FANS' ZONE 16/03/2022
TUST REPRESENTS SOUTH WEST SUPPORTERS’ TRUSTS ON HISTORIC DAY AT WESTMINSTER There’s no hiding from the fact that football cannot pretend the war in Ukraine is nothing to do with us especially now that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has been made to sell the club, bringing the atrocities closer to home. This comes at a time when Tracey Crouch’s Fan-Led Review, a key part is beefing up the owners’ and directors’ test, is seeking to receive legislation through Parliament later this year as TUST found out on Tuesday when five board members travelled to Westminster on the historic day when the House of Commons was packed to hear the Ukrainian President address MPs. The delegation, led by chairman Michel Thomas, met former Minister for Sport Tracey Crouch author of the review into football governance, thanks to arrangements made by Torbay MP Kevin Foster, who also attended.
Crouch revealed the Government is working hard to put together legislation in time for the Queen’s Speech in May and is expected to issue a response to the report within the next few weeks.
The TUST members, wearing their United scarves, attracted much attention in the capital as the yellow and blue matched with the Ukrainian colours. We were there representing hundreds of other supporters’ trusts especially the South West group - Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Hereford FC, Yeovil Town - of which TUST are co-founders.
The crucial part of the review recommendations, the glue which will keep it on track, is the creation of an independent regulator. Crouch said it would be made up of people not from football adding,”I believe one should be established to address issues that are most relevant to the risks to the game.”
She also spoke about the importance of a shadow board, made up of a mix of fans, but would not be able to be involved in football matters. This would help those trusts experiencing dysfunctional relationships with their clubs. Crouch mentioned the Golden Share Content which will allow fans a say in a club’s colours, name change or stadium relocation, and its membership would contain trust members, season ticket holders and any fan who’s been to a game in the past year.
We were encouraged by the MPs positivity in the hour long session but urge as many as possible to download (www.tust.co.uk) our template letter to send to your MP. Nick's article about the delegation from last Sunday's Non-League Paper is reproduced below and a full report on the meeting with Tracey Crouch MP will be sent at the weekend.
There was 100% response and agreement that the club should honour the life of Frank O’Farrell with the majority opting for a stand to be named in his honour. It would be fitting if the club announced their decision in time for the visit of Weymouth from where O’Farrell joined the Gulls.
In his biography O’Farrell told how he was preparing for another season at Weymouth when he had a call from then chairman Tony Boyce to meet him and his wife in an Exeter hotel for a meal. “Mr Boyce offered me an attractive package and he seemed like a decent bloke.”
It was during O’Farrell’s tenure that Saturday evening football was introduced, Boyce’s idea, but although the matches were well supported they did have an effect on the football pools.
During his four seasons at Plainmoor, 1965-1968, he brought in so many quality players namely John Bond, Ken Brown, Bill Kitchener, Tony Scott, John Smith, Doug Clarke, John Benson, Ronnie Barnes, Jim Fryatt, Jimmy Dunne- what a list! No wonder United were promoted to Division Three in 1965-66.
Of Robin Stubbs he had this to say, ”He was strong, quick and good in the air and I think he still could have been playing at a higher level. He was a single lad, something of a personality in the town, and very popular with the ladies!” And that sums up O’Farrell mischievous impish Irish personality.
Three much needed points at King’s Lynn on Saturday, no Gary Johnson with Aaron Downes in charge, eight points adrift of the play-offs and with twelve matches left. It’s going to take no more losses, more wins plus others slipping up to gatecrash a place.
A Danny Wright brace, seeing him named in the Non-League Paper’s Team of the Day and the Vanarama Team of the Week plus one from the ever improving and popular, The Duke, helped United over a battling home side not pleased with the referee’s performance - not another one!
For those wondering where he is - and hankering for his return - Sinclair Armstrong played 90 minutes for QPR ‘B’ in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Aldershot on Saturday. The Shots won 4-0.
Non-League Crowd Watch: Pride of place goes to Macclesfield whose 4-0 win over Ashton Athletic clinched the North West Counties Premier title in front of 4,604 as they maKe their way back up the pyramid.
In midweek the clash between Southend and Grimsby was watched by 7,205 but 8,705 saw Wrexham win 4-2 over visitors Boreham Wood.
