Often Partisan

Blues Trust AGM

Please note that these are my thoughts and my thoughts alone and I in no way speak on behalf of Birmingham City Fans, Blues Trust or anyone else.

The Birmingham City Supporters Trust will be holding their AGM this weekend prior to the Leicester City game at the South and City College Birmingham’s Fusion Centre in Digbeth. The AGM will present members over the age of 16 a chance to vote on the first elected board and to ask questions of the Trust about its aims and objectives over the next twelve months.

The AGM comes at a time when Birmingham International Holdings has confirmed it has started negotiations with two parties over the sale of the club. It’s a time of flux at St Andrews and I already get the impression from reading the comments on various messageboards and social forums that the takeover can’t come soon enough and that the longer the current status quo carries on the more apathetic to the club people will become.

It’s an important time for the fledgling Trust; there have been many criticisms online of the trust being inactive and unresponsive to the current situation and I fear that many of these criticisms are justified. As a paid up member of the Blues Trust I do believe in the principle but I also believe that rather than wait for something to happen to react to the Trust has to take positive steps to try to do what it can to help the club. I will be in attendance at the meeting and I will be asking the incoming Trust board what steps it intends to take in the short-term to address some of the problems that beset the club; for example the declining attendances and increasing apathy amongst fans and the disillusionment that is being felt by the hardcore over the protracted problems that have beset BIH.

It’s my understanding that the Trust are trying to build some rapport with the club with very limited success and it’s my worry that the Trust won’t get any success with the club until they demonstrate that they are able to come up with ideas on their own initiative that can be a positive help to the club and then actively run them; as an example I thought that the idea of the “Week of Action” back in the summer was a good way for people to make their voices heard with BIH in Hong Kong but since then I’ve not seen enough from the Trust that it will continue with these sorts of things to help give fans a voice.

I urge fans to attend if only to ask questions and to offer their opinions – the more opinions and ideas that the Trust get from fans, the more chance that they will be able to do something positive and be seen as more than just a talking shop.

Details of the meeting are available from their website – the Trust can also be contacted via Facebook and Twitter.

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29 Responses to “Blues Trust AGM”

  • Chippy Blue says:

    I would also urge regulars to this website to attend if they can. The Trust is in its very early days and can’t be expected to exert any real influence until it can demonstrate to BCFC (and the media) a strong membership and sound democratic governance.

    Events at BCFC over the last 18 months have been happening at too great a pace for the new Trust to keep up with, and we’re well behind most other clubs of our size in having one, but better late than never. The challange for any fledgling co-op (which is what the Trust is) is to quickly build a consensus of members around a clear and simple vision and the means to achieve it. It’s easier if you’ve got a ‘burning platform’ that makes action essential (the Pompey scenario) – we actually don’t, at least not yet.

    Criticising a member-based organisation for inaction, when you’re not a member (but qualify to be), or you are but are relying on other members to act, is no basis for criticism. I’m sure the AGM will welcome members’ proposals from the floor on strategy and actions, as well as hearing from new Trust Board candidates on where they think the priorities will be.

    In my view, the Trust has the potential to be a powerful broker between the BCFC that emerges from the CY era and the fan base. Look not just to elsewhere in the UK for evidence but to Germany and Spain to see what can be achieved for mutual benefit.

  • Ebeneezer says:

    Blues Trust needs to actually do something to become credible. They could start by telling the supporters who they actually are, and go to the games, and tell them that “we are the blues trust and this is our agenda”…. although I suspect it will be many years away before they decide on an action.

    So far the Blues Trust reminds me of the Kumar brothers.

  • Ebeneezer says:

    OK, so what is the agenda?

    • almajir says:

      Ebeneezer, may I respectfully redirect your query to Blues Trust?

      Have you asked them?

      • Ebeneezer says:

        And how on Earth do I ask them? They keep their lilttle selves to themselves, unbeknowned to the average blues supporter, who goes to games and cares little for social media. My interest is for the Blues and only for the Blues. If you are in a positon yourself to ask them, “WTF is going on”. We’d all like to know, even a journalist like yourself would like an answer to that!

        My main point is that apart from a website and some blogging and a forum, Blues fans have never even heard of such a thing! Why don’t you just tell us who you are and propose something for the benefit of Blues Fans?

        • almajir says:

          And how on Earth do I ask them?

          Links to their website, Facebook and Twitter accounts are in the article.

          I suggest you try one of them.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Criticising a member-based organisation for inaction, when you’re not a member (but qualify to be), or you are but are relying on other members to act, is no basis for criticism.

    No chance. If you put yourselves up as a fans body you are open to criticism like everybody else.

    I suppot a trust but ot one that has repeatedly said it suppots Carson Yeung and the present regime.

