Day: September 3, 2011

Supporters’ Trusts: Some Hard Questions

This weekend the saga of Trust ownership at Wrexham extends. Plymouth Argyle struggle to find an ownership solution to coming out of administration. In the tales of duplicity and ineptness that abound behind these stories, the arguments in favour of the Supporters Trust movement are strengthened. Supporters’ Direct have made clear and cogent points that substantiate these arguments in their recent briefing papers. Yet are Supporters’ Trusts always best placed to take over at their clubs? The current state of financial governance in football does not make for an even playing field for supporter owned clubs. It takes tough customers to have the tenacity to stick with the principles of the Supporter Owned Model when the financial structure of the game allows your business opponents a head start in the competition, despite the fact that they often put the very existence of their ‘business’ at risk, as Supporters’ Direct’s analysis shows. The recent government enquiry into football governance opened its evaluation of supporter ownership with the bald statement, ‘The examples of bad ownership are sufficiently numerous to point to systemic failure. A case can be made that, rather than tighter regulation, a more fundamental ownership change is required.’ The report continues,  ‘The supporters trust ownership model appears to us to be one of the positive developments in English football.’ This is encouraging but the recommendations of the enquiry do little...

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Yesterday In Plymouth… Strike Averted, But Club Not Saved

Yesterday in Plymouth, it nearly all kicked off, or rather it nearly didn’t. Lead administrator Brendan Guilfoyle “all-but-vanished” and somebody paid for acting chairman Peter Ridsdale to jet to the South of France, while staff at Home Park remained resolutely unpaid. Worse still… somebody paid for Ridsdale to jet back. And while this was going on, the latest issue of FC Business magazine thudded onto my doormat, with Ridsdale’s smug mug grinning up at me from the cover, advertising another part of his never-ending PR-campaign, designed to fool people into believing that his career in football has not largely been a failure. The plight of Plymouth Argyle’s great unpaid was brought to national newspaper and media attention by the idea (and headline-writer’s dream) of a “match strike” by Argyle’s senior and longest-unpaid players, including club and team captains, goalkeeper Romain Larrieu and centre-back Carl Fletcher respectively. And the very idea of a “strike” even brought it to the attention of the comrades at the Morning Star newspaper – the “only English-language socialist daily in the world”. “Comrade” Fletcher in particular caught the eye and ear by the first use of truly emotive language to come from Argyle’s squad. Having helped moot the idea on Thursday of withdrawing their labour from Argyle’s fixture at Burton Albion this afternoon, they went specific and ballistic yesterday morning. The Plymouth Herald newspaper said “the frustration spilled...

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