Swansea City Supporters Trust is often held up as an example of a supporters’ trust actively and beneficially influencing the direction of a club. They’re obviously blessed with the status of being in the Premier League, but I’m not always sure that’s such a great blessing: whilst that’s obviously of great benefit financially we should also remember that if you want to remain competitive without someone guaranteeing large sums of money, it’s tough. Really tough. Moreover, there’s a big issue when it comes to issues like continuity in the boardroom (given that there are a clutch of private fan-shareholders who will one day have to part with the shares even if it’s just by dying off), or for example, infrastructure development, which is the subject of a recent post by the Swansea City Supporters Trust on their website.
Setting aside these issues, people who might not always understand the less tangible affects of democratic fan involvement in a club should read the aforementioned post on their website (scroll down to the bottom of this post for the link).
The post is all about trying to steer a difficult discussion about the future, sketch out something of a vision, without being unnecessarily critical of any party, and ensuring that their role is seen as being as vital in the future as it has been up to now. It manages all of that in a measured and thoughtful way.
I don’t know whether it’s part of a long-term PR plan, or whether they’ve just decided that the issue needs broaching now, and they’ll develop their thinking in response. However as an opening gambit, I’d say it’s as good as any example I’ve seen of a supporters’ trust or any fan organisation handling a difficult issue. I know a few organisations who could do far worse than follow their example.
You can read it here: http://www.swanstrust.co.uk/2015/11/17/where-do-we-go-from-here/