In all his gloriousness, League Freak asked in November how everyone gets by in the off-season, and I’d like to offer up what I’ve been getting up to over the past three months.
2012 ended with my club, Hull KR finishing outside of the top eight playoff places for the first time since our inaugural season in 2007, when in fact there were only six spots up for grabs. Chairman Neil Hudgell then put back the date for next season’s pass sales renewals amid growing concerns about the club’s financial well-being after reported loses of over £500K.
As it turned out, the pass renewal forms were sent out a month later in October and last week the home and away shirts were unveiled in front of hundreds of supporters outside the club shop. Both sales are doing fantastically and have already broken last season’s sales records.
But during that short period of uncertainty, a group of us got together one night in a little pub called Ye Ole White Hart in Hull city centre and spent close to four hours discussing the situation, throwing around ideas and trying to determine how, as your ‘ordinary supporter’ we could help.
With the guidance and support of a lady called Jacqui Forster from the reputable Supporters Direct, a company that has overseen the development of over 140 trusts in various sports across Europe, we began putting plans in place to form a Supporters Trust.
The basic definition of a 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.
Over a 12 week period our group held weekly meetings to keep track of our progress and plan our next moves, contacted the local media who published an informative article with our picture, conducted radio interviews, made a promo video with HullKR.tv, leafleted a large number of businesses in the local area and set up a contact email address, as well as taking advantage of the usual social media outlets.
Hundreds of supporters pledged their support whilst all of the work behind the scenes was taking place and we started to get a really good feeling about it. We kept everyone up to date with our progress, made them aware that we’d be attending functions and when we were leafleting.
The response was fantastic and on 9th December we held an open meeting with a view to setting up the Trust official. Local radio host Rob Chadwick chaired the meeting with Jacqui Forster from Supporters Direct, Liz from fellow Trust ‘Trust in Widnes’, Karl Turner MP and Neil Hudgell all spoke with a question and answer session taking place just before the vote. Over 200 fans unanimously voted in favour of setting up a supporters Trust and now the hard work really starts.
Those who pledged their support will now have the opportunity to vote on the Trust name and logo whilst the interim committee, who have 12 months of work to fully set up the venture, get on with drawing up the constitution and register with the various legal sections. As the Trust grows more committee members will come on board and memberships will be made available at affordable prices. We will keep open dialogue with the club to ensure they are also kept up to speed every step of the way but the most important thing is that we the supporters have a fair say in the things that directly affect us.
A supporters Trust is inclusive and everyone who joins will have their voice heard. Every piece of correspondence will be responded to and the Trust will remain as transparent as possible. If you are a Hull KR fan reading this and you’d like to know more, please contact us at: email@example.com
So this is what we’ve been doing in the off season. It is a long term venture and we have high hopes that it will be a success for the club, the community and most of all the supporters of our great club.
Rally round the Robins…
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com