Fans Zone – Lobby Your MP
On Thursday the article below by Trust Board member Jan Mokrzycki appeared in the Coventry Telegraph and followed on from his appearance on 5 Live the previous Sunday on the topic of football governance and how it was letting English football down and Coventry City fans in particular.
The thrust of the article is a suggestion that you lobby your MP and express your concerns about the way football is being run. On 28th February, Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, will present an important Private Member's Bill on Football Governance for debate in the House of Commons. It's important because the debate could be a step towards reforming clubs' relationships with supporters, and changing the FA and the Football League to make them more accountable.
If you feel that the Football League needs reforming and believe that if they hadn't been so spineless when SISU took our club to Northampton, we might not now be in the mess we are in then write that letter or e-mail your MP.
It's very important that Mr Collins gets as much support as possible, so that his Bill moves to the next stage. February 28 will be its second reading and we need as many MPs as possible to attend and vote for the Bill.
More than a year ago the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee said that Government should legislate to reform the football governing bodies if they wouldn't do it themselves. Nothing has happened since. So we need to get our MPs to urge the Select Committee to put pressure on the Government to legislate.
We have been asked by some members how they can find contact details of their respective MP's and we recommend the following website: https://www.writetothem.com/
It's best if you write a letter in your own words, but here are the important points you could include:
* The Football League has allowed the situation at Coventry City to escalate by not taking any action to keep the club in Coventry.
* The Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, made proposals for reform of football governance over a year ago, and said that if football would not reform itself, the Government should legislate to do so.
* Last week the Government Committee on Mutuals presented its own report on football governance and reached much the same conclusions. They said that engaging fans in the running and ownership of the clubs is vital for the future of the game.
* On 28th February Damian Collins MP presents the second reading of his private members bill designed to reform football governance and make it more transparent and accountable.
* Ask your MP to urge the DCMS Select Committee to put pressure on government to legislate, and to support Damian Collins' bill.
When you write, remember that MPs don't have a lot of time, so a short letter stands a better chance of being read than a long one; and please don't be abusive - it's likely to have the opposite effect to the one we all want!
If you really have difficulty in putting together a letter, we've written one you could copy and amend.
Example Of Letter
Dear [insert your MP’s name]
I am a Coventry City supporter and I am concerned by the way our national game is being run. The tragic situation at Coventry City is well known and had the football authorities taken their responsibilities properly they would never have allowed the situation to escalate. They need reforming and the first step is to look at the whole of football governance.
Last year the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, said that if football could not reform itself within 12 months then government should introduce legislation as soon as practically possible. 12 months have passed and there has been no significant change.
Last week the Government Committee on Mutuals presented its own report on football governance and reached much the same conclusions. They said that engaging fans in the running and ownership of the clubs is vital for the future of the game.
On 28th February Damian Collins – MP for Folkestone and Hythe – presents the second reading of his private members bill. This is designed to reform football governance and make it more transparent and accountable. As a member of your constituency I urge you to support this bill in its attempt to save football from the vain and the greedy and return it to the true supporters.
Please ask that the DCMS Select Committee puts pressure on the government for change and please support Damian Collins' bill.
We are inviting all Trust members to join us at the Squirrel on 3rd March from 7.30 for a simple drink and chat about all matters Coventry City. There will be no guest speaker just an opportunity for a discussion about footy, stadia, protests, petitions or basically anything you want to bring up. Its an informal evening designed so we can all have an exchange of views and chew over the current situation and how we want to move forward.
Vote on Stadium Forum Committee Participation
Thanks to the hundreds who took the trouble to vote on the question of whether, if asked, should the Sky Blue Trust participate in the Stadium Forum Committee chaired by Sandra Garlick. The result was an overwhelming 65% in favour of being involved with this committee and we have written to Ms Garlick with this information and await her response as to whether she will grant the 3,000 Trust members representation on her committee.
