​The UK Sports Minister Tracey Crouch has announced new measures to give fans a greater voice in football.

These include new opportunities for supporters to bid to own their football clubs in an insolvency situation.

The Leagues have endorsed the introduction of regular structured engagement between clubs and supporters and clubs will be required to meet with a representative group of supporters at least twice a year.

An additional £1m will be made available by the Premier League for supporter groups on ownership and related issues and there will be access to emergency funding to help supporters when formulating an ownership bid.

The announcement followed the publication of the Government’s expert working group report on supporter ownership.

Supporters Direct (SD), which was part of the working group, said that the new guidelines must be implemented by football’s governing bodies in the spirit in which they were intended.

The new regime of “structured dialogue” with supporters must mean bi-annual meetings with trusts and include meaningful information and discussion of finance, governance and ownership. SD wants ministers would to  regularly monitor progress made by clubs.

SD pledged to continue to lobby in the areas where it would ideally have liked the report to go further to improve club governance and to make supporter ownership realistic whatever level a club is playing at.

Brian Burgess, Chairman of SD, said: “The Government must keep pressure on the football authorities to ensure that this marks the start of a new era of meaningful dialogue, both at local and national level. It is a welcome step forward in a long-term process of reform, aiming to reconnect clubs with their communities.

“We’d like to thank the football authorities for their constructive engagement with the issues, which we look forward to building on. We are expecting the structured dialogue between clubs and supporters’ trusts to be properly structured and be accompanied by suitable information to discuss the major issues of finance, governance and ownership.

“We also welcome the positive assurances from the Minister of Sport to maintain pressure on the football bodies, and other government departments, especially the Treasury.

“If the Government is serious about supporter ownership, we need their support to encourage supporters to save for, invest in and succeed as community owned sports clubs (COSC). That means help with tax breaks and support to implement our COSC proposal.

“Ultimately the success of this report will be measured by the number of supporters who feel empowered to either take ownership or secure a greater say in the governance of their beloved club.”

Tim HartleyTim Hartley, chair of Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust, welcomed the measures. He said, “A structured dialogue between Cardiff City and its supporters is crucial moving forward. Relationships with the club have improved but more still needs to be done to ensure the voices of fans are heard loud and clear.

“Continuing dialogue and building relationships with supporters should ensure the mistakes of the past are not repeated.”

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Left to right Gary Bell, Bobby Woodruff and Leighton Phillips

Left to right Gary Bell, Bobby Woodruff and Leighton Phillips

The clock was turned back to the 1970s when the Trust organised an event of football chat and film at the Rose and Crown pub, Graig, Pontypridd.

The idea for the event on Thursday, January 21, came from Richard Shepherd, Cardiff City’s club historian and was taken forward by the Trust board. David Craig, the Trust’s vice chairman, undertook the work necessary to ensure the event was a success.

Richard had uncovered some film at Ninian Park which everyone thought was lost. The film showed City’s games from the 1969-70 and 1970-71seasons and it was part of the Match of the Day programmes from that period.Richard had the film converted into CDs and these were used at the event.

Peter Jackson interviewed by Richard Shepherd

Peter Jackson interviewed by Richard Shepherd

Peter Jackson, the South Wales Echo’s Cardiff City reporter during those years and players Gary Bell, Bobby Woodruff and Leighton Phillips were contacted to invite them to attend. They all accepted without hesitation. This is an indication of the comradeship that still exists between them.

On the night Richard Shepherd introduced and commented on the film and invited Peter and the players to share their memories of the particular games shown and of life under manager, Jimmy Scoular, in general. As you can imagine this resulted in many tasty, hilarious anecdotes. Everything theplayers said demonstrated clearly how attached they were to Jimmy and to The Bluebirds.