    I could only join if you were anti board

    Also Ebeneezer makes a point about your low profile. Even the pitiful Forza Blues have a higher one. Never seen and seldom heard is the trust right now.

    However, I believe you all have the club at heart and that can only be good.

  • Atahualpa is a BlueNose says:

    Sadly I believe that the only way in which notice can be achieved and power shown to other stakeholders, is through influence and finance.

    How??

    Would it be worthwhile for the Trust to ask the club to look at having some sort of ticketing policy with them?? Members of the Trust could buy tickets through them and the club could give a batch to them to sell with a small donation going to the Trust. Mutual benefits and convenience. Just a small idea.

  • Chippy Blue says:

    Atahualpa – entirely possible but would need to be thought through – I think some German trusts do this but not sure about UK. The key point is that the Trust should be able to establish a relationship with the club that goes further than a conventional supporters’ club and that is engaged in all matters of club policy that directly affect fans. If that engagement can be shown to directly benefit the club (higher revenues and/or lower costs, better PR) then why would it not look to incentivise membership of the Trust in this kind of way?

    Paul Carter – the Trust has had no option in my view but to steer this course with the current BCFC regime – it buys time to build its credibility and being anti anything without knowing what you’re for usually gets you nowhere. Yes, it’s frustrating but not taking the easier populist option with fans is an early sign that there are some sensible heads involved.

    Ebeneezer – turn up on Saturday, inform yourself and help set the agenda, rather than wait for someone else to do it for you – those that have got the Trust this far (and I’m not one of them) have done so in their own time and with their own money as far as I know.

    Trusts, like all co-ops, are all about self-help and self-responsibility. Of course they can be criticised if you don’t like what they’re about but less so if you are offered the chance to engage and you decide not to. I live 70 miles away and can only get to a handful of games these days but I still think it’s important enough to turn up.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Paul Carter – the Trust has had no option in my view but to steer this course with the current BCFC regime – it buys time to build its credibility and being anti anything without knowing what you’re for usually gets you nowhere. Yes, it’s frustrating but not taking the easier populist option with fans is an early sign that there are some sensible heads involved

    And that is why the membership is so low. To be credible for most fans you clearly have to be against this regime which is just one total farce. If you have the best interests of the club at heart this is what you state. If you are for progress and growth as a club you clearly have to be against this board. I don’t see why you can’t get that. Saying you’re not against this board just disenfrancises you from the majority of fans and all you’ll end up with is a few well meaning folk in a talking shop. The suggestion that those who are anti board makes them not sensible is out of order.

  • Chippy Blue says:

    Paul – I don’t see things in the same black and white way so haven’t suggested that those in the anti Board camp are not sensible.

    To succeed I feel the Trust has to be cute and play its cards well. Not jumping on the bandwagon may turn out to be a smart move in the longer run even to its short term cost. The current regime is spent – being for or against them is becoming increasingly irrelevant. Our attention has to shift to what happens after them – we’ll always be here so we need to play a longer game. A new board will more likely want to engage with the Trust it sees as representing fans that are able to trade off some of the footie emotion in order to have a real influence.

    But, I know that emotion is what drives our enthusiasm for the game and our our club so it’s a tall order and I admit with no guarantee of success.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    But you clearly said you wanted more fans to get involved, the point I’m trying to make is to do that you have to appeal to said fans and saying you support the board aint gonna do it. You seem to be more concerned with appealing to future owners than the fans. That’s up to you but you aint gonna recruit many more followers with that stance.

    • almajir says:

      Paul – how about this. The trust is a democratic organisation. Therefore if a majority of “anti-board” people join it, then it will follow the trust will become “anti-board”.

      What I want to know is what you think “anti-board” means and what an “anti-board” organisation would do.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Dan it is of no concern that the trust follow a pro board policy all I’m doing is pointing out my opinion that the opposite stance would attract more members. Myself for instance as I think a trust is a good thing. That’s my opinion which I base on the fact that apart from the trust members I don’t know a single Blues fan who isn’t anti board. You are yourself as you have stated you want em out so maybe you can lobby internally to get the trust to come round to your point of view.

    Anti board means being against the current owners and wanting them out. An anti board organisation can harness the feeling of the masses and campaign for change thus showing all those who feel the same that you’re worth supporting. They can be the focal point and voice of the fans in this respect moving on to working with the new owners who may see the trusts support of the current board as a barrier to any future involvement.

    To me the current trust are sidestepping the major issue worrying the fans which is change of ownership and quick. How can we support the trust in future if you ignore this rather large problem now?

    • almajir says:

      An anti board organisation can harness the feeling of the masses and campaign for change thus showing all those who feel the same that you’re worth supporting. They can be the focal point and voice of the fans in this respect moving on to working with the new owners who may see the trusts support of the current board as a barrier to any future involvement.

      I get this – but how?

