More than 30 members attended the Trust’s annual meeting at the Duke of Clarence in Canton, Cardiff. There was a lively discussion about priorities for next season.
At the first meeting of the newly constituted Trust Board in 2011 it was decided to prioritise six areas for the Trust’s work for the year. The Trust has consistently lobbied the club to lay out a Memorial Garden near the old Ninian Park gates off Sloper Road . We have given the club £1,000 towards the cost of the Memorial Garden which has been matched by the Supporters Club and the football club itself. Early in 2012 our perseverance paid off and we have seen the first work on the garden being carried out with new rosebeds having been dug near the old Ninian Park gates. When completed the Memorial Garden will have benches, Fred Keenor’s original gravestone and an upstand for religious services. People will then be able to bury the ashes of their loved ones in the garden and pay their respects before and after home matches.
The Membership Group has worked hard to increase numbers and to offer tangible benefits to members. The Trust fanzine ‘Moving to a Different Beat’ was made available free to all members and we held a sell out evening with the heroes of our Real Madrid victory in 1971 and the 10 year anniversary of our epic win over Leeds United in the FA Cup. We brought the old City warhorse Phil Dwyer into the Trust office to sign his book for members – and offered the autobiography at a discounted price.The Group simplified the way we join the Trust, chased up lapsed members and signed up new supporters so that by the end of March 2012 we had 724 members of the Cardiff City Supporters Trust.
We have made many new friends over the last twelve months. We welcomed the supporters and the management of Chasetown FC for lunch and a social event at the Duke of Clarence before our match with Middlesbrough . Trust Board members have shared their experience with the newly formed Portsmouth Trust and travelled to Brighton where there has been some debate amongst supporters over the pros and cons of a supporters trust. We have played a full part as a member of the supporters trust movement Supporters Direct, offering evidence on football governance to the Parliamentary inquiry and playing a part in the SD annual conference. Trust chair, Tim Hartley, has been elected to serve on the England and Wales Supporters Direct Council for three years.
Success! We are very pleased with our new home in the stadium. If you haven’t visited us yet then do go and meet Brian and the team. It is near Gate 5 between the Canton and Ninian Stands and you can buy old programmes, Fred Keenor badges and miniatures or simply stop by for a chat. The Trust’s stand at the Grangetown Carnival has become a part of the summer fixtures calendar. It is a great chance to share our passion for the Bluebirds with people living near the Stadium and to recruit new members. We held our annual community 5 a side tournament at the House of Sport and yes, Trelewis Boys Club won again. The Trust also played a friendly match with the Valleys Commandos in Pontypridd raising funds for Ty Hafan.
We have made contact with the two Cardiff synagogues, took a party of 20 on a tour of the Stadium before the Burnley match and have played a family football match against them. In September we brought the Safe Standing Roadshow to the Ninian Park pub so that members could judge for themselves whether they want standing brought back to football.
In November 2011 Tim Hartley led a team of coaches from the club’s Community Team, the Welsh Football Trust, the Urdd and Sport Wales to Kenya . We offered training sessions and helped people set up cross community tournaments to try to ease communal tensions ahead of the presidential election.
The sheer number and scale of the events the Statue Group has arranged has been staggering. Horse racing, skittles and quiz nights, the Frank Hennessy curry evening, raffles and the sale of badges, shirts and miniature statues have all helped us reach the target. We must thank the club, the Supporters Club, the Wembley bus operators, the City Council, the FAW and the Welsh Government for their contributions. The statue of Fred will be placed on a plinth at the entrance to the Cardiff City Stadium. The unveiling should take place next season and we will then have a fitting monument to one of Cardiff and Wales ’s true sporting heroes. And it is all thanks to you.
All in all we have exceeded our targets for 2011 and do you know what, we all had a damn good time doing it. None of this would have been possible without the hard work of all the Trust Board members and the dozens of people who have helped out with the magazine, at the office and in supporting all our activities. Special thanks must also go to Eric at the Duke of Clarence, Gareth at the Ninian Park pub, owner Jon Bassett, Dilwar Ali for his amazing curries and the staff at the Deri Inn for their hospitality.
Tlm Hartley, Chair