Trust To Help The Next Generation of Supporters
One of the concerns many City fans have over our exile in Northampton is the effect it is having on the young supporters of the club. By not being able to watch their team their interest will ebb away and we will lose a generation of supporters for ever. In an attempt to reignite their passion the Sky Blue Trust are planning an initiative for the away match at Peterborough on 12th April. It will involve free tickets and free coach travel for under 16’s accompanied by a full paying responsible adult. The Trust will cover the cost of the youngsters ticket and coach and each adult can bring up to two U16’s with them. Full details will be announced next week.
Trust Board Meeting Minutes
17 February 2014
Present: John Fletcher (chair) Moz Baker, Jan Mokrzycki, Rachael Brown, Lionel Bird, Andy Turbitt, Roger Ellis, Steve Brown,
Apologies: CJ Joiner, Gary Stubbs, Mark Franklin.
The minutes of the meeting on 20 January 2014 were approved as a correct record.
Rachael reported on discussions with two local credit unions. It was agreed to take no action for the time being.
Rachael agreed to discuss with CJ a simple form of plan.
Roger confirmed it had been updated.
Holdings shareholders meeting
Lionel will email Roger a note of the questions unanswered by Tim Fisher as well as a note of the meeting.
Trust discount card
Jan confirmed that discussions were continuing.
The Board confirmed the proposal to pay for tickets and coach travel to the Peterborough match for young supporters, two per accompanying adult on a first come, first served basis. Moz will organise this.
Rachael reported membership funds at £2849.07 and the fighting fund at £2863.41
Roger agreed to clarify the respective responsibilities of Gary and Kev.
It was agreed that Roger would repeat the FOI requests every three months.
It was agreed that John would circulate his concerns about Mark’s draft.
It was agreed that Roger would write to Sandra Garlick informing her of the “Yes” vote in the member consultation and requesting a Trust representative on the Committee.
Roger agreed to clarify constitutional issues with SD.
Roger reminded the Board that the Trust’s rule 63 says “half of the members of the Society Board elected by the members who have served the longest at the date of the annual general meeting each year will resign” and, if they wish to continue on the Board, stand for re-election.
There are 8 elected Board members. Of those, the longest serving are Rachael and John. The other six have served equal terms. It was agreed to seek volunteers for the other two who wish to step down. Lionel volunteered. Roger will email the other five asking them to indicate whether they wish to volunteer.
Cardiff, Hull and Coventry (+ Leeds?)
John agreed to discuss campaigning opportunities with Kevin Rye.
Andy reported on progress with preparation of the timeline. It was agreed that:
Andy would continue to work on the practical aspects
John would discuss the legal processes with SD.
Jan would discuss with the Pompey Trust the process they followed.
John and Jan would pursue other discussions with potentially interested parties.
Football Supporters Federation
Rachael agreed to pursue corporate membership for the Trust.
Roger agreed to put on the next Board agenda an item about the Supporters’ Summit 2014.
Agreed to take no action but reconsider the issue later in the year.
Andy outlined a number of campaign/event ideas. It was agreed:
To organise a “picnic on the Hill” to coincide with the last “home” match of the season, to give fans a chance to thank the players as they arrive at Sixfields. Jan & Moz to arrange
To organise another City Centre march, a year on from the July 2013 event. Jan, Moz & Rachael to arrange.
To change the format of open meetings so that alternate meetings will be respectively “meet for a pint and a chat” opportunities and themed discussions with guest speakers. It was agreed that the March meeting will be the first “pint and chat” event. For the April meeting, we will seek a former player or Steve Waggott. Jan to organise and publicise.
To Publicise the CC Ladies match on 16 March as a further “WHY?” event - Moz & Lionel
Lionel, Moz & Jan will work together on ideas for ways of marking Lionel’s tracing of the descendants of the first goal scorers at Highfield Road and the replacement of the plaque at the site of Highfield Road.
Next meeting: Monday 17 March 2014