About the Trust

Trust in Yellow was officially formed on the 26th April 2006 by a group of supporters of Southport Football Club disgruntled by a lack of supporter involvement and a growing rift between the board of directors and it's supporters. During the six months which preceded the group had spent time carefully constructing working relationships with the supporters, board of directors, playing staff and media. Whilst wholly independent Trust in Yellow works closely with Southport Football Club to achieve their individual and respective objectives.

So what’s the need for a supporters’ trust at Southport, and what’s the difference between a trust and the more traditional supporters groups?

Audience

For one thing they are legally able to hold shares (being ‘Industrial and Provident Societies’, they are able to operate in the same way as any other type of company, but with many more protections), they can represent the membership – and the wider fanbase – as a shareholder in the club, and through a director, actively represent them at boardroom level. But one thing they are not is a way of raising finance for the football club to be dropped, in many cases, down the blackhole that is a football club’s wage expenditure. At least not without the shares in exchange. Why? Because as supporters many of us have given huge amounts of time and resources to our clubs; whether the practical work that many fans (and fans’ groups) carried out over many years such as painting – or in some cases even building – stands; operating the club shop or the tea bar; providing stewarding; operating the turnstiles; or throwing money in a bucket when the financial situation became dicey for the umpteenth time that year. We’ve given enormously to the clubs we follow week-in-week-out, but traditionally it meant nothing when it came to the actual ownership of the club. This is what supporters’ trusts have been doing for the last eight years at a host of clubs; ending that something-for-nothing culture, that view of fans as either workhorses or financiers of last resort.

Trusts are about building that bridge between the club itself and the community of fans that sustain it, season in, season out. It is about making that bridge something based on mutual trust and respect – secured by a very clear agreement (which is why the purchase of shares and board representation is so crucial). Of course, there are times when the relations between trust and club necessitate a slightly different, more upfront approach, but if clubs really want to embrace fans, this is the ideal – and proven – model to use, and they have nothing to fear, and everything to gain.
It is worth taking stock of the achievements of Trust in Yellow to date and reflect on the extremely healthy position that the trust finds itself in with a thriving membership and a good profile in the community which is all down to the hard work of a great many trust members. Although the situation at the club may be stable for the moment it is worth remembering how quickly the situation can change – just ask the fans of Gretna. Of course everyone involved with Southport wants to see the club become as successful as possible but ultimately you are able to act as the guardians of the club, and this is about working with the club, not for the club. Whether that work is bringing the club closer to the community or being involved in the day-to-day issues from finance and administration, or the long-term, ensuring that when – as it always does – the club changes hands, you are the watchful eye.

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