The Trust board had a useful and constructive meeting with Steve Borley, a director of Cardiff City.

Steve, who attended the board meeting in a personal capacity, had accepted an invitation following comments made on Twitter last month after the Trust published a statement asking the club to set out its vision going forward.

The informal meeting looked at ways of improving communications between the club, the Trust and supporters generally. The dialog​ue​​ was positive and it was agreed that better engagement would benefit everyone. Steve agreed to make himself available via email or phone to Trust members to pose questions or relay matters of concer​n.​

Among the issues raised by Steve was how the Trust could help the work of the Cardiff Community Foundation and Academy and other initiatives. It was agreed there was a need for regular dialogue between senior club executives and the Trust and the importance of keeping fans informed of developments within the club and Steve promised to assist in the process.

Steve reaffirmed the commitment of Tan Sri Vincent Tan to Cardiff City Football Club. He was optimistic that with a few changes of personnel the Bluebirds could have a good season in 2015-16.

The issue was also raised of supporter representation on the club board but Steve felt it would be difficult to achieve because of the current structure model of the club with a single owner. But, he accepted, that good communications between fans and the club through the Trust and Supporter’s Club was crucial and vi​t​al for the club going forward. He also stated he wished for better collaboration and will look to make sure all parties are involved in end of season events and f​ans’​ forums.

Trust board members stressed that they wanted to see a successful Cardiff City and wanted to work with the club. But chair Tim Hartley said that​ the Trust​ would continue to raise issues of concern among fans and act as a “critical friend” when necessary. Steve accepted that and the club will continue to invite the Trust and Supporters Club to provide their views at an appropriate forum.

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Cardiff City legend Jason Perry and BBC Wales soccer commentator, Rob Phillips will take part in a fans’ forum following the Trust’s annual general meeting next month.

Members are assured of some forthright opinions from the former Bluebirds skipper on the 2014-15 season and the prospects for the next season at the Cardiff City Stadium. He will give his views on what the club needs to do re-engage with fans.

Jason and Rob are great supporters of the Trust’s work and we thank them once again for giving up their time.

The forum will follow the Trust’s AGM at the Llandaff Institute in Cardiff on Thursday, May 21 (7pm). During the AGM Robin Osterley, chief executive of Supporters Direct, will talk about the key issues facing supporters and the Supporters Trust movement nationally. Members will also be able to raise any issues with board members.

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Robin Osterley, chief executive of Supporters Direct, who will be speaking at the annual meeting of the Trust on Thursday, May 21, wrote this article for the Telegraph Total Football supplement which we have produced below.

Last week – I hope it didn’t escape your attention – was Supporter Ownership Week, a UK-wide celebration of the 40 or so clubs – mainly in football but also in rugby league – that are owned by their supporters. At Supporters Direct, our job is, amongst other things, to look after these groups of supporters, encourage them, train them and generally help them fulfil their dream of owning and in many cases running the clubs that they love.

Football, as we know, is not just a business, and supporters are not just consumers. They are the lifeblood of the sport, and this makes it all the sadder that the amount of public interest devoted to supporters seems to be directly proportional to the amount of trouble they cause. If a few drunken yobbos cause mayhem on a train, or a couple of homophobic morons start shouting obscenities, I am quite likely to get a call from a friend saying something along the lines of “see – fans are at it again”! But what of the supporter led consultations, the community projects, and the hours of volunteer time that supporters put in to give clubs a sustainable and bright future that is about far more than just the football?

When it comes to supporter ownership people do get excited; there is often huge interest, especially from the local media, when a club converts to supporter ownership. And no wonder – all of sudden the community has a real and genuine stake in the club, whose roots are suddenly right in the locality rather in the bank account of a wealthy businessman (and they usually are men of course). And this is often reflected in the huge amount of community activity generated by supporter-owned clubs, who have (nearly) as much interest in benefitting local playing facilities and amateur players as they do in moving up the table.

