The Supporters Trust Board are feeling just as hurt, angry and fed up with Bradford City’s terminable decline as all fellow City supporters are.
The Trust Board is made up of ordinary fans like you. We recognise the reason for the team’s decline is the result a catalogue of errors going as far back as 9 months or more. To see our team reach the Play-Off Finals at Wembley under Stuart McCall and then compare that team to a shadow of a team we have today is heart breaking to say the least.
Our meeting with the Club
When we had our meeting with Edin Rahic and a number of senior staff at the Club almost 2 weeks ago, we had the view it would be the start of many. That is not that we wanted a ‘cosy’ relationship. Our view has always been that in order to bring about positive decisions that benefit both the fans and the Football Club.
Before our meeting we consulted with you, our members, we asked you for your questions to ask Edin and the Club. Our response was good and covered a broad area of topics that fans were rightly concerned with. However we only took questions from our members. Non-members’ whether they are in our Facebook group or those who ‘Like’ the ‘Likes’ page did not get a look in. If we were to take everyone’s questions from all supporters, members or not, we would still be there now.
We understood there would be a certain amount of criticism. Whether supporters find that the information we got out in our report was not worthy is a view that you have a right to have. It is understandable that supporters will be impatient.
Also, when we went into that meeting we wanted to conduct ourselves appropriately. We didn’t want it to be a blaming game, angrily demanding Club representatives to ‘owning up their responsibility’. It is very easy to sit on the sidelines and ask all kinds of things after the event and rage about how pathetic we were. What would it look like to the Club, if they saw that we wanted to interrogate them?
We wanted to develop a trusting, cordial working relationship. The Trust’s ability of a working relationship with the a football club is an extremely vital part of owners running their football clubs and them listening and taking on board what fans have to say.
For many years we have been marginalised by our owners and the Trust had tried in vein to bend over backwards to be a safe pair of hands for the Club to work with, and I have to say that policy was a sign of weakness on our part, but at that time, the Club was doing so well that no fan really cared about how our Club was being run. Today, now the team are doing so badly the owners and the Club are under the fans’ microscope.
Fans can call us all kind of insults, but the Trust Board has the best intentions of our members, and wider supporters and our Club at heart. To hear that fans accuse us of being sell-outs, chocolate soldiers and toothless is offensive. I have been active in the labour and trade union movement for over twenty-four years and I would never sell my members out down the river. Never!
A campaign for what football ownership should look like
Edin Rahic is accused of many things including:
Refusing to accept advise from senior staff.
Removing staff including players and Managers who don’t accept his way of running the Club.
Being involved in selecting the team and bringing in new players
Paying himself up to £10k per month
Asset stripping the Club and much more…
Whilst all of this may be true, a campaign of vindictiveness is negative and is very damaging. Everybody has a right to be angry but the Supporters Trust needs to have an approach that wins hearts and minds to achieve a spirit of unity going forward. Singling fans out and abusing them for having a perceived uncritical view the club and calling them ‘happy clappers’, is in my view unacceptable, whether you think it is right or wrong. Everyone is entitled to express they’re own views. However if that view is a threat to democracy and the ability to organise then a line should be drawn.
Bullying, whether it exists at the top of football or whether it is amongst fans is simply unacceptable, this is why we do not wish to personalise any campaign.
Instead we should discuss what a model club should look like as an example of how a well-run club
Internal affairs of the Club
The Club should have
A staff conduct policy that owners should not be above which includes anti-bullying in all its forms.
A grievance policy – for all staff
If the grievance is against owners there should be an independent officer /adjudicator to look at the case.
There should be a disciplinary procedure.
If the disciplinary involves the owner(s) there should be an independent officer /adjudicator to look at
That all staff including the owners have a right to be represented by a trade union without intimidation or
harassment within the Club – They are forms of bullying, when taking out a grievance or faces a
A relationship with the fans
Every season ticket holder a member of the Club
That every member gets one vote
The Club has quarterly Fans Forums and one AGM each season
The Club can put forward its ideas to the fans and fans can present ideas to the club through the
`Supporters Board’ and ‘Supporters Trust’ at meetings held once a month.
Votes on policy will take place at the AGM. Policies can be on budget spending on the transfer market,
stadium investment and facilities etc.
The Supporters Board and Trust can put forward their ideas based on canvassing supporters and
members’ their views.
The Trust can put its ideas forward on a cohesive partnership, ground ownership / investment, fan’s
shares etc., etc.
That the Club should respect the joint working relationship of a ‘collective agreement’ at all times –
including when the going gets tough.
Wider issues of wealth distribution
The Club and fans should work together to work with national fans’ campaigns to increase the income
distribution of TV monies from the Premier League to Leagues One & Two, and the grass roots, and
encourage other clubs to do the same.
This would be a ‘model club’ that we as fans should work towards. This model of Club / Fan relationship works in Germany.
We do not want to go back to the times when our Club was in danger of going out of business. We want fans to be united in bringing our Club back to life. We want a Club with a vision. The fans are the life-blood of our Club. Boycotting the Club to spite the owners is self-defeating and will bring us closer to the Club going bust.
The Trust’s aspiration is fan ownership – a campaign for what football ownership should look like moves us closer to that aim.
We will provide you with a date for our AGM and Fans Open Meeting very shortly
Join us to be part of a mass movement and fill in the form here
Unity is Strength!