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The Future?
The Future?

Who Really Cares About The Future of GTFC?

By: Bill Osborne
Date: 19/06/2005

ANDY Burnham MP has written an article for Guardian Unlimited in which he talks about the future of football and supporters trusts.

Every Grimsby Town fan should read the article. It outlines all the dangers of club ownership particularly those that are PLC's.

He quotes Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, who talking about PLC's said;

"No one believes in PLC's more than I do. I've got one that is very big in the stock market. But football, when you really come down to it, belongs in the sphere of human emotions. Real Madrid is a kind of religion for millions all over the world. You can't have that in the hands of one individual. It's as if the Catholic church belonged to one person. It wouldn't be right."

Burnham continues "In this context, Perez's socialist view of football will strike a chord with millions of supporters here. Not necessarily because they hold left-of-centre views: it's more that people of all political colours are united in regarding their football club as a club, not a business. It does not exist to make money: money is made to further the interests of the club."

"Spain's 'big two' have grown as mutual organisations, owned and controlled by their extensive supporter bases, with profits reinvested in the club. They are emphatically not for sale."

"England's clubs, by contrast, are up for grabs. For decades, their status as private companies didn't cause a problem. Shares were closely guarded as family heirlooms and financial predators could find no easy way in. Benign local businessmen kept the shop. It was only when the TV cash came in that the private company model was found to give no protection against predators."

"Throughout the lower divisions there have been a string of hair-raising examples of private companies ransacked."

"The game needs an altogether new direction, to rebuild according to its founding principles from the bottom up."

"It is already happening today beneath the media radar. For the past five years, a quiet revolution has been going on in English football. It is an amazing story and now is the time to shout about it because this movement is making clubs what most fans want them to be: democratic, not-for-profit, not for sale."

"Since 1998, 129 democratic supporters' trusts have been established. They make up 129 inspiring stories of football supporters reclaiming their clubs. Most own a substantial shareholding; 12 own their clubs outright. They operate at all levels of football: six in the Premiership, 18 in the Championship, 15 in League One, 19 in League Two and 28 in the Scottish leagues."

"These trusts are changing the way football business is done. The involvement of supporters at board level brings better decisions. Experience from the supporter-owned clubs shows that trusts are not prepared to gamble with the club's future in the way that a host of isolated and embattled chairmen have done."

"Perhaps, most importantly, trusts have introduced the concept of democracy to football: if your representative on the board has got too big for his or her boots, they can be voted off."

If I know Grimsby Town fans and supporters, I bet more than a few will say; "It cannot happen here" To those few I would remind you of a time when we had a few quid and we bought a chinaman and a few hangers on with him and paid ludicrous wages to more than just him. When the ITV Digital cash came to a sudden halt, if it had not been for the then new board, we would have been long gone and buried.

It can happen anywhere and it surprises me, and disgusts me somewhat, that Town fans have not rushed to secure the future of Grimsby Town by joining the trust. Mark my words, the day will come again, and if the fans and supporters do not by then, have a say in how the club is run, we might not be so lucky again.

This is the closed season and I really do think we have our priorities wrong. We should be spending less time in guessing who Russell Slade signs next to just ponder a little on where our future lies.

At this time, the only protection we, as fans, have is GTST and if people are not intelligent enough to see that, it bodes ill for the future. Not just for the club, but for the community as a whole.

If you are a fan and supporter of GTFC, as it is the closed season, and you are not paying out cash to see Town play, why not invest just a few quid in joining the trust. I will make it easy for you. Just click on this link right HERE, and it will take you to the right page to join.

If you really care about the Mariners, you will take this small step to help safeguard its future. I never want to be in a position where I can say; "I told you so" when the worst happens.


To read Burnhams full article click HERE

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