What is FaST and why should I become a member?
FaST is the Farnborough Supporters’ Trust (see What is a Supporters’ Trust? below). Joining the different elements of support for the club together under one banner gives us greater strength and a louder voice. The Trust recognises the individual worth of various supporters groups and includes the function of a supporters’ club. Recognising the welcome recent re-birth of the Club, it is still desirable for the fans to have some influence in the operation of their Club.What are the objectives of FaST?
Here are a selection:
- To strengthen bonds between Farnborough FC and the community it serves.
- To represent the interests of the community in the running of the club.
- To benefit present and future members of the community.
- For a Trust representative to sit on the board of the football club.
- To be broadly representative of supporters in all that it does.
- To be viable and sustainable as a group, and pursuing viable and sustainable objectives.
- To gain financial influence by obtaining shares in the club.
What has FaST done so far?
Since its conception FaST has succeeded in raising £75,000 through various forms of fundraising exercises. Some £20,000 of this money was spent towards the Football Foundation Ground Development project which was lost when the old Farnborough Town FC entered liquidation in May 2007. This money has not gone entirely to waste as the new club Farnborough FC has managed to revive the project. However, this experience has made the Trust determined to use remaining and future funds as carefully as possible. To this end, a major Trust objective is to secure football club shares in return for investment of Trust funds.
Isn’t FaST just the old supporters’ club under a different name?
No. The major difference is Trust’s twin aims of securing Football Club shares and representation on the football club board. This will provide Farnborough Supporters with a voice in the way the club is operated in the hope that the torrid times the club has endured in the past do not resurface. See also ‘What is a Supporters Trust?’ below.
What is FaST doing in the short term to help Farnborough FC?
At the moment the club management team do not feel able to offer the Trust shares or club board representation. This being the case, the Trust is providing the club with limited sponsorship and has offered the club assistance wherever possible in any areas such as event organisation and publicity.
What is FaST doing in the medium term to help Farnborough FC?
The Trust will continue to negotiate with the club to secure the aims mentioned above. In the meantime it will continue as described under ‘short term help’ above.
What is FaST doing in the long term to help Farnborough FC?
In the longer term, the Trust hopes to eventually use members’ contributions to secure shares in the football club to give supporters a real voice in the way the club is operated.
What happened to the money FaST raised to help the old Farnborough Town FC with its planned stadium revamp?
This money was spent on the architect’s fees for the proposed developments. Sadly the Football Foundation grant was lost with the Farnborough Town liquidation. However, some of the planning permissions secure at this stage are being used in the current ground development work. The new club Farnborough FC was recently successful in obtaining a new grant of £150,000 from the Football Foundation. The work already funded by FaST will continue to help this new development.
Is FaST’s full name still Farnborough Town Supporters’ Society Limited or has the Town bit been dropped?
The Trust rules have been updated to, among other things, include the change to remove ‘Town’ from both the ‘Club’ definition and ‘Society’ name in these rules.
What is a Supporters’ Trust?
Supporter Trusts were recognised by the Football Task Force as a means by which supporters could gain more recognition by their club through a pooling of shares into a block vote, and even electing representatives to the board of football clubs. In essence, the government recognised that football supporters could make a positive contribution towards the club they supported, and with the help of Supporters Direct, the supporters’ trust initiative has spread throughout the country.
A supporters’ trust is a democratic, non-profit making organisation owned by the fans of the club they support and the community that it serves. It is based on a democratic process of open membership for all. Each member has one share and one vote, and the trust aims to be truly representative of everyone involved with the club. To this end, the club itself as well as any responsible supporter organisations are encouraged to provide representatives to sit on the trust’s board as well as any committees that may be formed. To ensure that the democratic ideals are maintained for future generations of fans, the trust must have a written and legally approved constitution, and a set of procedural rules. In addition, regular meetings must be held, so that the Trust Board receive a regular mandate from the members.
The key ideals of a Supporters’ Trust are:
- Democratic = one member equals one vote
- Not for profit model of organisation
- Open membership = accessible to all
- Policy decided by its members
There are a number of controls to protect the interests of the members of the Trust:
- Annual elections of the Executive Board by the members (directors elected on rotation)
- Regulated by Industrial and Provident Society Acts and FSA
- Audited Annually
- Annual Reports filed at Registrar.
