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From The Chairman

By: Dave Otter
Date: 11/11/2003

THE article written by Humberston Mariner has, at least, brought the Supporters' Trust to the forefront in terms of publicity and, I suppose, we should be grateful to him for that!

Home > Features > 2003 Features > From The Chairman

As is usually the case with this gentleman he got his facts wrong - but on this occasion he chose to get his facts wrong because he does not, for some reason, want the Trust to succeed.

If he genuinely wanted the Trust to succeed he would have joined and (if he was unhappy with the way in which we were progressing) would have put himself forward for a position of some influence. He did not. He actually wants the Trust to fail - he even criticised it before the Trust was established!

As a number of people have pointed out on the message board (and I thank them for their support) Humbo makes a number of vague criticisms without giving any indication of what HE would like from the Trust. He states that we should ask the membership that question rather than him. The problem with that statement, Humbo, is that the membership are not complaining - you are.

He says that we do not communicate with our members. Every member has received a copy of our newsletter. Non members (such as you, Humbo) are offered the newsletter for sale. We have a website which will shortly have a Members' Area giving minutes of Board Meeting, AGMs etc. We are constantly trying to persuade the media to carry stories about the Trust.

He says that we do not advertise our fundraising events very well - we organised a Race Night in the bar of the Lower Smith's after a home game last season. We advertised the event in the GET, on Radio Humberside, Compass FM, in the match programme, on the PA system at the ground and on posters strategically placed above the urinals in the gent's toilets in the ground! What else do you suggest we should have done Humbo? Tell me?

Humbo says that "a lot of people I've talked to that were Trust supporters have lost their enthusiasm because of the lack of information coming out of the Trust and seem to think they look after themselves instead of supporters (for which it was set up to help)". We are not here to "look after" the supporters. We are here to further the objectives of the Trust. Your statement about us (presumably you mean the Board) "looking after" ourselves has quite serious implications and borders on being libellous. I do not feel the need to comment further.

To Humberston Mariner I would say that, if you have anything constructive to suggest to the Trust, you are more than welcome to talk to a Board meeting to give us the benefit of your opinions.

To everyone else, I would like to thank you all for your support and encouragement. I would remind everyone who is at the game on Saturday that we will be selling raffle tickets to fund our sponsorship of the game on Boxing Day.

I have reproduced below the Chairman's Report I delivered to our recent AGM. This, along with other information will be available in the Members' Area of the GTST website:

"It seems along time since that Saturday morning when 7 of us sat down at the Blundell Park Hotel to discuss the idea of forming a Supporters Trust at Grimsby - in reality; it was only 13 months ago!

That 13 months has seen a frenetic amount of activity going on - starting with the establishment of the Trusts website - and the organisation of a public meeting to vote for the formation of a Trust - a legal requirement if we wished to be established as an Industrial and Provident Society. The meeting took place on a cold, foggy night at the Memorial Hall last November and, following presentations from other Supporters Trusts and Supporters Direct, voted unanimously to establish a Trust at Grimsby Town.

That meeting showed the level of passion in the town for the Club and convinced me that the Trust would be a great success - I still believe that to be the case.

Following the public meeting, the Working Party was expanded to 16 people and had the task of preparing for the Public Launch in March. In the meantime, a great deal of work had to be done to progress the legalities of forming the Trust as an Industrial and Provident Society.

It has to be said that, in terms of attendance, the Public Launch was a disappointment - in retrospect it was not a good idea to hold it on the same day as two live FA Cup Semi Finals on the TV! However, those who did attend had a thoroughly enjoyable day, culminating in the evening when Breathless and Yabba Dabba supported my stand-up comedy routine!

An application was then submitted to the Financial Services Authority and the Registrar of Friendly Societies to accept Grimsby Town Supporters Society Limited (trading as GTST) as one of their family.

This evenings meeting means that process is now complete and tonight will see the election of the Board proper. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has been involved with the Board for their hard work, particularly those who have put their energies into setting up the Trust but, for one reason or another do not wish to be considered for election to the Board - without your efforts we would not be here tonight.

I terms of the activities of the Trust to date there are too many of them to list now. However, in terms of investment, we have sponsored kit for the past two seasons and will continue, finances allowing, investing in the youth system and young players at the Club. We have also sponsored the Under 15 Cup Competition in the Grimsby Intermediate League and have donated funds to the Handicapped Supporters Club.

Fundraising activities have included Race Nights, a deal with Tom Wood Breweries to produce a Trust Beer and the establishment of the Tower for Power appeal to raise funds to buy shares in GTFC. This has resulted in the Trust owning £600 worth of shares in the Club with a commitment to purchase a minimum of £100 worth every month for the next five months.

Communication with our members is something we take very seriously. To that end the first Trust Newsletter "In Cod We Trust" was published in August. "Sing When We're Fishing" has also come under the umbrella of the Trust and the website continues to go from strength to strength.

Our relationship wit the Club itself has developed considerably throughout the last 13 months. I think it would be reasonable to suggest that when we first approached the Club we were viewed with suspicion. As time has gone by our relationship has developed considerably and we seem to be viewed with respect and "Trust" if you will excuse the pun!

I would suggest that the future success of the Trust depends not only on the Board but also on the efforts of you, the members. This is still an uncertain time for football - the apparent financial stability of GTFC hides the fact that the Club have had to make swingeing cuts and, I would suggest, were it not the windfall of the Jarvis sponsorship deal, the Club would be in a real financial crisis. The role of the Trust, in my opinion, is to support the Club in any way it can - and if the worst ever happens, be in a position to rescue the Club if necessary. To do that, we need to be bigger, stronger and more profitable. The Board can go some way toward achieving that but not without you - the members."

Our aims and objectives for the next 12 months are:

  • To have increased the membership base to at least 250 by the next AGM. We will do this by raising the profile of the Trust through increased publicity, marketing and events in both a local and national arena. To this end, membership forms will be distributed at future games and you, the members, can also help by word of mouth

  • To increase our revenue. The trust has recently reached an agreement with a Telecommunications company in Finland and will shortly be going into business offering Ringtones and games etc for mobile 'phones. The key to the success or failure of this venture will be in the marketing of the product and that will be one of the first tasks for the Board. We will of course, continue to hold race nights etc and I would ask for your support in these things.

  • To continue to invest in the club and, in particular increase our share ownership. The trust has agreed to sponsor the game against Oldham on Boxing Day and is hoping to recoup the cost of this through the sale of raffle tickets. The tickets will be available in a few days time and will cost £1 each. Prizes will include executive seats for the match and tickets to a Premiership game. Books of tickets will be sent to each member and I would ask that you all try to sell some. Any monies over and above the cost of sponsorship will be used to buy shares.

  • The trust will be looking to increase our involvement in the local community - this is something that will involve members - it is not something the board can do alone.

  • To continue to progress our relationship with the club in the hope that we can be involved at a more strategic level" END


    This reply was sent to me last week but due to the match preview, the match and the Tony Butcher match report, I have held it over until today.

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