      What are the trust supposed to do?

      Announce on a monthly/weekly/daily/hourly basis that they want the board out?
      Lead a protest on the Kop Car Park?

      This is the bit I don’t get. Yes, I think the time has come for a change in ownership but I’m not “anti-board” – I think such appelations are a red herring, as has been previously stated by other commenters. A takeover will happen but it will take time – it’s very rare for a takeover to happen quickly and I don’t believe there is anything we as fans can do to speed it up.

      Thus for me the key is the other side of the coin – actively doing stuff to promote the club and make it a place people want to go to again.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    There’s no need for silliness.

    Of course the trust doesn’t has to announce on a monthly/weekly/daily/hourly basis that they want the board out. All the trust has to do is state their opposition. Just as you have on here. This will then be in line with 99% of the fans out there and will motivate more people to join the trust as then it will be credible. The miniscule level of membership shows the disinterest.

    If you want to make the club a place that people want to go againt then all the more reason to campaign against the board then. Replace with new owners who will invest in the team and that will get you what you want as more people will want to come again.

    • almajir says:

      All the trust has to do is state their opposition. Just as you have on here.

      I haven’t stated “my opposition” – I don’t have any “opposition”. I just think it would be best for them and for us if they sold – I don’t “hate Carson” or “what he’s done to the club”

      The miniscule level of membership shows the disinterest.

      Interesting turn of phrase. Do you actually know how many are in the Supporters Trust? I know it’s the second largest supporters group now and growing.

      all the more reason to campaign against the board then

      HOW
      do you propose campaigning against the board? What do you think you can achieve?

  • DudeAbides says:

    Signed up to the trust yesterday along with my son.
    Will be there tomorrow for the meeting.
    Instead of people commenting from the outside, surely it’s better to join up and voice your concerns that way. £5 a year and free for under 16.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Dan, I didn’t say you hated Carson but you clearly oppose the board if you want them replaced however you dress it up. I agree with you.

    My description of member numbers as miniscule is obviously an opinion not fact as how would I know unless the trust or you share that with us. Come on Dan how many are in it? Prove my description that the level is miniscule wrong. My point is that because of the policy of supporting the board the membership figures are low and will stay low.

    I have no plans to campaign against the board but I sure as hell don’t want to work with the current lot as the trust do. This will get us nowhere. I haven’t even seen any signals from the club that they acknowledge you either. In fact apart from yourself I don’t see another spokesperson for the trust. I will keep on stating my stance that I am anti board, that 99% of the fans are also. However if a fans group comes along that reflects my feelings and the vast majority of the fans in opposing the board then I would join like a shot. Unfortunately both the trust and Forza Blues want to be ‘in’ with the club. that’s a matter for them but that bars me from getting involved.

    • almajir says:

      Paul, I’m not a spokesman for the trust though and as I’ve said yesterday I’m not the person to be asking – try asking them direct.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Fair dos but you are the only one replying which is good for the debate.

    I presumed the trust guys started/added to this thread so they can comment if they wish.

    More importantly let’s hope for 3 points Saturday, I will be there as usual same as you.

    KRO

    • almajir says:

      Paul

      Fair dos but you are the only one replying which is good for the debate.

      That’s cos you’re asking on Often Partisan, not on their site or their Social Media platforms

      I presumed the trust guys started/added to this thread so they can comment if they wish.

      To clarify – this site isn’t a messageboard. It’s a blog, with every single article written by me, and me only. These articles have people commenting on them. It’s not a “thread” per se. However, like you say anyone is free to comment on the site and the Trust are aware of the article and could comment on it if they wished.

      More importantly let’s hope for 3 points Saturday, I will be there as usual same as you.

      I can agree with that wholeheartedly.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    Dan I am asking on OP cos the original post was on OP, I don’t go on the trust sites as I’m not interested in them but am interested in OP.

    I already know that this site isn’t a messageboard and it’s a blog Dan why are you pointing it out? And why you are pointing out what a thread is? My definition of a thread is a continuous group of comments on the same subject so again I don’t know what the issue is.

    • almajir says:

      Dan I am asking on OP cos the original post was on OP, I don’t go on the trust sites as I’m not interested in them but am interested in OP.

      For someone who isn’t interested in the Trust you do ask a lot of questions about them, don’t you?
      As I explicitly stated at the top of the article, I am not a spokesperson for the trust. If you want direct questions answered by them, then you have to ask them questions directly. If you’re not prepared to do that then you cannot be annoyed if they do not answer.

  • Paul Carter - The Voice Of Reason says:

    I don’t generally ask a lot of questions about them Dan only when I’m in an online debate about them.

    I know you are not their spokesperson just a member with an opinion but I don’t want direct questions answered by them so have no need to ask them questions directly and I’m not annoyed in the slightest.


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