Who helps set up Trusts? What is Supporters Direct?
To help encourage and promote the supporters’ trust initiative, Supporters’ Direct was formed following a recommendation in the final White Paper by the Football Task Force, and support at a Labour Party conference. This initiative has the support of both the Football Association, the Football League and the Premier League. Supporters’ Direct aim to help people “who wish to play a responsible part in the life of the club they support” and recommend models based on “democratic, mutual and not for profit” principles. They offer legal and practical advice, as well as financial help, to groups of fans who, for whatever reason, feel that a supporters’ trust would be of benefit to their club. To date, the supporters of more than 100 football clubs have contacted Supporters Direct, and this has resulted so far in over 60 successful supporters’ trust being set up at a diverse range of clubs (Note: figures as per October 2002 newsletter). Examples include Manchester United (Shareholders United), Celtic (Celtic Trust), Northampton, Sheffield Wednesday (Owls Trust) and Walsall.
The one thing common to all the trusts, regardless of their size or that of the football club they aim to help, is that they have conclusively demonstrated the responsible nature of fans involved and that when given the opportunity, a supporters’ trust can provide a meaningful, positive and above all beneficial contribution towards both the club and the surrounding community.
Our Supporters Direct representative is Kevin Rye.
For further information on Supporters Direct, visit their website at www.supporters-direct.org
Newsletters and Football Research Papers are available from their website in Adobe Acrobat format, or alternatively visit the download section of this website for links to specific documents.
For links to alternative Supporters’ Trusts, click to Links on this site or alternatively go to the Supporters Direct website.
What will happen to the money from my annual subscription?
Initially, the money will be placed in the Trust’s bank account. A proportion of the sum will be used to meet the annual running costs of the Trust. All subsequent funds will be used to acquire shares in Farnborough Football Club, minor club sponsorship, to invest in grass roots football initiatives within the town and in local charity and community relations initiatives.
I own shares in Farnborough Town Sports & Social Club, do these count for anything now?
Farnborough Town Sports & Social Club went into administration in July 2006 and into liquidation in May 2007. A new company is now running Farnborough Football Club, which has been formed in place of the former Farnborough Town FC. The company behind Farnborough FC has not made any shares available for purchase at the time of writing (October 2007). FaST has told the new company it is keen to obtain shares in the club. No share issue is imminent but if this changes then FaST will do all it can to obtain shares.
If and when shares become available to supporters, those who obtain them can pass the voting rights of the shares to the Trust. By doing this, the power of the share would be vastly increased. The Trust could act as proxy and it could pool supporters’ votes to create a significant block vote at the company AGM. Decisions on the use of this block vote would be made by the members of the Trust in a general meeting prior to the football club AGM.
If I own shares in the Trust can I attend the football club’s AGM?
No, a member of the Trust can only attend the football club AGM if they are themselves a shareholder in Farnborough FC. Once a share or shares are obtained by FaST, then a member of the Trust would be nominated to represent the Trust at the football club AGM.
Will I receive shares in Farnborough FC?
No, as a member of the Trust you will only receive one share in the Trust’s legal form (being the Farnborough Supporters’ Society Limited) and thus the subsequent voting rights attached to that share in the Trust. Any shares bought are held by the Trust “in common” for all supporters in the Trusts’ name, and are not assigned to any individual member.
Will I receive a dividend or return from the money or shares I give to the Trust?
No, the annual membership and any other donations to the Trust are in no way a financial investment. No dividends or returns will be paid to the Trust’s members. Any monies generated by activities will be ploughed back into the Trust to help it achieve its objectives.
Can I withdraw my money or shares from the Trust in future?
No, all monies or shares given to the Trust are given as a gift, and cannot be returned to an individual.
Who will own the shares purchased or given to the Trust?
All shares purchased or given to the Trust will not be owned by any individual person. They will be owned collectively by the Trust, i.e. “in common” for all supporters. All dividends, whether in cash or scrip, received from the shares in the Trust will only be used to further the Trusts’ objectives.
Will any individual make money from the Trust?