In the FA Vase Littlehampton progressed into the semi-finals in front of 2,245 joining Tim Sills’ Hamworthy United who won 7-6 on penalties.
Talking of spot kicks a new record was set last week in a match between Washington FC and Bedlington Terriers in Sunderland after the teams finished 3-3. Washington ended up winning 25-24 taking 45 minutes - the 54 penalties outnumbering the attendance of 40.
And spare a thought for Dover’s fans - only 15 made it to Halifax to watch another defeat.
************ It was a weekend double for United’s Under-18s and thanks to goals from Lewis Brooks, Callum Thomas and Theo Cadby the team are just one point away from claiming the South West Counties Youth title with two games remaining after a 3-2 win over challengers Bridgwater Town.
As manager Chris Todd said, ”We’re in a very strong position, it’s pleasing that the boys are progressing.
Then on Sunday a 7-1 victory over Plymouth Parkway, helped by a Jayden Gilbert treble, took Todd’s side into the Devon FA Youth Cup Final next month.
For next season what playing position is your priority signing? Send your choice to: firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter: @FanszoneT
Another away trip to Halifax coming up- safe travel to the Yellow Army.
Here is the full version of Nick Brodrick's article in last Sunday's Non-League Paper
Despite the ongoing priority of the war in Ukraine the Government is working hard to put together legislation for the recommendations in the Fan-Led Review in time for the Queen’s Speech to Parliament in May according to Tracey Crouch MP.
Crouch, a former Minister for Sport, told five board members from the Torquay United Supporters’ Trust (TUST) in a meeting at the House of Commons on Tuesday, “The Government accepts all the ideas in my report.”
She is also expecting the Government to issue a response to the report within the next few weeks along with important news from the Football Supporters’ Association (FSA).
TUST board members, invited to meet Tracey Crouch through Torbay MP Kevin Foster, travelled to London from Devon wearing their Torquay scarves, yellow and blue, on a day when the Ukrainian President addressed a packed Parliament straight after our Fan-Led Review meeting.
Our scarves attracted much attention as they are, of course, identical to the Ukrainian flag.
Crouch was interested to learn about how her review would impact on TUST and Torquay United; the group explained that whilst this was the main remit for meeting her, TUST was there representing hundreds of other supporters’ trusts, and to this end the hour long session covered the main points, eight in total, in her recommendations.
Crouch was impressed that TUST were one of the co-founders of the South West Supporters’ Trust, consisting of trusts from Exeter City, Plymouth Argyle, Bristol City, Yeovil Town and Hereford FC, the only such group in the UK. And TUST with Exeter are the co-sponsors of next month’s Devon FA Women’s Cup Final between the two sides.
TUST fully supports the introduction of an independent regulator and the creation of a Shadow Board, as Governance of football in the future is the key element of the review as Crouch acknowledges, “An independent regulator, made up of people not from the football world, is vital. I believe one should be established to address issues that are most relevant to the risks to the game.”
She revealed that the Premier League, thought to be against the idea, actually acknowledges its role but housed within the FA which may be contentious.
TUST member Bob Cole suggested an addition to recommendation 26 regarding the make-up of a Shadow Board that it, along with supporter trusts, should be registered and regulated in order to avoid club boards from hand-picking the members of a shadow board.
Crouch agreed and hoped TUST would contact the FSA, for them to look at this.
She felt a shadow board would be a better vehicle for fan engagement rather than a ‘fan director’ system which currently exists at certain clubs and would help those trusts which are experiencing dysfunctional relationships with their club owner and directors.
It would be made up of a mix of fans, like the German supervisory board, but would not be involved in football matters such as the hiring and firing of managers as in the German model. It would, though, as Crouch explained,”Need to be diverse consisting of male, female, LGBT etc.”
She was not impressed with German 50+1 idea of ownership.
She did spell out who the participants in the Golden Share Consent would be, that is fans having a say in clubs’ colours, name, stadium relocation for example, namely members of supporters’ trusts, season ticket holders and any fan who’s been to a game in the last year.
Once the review receives legislation its recommendations can be put into effect and such beneficiaries will be better corporate diversity and a fairer distribution of wealth from the Premier League downwards.