Prior to the Trust AGM (22nd June – Red Rose Suite, Blackburn End, Ewood Park @ 7.15pm) the Trust Board will be meeting BRFC Directors to sign a Memorandum of Understanding covering issues where the Trust can have a greater input into the Club’s operations.
This unique meeting is the result of months of negotiations, including the Owners engagement, and will take place on Thursday 15th June at Ewood.
The concept of ‘shadow boards’ of supporters acting as strategic watchdogs of professional football clubs was introduced during the gathering of evidence to the Fan-led Review of Football Governance, commissioned by the Government and chaired by Tracey Crouch MP. The Review1 was published in November 2021 and was eventually followed in February 2023 by a Government White Paper2 containing most of the recommendations of the Review.
Supporters Trusts are formal, democratic and not-for-profit organisations who attempt to strengthen the influence of supporters over certain aspects of the running of the Club they support. The Rovers Trust, founded in 2012, is a Community Benefit Society registered Company, charging an annual fee for membership and recognised by the Football Supporters Association (FSA).
The White Paper proposes that Supporters Trusts should be the driving force behind Supporters boards and should make up the majority of members of such boards. Supporters’ boards will bring challenge, opportunity, and renewed hope with the potential to define the future of clubs and set an example for others to follow. Most crucially, it gives supporters a fundamental, legally binding role in professional football clubs’ decision-making processes for the first time.
The Liverpool Football Club arrangement with Spirit of Shankly seems to be the model upon which all that is based upon. On Wednesday 17 August 2022 Spirit of Shankly and Liverpool FC entered a new era of fan engagement with the launch of their Supporters Board – a ground-breaking move that sees fan representation at board level. The development came after extensive consultation between representatives from Liverpool FC and Spirit of Shankly, the club’s recognised Supporters Trust. The arrangement was confirmed with nearly 99 per cent of SOS members voting in favour of the new engagement model.
SPIRIT OF SHANKLY, the recognised Liverpool FC Supporters Trust, are responsible for running the Supporters Board. They liaise with affiliate groups and the wider supporter base to ensure such representation is achieved. The Supporters Board holds regular meetings with the club. Also, the chair is invited to attend LFC’s main board meetings when fan-facing strategic matters arise.
There are 10 elected members from Spirit of Shankly and six elected members from other fan organisations or experts in their field. Representatives are in place for two-year terms.
The inaugural Liverpool Football Club Supporters Board
- Joe Blott (Spirit of Shankly chair and committee member)
- Graham Smith (SOS vice-chair and committee member)
- Ted Morris (Liverpool Disabled Supporter Associationchair)
- Paul Amann (Kop Outs chair)
- Jo Goodall (Liverpool FC Women Supporters Club chair)
- Lee Foley (OLSC Glasgow, elected by OLSC group chairs)
- Paddy Fitzsimons (Spion Kop 1906)
- Harinder Singh (Faith and ethnicity independent representative)
- Anna Burgess (SOS committee member)
- Mohan SinghRandhawa (SOS committee member)
- Lucy Rimmer (SOS committee member)
- Mark Johnson (SOS committee member)
- Melissa Fallon (SOS committee member)
- Phil Rowan (SOS committee member)
- Roy Bentham (SOS committee member)
- Chris Owen (SOS committee member)
Following a vote by all 16 members, Joe Blott was elected as chair.
Each representative signs a code of conduct and completes a familiarisation programme to help them gain a deeper understanding of how the club operates in areas that will be critical to ongoing conversations. This means they will be able to discuss truly meaningful strategic issues with the club.
The Rovers Trust and Blackburn Rovers FC
Based on an existing model, used by Fulham FC and their Supporters Trust, during the last year a Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between the Rovers Club and our Supporters Trust. This lays out areas of mutual interest and allows the Trust to remain a ‘critical friend’ for the benefit of Blackburn Rovers and its fan-base.
Each liaison between Club and Supporters Trust will evolve differently but the Rovers Trust feels that the Memorandum of Understanding is a logical ‘next step’ based on the direction and recommendations of the White Paper.
The MoU can be viewed on the Rovers Trust website: Documents – Rovers Trust
The Blackburn Rovers Supporters Trust Board
1. Fan led review of football governance
2. Reform of club football governance