No, everybody involved in the formation and running of the Trust is a volunteer, and receives no payment for their time and efforts. Any revenues generated through its activities will be ploughed straight back into the Trust. The Trust does constitutionally retain the right to employ a person, or persons, to administer its day-to-day affairs if and when the Trust grows to such size that this is required. This is only deemed likely in the long term and would require approval by the members at the Trust’s AGM. In addition, any paid employee may not be a member of the Trust’s Executive Board.
How will I have a say in the running of Farnborough Football Club, and who will represent the Trust at the club?
The Trust has an Executive Board as part of the Trust Board whose role is to manage the Trust’s activities. The members of the Executive Board are elected by the members at the Annual General Meeting in accordance with the Trust’s rules. The Executive will represent the interests of the members as conveyed to them at general meetings of the members, whether at an AGM of Farnborough Football Club or at a meeting with the management of Farnborough Football Club. Any selection of individuals nominated to represent the Trust on the board of the Football Club, or related companies, will be made in a democratic manner by the members.
Who decides on which grass roots, local charity and community initiatives will be supported and where will these be?
A member of the Executive Board will be responsible for the day-to-day administration of the initiatives. As the programme grows, a separate committee may be formed from Trust members to oversee their development. All beneficiaries of the Trusts’ support will have to meet certain criteria for equality and financial responsibility.
Who can join the Farnborough Supporters’ Trust?
Membership is open to everybody – there are no age restrictions or prerequisites for joining. However, for legal reasons, no member aged under 16 may vote on the Trusts’ affairs.
Under-16s cannot be full members of the Trust, as membership means holding a share in the Society. FaST has a long-term goal of launching a junior scheme with benefits aimed at these members.
Do I have to be a season ticket holder or shareholder?
No, anybody who is interested in the future of Farnborough Football Club, be they shareholders, season ticket holders, arm chair supporters or even fans living in other countries can become members of the Trust.
How much is the annual subscription to the Trust?
The annual subscription is £10.
Can I make extra donations to the Trust?
Yes, we hope all Farnborough FC fans will support the Trust. The more money we raise, the quicker the Trust can make a difference. To this end, we welcome all donations, no matter how large or small.
If I obtain shares in Farnborough FC at a future date, can I donate these to the Trust?
Yes, should you wish to do so, any shareholder may donate all or part of their shareholding to the Supporters’ Trust. This is not a compulsory requirement of Trust membership, and is very much a personal decision for individuals. If in doubt, an individual should consult an independent financial adviser for further clarification. At present, no shares in Farnborough FC have been made available for purchase.
What happened to the Farnborough Town Supporters’ Club?
The Trust was formed in April 2005 as a more modern, powerful alternative to the traditional supporters’ club. Officials from of the Farnborough Town Supporters’ Club were kept informed of moves to form the Trust. In May 2005 the supporters’ club held an extraordinary general meeting to decide whether to throw their lot in with FaST or to continue as a separate entity. They voted to become part of FaST. This eventually happened in October 2005 when the supporters’ club held its final AGM. Funds transferred over from the supporters’ club were put to good use by FaST in carrying out essential ground works at Cherrywood Road. The supporters’ club’s expertise in putting on away coaches and running the 50/50 fundraising draw has not been lost – FaST now runs these activities instead. The stadium maintenance work which used to be carried out by the supporters’ club’s Ground Development Association is now run by FaST, who work alongside the newly-formed Farnborough FC.
What happened to the Fans For Farnborough (FFF) fund?
FFF was a fundraising scheme in which fans chipped in to help Farnborough Town FC with its playing budget. The highly-successful scheme was the acid test for the Trust and it worked, hence the formation of FaST. FFF raised and donated more than £10,000 to the club in the 18 months that it ran. That was an amazing figure, as the football club was has been in turmoil for much of that time. The organisers of FFF would like to thank all of the people who have contributed to the fund.
What about Cherrywood Chance?
Cherrywood Chance is continuing to operate and is now under the umbrella of FaST. The use of funds is decided by fans. The link between Cherrywood Chance and local Rushmoor charity Parity for Disability remains.
How will the youth side of the football club link in with FaST?
FaST board member Malcolm Upward represent Farnborough Youth FC on the executive board of FaST. The Youth FC are the future of the club, on and off the pitch. A Football in the Community scheme for young people is among the long-term aims which FaST is pursuing, in conjunction with the Youth FC and with Farnborough Football Club.