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Board meeting: Thursday 22nd November, 7:30pm, Boston SRC

Board meeting: Thursday 27th December, 7:30pm, Boston SRC

Boston United FC Supporters Trust is a registered Industrial and Provident Society, company No. IP30051R

Trust round-up August 2006

by Adam Upsall

As the League season gets off and running Supporters Trusts up and down the country are continuing their work, we take a look at a few topics since last month's round up.

Arguably the most famous Supporters Trust owned club, AFC Wimbledon, were subject to a formal takeover bid. A prospective sponsor of the club raised his interest and formally approached the AFC Wimbledon board, which prompted a review of the offer by the board. This resulted in the board announcing there was 'little appetite' for the board to recommend to members that control of the club be lost and given that within the current constitution the objectives and aims of AFC Wimbledon the club remains a shining example of what Trusts can acheive, why would they?

Unsurprisingly the board announced: “Any decisions on such fundamental issues should be made by the members of The Dons Trust. Majority ownership and control of AFCW PLC and its subsidiaries will remain firmly in the hands of the Dons Trust unless and until Dons Trust members decide otherwise.”

Despite the good news for Dons supporters, AFC Wimbledon lost their hold on the Supporters Direct Cup to FC United of Manchester at Gigg Lane - home of Bury and FCUM - at the end of July.

After taking the lead they got pegged back and then beaten 2-1 in front of a crowd of 2,136.

This was the forth SD Cup, first being played at AFC Wimbledon’s home ground of Kingsmeadow against Enfield Town, followed by a year off and then in 2004 AFC faced Brentford who took the cup 2-0 before shaping up against FCUM in 2005 and 2006.

All smiles before cup

Premiership new boys Reading have been maximising revenue, a phrase to send a shiver down the spine of any supporter, since their new found status was achieved last season. STAR (Supporters Trust at Reading) announced their disappointment at the news Reading FC were handing “Reading 107” exclusive broadcast rights for games this season. On the face of it not a bad thing, get some cash, hear some commentary, but there is one snag. Reading 107 broadcast range means that a maximum of 227,000 over 15’s will be able to hear the coverage, compare that to BBC Radio Berkshire, who until this season also broadcast commentary, and they scoop a huge 771,000.

Understandably, STAR are concerned that this short term view will not benefit the club in growing a supporter base to match those of many of their of Premier League rivals.

A statement on the official STAR website read: “Effectively this means that free, non-internet, access to live commentary of Reading's first season in the Premier League will now be unavailable to over half a million people who live outside "Reading and the Greater Reading area" - Reading 107's stated catchment area. This includes the large numbers of Reading supporters (and, of course, potential Reading supporters!) in towns such as Newbury, Thatcham, Hungerford, Didcot, Maidenhead, Slough, Windsor, Bracknell and Basingstoke, etc.”

Following on from last month's update, the newly formed Devils Trust at Crawley Town have had to hit the ground running as the club faced liquidation just days before the Conference National season began. The first hurdle has been passed and the original offers deadline of the 2nd August has been suspended.

Unfortunately for the supporters, the process looks let to rumble on for some time yet as the creditors have to vote on an offer from the previous owners, the Majeed family, who have been set a deadline of 14 days from August the 10th. So although hope remains, the very real possibility remains that Crawley could be liquidated, ejected from the Conference, their results expunged, and forced to restart next season at least two levels below their present position.

On a final, and much more positive note, the Supporters Trust board at Notts County have unanimously agreed to purchase an additional 20.8% of the shareholding which will take them past the winning post of 50% and therefore gain control of their club for the first time in their 144 year history.

Keri Usherwood, Trust Chair, commented: “This is not an exercise in control or power broking. The Club desperately needs a prolonged period of stability in order to continue to build on the firm foundations that have been put in place. We see our role as maintaining a 'watching brief' over the happenings at the Club. The existing directors will continue to receive our support in running the Club. We will be on hand to ensure that the excesses of the past will not be repeated.

"Football cannot continue to be run on a mixture of hand-outs, bail-outs and cop-outs. There is no place for egotists or those who use football for self-aggrandisement. The majority ownership of the club will be in the hands of those who provide the basis for its very existence, the supporters.

Keri Usherwood

“We intend to promote an open culture where supporters are kept fully informed of all meaningful issues affecting their Club. Existing avenues of communication will continue to be improved and additional opportunities will be explored. After the difficult and depressing times of recent years this is an opportunity for the world’s oldest football league club to look to better times with its supporters at its heart."

More details of the Notts County situation will be heard at the next BUFCST Open Meeting scheduled for 4th November where the BUFCST are hoping to host both Keri and vice-chair Nigel King.

Another Supporters Trust round up will be here next month, so keep checking for updates.

Previous Trust Round-ups
July 2006

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