With the direction of Nottingham Forest under increasing debate among fans, is it time they had representation on the board?
It’s not been an easy time to be a Nottingham Forest fan this century, let alone the past three years, so could and should supporters gain influence in the running and ownership of the club?
A quick glance at Supporters Direct figures reveal 147 supporters’ trusts/community-owned clubs in England with 339,254 members, so it’s not exactly uncommon. And while the likes of Swansea, Portsmouth and AFC Wimbledon are high-profile examples, clubs as varied as Arsenal, Brentford and York City have supporters’ trusts.
Before Nigel Doughty’s death, Steve Wright wrote on this site:
‘Perhaps the time has come for fans to form into an organised group that can communicate meaningfully with the club, not to own it but to contribute to it in a formal, respectful and coherent way. We need to express our feelings on what the values of Nottingham Forest are, what our realistic ambitions for the club are, what we expect from the club and what the club can expect back from us.’
In the aftermath of the loss of our former chairman, and without knowing who the new owners would be, it became less clear as to how and what that relationship might be. But maybe it’s time again to address that?
A group of Forest fans now want to discuss the possibilities of creating a new supporters’ trust and have gained nearly 2,000 followers on Twitter as they seek to establish themselves.
However, interim chair Richard Antcliff says that club ownership is something that is not on the cards.
“The first task is to explore whether various supporter’s clubs, fans forums, season ticket holders or anyone else thinks it’s a good idea. If there is enough support and it’s something we feel has merit then we’ll be happy to take it forward and seek further assistance from Supporters Direct who are an umbrella organisation set up by government
“Many people have asked why now? And whether it’s because of the club’s poor recent form or current regime? The truth is we feel that much like the club itself, the fans have been a little left behind and many other supporters’ trusts have been able to shape, support and influence their club for the betterment of the club and also the fans. This is most definitely not a manager or owner inout campaign, far from it. This is a long-term project to give fans and the club a better relationship and understanding.
“We’ve be amazed by the initial interest and offer of support from many talented people. We’ve had offers from the legal profession, media, finance, sports industry and ex-players. This is something we feel is right to do and can only be of benefit.”
An open invite supporters’ trust meeting will be arranged in the coming weeks and notification of the event will be through the Twitter account, posted on various fans forums and through the local media.