Notes of CFCST start-up meeting held 22/9/12

If you have any questions about this or any other post, any e-mail sent to will be responded to. Our twitter account is @cfcstrust .
First of all, thank you to those who attended the meeting at the Barrow Boy after Saturday’s game. To get 70+ people to a meeting on a Saturday evening is very heartening, especially given the fact that the purpose of the meeting was to inform, as opposed to making firm decisions. We also received apologies from a number of people who, for various reasons, cannot make meetings at that time.
Despite the challenges of the meeting room (you should have seen it when we arrived at 17.15….) our feeling was that there was plenty of passion and plenty of energy in the room and, given the general response at the end, a feeling from most present that a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust was an initiative worth pursuing, accepting it will take time and effort to set it up and develop it properly.
Apologies that not all questions raised in advance were not responded to, we simply ran out of time. Apologies also to those who pointed out in advance that this was likely to be the case. It is notoriously difficult at such start-up sessions to predict the way the meeting will go, and it would have been wrong to limit contributions from attendees. A written response to all those questions will be circulated by e-mail later in the week.
It was very useful to get a wider perspective in terms of the trust movement from James Mathie of Supporters Direct and to hear about activity at trusts at PL clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal and Newcastle United. Many thanks to James for giving up his evening to support the meeting, and also for staying behind to answer individual questions. It is clear that we can learn from other Trusts in terms of their successes and failures going forward, and to have the advice and support of Supporters Direct will certainly be a major help to us.
A number of major issues were raised including the following :-
  • Scepticism from some attendees about whether a Chelsea FC Supporters Trust would ever be effective given the club ownership structure.
  • A need to clarify how a trust would interact with existing groups.
  • There are different models at different clubs and this would need to be carefully worked through.
  • A general recognition of the ineffectiveness of the Fans Forum, although clear concerns were expressed about how effective a Trust would be in dialogue with the club.
  • A desire to ensure that the overseas Chelsea fan base are encouraged to participate in the Trust.
  • Given that a major issue for many Chelsea supporters in recent years has been the future of the CPO, and given that a Trust would obviously be a totally separate legal entity from the CPO, there would need to be careful thought about if (and how) a Trust would be involved in CPO issues that arise in the future.
  • The Supporters Liaison Officer role at the club was seen to be a key one going forward.
  • A desire to set membership fees as low as realistically possible (especially given the very low costs of running such an organisation).
  • It would need hands-on effort from a large number of people, using a number of different mechanisms, to maximise membership, to demonstrate to the club & other stakeholders the support the Trust had.
There are a number of steps to go through before a Trust can be approved by Supporters Direct and hence begin signing up members. These will be talked through with James Mathie and be the subject of a further e-mail later this week in terms of what we need to do before the next meeting and asking for help in doing this.

A number of people approached us after the meeting to offer their active support, and we are very grateful to them as clearly the more people actively involved, the more effective the development of the Trust will be.
In terms of the next meeting, there are a few potential options, and we would like to canvass your views in terms of what you think would work best for you and any friends/family you have who may be interested in attending :-
Man U 16.00 ko Sun 28/10/12 – meet before (13.30 for 75 mins) or after (18.30 for 75 mins)
Liverpool 16.00 ko Sun 11/11/12 – meet before (13.30 for 75 mins) or after (18.30 for 75 mins)
Sunday games are probably not ideal for many people, but our next Saturday 15.00 kick-off is three days before Xmas (and even that may be moved) and it is important to build momentum and impetus before then. There is no time/date in the next couple of months which will suit everyone but your responses (to the e-mail address above) will give us an indication as to preferences.

We will also be looking at whether there is a more suitable meeting venue in and around Fulham Broadway – if anyone has any ideas please let us know.