OPINION: Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust has come at the right time

The recent birth of the Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust seems to have come at exactly the right time.

By The Newsroom
Thursday, 14th April 2016, 12:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 14th April 2016, 12:22 pm

When I first heard about this motion last year I was sceptical, mainly because I didn’t have enough information about it all.

My gut instinct was that it was a kind of rebellion to overthrow the chairman. However, the Trust aims to work in tandem with Mr Al Hasawi - if he’s willing - and provide sustainability rather than stability.

When you think about the choice of wording there, you have to agree that it’s beautifully put.

As for the timing, our 150th year should have been one to remember both on and off the field but it has been a farce, to say the least.

The profile of the club has been badly tarnished and as I type these words we face further embarrassment at the hands of Derby, regarding £90k owed to them regarding match tickets for the recent game.

I have argued to keep Fawaz at the club in the past but only if he would agree to change culturally.

As I have recently stated though, he is on very thin ice. He has hinted at the appointment of CEO and coupled with the Supporters Trust we could be moving in the right direction.

Forest fans seem to have had enough and have taken to social media to voice their opinion, but who is willing to go further?

The answer is Richard Antcliff and Thomas Newton; they have put in an abundance of work to get this Trust off the ground. What they need now is real action from the supporters by signing up for it.

Why sign up? First and foremost it’s non profit so you won’t be lining anybody’s pocket.

Most importantly it will be chance for the fans to have an official voice and to demand more transparency from their club. You will have a say in issues such as ticket prices, commercial revenue and even the land/stadium ownership.

Reverting back to the non profit issue you could even be part of a shareholding scheme because the Trust has legal status. This is the fundamental difference between this project and a supporters club.

There are over 140 such trusts across Britain and if you need any examples of success then take a look at Leicester City.

Their founder Ian Bason attended the NFST meeting last week and explained how their model has assisted the transition from near administration to Premier League Champions elect.

Jonny Owen, of I believe in Miracles fame, was also in attendance and had wise words of his own to say about the trust: “Fans are the lifeblood, the most successful teams are ones that listen to their fans.”

Richard Antcliff was a guest on the BBC Radio Nottingham Matchtalk show on Monday night; he came across very well and provided some definitive answers for the listeners.

Something that stood out for me was the realistic answer to owning the club; saying that NFST were not looking to run the club but to be more of a critical friend.

Sensible words when you think about it, the Al Hasawi family have injected just under £70m into the club and yet we still have a debt of around £20m.

Rather than berate the Forest owner he also said that “has a valid opinion on playing matters as long as he doesn’t interfere with the manager’s decision, he’s put a lot of money into the club”.

As for the playing side of things, Forest put up a great fight against high flying Brighton.

I thought we were extremely unlucky.

Two cheap goals were the undoing of us in the end but boy did we play well; if we lose every game from now until season’s end and play like that I’ll be content.

I didn’t have a problem with the formation to be honest because it wasn’t really one up front when you think about it, Lansbury playing just off Ward (then Blackstock) worked a treat and so too did Danny Fox at centre half.

Most pleasing of all was the backing of the fans at the final whistle. A handful of idiots booed but were drowned out by real supporters who acknowledged the genuine effort by the players.

If you would like to know more about the Nottingham Forest Supporters Trust please go to @NFFCTrust via twitter, as my friend Shane Kennedy said “Some moan and groan, others take action!”