Blues Trust continues to provoke different reactions from Birmingham City fans; some join and others jeer. I am one of those who joined so I’m not writing from a neutral standpoint. My name is Margaret Decker; I was involved in helping to set the group up and was interim secretary for a while. I had to stand down from that position when my life got too busy with other things but I still support what they are trying to do. I know more about the history of the group than most members do but don’t know what’s going on behind the scenes now. I’m writing as an individual member expressing my own opinion and not as a representative of the trust.
I joined because I believe that football governance in this country is in a mess and something needs to be done about it. On my own I have no chance of changing anything but a united group of fans does have a chance. It doesn’t matter to me that it is just a chance and not a guarantee of success. Every time the team walks onto the pitch before a game they have a chance to get something from it and I expect them to exert every effort to do so. So I feel that I too need to do what I can for my team and for football in general even if it seems there is only a slim chance of achieving change. I actually believe that there is more than a slim chance but that it will take time.
I believe that Supporters Direct has the right approach to the reform of football governance. In their paper Football Club Licensing in England they proposed a Licensing system and said that it “should protect the game as a whole from the instability and lack of sustainability it has experienced and continues to experience, and it should embed the involvement of responsible democratically elected supporters in the governance of clubs.” If you want to read the details click here for a link to this paper on the Supporters Direct site.
In their discussion of supporter involvement in club governance, Supporters Direct mentions “Fit and Proper Supporters’ Trusts”. It stands to reason that a football club board can’t be expected to talk to each and every supporter; there has to be a representative group for them to communicate with. This group needs to be properly constituted, open to all supporters and led by people who have been democratically elected by the membership. This is why the group who set up Blues Trust jumped through all the hoops to adopt a set of legally binding rules and get registered with the Financial Services Authority. Our aim was to set up a “fit and proper” supporters group.
The rules of Blues Trust were registered with the Financial Services Authority on February 21, 2012 and since then they have signed up over 400 members, which I think makes them the largest Birmingham City supporters group. They have also established relationships with some people at the club and also with other supporters’ trusts. Whatever lies ahead for our club, there’s a good chance that that some other set of supporters will have faced a similar situation and will be able to offer advice. There is a vast reservoir of expertise and experience in the membership of the supporters’ trusts in this country and the ability to tap into this is one of the benefits of belonging to the Supporters Direct network.
I’m not saying that Blues Trust is a perfect organisation; it is made up of human beings so it can’t be. As well as being human, the Blues Trust board members are busy; they have jobs, families, lives and can’t spend all their time on trust work. I may not always agree with every decision they make but I appreciate the work that they are doing.