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Supporters Aim For The Top!

By: The Rams Trust
Date: 24/11/2004

AT the recent Supporters Direct [SD] conference in London, East Midlands Trusts, of which RamsTrust is a member, put forward a resolution, which was passed after some friendly debate.

It called for the powers that be to recognise that football fans had a right to sit on the official, governing bodies of the game.

Take the FA Council for example. This is a major decision-making forum of the custodians of the national game. Its representatives include people from county football associations, public schools, the Army, Air Force and Navy. And, of course, the clubs, especially those in the Premier League.

Notice who's missing?

Over the last few years, fans have proved that they are capable of organising themselves and putting forward articulate and practical solutions to the game's problems. Supporters' achievements have ranged from the setting up of the trusts to actually running clubs such as Chesterfield and Lincoln; from the Football Supporters' Federation [FSF] 'ambassadors' who have helped smooth relations between England fans and the locals during European and World Cup tournaments to the sterling efforts of the Hillsborough Families Campaign for a public enquiry into the deaths of their loved ones.

None of these achievements are recognised by Football's ruling bodies. Who is there to represent the supporters' point of view? We don't expect the FA to suddenly change things because we've passed a resolution; they have ignored us for decades. But this should be part of a concerted campaign to put pressure on them to give fans a voice at the top table.

There a number of organisations through which fans can be represented, including SD itself and the FSF. Who could argue that they are less worthy of a place than some of the organisations mentioned above?

We should also support some official recognition of the players' union, the PFA. Although some think that players have too much power already, the PFA represents more than just the Premiership players: those in the lower divisions, on far from superstar contracts deserve some representation too.

This idea of fans being recognised as a legitimate voice within the game also applies at club level; a number of clubs have fans' reps on the board - as well as those already mentioned where the fans are the club. This situation would have been seen as Utopian just a few years ago, although of course the county cricket clubs have had their supporters [through their membership system] serving on decision-making bodies for years.

Everyone needs to realise that fans are not prepared to be passive 'consumers' or customers. We have worked hard to develop a distinctive voice within football. It's about time this was recognised at the highest level.

To make YOUR voice heard, join The Grimsby Town Supporters Trust online at www.gtst.net or write to:

GTST
PO Box 421
Cleethorpes,
N.E.Lincs,
DN35 7WY

Tel: 0870 4322820
Fax:0870 4322820

Email: enquiries@gtst.net

This article has been reproduced by kind permission of The Rams Trust at www.ramstrust.org.

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