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GTST - What's It All About?
AS many Grimsby Town supporters will be aware, a public meeting is being held on Nov 18th at the Cleethorpes Memorial Hall (corner of Clee Road and Grimsby Road.)
You may have heard about the meeting on Radio Humberside, read about it on one of the internet sites, or been handed a leaflet prior to the Burnley game inviting you to attend the meeting. The meeting will propose to the attendees the formation of a Supporters Trust for Grimsby Town FC.
This article will aim to answer any initial questions you may have about the proposal, and also clarify any areas of uncertainty that currently exist. Ultimately, we hope that the information provided here will help convince people that it is in their interest to attend the public meeting, listen to the presentations, put any questions they may have to the experts and ultimately vote 'YES' to the proposal for the formation of a Supporters Trust for Grimsby Town.
Q: So what is a Supporters Trust?
A: The basic definition of a Supporters Trust is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves. The important thing is that Supporters Trusts are independent of the football clubs, although many work closely with their clubs for mutual benefit.
Q: Will it replace the Grimsby Town Supporters Club?
A: We are not aiming to replace any currently existing Supporters Clubs - the existing supporters bodies perform a great deal of valuable work on behalf of the supporters that without question should continue. Rather, we would prefer to work with those bodies for the benefit of all involved.
Q: Who is organising all this?
A: The public meeting planning, along with the initial tasks involved in getting the trust off the ground are being carried out by a group of 8 or so GTFC supporters, who are generally representative of the supporter base (the 'organising group'). This group possess a wide range of commercial expertise, and are using their skills and knowledge to organise what they hope will be a successful public meeting, and get the wheels of a trust well in motion.
Q: Will this group run the trust ongoing?
A: Not necessarily. The formation of the trust is not a straightforward process, but the complexity is necessary to ensure fairness and democracy at all stages. Once the proposal has been put forward at the public meeting and voted on by the attendees - presuming the vote is positive - a working party will be formed. Every person attending the public meeting (including members of the organising group) will have the opportunity to nominate him or herself to join the working party. All the work that has been carried out so far will be handed over to the working party, who will then move forward with the actual formation of the trust.
Q: What do the group hope to achieve?
A: The organising group have put forward 5 initial objectives, and the work that is being carried out has been with those objectives in mind. Once the trust is formed, the trust committee can decide to move forward with these objectives, or scrap them and formulate new ones. However, we believe that these initial objectives are realistic, and representative of the majority of supporters' wishes:
We realise that these objectives are not going to be fulfilled overnight, and some of them are not as straightforward as others. Whilst we of course hope that we can over achieve on all these objectives, we are making no promises to supporters about what the trust may or may not accomplish - the success of the trust ultimately will be down to the willingness of the supporter base to make it work for them.
Q: How much are GTFC involved?
A: We would hope that moving forward, the trust will aim to work as closely with GTFC as possible, whilst of course remaining independent. In the interests of maintaining good relations with GTFC, representatives of the organising group have met with representatives of GTFC, and presented the objectives as detailed above. GTFC realise the benefit that a successful Supporters Trust will bring, and are supportive of this proposal - representatives of GTFC will be attending the public meeting.
Q: When and where is the meeting? Who will be there?
A: The public meeting will be held on Nov 18th, at the Memorial Hall, Cleethorpes. We aim to start at 7.45pm, doors will open at 7.30pm. We would urge as many supporters that are able to attend to come along and hear presentations from Brian Lomax (managing director of Supporters Direct), Ian Cawsey (MP for Brigg and Goole) and representatives from both the Arsenal and Chesterfield trusts.
A lot of the information provided in this article is also available on the GTST web site (www.gtst.net) with Frequently Asked Questions available at www.gtst.net/faq.pdf). More comprehensive detail can be found on the Supporters Direct website (www.supporters-direct.org)
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