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Trust Engagement

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GrangeParkCobbler
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« on: May 04, 2021, 19:50:34 pm »

Hello all, as promised i'm going to answer fans queries and questions on here....it is true, this part of the forum is greatly underused!!

So, where to begin? As many of you know I've been a regular poster on this site for around 14 or 15 years now. I have been critical of this site in recent years, namely towards some of the posters who seem to drag everyone down and I believe that has led to dwindling numbers of posters on here. That said, at the end of the day we're all Cobblers fans aren't we?!

There has been a lot of criticism of the Trust in posts over the past few years, and certainly over the past few days. I understand some of the feelings and can relate to a lot of the criticism...... partly the reason I have joined the Trust board, fresh ideas, change a few things. The Trust needs new blood, a new drive, a new direction on many levels....and if I can help in any of that then i'll be happy!

I'm here to listen, not necessarily judge, however I will pull you up if you cross the line! AS many have said, all this is voluntary, we do it in our own time, and I think the whole board has the interests of the Club at heart. In my time its clear that we are not all exactly aligned on some subjects, but it would be a bit boring if we were!!

My view is the Trust needs new impetus, and most of that can only come from you, the fans. Every fan we can get signed up makes the Trust voice louder. In the current climate that doesn't mean much, but we can try. To achieve that the Trust are looking to launch a membership drive. Its not been confirmed yet but we have already talked about offering free one year membership, or free for under 25's, some of this is tied into the Trusts 30th year anniversary next year, and also the Clubs 125th anniversary. So look out for joining instructions....the Trust can only be as strong as its membership, and quite rightly that membership then gets to hold the Trust board to account.

Current numbers are around the 650 mark, that has remained quite static since 2015, an influx of new members that year swelled the numbers. Also worth pointing out that the vast majority (90% or so) of that 650 are life members, meaning they've paid their money and that's it, so on a year to year basis there is not a lot of money coming into the Trust. That said, there is a healthy sum accrued over the years, and currently swelled by 500 club subscriptions on a monthly basis. Certainly nowhere near enough to run the club....so don't get too excited!

So, please get involved, join the Trust, even if it is for free next year! We need to get those numbers up! I believe that football is changing, first we had Project Big Picture, now the ESL fiasco, and there is movement from various fans groups up and down the country who want change. The scenes at the weekend are testament to that......Man Untied fans, despite their team being second in the league, on the cusp of a European final, back in the Champions League next year, and they're not happy with the running of their club!!

Where do we (NTFC) fit into all this? Well on a much smaller scale things need to change for lower league teams too! Too much money at the top, the rich get richer and the rest struggle. As a Supporters Trust we have made representations to Tracy Crouch MP, who has recently been appointed as the Chair of a fan-led review into Football Governance. The Trust has also written to and received replies from some of our local MP's regarding an early day motion to discuss matters in Parliament.
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GrangeParkCobbler
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2021, 20:15:42 pm »

On a local level, The Trust has also been in contact with members of the new West Northants Council, there are only officers appointed at present, no actual councillors until after Thursdays election.

The Club held a meeting with officers of WNC last week, and the Trust chair received a letter from KT outlining these discussions. As far as can be ascertained the status quo remains, namely that the Club have held "positive discussions" and set out their hopes and aspirations, whilst at the same time the Council have laid out their expectations and hopes! I won't jump the gun and give out the details, but as is said in the letter the position has not changed since the last talks between the Club and the then NBC back in December.

The Trust for their part have been asked to support said plans. A response to this request will be agreed at the next Trust board meeting which takes place next week.

It has already been a real eye opener for me. I have attended a Zoom meeting with Kelvin Thomas, James Whiting and Gareth Wilshere a couple of weeks back, and some financials were discussed which has enabled me to gain a greater understanding of just what is going on on that front, and how COVID has affected things.

In light of recent events, and as part of the Trust's "desire" to see more fan involvement in the running of our club the Trust have arranged or are holding meetings with other supporters clubs. We had a meeting with Swindon last week, and have forthcoming meetings with Accrington Stanley and Torquay in the near future. We (the Trust) want to learn more about the issues encountered when fans do have a greater say in the running of THEIR club, and so can make a more informed decision about how to progress matters should it still be desired.

And that's the big thing, I completely agree that ALL COBBLERS FANS, not just those who are members of the Trust have a voice and should be able to ask questions. The Trust recognises the need to reach out to more fans and is planning an open forum in the coming months, subject of course to Covid restrictions being lifted. All Trust members have the opportunity to attend the Zoom meetings in the meantime, and indeed a couple of non-board members have recently attended meetings online.

Believe me, there is a lot going on behind the scenes, as Shane (Drilling) alluded to there are sometimes multiple meetings in a week at the moment, the situation is very fluid, but there remains a desire to be more involved in the direction of NTFC and to get more people involved in that process.

I am on here most days, so if you want to know anything, and I can answer it then I will. This will be part of the "greater involvement".

As I mentioned, there is a Trust Board meeting next Thursday and there are items on the agenda such as formulating a response to Kelvins letter, discussing proposals (in their infancy) for development of the North Stand and a fanzone, Community Ownership plans and models, a membership drive already mentioned, and also an agreed Public Statement outlining the current direction of the Trust.

Judging by a lot of the comments on here, on Facebook's various forums, and in Football in general, there seems to be a wish for change. How we go about making that change is yet to be decided, What direction to take is also yet to be decided, nothing is set in stone.

I will endeavour to keep you updated, and as I say I will try to answer an queries you may have to the best of my ability.

A lot of water has gone under the bridge in the past few years, mistakes have been made, and yes the Trust has made some of them. But isn't it time to draw a line under a lot of this now and all pull together as supporters of Northampton Town Football Club?

