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FANS' ZONE 03/12/2021


FAN-LED REVIEW - A HUGE STEP FORWARD? “THAT’S ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU’VE GOTTEN US INTO GARY”


The much awaited and anticipated Fan-Led Review report was published last week a full 162 pages with 47 recommendations. Tracey Crouch MP’s review of football governance is based on evidence from hundreds of supporters’ groups, including submissions from TUST.

It is a thorough, comprehensive report outlining the vital changes that football has been crying out for, for the benefit and sustainability of football. Football Supporters’ Association Chief Executive Kevin Miles called it a “potentially huge step forward.”

TUST endorses the recommendation for every club to have a licence with the creation of an independent regulator (IREF) to oversee compliance. Part of the licence would see the introduction of a Shadow Board and a Golden Share.

The Shadow Board would, through the club licence, have to be consulted on all ‘non football, off pitch’ business while the Golden Share holder - a supporter - would have a say in any proposed sale of the club stadium, club badge, first team home colours and club playing name.

This should not be seen as a supporters’ trust trying to take over the running of their club, quite the opposite for as the review says, “Fans and clubs are not enemies, a genuine two way consultation between fans and clubs can be mutually beneficial.”

A lack of supporter engagement is an enormous missed opportunity by clubs and we at TUST know we have so much good will and voluntary assistance to offer.

We also support the report’s recommendations for tightening up the owners’ and directors’ tests, particularly the need to submit a business plan for all to read.

This season, as we have seen, a number of clubs in the National League have ‘splashed the cash’ to try to buy their way back into the EFL; the report has noted this and sees this as destabilising the long-term sustainability of the wider league; a salary cap is coming.

There is a recommendation of a small scale, limited pilot for the sale of alcohol ‘in sight of the pitch’ but TUST members gave this a cautious welcome.

Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville backs Crouch’s review saying, “The job in the next 12 months is to make sure this is seen through.”

None of these recommendations will be enacted until the necessary legislation goes through Parliament and to this end TUST encourages members to write to their MP, using a template letter available at tust.co.uk.

The Government has already promised to work ‘at pace’ to implement key recommendations, including the national game’s first independent regulator. Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries warned English football’s governing bodies that they were at “a turning point” and that radical change was coming.

Owners, managers, players come and go but supporters are there for a lifetime - fans and football first is what all supporters should be saying.

TUST held a successful AGM last week and news of this in next week’s column.

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Storm Arwen might have kept away from Plainmoor on Saturday and whilst it didn’t rain there was plenty of Water about - Billy Waters, whose strike to make it 3-0 seemingly settled the match in a mad five minutes straight after half -time and only an equally mad five minutes at the end put some respectability on the scoreline.

But let’s not deceive ourselves as visitors Halifax banked three points with a display of fast attacking football the likes of which we were treated to last season but now can only dream about.

To paraphrase Laurel & Hardy, “That’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into Gary” as the manager admits he’s made mistakes and that the team is in need of a fix which only he can do.

It was Prussian statesman Otto von Bismarck who coined the phrase, “papering over the cracks” in 1865 and it’s still apt today; we need the manager to speed up the repair job before it’s too late.

It certainly makes Saturday’s trip to fellow strugglers Weymouth a dreaded ‘six- pointer’ with both sides having lost their last three games.

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It was good to see the club take ownership of #HerGameToo on Saturday opening up the away end but not with maybe as many takers of free tickets as expected. Nevertheless to be the first club to do this is a credit to the directors. Would more have come had the team been nearer the top of the table?

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National League Crowd Watch: Another impressive 8,156 at Wrexham to see them edge out promotion rivals Bromley 2-0, this attendance was better than every League 2 fixture except at Swindon who had 8,199. Notts County had 4,889 for their televised game while Torquay’s match was watched by Plainmoor’s lowest crowd of the season, 2,269.

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United’s opponents in the Third Round of the FA Trophy will be National South Tonbridge Angels who won 1-0 at Canvey Island in Round 2. Tonbridge have only won three league games this season and sit in 18th place but do have in forward Ricky Modeste someone who knows non-league football having played for Dover, Billericay and Dartford before joining Tonbridge; he’s also a Grenada international.

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After drawing attention to the missing features in the 1899 matchday magazine, last Saturday’s edition restored articles on the Community Sports Trust and the Women’s team, complete with a match report. All we need now is to see a section for the Travel Club, after all Gary Johnson regularly praises, and apologises to, the Yellow Army travelling support. Shame that Byron Moore made the cover but not the matchday squad.

Torquay United’s Women were back to league action on Sunday with a 1-1 home draw to Bishop’s Lydeard.

There’s still time to send in your One Magic Moment, your best memory of a Gulls’ match/goal to: fanszone.tu@gmail.com or to Twitter: @FanszoneT.

For those travelling to Weymouth safe journey.

COYY


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