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What Supporters' Trusts Achieve

Date: 13/11/2002

QUESTIONS have been asked about exactly what a Supporters Trust at Grimsby Town can realistically achieve. It is a common misconception that Trusts are simply about obtaining shares and taking over the running of their respective clubs.

It is true that this has happened with some clubs (Lincoln and Chesterfield for example), but they are very much in the minority.

Trusts are about so much more, reflected in the objectives that are set at the formation stage.

This article, the first in a small series, provides a real life case study of what an established Trust have achieved at their club - Cambridge United. If the below inspires you in any way at all, please attend the public meeting on Monday 18th November, Cleethorpes Memorial Hall, 7.30pm.

The Cambridge United Trust (Cambridge Fans United) is an excellent example of how a Trust can help the club, the community and the fans. For more information, please visit or

Extract from the CFU website

"CFU aims to raise money to help fund the club's redevelopment. This money is being raised by member subscriptions, events, donations and sponsorship. With the money we raise we buy shares in Cambridge United. The club spend the money on the new stands and we receive a piece of Cambridge United to be held in the fans' names. Already we have brought the club £80,000 and we own around 10% of the shares in Cambridge United, a holding larger than that of some of the directors.

As well as raising money for Cambridge United, CFU recognise that a small club like ours cannot ignore its community. CFU have helped raise the club's profile locally by raising money for the Special Care Baby Unit at Hinchingbrooke Hospital and The Garland Appeal fighting testicular cancer as well as organising a youth football tournament that was attended by over 500 boys and girls from 8 to 15. CFU welcomes and supports local fans' groups, like St Ives' U's and the East Cambs U's"

This article first appeared in the June 2002 edition of the Supporters Direct Newsletter

Tour of Trust - Cambridge Fans Cycle for Fun and Funds
By Brian Attmore

Saturday 20th April 2002 saw the final fixtures for this season's Nationwide lower division teams. With relegation already confirmed a few weeks before, Cambridge United fans were, surprisingly, still eagerly looking forward to our match at neighbours Northampton Town. We hoped that the Cobblers, having put together a commendable run to escape the clutches of the drop into the basement division, would give us our last chance of our only away League win of the term.

For five Cambridge United fans, the day was looked forward to with more keenness and anticipation than many before. This was the day we had chosen to undertake a sponsored cycle ride from our home ground, the Abbey Stadium, to the Sixfields Stadium, the home of the Cobblers. Cambridge Fans United committee members, Karen Hinkins, Steve Greenall and Brian Attmore, were joined by the Football Club's Redevelopment Manager Colin Davies and cycling enthusiast Peter Woor. Peter cycles to most away games and was the inspiration behind the idea. We set out at eight o'clock in the morning with the aim of covering the fifty-six miles to get to the match, having some fun whilst doing it, and raising vital funds for two excellent causes.

We had chosen to split our proceeds between the CFU and The Garland Appeal, a charity formed by Sir Paul McCartney in 1999 to commemorate the life of his wife Linda. The charity works with the PFA and English Schools FA to raise awareness of testicular cancer amongst young men and helps develop new screening techniques. Fortunately, the cases of Lance Armstrong from the world of cycling, and Millwall and ex-Cambridge City striker Neil Harris, have shown that a full recovery is possible if the problem is spotted early enough. In near perfect conditions we made our way on roads that were more lumpy than hilly, passing Bedford Town's ground, and cycling through some picturesque villages on the long journey to our destination. Pre-publicity and liaison with the Northampton Town Supporters Trust had created much interest in our trip.

On our arrival in Northampton, we chanced upon the East Midlands Pub of the Year 2001 (the Malt Shovel in case you're interested) with its superb range of real ales. Following a swift pint or two, and grabbing some not-so-swift food, we completed the last two miles to Sixfields.

A welcoming group of fans wearing the claret and white of our hosts and our more familiar black and amber greeted us at our finishing point - the impressive Walter Tull Memorial. Members of Cambridge Fans United met with Tony Clarke MP and other members of the Northampton Town Supporters' Trust, whose efforts in establishing themselves as an organised fans group ten years ago have been such an inspiration to Supporters Direct and CFU.

In a splendid example of co-operation and friendship between Trusts, we raised over £1,000 to be split between the two causes. To cap an enjoyable day the half-time tannoy announcement of our achievement resulted in a standing ovation and more money generously donated by fans. A fantastic day was thoroughly enjoyed by those who took part.

It was fitting, as we left the ground to travel home by more conventional means (except Peter who cycled back), to reflect on the words in memory of one of the first black professional footballers on the statue:

"Through his actions W.D.J.Tull ridiculed the barriers of ignorance that tried to deny people of colour equality with their contemporaries. His life stands as testament to a determination to confront those people and those obstacles that sought to diminish him and the World in which he lived. It reveals a man though rendered breathless in his prime, whose strong heart still beats loudly." (With thanks to Phil Vasili - author of Colouring Over The White Line.)

By the way, an individualist equaliser in the second minute of stoppage time robbed Cambridge United of that elusive win. Yet this was of less significance to the many supporters who left the ground, pondering the crises currently facing English football, than the future security of their beloved clubs.

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