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She'll Be Right!

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 18/04/2005

PHILP French, the director of public policy at the Premier League, has been appointed managing director of Supporters Direct, the organisation that assists supporters groups to take a financial stake in their clubs.

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The Guardian reported;

"Supporters Direct has grown in stature in the past three years. High-profile cases such as Exeter City, a club saved by its supporters' trust before drawing Manchester United in the FA Cup, have demonstrated the potential of the democratic, mutual model for trusts, and French is committed to taking the organisation to the next level. He is determined to provide a more dynamic and influential voice for the ordinary fan.

There are now 100 supporters' trusts that have injected more than £10m into the game, nine clubs are in the control of supporters' trusts, 40 have board representation and 60 have shareholdings.

French's priorities will inevitably include lobbying Lord Burns's review of the Football Association to recommend Supporters Direct has a voice within a restructured FA, if not at board level then within the FA Council or its committees. French will also seek to hold up the supporters' trust movement as a model of financial transparency and good practice.

"This appointment puts the seal on the advances made in the game by Supporters Direct since its inception in 2000," Burnham added. "It is a clear signal that we are ready to move the organisation to the next stage of its development as a key stakeholder in the game."END

It is fitting that a supporters organisation are making more inroads and progress in the future of football than the FA and its poor and ineffective offshoot the Football League.

Fans and supporters in the UK have embraced the football trusts movement which has been the most effective method of seeing football fans not only having their say, but having a decisive role in the management of their clubs and increased influence in the development and management of football throughout the nation..

It may have taken 100 years or more but it has finally happened.

Well, almost everywhere, except Grimsby perhaps.

If one looks at the football trusts around Britain, it seems that Grimsby Town's is the slowest growing in terms of members.

I do not know what is wrong with Grimsby fans. I know it is not a high income area and many are struggling but if you look at our catchment area not all are paupers or on the dole.

There just seems to be a lack of enthusiasm amongst the fans about the trust and even the Keep the Mariners Afloat campaign.

Maybe the answer is that most are 'gonna do's'. They are going to do something but have not yet got round to it and might not ever.

I would have thought that if anything would arouse the passion of the fans it would be the news of a severe financial problem in the club and a the threat of administration (which has not yet gone away).

But not in Grimsby it seems.

Apathy Town seems like an apt description. The old 'She'll be right' syndrome seems to grip Grimsby folk, all waiting for someone else to do it until it's too late.

Pity. Because we could have a really good club and team if everyone just rallied to the cause.

But I doubt they will.

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