A footballing friend once said to me that the world is perfect at five to three on a Saturday afternoon. After that, well, anything can happen.
And would we wish it any other way? Not on your life! So here we go for another nine months of football highs and lows with the City. Whatever happens on the pitch, one thing you can be sure of is that the Supporters’ Trust will be doing all it can to ensure that we, the fans, have as much input as possible into the club. More than 900 supporters have joined the Trust so far and widening our membership base and getting everyone involved is a priority this season.
So what did we achieve in our first full year at the new stadium? Firstly, we got the club to drop the cost of the pre-season friendly tickets and reduce the price of beer at the stadium. We’ve dealt with queries about parking permits, stewarding concerns, ticketing issues and allocation and eventually got the club to fit mirrors in the ladies’ toilets!
We have been very busy on the social and community front. At the start of last season, we conducted research into attitudes of local people to the City. We presented our findings to the club and community groups. We found that many people support the City but rarely come to matches. Families particularly cited foul language and bad behaviour as a problem. Following the research, the Trust has brought many different groups into the stadium to watch matches and try to get people living around the stadium more involved with the club. The Trust was represented at the local Diwali celebration and we also had a stand at the Grangetown Festival where we were able to fly the flag for the City.
We have held a community five-a-side competition, a quiz and a question and answer session with Andy Legg and Jason Perry. Leggy’s tales of what really goes on inside the dressing room were really worth hearing! In May we visited Maesteg to celebrate 50 years of the Maesteg Bluebirds. Well done lads.
During the year we organised a session at a Cardiff school to discuss anti-social behaviour at football matches. We even got ourselves an international branch of the Trust as we joined the British Council in welcoming a group of Kenyan ‘active citizens’ to the stadium. They were very impressed by the work the club’s Football in the Community team is doing.
The success of our first 18 months of operation has been recognised by Supporters’ Direct, the umbrella organization for supporters trusts in Britain. Geraint Jones and I were invited to speak at the annual conference to share our experience with other football fans.
Looking forward, we will be helping the club to build a memorial garden at the stadium. This will be a quiet area where we can remember our loved ones who can no longer be with us in person to cheer on the lads. It’s an ambitious target but the club hopes to have the garden completed by November.
The Trust has kick-started the appeal for a statue of one of our all time greats, Fred Keenor, to be erected outside the ground. We have already had around £27,000 pledged and are working hard to raise the rest of the money.
The Trust has developed strong links with the club over the last year and we can now put your questions directly to the Chair and Chief Executive. There are no secrets between the Trust board and the members – anything the club tells us, we tell you. TG and Gethin Jenkins are both committed to the City long term and want to improve the dialogue we have started with them. We now have a schedule of meetings planned with the club – so keep those questions coming – be they about the Club’s finances, the price of a hot dog or policing. If the Trust is to be the voice of the supporters, we need you to speak up.
The Trust Board does its best to keep everyone informed of what we are doing – the website has all the latest news and we are now emailing members on a regular basis. We are keen to hold more events outside of Cardiff and already have plans for social evenings in the Valleys. Keep an eye on the website for details of these events. But the Trust will only be as good as its members so please have your say and get involved. ‘Mewn undeb, mae nerth’ – we are stronger together than as individuals.