Here at Supporters Direct we’re often asked what the benefits of forming a Supporters’ Trust are so, in order to explain how a Trust can be more effective, we asked our members in both Premier League and EFL trusts to tell us about how they view membership of the movement and their relationship with SD as an organisation. 25 of our trusts replied and this is what they said…
The first thing that became clear was that over three quarters of our trusts saw the primary benefit from being a trust, and therefore a Member of Supporters Direct, as access to the wider network of trusts locally and nationally enabling them to discuss similar issues encountered by both nearby trusts and trusts at the same level as their own.
In addition, the access to Supporters Direct staff and resources was also seen as of particular benefit with, again, over three quarters of respondents stating this as a primary reason for encouraging the formation of a trust.
Furthermore, the credibility associated with being part of the nationwide grouping of organisations was also at the forefront of their thinking when answering the survey.
Many of our respondents were keen to emphasise that the benefits are not always apparent to fans particularly in those situations where they do not see the need for a trust when a club is being well run and/or enjoying success on the field. However, as can be seen recently at Leyton Orient, where a trust had been in existence for fifteen years before being required to step in and provide a rallying point for supporters when things started to go wrong, it is often having such a structure in place that has benefits in the long term.
Purchasing shares was always seen to be a primary reason and objective for Supporters Trusts, and whilst it remains a strategy for some, increasingly Supporters Trusts have assumed the position of the go to supporters body to co-ordinate independent supporter involvement at their club.
Whilst the above are just a snapshot of the areas that can be seen to be beneficial as a trust there are many other areas of benefit including the expansion of community activity and the access to journalists and local politicians that are also cornerstones of the work that the trust movement has done.
In summary, the key benefits to forming a trust from our survey of Premier league and EFL trusts are:
• Access to the wider network of trusts both locally and nationally
• Access to Supporters Direct staff and resources
• Credibility from being incorporated as a trust and being associated with being part of a wider network
• Improvement of media profile
• Access to club officials
• Access to football authorities
• Access to journalists and politicians