Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Supporters edge closer to the dream

What a difference a year makes. Last year's Wrexham Supporters' Trust AGM had a handful of diehards, with no prospect of the current owners selling and the club on a seemingly endless downward spiral. Membership was down below 600.

One year on and membership has doubled to 1200, there is renewed vigour and enthusiasm about the Trust and we are within touching distance of the dream - community ownership of the football club and the Racecourse.

Tonight's annual general meeting at the Cent is a good-natured one. Credit for keeping the ship afloat must go to the long-standing board members - people like Mark Williams, Pete Jones, Richard Owen, Gavin Jones and Spencer Harris. And not forgetting Lindsay Jones, the original "pesky kid" who did so much to wrest the club from the clutches of Hamilton.

Because of that, Trust members don't give board members an easy ride. There was evident unease that the lower limit on share ownership had been set at £250. For a town struggling in the recession and with many young fans without work or in college, that seemed high to some. The board is working with the credit union to allow share ownership to be bought in stages - but the easiest solution is to reduce that lower limit to £100.

Richard Green, the new chief executive of the WST, spoke powerfully about how he witnessed community breakdown in Thatcher's Britain and the need to re-engage the community by bringing the club back into their control. First impressions are good and he's working flat out talking to other community-owned clubs. Exeter, for example, are in League One despite having poorer facilities than us. Crucially they have five staff working in the community compared to Wxm FC's solo staff member. With fan ownership comes a change of priorities and direction.

The ex-policeman was also asked a killer question: "Are you going to investigate fraud at the club?"

Concerns about the season ticket money was aired, but there are limits to what the board can say at this time. Let's hope the ex-policeman doesn't need to call in his colleagues to investigate what has happened to funding at the club.

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