Frequently Asked Questions
We do our best to answer all questions our supporters may have. If you have any remaining questions, please contact us.
What is a Supporters Trust?
A Supporters’ Trust is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves.
Supporters’ Trusts are constituted as Community Benefit Societies (CBS), a form of Co-operative that operates under a one-member one-vote principle. CBS’ are registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, and any changes to the rules must be approved by the members and only become effective once the FCA has agreed them, checking they are in keeping with the spirit of the organisation. The members own all assets and liabilities collectively, and any profit made is either kept as reserves or reinvested to meet its objects. They are not charities and whilst they contain the word ‘Trust’ they do not follow the legal definition of a ‘Trust’.
What will our membership fees be spent on?
All Trust revenue from membership subscriptions will be deposited in the Trust's bank account and will be used, initially, to cover any essential administration costs incurred in setting up the Trust. Any surplus will be retained in the account for use by the Trust membership, in association with the democratically elected board, all in full accordance with the Trust rules and regulations.
Who is responsible for appointing the BWFCST Steering Group?
Currently there are 5 members within our working group whom are responsible for the formation of the Trust.
Apart from the first three working group members (Chris, Mike and Ian), all other working group members have initiated contact with the Trust by submitting their own expression of interest forms.
Which other Championship Clubs currently have Supporters Trusts?
Championship Clubs:The following Championship clubs are amongst those that currently have a Supporters’ Trust: Birmingham City, Blackburn Rovers, Bristol City, Burnley, Cardiff City, Charlton Athletic, Derby County, Fulham, Hull City, Ipswich Town, Leeds United, QPR, & Rotherham United.
Premiership Clubs: Premiership clubs with Supporters Trusts include: Arsenal, Aston Villa, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Everton, Manchester United, Newcastle United, Liverpool, Norwich City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur & Watford.
Other Clubs: There are many lower league and non-league clubs who also have active Supporters’ Trusts. Some local clubs include: AFC Liverpool, Blackpool, Bury, Chorley, Rochdale, Stockport County, Tranmere Rovers & Southport.
What is involved in setting up a Supporters Trust?
The process takes time to ensure it is the right decision and fits within the existing supporter landscape. Ultimately it will require a majority vote from a public meeting of supporters to go ahead.
Supporters Direct will be involved to provide the expertise and development officer time to move on the process, attending meetings of the working group, speaking at the public meeting as well as meeting the cost of registration.
Who are Supporters Direct?
Supporters Direct acts as the umbrella body for sports Clubs that are owned by their supporters, and supporters’ groups known as Supporters’ Trusts which are constituted as Community Benefit Societies.
Supporters Direct were formed in 2000 following a recommendation of the Football Task Force, to encourage the formation and development of groups of fans to take ownership stakes in their club. Since then SD has overseen the creation of more than 200 Supporters’ Trusts in the UK and has helped more than 40 sports clubs either reform under or convert to community ownership. They also work across Europe in over 20 countries.
SD itself is a Community Benefit Society owned by the Trusts and Clubs that they have helped create. SD members collectively have more than 300,000 members, and have raised more than £50 million in finance since 2000.
How can Supporters Direct assist BWFCST?
Supporters Direct’s mission is to promote good governance in sport and to enable the development of sustainable clubs based on supporters’ involvement and community ownership.
Supporters Direct will offer help to Clubs interested in becoming community owned and supporters interested in forming a Supporters Trust at their Club.
They also provide a range of support services to existing members, which can vary from advice on building supporter involvement at a Club, raising finance, better member engagement to helping supporters when their Club is in crisis.
Supporters Direct also work on behalf of their members by talking to the major stakeholders within sport, in particular football, to consider ways to improve the game. They believe that greater stakeholder participation actively contributes to better governance and thus financial sustainability. They also believe that a licensing system is essential to balance the social, sporting and commercial aspects of a Club.
How is Supporters Direct funded and what will BWFCST have to pay?
In the first year membership of Supporters Direct would be free for BWFCST. In subsequent years the membership fee for the organisation is £100 a year.
In March 2012, a European Commission-funded project, Improving Football Governance through Supporter Involvement and Community Ownership, began. The project will last until June 2013 and involves nine partners from across Europe.
Supporters Direct also bring in income from their consultancy arm ‘SD Club Development’ which is partly aided by the work they do as a delivery partner for the Co-operative Enterprise Hub.
What would the immediate aims be for BWFCST?
How BWFCST develops in the short term will depend to a great extent on the attitude and opinions of any new owner. However, it is felt that the time is now here to establish BWFCST as the official voice of the BWFC fans and to interact with any new owners to the overall benefit of the Club, the fans and the community in general.
BWFCST will also actively promote the establishment of links with the many BWFC fans groups via social media in order to ensure that the views of all fans are sought. This will help to ensure that BWFCST will be a democratic and sustainable organisation with the aim of uniting the Club, the fans and the wider community for the benefit of all.
What are the tax implications on a Trust?
A Trust cannot accept Gift Aid but we are looking into avenues that a Trust is entitled to with regards to being a CBS.
What is the difference between a Supporters Trust and a Supporters Club?
Trust can own shares or property, it can ultimately own the club, and at the very least, own a shareholding.
A Supporters Club or Association, like BWSA, is more of a social collective which might be equally concerned about the situation at the club but due to its unregulated status legally unable to buy the club or operate in the same way as a Trust.
Whilst a Supporters Association can raise money, campaign, or seek to secure the future of the club, without the right legal vehicle such as the Trust, they would be unable to do so. Supporters Associations are also not required to be fully democratic or accountable and are not regulated or required to be subject to audits.
Supporters Associations still may have a significant role to play, providing transport for fans, lobbying the club and acting to represent supporters but because they are unincorporated a supporters association cannot own shares and employ staff. Therefore a Supporters Association cannot directly develop community schemes for the benefit of local people.
Who are you and who gave you a mandate to speak for all BWFC Supporters?
We are a collection of concerned BWFC supporters who independently contacted Supporters Direct and where put into contact with each other by Supporters Direct to try and formulate a way of starting a BWFC Supporters trust.
The founder members and the appointed Steering Group are allowed, under the trust Model Rules, to make decisions until the elected board is in place.
Why don't you hold the meetings on Matchdays when fans are already at the Macron?
We thought about this, but realised many supporters have matchday routines, kids with them and trains/buses to catch etc. We also want supporters at this meeting who want to be there, rather than just ensnare a captive audience, but if there was a groundswell for this, then its definitely something we could look at in the future.
I love my Club but don't live locally and can't make the meetings, how do I get involved?
The new Bolton Wanderers Supporters Trust will be an all inclusive affair, social media will play a big role so it won't matter where you live or whether you attend the meetings, being a member in the USA or in London who can't attend any meetings will give you the same voice and voting rights as the member from Bolton or Horwich who manages to attend all the meetings.
If you have any questions or concerns you want to raise at an upcoming meeting... this can be done via the website here: Contact Page
You can also use this link if you'd like to take on a more active role within the BWFCST.