Newsletter – August 2020 (Notice of AGM)

The contents (and the optimism level) of this Newsletter has changed several times! After postponement due to the ongoing Covid-19 situation, the Trust will hold its AGM on Thursday October 8th. It's our hope by then at least Season-Ticket holders will be attending matches.

At the AGM we seek new Members of the Board. One of our longest serving Board members, Professor Michael Doherty, has reluctantly resigned his Board post due to the Covid-19 pressures of running a Law Department. He will still be available if the worst happens to the Club (see his article to be sent later). We at Rovers Trust would like to thank Professor Doherty for his service to Rovers Trust and its members.

One other Board Member, Mr. David Riding, is due to seek re-election. Board Members serve for 2 years and the number of elected Board Members allows us to seek co-opted Board members in the same numbers. So please consider putting yourself forward for election–we have a lot to do!

All that is required is that you must be a Rovers Trust Member, be nominated by another Rovers Trust Member, and be seconded by a third Rovers Trust Member.

Any nominations should be directed to our Secretary, Michael Ellison via his email: michael91ellison@hotmail.com

or if you want to discuss anything at all, contact the Chair, John Murray on 0044-7880507080, or email chair@roverstrust.co.uk

Newsletter Response:
The June Newsletter asked a number of questions –thanks to all those who responded.

SEASON TICKETS:
95% sought no refund (out of 52 responses) although 10% mentioned incentives for next season.

NEXT SEASON:
Some 42 respondents were keen to come back as soon as possible.

VENKYS OWNERSHIP:
Only 1 Member who replied was NOT happy for a rapprochement with Venkys.

SALARY CAP:
Including Twitter responses, some 118 supporters were in favour for each Division.
- Note: Since the time of writing, clubs in Leagues 1+2 have recently voted in favour of Salary Caps. This shows there is appetite for change even at Board level within Football Clubs. Rovers Trust, alongside a multitude of Supporters Trusts, have helped in this regard by ensure fans' views are heard at Board level.

Conclusion:
If you wondered about the Rovers Trust position on EFL rules and policies to maintain the integrity of the EFL (and PL), here is a good summary recently put together by retiring Board member, Michael Doherty:

'For Rovers supporters the events at Wigan, 20-odd miles down the road, over the last few months will have been both reassuringly familiar and depressingly chilling. The distant owners with a complex corporate network around the ownership arrangements – check. The obscure former footballer appointed as a ‘football consultant’ – check. The agents and loans and interest payments all happening right in the line of sight of a football organisation that has shown no genuine interest in protecting its clubs – check, check, check.

Blackburn Rovers has suffered some indignities over the last decade, but we have been spared the near-death blow that fell on Bury and the tide of sanctions, points deductions, squad culls and (hopefully) in-depth investigations that have started to roll over Wigan Athletic. Memories are both very long and very short in football – who remembers Wigan profiting from Bolton Wanderers financial distress by buying their principal training ground as long ago as 2016? The current model of ownership and regulation in the EFL keeps disaster lurking just over the horizon for the majority of its clubs.

Those were not particularly cheery paragraphs, were they? More direct and useful questions are;

• What can Rovers supporters do to reduce the risk of similar existential threats to the continuance of the club that has been at the heart of our community for 145 years? Look at what has saved clubs facing similar threats – not the Government, not the FA, not the EFL. It had been supporters who have created or, more effectively, drawn on existing organisational structures to save their clubs – see Wimbledon, Bury, Cambridge, Portsmouth, Swansea etc etc etc for examples.

• What can Rovers supporters do to avoid the need for this sort of crisis-management, heart-in-the-mouth, sleepless-night approach to supporters saving their clubs? It cannot lie in individual action. It can only lie in collective action from a legitimate supporters’ organisation that can push for real change. The Rovers Trust is a member of the Football Supporters Association. It is sitting down across tables with Government ministers, FA, EFL etc putting forward specific demands to protect clubs as not ‘ordinary busineses’ but as expressions of community identity. This involves removing conflicts of interest, professionalising the regulatory abilities of football authorities and introducing greater financial responsibility and transparency.

Rovers Trust can be a part of that conversation via the FSA and you can be a voice in this debate because you are a Member of the Trust.'

Keep the faith, get involved and encourage others to join via www.roverstrust.com,
John Murray, Chair of Trust

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The Blackburn Rovers Trust c/o Elmfield, Ribble Court, Shuttleworth Mead, Padiham BB12 7NG