The Board of Trust In Yellow will be meeting in the next few days to fully discuss the announcement of the club about the reorganisation of its Board.
Like the majority of supporters, TIY Board members are very confused and disappointed to hear the news about the departure from the club board of the new directors appointed in the autumn. They had brought welcome energy and ideas since they were appointed which the club can ill afford to lose.
After working through four managers and fifty players this season it is a pity that the owners now seem to have ‘released’ directors who have contributed so much to bring some positives to a disastrous season.
Whilst as supporters we wish the new club Board members success in restoring the club’s fortunes, they seem to have been handed a poisoned chalice at a time when there is bound to be something of a toxic atmosphere when the hopes supporters had for a real change appear to have been dashed again.
The next few weeks and in particular the EGM which the Trust asked the club to hold will be critical for the newly reformed Board to show whether it intends to run the club in a more open way. We look forward to hearing answers to questions about the future role of Mr. Clapham in the club and more open and informative answers to questions about the running of the club including financial. The willingness to answer such questions and the content of the answers will have a major effect on supporters’ reaction to the changes
The Trust will continue to press for the club to support the priorities we listed in our recent statement and in the next few weeks will call a full meeting to hear the views of members and supporters before deciding on our future relationship with the club.
As previously stated, we would be happy to meet with any parties or individuals who are interested in investing in the club.
As a significant shareholder in the club and a representative of supporters, Trust In Yellow believe that whoever takes ownership of the club, it is essential for some basic principles to be adhered to by the new board of Southport FC. The Trust are willing to meet with any group considering investment to discuss our priorities which include:
1. A willingness to accept and respect the importance and value of supporters’ views.
This should include discussion of the role of the Trust in the future of the club. At the very least this should involve structured dialogue between the club board and TIY which would include guaranteed bimonthly meetings enabling there to be far more transparency in the way the club is being run and a channel for supporters’ opinions and ideas to be put to the club.
2. The new board to undertake a critical analysis of the club’s present position which would include the opportunity for supporters and TIY to put forward their views.
3. The club to work with the Trust to put forward a coherent plan of improvement of ground and spectator facilities; this to include in the short term amenities like toilets, disabled facilities and supporters’ bar but also a longer term realistic plan of larger scale improvements which would benefit the club and put it at the centre of the community.
4. A coherent and sensible playing strategy which does not compromise the finances of the club. Supporters are keen for a return to on-the-field stability where they can once more identify with the management and players.
5. The club be open to future investment including the open acquisition of shares by the Trust.
6. A culture of openness and consultation with supporters. Whilst success on the field can never be guaranteed, TIY believes that if the club is run in an open way, with realistic plans recognising the views of supporters, then it can go a long way to restoring the town’s pride in Southport FC.
The Board of Trust In Yellow acknowledge the statement released by Charlie Clapham MBE on Southportfc.net and would like to put on record our appreciation and thanks for the many years of hard work and financial commitment that he has given to Southport FC since the early 1980s.
The same applies to the other departing Directors particularly Sam Shrouder who has been a loyal and supportive Vice-Chairman to Mr Clapham and has himself shown great commitment to the club over many years. Haydn Preece has shown great enthusiasm and has worked extremely hard to create some very positive community and business links over a number of years for the Club and Dave Barron, in his short time as a Director has introduced some excellent initiatives that have been very valuable to the Club.
The Board wish all departing Directors and their families well in the future and it is our hope that the service of Charlie Clapham MBE should be honoured in a major way by the club and his experience in football should continue to be used in his in his role with the Vanarama National League and on the FA Council.
The Trust never wished for the discussions on the club’s future to include any personal abuse and have been meticulous in trying to ensure that our official statements and discussions at the open meeting have been conducted in a way that respected individuals. We are sorry if any of the directors felt that a section of the supporters went too far which is something we would never condone.
As discussed in the statement the Trust Board will look to work with and support the Club Board over the coming weeks to find an outcome that will ensure the security and sustainability of the football club. Alongside this statement is a copy of the open letter the Trust Board wrote to the club before hearing of Mr Clapham’s resignation.
The Trust Board will meet over the next few days and issue a further statement next week.
Following the open meeting arranged by the Trust on April 11, it was agreed that the Trust would write a letter to the club. The letter, which was posted yesterday, April 20, is available HERE and was sent with the following statement.
The Board of Trust In Yellow was delighted with the response from members and from supporters in general to their meeting last week to discuss the future of the club.
In the region of 150 attended and the Trust has also received over 40 written submissions from other supporters. What is clear is that there is great unity amongst the vast majority of supporters in wanting changes in the way the club is run.
Any potential investors and sponsors in the club who had been at the meeting could not have failed to be impressed by the potential amount of goodwill there is towards the club and a willingness to support and help it in many ways. Furthermore, this would be particularly the case if the club is run in a way which recognises and values the views and importance of supporters and is open and transparent in sharing information with them.
Whilst relegation is difficult for any group of fans to take, supporters’ main concern is not, in fact, one season’s failure but the lack of stability and direction shown at the club over several years, which has culminated in a season with nearly 50 players and four managers.
The constant changes have meant that the essential bond between players and team has been broken. We no longer recognise from one week to another who is playing and there has been a disenchantment with the club which has resulted in a dramatic fall in the number of regular supporters attending matches. If not for the initiatives with the hospitality marquee and primary schools the attendances would have sunk to record lows for our years in this league.
Supporters see a ground which is decaying and where any major recent or proposed improvements to permanent facilities such as new floodlights, new disabled area and supporters’ bar only happen as a result of the efforts of the Trust and supporters.
As a major shareholder in the club, the Trust along with other shareholders has started the legal process for the club to call a special meeting of shareholders to discuss the present position. TIY appreciates and is grateful for the many years of hard work and financial commitment that Charlie Clapham has given to Southport FC since the early 1980s.
However, the view expressed by the large majority at last week’s meeting and in written submissions, is that the time has come when changes in leadership have to take place or the club will not just stagnate but decline to a position from which it will take many years to recover.
The Board of Trust In Yellow asks Mr Clapham to organise a smooth transition of the chairmanship and leadership of the club to other directors. We hope his service would be honoured in a major way by the club and his experience in football continue to be used in his in his role with the Vanarama National League and on the FA Council.
Even in this very difficult period there are positives at the club notably the excellent community programme put in place by Haydn Preece, the increasing number of sponsors and the appointment of three new directors last autumn, who have shown by their initiatives that they have the ability and energy to reinvigorate the club. Under new leadership we hope the board of directors will provide the stability and direction the club needs both on and off the field.
Any review it undertakes should include submissions from supporters and lead to a clear strategy for progress which values the views and role of supporters, formalises with the Trust a pattern of regular consultation and shows a commitment to improve spectator facilities. Unless changes are made we fear that the hope brought by the new directors will be lost and the calamity of this season will lead to disaster for the club’s short, medium and long term future.