We have in membership a great diversity of supporter-owned clubs. Think, if you will, of FC United of Manchester, just about to open their own stadium in Moston, more than £2 million of which was funded by their supporters, helping other funders back the project – and who only need a point from two matches to be two promotions away from the Football League next season. Or Portsmouth, who quite simply wouldn’t exist without the efforts of supporters to save them from an apparently endless stream of rapacious and possibly insane potential owners. Or Exeter City, whose proud history also nearly came to an abrupt halt until supporters stepped in. Or Wycombe Wanderers, whose recent share offer has been an enormous and resounding success. Or baby Saffron Walden Town, the epitome of a small but community-rooted club. Or Rochdale Hornets, one of the original pioneers of rugby league. Or AFC Wimbledon, or Chester City, or Wrexham….or too many other clubs to mention in this limited space.

So many success stories. And yet there still seems to be some element of fear from many clubs (and indeed in some parts of the football authorities) about letting supporters into the boardroom, never mind allowing them to take overall control or ownership. Our job is to show the sceptics that actually the input and backing of supporters can always, if done properly, be a hugely positive and desirable thing, and that when that leads to full supporter ownership the results are a club rooted in its community, working for a sustainable future, and interacting effectively with the lifeblood that sustains it – the supporters.

And our job is also to convince the politicians that, post-election, this is an agenda they MUST engage with. The Government Expert Working Group on Supporter Ownership and Engagement must be allowed to complete its work. Whichever party is in power must recognise that this stuff isn’t just a fringe item – it’s becoming increasingly centre stage for the huge constituency that is supporters.

At a time when football is at its richest, when so many parts of our beautiful game appear broken, when so much of UK football income stuffs the bank accounts of so few and when the stories emanating from football are so often negative, supporter ownership stands as a beacon celebrating people doing the right thing. Here is where the volunteers gather to devote their time and energy to the club and community they love. Here is where football is still a fun game enjoyed by supporters who have a genuine stake in the club they are devoted to. Here is where the key decision makers are really accountable and can’t escape their role as custodians.  Here is where owners are highly unlikely to go off the rails, or sell their club to someone massively unsuitable.

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Trust member David Collins will sing Abide with Me at the FA cup final this year, representing Cardiff City

David of Cardiff was one of the winners of the Songs of Praise  FA Cup Fans choir competition. He had applied to take part in a once in a life-time experience to sing ‘Abide With Me’ on the pitch at Wembley before the final.

Sixty-four lucky football fans, who are a mix of male and female fans with ages ranging from early 20s right up to 100 years, will be representing their football club as they join with The Band of The Brigade of Gurkhas in front of almost 90,000 people on Saturday, May 30. Each fan represents one of the 64 teams who’ve made it to this year’s third round in the FA Cup.

Songs of Praise, who teamed up with BBC Sport as part of their FA Cup programming, asked for people to submit stories that reflect their personal memories and passion of the cup from every level of the game. The winning tales – selected by a panel of judges from the worlds of football, music and journalism – are a combination of amusing and moving stories which capture the spirit of the FA Cup and have a strong thread of family, community and tradition throughout.

Over 1,300 people applied to take part in the unique experience to sing ‘Abide With Me’, which has become a constant fixture since it was first sung at the FA Cup Final in 1927. In recent years, a celebrity solo singer has performed the song and this year the fans choir will join them on the football pitch. They will be led by international music producer and Songs of Praise conductor Steve Thompson, who is also a life-long fan of the FA Cup.

No singing experience was necessary to apply for the competition; those selected to perform the hymn at the FA Cup Final will now be able to practise singing ahead of the event with an online lesson which will be available on the Songs of Praise website shortly.

All the winners will also meet each other for the first time at Wembley the day before the final, where they will practice singing together and find out what it’s like to walk out onto the pitch in front of 90,000 people.

Aaqil Ahmed, Head of Commissioning – Religion, TV and Head of Religion & Ethics, said: “We’ve had a great response to the competition which has really sparked the interest of those who have a passion for football. We wanted to make the competition open to anyone to apply hence why no singing experience was necessary. The concept was to involve the whole football family and to find the emotional and personal connection between football and singing. It truly is a once in a life-time opportunity to perform at the FA Cup Final and for two members of the choir, whose clubs will be playing in the final, it’s the stuff dreams are made of.”

All the winners’ stories and details can be found on the Songs of Praise website www.bbc.co.uk/facupfanschoir

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