Statement from Eddie Thompson
I am Eddie Thompson, chairman of the BFCSA for the past two and half years and now chairman of the new Trust (BFCST).
This was agreed by my colleagues, at the recommendation of Supporters Direct, as a means of ensuring continuity between the SA and the Trust. I must stand for election at the 2013 AGM. The following comments are my own and not representative of the Trust.
BFCST has been formed out of the BFCSA and is a continuation of the organisation that has represented Barnet supporters since 1926. The transition of the SA to a trust has already been strewn with damaging episodes some of which regular users of this board will be familiar. Nevertheless the BFCST will grow to become an organisation representative of every strand of support of Barnet regardless of gender, race or age. Conversion to a trust is designed to make the only supporter organisation at Barnet recognised by the club fit for purpose in the 21st century. The trust is governed by a set of standard set rules provided by Supporters Direct slightly modified for Barnets supporters.
One comment on this board suggested the Bees name should continue but I suspect it might lead to confusion with the Brentford Trust who got there first.
When I was elected chairman of the SA I barely knew TK but took the view if the SA is to be successful it must form a good working relationship with the chairman and this I believe has been achieved. Building a working relationship with the owner of the club, who as far as I know will be in place for the foreseeable future, will enable the BFCST to work with the chairman and every employee of the club for the greater benefit of every supporter.
Comments have been made that I will agree with anything the chairman tells me. This is an easy criticism to level at any one but having been on the sharp end of the chairmans tongue for things that have come out of the SA I can tell you this is not true. A good working relationship allows two people to be able to disagree and continue talking afterwards. During my career as an insurance manager in the oil and gas industry dealing with many very senior managers I have found this way of working to be effective.
This relationship with the chairman enabled the meeting which took place before Christmas to happen. The meeting was open and a frank exchange of views took place and was appreciated by everyone who attended. It was a major disappointment to find next day attempts made from those who were not present to discredit the meeting. Most supporter groups do not ever get the opportunity to meet their club chairman and this is a concession we should value and not seek to damage.
The report in the Borough Times was memorable not so much that a reporter unexpectedly called my mobile while I was in the process of donning a Santa outfit ready to give out presents at the primary school where I am a governor. My immediate reaction was of annoyance to find that a reporter had been given my number, by whom I have not been able to discover. What followed was a rambling discussion with a reporter who I should have recognised was looking for a story.
I almost certainly said the words quoted during the discussion but not in the form of a statement in which they have appeared. The views I expressed to the reporter were my own, I did not suggest they were representative of the trust quite simply because the trust has no view at this time and it is inappropriate for the trust to have a view on anything until we have an elected board.
With hindsight I feel like a ref who awarded a penalty only to look at the video evidence afterwards and feel I should not have done that. What happened after the initial report appeared has been aired widely on this board and whilst I suspect the person or persons concerned made their comment with the best intentions it would have been better if the ownership had been cleared up early in the process bringing the matter to a prompt end.
Conversion to a Trust
The current directors are in place for one purpose only and that is to seek members, open bank accounts etc. and hold board elections. An unelected board has no power to do anything else.
The BFCSA committee has now become the Trust Advisory Group and will continue to operate as long as there is a need. The value of this group has been immense during recent weeks and if the elected directors agree I would like to see this group continue as an advisory group to the board. The committee over the years has represented every strand of support at Barnet and this must continue to ensure the board of a chairman and five directors do not become insulated to the supporter on the terrace. If anyone wants to join the advisory group please get in touch with me or any committee member you will be most welcome.
Most of you will be aware Chris Nash obtained 20 signatures to force the Trust to hold a Special General Meeting for the following purpose:
1. To elect a board of
directors for the society
Trust rules demand that a Special General Meeting once called be held within 28 days. The trust election policy embodied in the trust rules does not allow an election of directors which can only occur at an Annual General Meeting within such a short time frame. Secondly, Supporters Direct advise a public meeting should not be used as a time/place to vote on policy issues as it is difficult to have a credible vote, rather the public meeting should be used to discuss options and test the strength of feeling around them.
The trust will hold a launch night as originally planned on January 28th in the Pavilion after the Crewe game. Whilst the primary objective is to introduce the trust and to persuade as many as possible to join the trust, if those present wish to discuss the ground or any other issue the opportunity will be provided.
A welcome pack will be sent this week to trust members and a separate letter explaining the trust will go to recent members of the SA. A successful trust must be representative of every supporter and this is best achieved by as many supporters as possible joining the trust and entering into the democratic process. Board elections will be held, hopefully in February, through a postal vote of all members. The greater number of votes the more likely the board will be truly representative of the clubs supporters.
Whilst I am numbered amongst our more mature supporters having been a regular visitor to Underhill since the 1950s I am fortunate enough to find I am able to identify with every supporter and that I will continue to do as long as members of the Trust are content for me to continue as their chairman. I am determined the trust will be a success, it will represent every strand of support at Barnet and be a critical friend of the club.
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