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Supporting the trust movement
Supporting the trust movement

In September, York was the host for the second regional meeting of supporters trusts formed under the acronym YNEST (Yorkshire & North East Supporters Trusts). This is the opportunity for local trusts to get together and share their experiences and best practices and generate better links between rival clubs. There are currently 15 member trusts representing both Football and Rugby League clubs.  Representatives at the meeting included those from Hull, Bradford, Huddersfield, Halifax, Leeds and Darlington.  Steve Beck and Ian Hey represented York and the meeting proved beneficial to all who attended.


On 30th September, Supporters Direct held their National Conference in London where York City was represented by Paul Rawnsley and Ian Hey.  As well as board members from over 50 trusts covering English and Scottish clubs, there were also representatives from Sport England, the Premier League, The FA, the Football Conference, UEFA, local and national Government and so on.  The event has two purposes, being the formal AGM business of Supporters Direct and the workshops and informal sessions afterwards.  The formal business includes the annual elections for representatives to be elected to the Board of Supporters Direct itself and the adoption of various recommendations and rules for the operation of best practice amongst trusts.


The other sessions consisted of a variety of workshops such as "making a bid for your Football Club", "Creative Community work exploring the links between councils and football clubs" and a discussion group around "the Burns report covering the future governance and structure of the FA".  There were also other forums concerned directly with issues affecting trusts, such as best practice for elections, a meet the candidates session for the Supporters Direct elections and a discussion group about spreading the trust movement internationally.  


The event also provided trusts with the opportunity to exchange views and experiences. A good example of this was our meeting with David Treherne, the Chairman of Exeter City.  David then attended our Trust Board Meeting the following day, to share their experience of governance matters.  During the past year or so, trust-owned Exeter has undertaken a governance review similar to what has been done at York.


As always, throughout the day there were plenty of references to York City, in particular the Clubs achievement to find a ground solution at Bootham Crescent.  At the event, one is also reminded that some of the issues we have faced at York are also faced by fans at other clubs (although rarely as extreme as the set of circumstances we inherited!).  It is evident that the trust movement is increasingly being supported by Government and the football bodies in the UK.  And internationally, in its new strategy for European football, UEFA advocates that in an ideal world there would be all clubs controlled and run by their members e.g. supporters according to democratic principles.  Expect to see the trust movement continue to grow in strength and for many more clubs to become owned, at least in part, by their trust. 

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