FANS' ZONE 30/07/2021
GARY JOHNSON’S PLEA FOR REFORM WINS SUPPORT - DOOR IS OPEN FOR CHANGES
Last Thursday Tracey Crouch MP, chair of the Fan-Led Review, published her interim report following over 100 hours of evidence from over 130 supporters’ groups plus the results of a survey which had in excess of 16,000 responses.
The report itemises a number of recommendations: to introduce an Independent Regulator for English football to oversee a new club licensing system to improve the standard of ownership across the game; legislation to make supporter engagement mandatory; a ‘Golden Share’ for fans, giving veto powers over reserved items such as club badges, location, colours and competitions; enhance the existing legal provision for Assets of Community Value and stricter financial oversight.
“ They didn’t heed the warnings,” says Crouch as she criticises all the current football authorities for failing to carry out reforms by now.
Regular readers of this column will have read in recent weeks support for Torquay United’s manager’s plea for reform in the National League set up, as Gary Johnson advocates the National League being part of the EFL.
He and TUST can take heart from further recommendations from Crouch’s report: “meaningful discussions” should take place between the EFL and National League to absorb the top National League into the EFL.
In addition she recommends “urgent reform” of the National League Board removing club directors, replacing them with independent directors as well as re-assessing voting structures. The current board is made up of directors / officials from Aldershot, Bognor Regis, Chesterfield, Dagenham & Redbridge, Gateshead, Hampton & Richmond, Solihull Moors and Stockport County.
And another recommendation that could be of interest to United owner Clarke Osborne is, whether he decides either to keep Plainmoor or build a new stadium, Crouch would like to see the removal of barriers in lower divisions, in order to maximise revenue, to allow clubs in League 2 to operate all weather pitches.
Increasing revenue streams all year round, not just on match days, is what clubs like Torquay United have been crying out for so an artificial pitch could be a start.
What is clear from this report is that Crouch wants to ensure that fan engagement and influence is an important part of the game’s governance at all levels in the future.
The final report is due out in the autumn, meanwhile it would be good to know that the National League, under its new chairman, will be busy.
Around 75% of supporters will be returning to watch their teams, 65% were ‘excited’ about doing so, with only 23% ‘apprehensive’, according to a recent survey carried out by the Football Supporters’ Association.
Those returning to stadiums are doing so because they want to get life back to normal, financially support their club and local businesses. Also they missed meeting friends and celebrating together.
The survey also asked about the main safety features that would make them feel more comfortable: the availability of hand sanitiser, contactless payments, clubs publishing their risk assessments and hygiene procedures, social distancing in queues.
Torquay United’s comprehensive Return of Supporters’ Code of Conduct covers all these and more.
Last week’s Yellow Army podcast had a brief chat about goalkeeper’s gloves, so here’s an odd fact:
When was the last time a top flight keeper played without gloves? Answer: in Portugal’s penalty shoot out with England in Euro 2004, Ricardo took them off to face Darius Vassell’s spot kick. Not only did he save the penalty bare-handed, he then stepped up to smash Portugal’s next kick past David James to win the match.
Gary Johnson thanked the travelling Yellow Army for being at Poole Town on Saturday to welcome the new players who had a good workout in the first pre-season friendly in a 2-0 win, amazingly only 34 days after that match at Ashton Gate.
He was even more delighted to see over 950 on Tuesday night to see a 3-0 win over Truro City although he wasn’t happy with what he described as a ‘leggy’ performance.
Saturday’s match against Plymouth Argyle is likely to be a sterner test. Included in their squad are both Ryan Law and Adam Randell.
Which new player has caught your eye? Who will be a fan favourite? Send your choice to: email@example.com or Twitter: @FanszoneT
To all the Yellow Army enjoy your return to Plainmoor - stay safe.