Bobby Woodruff congratulated by team-mates as he scores for the Bluebirds

Bobby Woodruff congratulated by team-mates as he scores for the Bluebirds

David Craig thanked all those involved in making the night such a success and offered special thanks to Chris (Snowy) Insole and his staff at the Rose and Crown. The venue with its new, large screen was ideal for the event. Chris also provided refreshments free of charge. David also said that throughout the build up to the night Chris was always available and prepared to help and that this showed that he is a true friend of the Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust.

Thirty-five people turned out on a wet and windy night and David finished by thanking all Trust members who turned out on the night to support the event. A raffle was held which raised £82 for the Trust. It had been a night of good memories.

The photographs were taken by Trust board member, Brian Mertens.

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Rare BBC Match of the Day footage from more than 40 years ago will be screened at a Trust evening in Pontypridd next week.

Cardiff City club historian Richard Shepherd will host the evening at the Rose and Crown pub in High Street, Graig, on Thursday 7.30pm for 8pm.

Alongside Richard will be Peter Jackson, who covered Cardiff City for the South Wales Echo during the Jimmy Scoular era. Former Bluebirds legends Gary Bell, Leighton Phillips and Bobby Woodruff have accepted invitations to attend and we hope more ex-players can attend.

Trust vice chair David Craig said: “Richard will tell the story of his discovery of the films and restoring of film which everyone thought was lost.

“Excerpts from the restored film covering the period between 1969 and 1972 will be shown in chronological order with Richard giving a brief introduction to each one and then opening a discussion with ex-players.There is 40 minutes of restored film.”

All the matches are from the Match of the Day Wales opt-outs at the time.

The evening is now open to non-members. A limited number of places for non-members are available, so if you would like to attend please email help@ccfctrust.org to register. There is no charge. 

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Tim Hartley

A New Year’s message from Trust chair, Tim Hartley

The results have been a mixed bag of scraped wins and points surrendered but the City are still projected to end the season knocking on the door of the playoffs. I think we deserve to be in the race to the bitter end so let’s see what changes Russell will ring in this New Year.

The atmosphere at the stadium needs improving. We await some action on supporters’ flags across the empty seats but it was good to hear that fans behaviour is not a major issue of concern and that we now have a very low number of people banned from the ground.

Off the pitch the Trust is still very concerned about the governance and finances of the club. Each one of us as Trust members are shareholders in Cardiff City and we were disappointed at the way we were treated at the recent extraordinary general meeting. Who are the directors of CCFC and what has their contribution been to date? If re-elected what contribution would they make to the future good governance of the club? We deserve to be told and we are writing to the Chairman and Chief Executive asking for an explanation.

It was good to see Brian Burgess, the chair of Supporters Direct, at the recent game against Brentford. He met Trust members at the office and explained the increasing importance and influence of the Trust movement. We await the government’s response to the report of the Government’s Expert Working Group on football governance. If the football authorities won’t act then surely it is time for government to.

It was interesting to see the Welsh Conservatives ask for safety at sport grounds to be devolved to Wales with a view to allowing safe standing at football. We worked with the Bristol Trust to get the club to agree to support a safe standing trial and will be canvassing members’ opinions on whether we campaign for such changes.

The recent Trust board meeting revamped our business plan and we are working out what actions we need to carry out around our priorities. They are: Dialogue with the club, increasing supporters’ influence, community activities and working with others.

Remember that we have a great night in prospect at the Rose and Crown in Pontypridd on Thursday,  January 21. Rare BBC Match of the Day footage from 40 years ago will be screened with club historian Richard Shepherd, ex-Echo sports reporter Peter Jackson and  Bluebirds legends Gary Bell, Leighton Phillips and Bobby Woodruff. Trust members wishing to should email help@ccfctrust.org Bring a friend! If you would like us to organise an event in your area then do get in touch.

Help us to build the Trust. If you are interested in volunteering in any way or have ideas for us then contact help@ccfctrust.org or call into the Trust office at the stadium on match days and have a chat. It’s between gates 4 and 5.

Bluebirds!

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