set up does not guarantee that they will never mess up. But if things do go wrong, there is accountability.
I feel confident that nothing like that will happen with Blues Trust and that’s why I’m willing to stand for election to their board. If elected I’ll do my best to ensure that we always act with integrity. But don’t trust me if you don’t know me; come along to the AGMand check us out. Non-members can come to the meeting though, of course, they can’t vote.
Blues Trust AGM is at 11 am on Saturday November 2nd, at the Fusion Centre, High Street, Deritend, Digbeth. (Part of South & City College and on the other side of the road from the coach station.) You can download information on the AGM from the Blues Trust Documents page.4
- Membership Policy of Supporters Direct Criteria for trusts to be members of SD
- Francis Spufford in his book: Unapologetic: why, despite everything, Christianity can still make surprising emotional sense
- Football club trust finance director jailed after stealing £2k from fans
- Blues Trust: Documents AGM Agenda, Proxy Voting Form and Candidates Statements can be downloaded