At the game last weekend against Bray Wanderers, you may have noticed a number of fans distributing information flyers in relation to a proposed Supporters’ Trust at Shelbourne. As is evident, the group are interested in establishing a supporters’ trust at Shels, an inclusive grouping that would give representation to the views of all Shelbourne fans. The text of a leaflet handed out before the Bray game is included below. RI have been advised that this group will be having an open meeting before the Cork game, Saturday the 13th of October at 5.00PM in The Tolka Bar. We hope to be in attendance and would encourage all interested parties to try and get along.
Discussion document on a Supporters’ Trust for Shelbourne FC fans
For a considerable amount of time, doubts over the very survival of Shelbourne Football Club have never been far away. Many individuals and groups have helped steward the club and its proud traditions, sacrificing a lot of their own time and money. However, while there is still cause for concern there is also significant scope for us as fans to address many of these issues.
Having examined the work of Supporters Direct, the body responsible for promoting supporter-and-community involvement in football clubs, and which supports part-owners of Swansea City, the Swans Trust, as well as AFC Wimbledon, Cork City FC and countless others across Ireland and Europe, as Shels fans we feel their tried and trusted processes have something to offer the supporters of Shelbourne FC.
What is a Supporters’ Trust?
A supporters’ trust is a formal and democratic organisation that seeks to strengthen the influence of supporters over the club they support. One of the other principles it works on is that a fanbase has within it the skills necessary to be more than just fans but to also take an active role within their club.
The specific work of a supporters’ trust is decided by what its members want its priorities to be, in line with a particular legal and ethical framework, based on a co-op model, that ensures it conducts its dealings in a transparent way. Its membership fees, rules and ethos must be inclusive and allow for diversity of opinion.
What role does a Supporters’ Trust have to play at Shels?
Trust members will hold the ultimate role in deciding this, however we feel that the trust could provide some of the following:
– Give supporters a structured voice in how the club is run.
– Promote a greater culture of civic activism in and around the club.
– Provide a means to harness the skills of fans such as marketing, promotion, accountancy, law, administration and many others, which are essential to the club and the community around it.
This is in addition to the role trusts can play in actively owning or having a stakeholding in clubs.
What are the next steps?
Supporters Direct recommends an extremely specific path to the formation of a Supporters’ Trust. The first step is to hold an open meeting to introduce a concept of a Trust and to establish a working group that will register the Trust. However, most importantly, a mandate must be given by fans – through a formal vote – before the working group can be formed.
Providing there is sufficient interest arising from our current promotional activity, we propose to hold that open meeting on Saturday the 13th of October at 5.00PM in The Tolka Bar, Tolka Park. This is before our final home game against Cork City. Speakers at the meeting will include Sean O’Conaill (founding member of FORAS, the Trust which runs Cork City) and, we hope, a representative from the UK Supporters’ Trust movement.
We are open to questions and discussion over anything in this document. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your time:
Conor McManus, Lee Daly, Martin Grehan.