Sincerely,

Simon (GPC)

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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2021, 22:27:39 pm »

Well done mate. It’s good to see some positive momentum. Thank you for the update. Keep us posted.
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2021, 08:46:13 am »

Thank you Simon/GPC,
A good update and just understanding an example of the work in the background removes some of the mystery.
I hope it gathers momentum and generates more interest, ultimately leading to increased due diligence and challenge around the running of the club.
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2021, 23:28:25 pm »

Well done Simon, the momentum regarding change appears to be gaining traction and presents a real opportunity? As you have alluded to a unified voice is greater than a minority one? To that end I raised the possibility of supporters trusts/clubs creating a kind of national affiliation with the intention of creating greater lobbying power? Is this strategy in the thoughts of the trust or perhaps even on the agenda for the upcoming meetings with the supporters clubs of Swindon, Torquay etc? Or are there issues, concerns or restrictions that may make this proposition counter productive or impractical?

Having discussed the issue of communication with members of the trust board in the past, I was informed that technical hurdles prevented regular communication/emails to the membership, especially those which may require a response, such as a those involving surveys. I went on the record with an offer of assistance should this be a route which the trust wish to pursue and take the opportunity to repeat that offer now. As stated many times, I believe full and regular engagement with the membership is vital to the future of the trust and as you know, this position has been endorsed by other members of the forum and the Trust. What is the boards current position regarding this issue and what proposals are being considered if any?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 23:32:19 pm by Melbourne Cobbler » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2021, 22:54:10 pm »

Well done Simon, the momentum regarding change appears to be gaining traction and presents a real opportunity? As you have alluded to a unified voice is greater than a minority one? To that end I raised the possibility of supporters trusts/clubs creating a kind of national affiliation with the intention of creating greater lobbying power? Is this strategy in the thoughts of the trust or perhaps even on the agenda for the upcoming meetings with the supporters clubs of Swindon, Torquay etc? Or are there issues, concerns or restrictions that may make this proposition counter productive or impractical?

Having discussed the issue of communication with members of the trust board in the past, I was informed that technical hurdles prevented regular communication/emails to the membership, especially those which may require a response, such as a those involving surveys. I went on the record with an offer of assistance should this be a route which the trust wish to pursue and take the opportunity to repeat that offer now. As stated many times, I believe full and regular engagement with the membership is vital to the future of the trust and as you know, this position has been endorsed by other members of the forum and the Trust. What is the boards current position regarding this issue and what proposals are being considered if any?

Sorry Melly, I'll try my best with some of these!

Look, i'm one of the first to say that the Trust have not exactly covered themselves in glory with regards to communication, accessibility, inclusion and other things in the past. As I said in my earlier post, thats partly the reason why I have got involved! And here I am on here, doing my bit to try and get a bit more of the news and views out there whilst listening to the views of the supporters too.

There is a lot going on with the Fan Led review and suchlike, I know our Trust has been involved and has provided some input, I also know that we have been in touch with the Supporters Direct organisation. As already mentioned, meetings have been held with Swindon and Torquay, we had a date for Accrington but they pulled out due to a Covid issue with their main contributor. That meeting will be rearranged as will one with Blackpool who have promised to meet with us over the Summer. We have also had contact with Exeter City with whom the Trust has built up good links with over the past couple of years. Lincoln are another side mentioned as a possible future meeting, how they managed to get fans involved after their relegation to the Conference is amazing. So at this stage we are looking at ideas, both from a "fan owned" front, and also just about ways of getting more engagement.

Moves are afoot to redesign the Trust website, to change the membership fee structure, to allow bank transfers rather than Paypal as now. You make a good point about surveys, this is something that can be looked at and discussed. At the moment the fanbase is very fragmented, at the moment we are trying to keep an eye on Twitter, at least three Facebook groups, this site, and others to gauge the mood.

A membership drive will take place, an Open Forum as soon as Covid restrictions allow is also on the agenda..... there's a lot going on believe me! At the end of the day though we (The Trust board) are 7 or 8 volunteers with varying amounts of free time, just trying to make a difference.
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« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2021, 05:32:10 am »

Thanks Simon, all sounds very positive. I genuinely try to make my comments constructive as far as the Trust are concerned. I view its activities as those that are driven by a love and concern for the club, as a result I am uncomfortable being overly critical of it. It’s an observation that could be levelled against all the the contributors to the forum when you think about it. Some such as myself are frightened that any over commitment financially could kill the club. Others have the same fears because we endlessly tread water and are at constant risk of fading away. And there in lies the significant challenge of unifying the support base and moving forward with a clear goal and purpose.

The truth is that we may have to wait until once again disaster looms and we are on the precipice of the abyss before the supporters will be galvanised into action. As indeed occurred when the Trust itself was created. Other than that I believe the only other way is along the lines I have suggested with unification of supporters across the country. That in itself would be a huge achievement. The reality is that despite all of the passion and best intentions the Trust in isolation just doesn’t have the leverage at this point and without significant changes probably won’t anytime soon. Unfortunately the fact is that is to the detriment of all supporters of the club, irrespective of any views they may have regarding the Trust.
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« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2021, 17:51:42 pm »

https://www.ntfctrust.co.uk/news/article/trusts-questions-for-david-bower-and-kelvin-thomas

These are the questions asked of our owners late last week, and to date no answers have been forthcoming.
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« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2021, 19:09:54 pm »

Most of those have already been answered at one time or another on the Redev thread?
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« Reply #9 on: May 22, 2021, 21:01:33 pm »

Most of those have already been answered at one time or another on the Redev thread?
I didn't know that David & Kelvin posted on here. I know Gareth keeps a keen eye open, so was it him who answer? or was it someone who thought they knew the answers?
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