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As football fans, we are forever told about our responsibilities; buy the shirt, buy the season ticket, help the club, we are treated as consumers, as customers, but it isn't as simple as that. We can't take our support elsewhere, or beyond the games which we can afford to attend and we can't shop around for the best bargains. For richer or poorer, our club is ours for life and its past, present and future are what really matter. More importantly, if we have responsibilities, then we also have rights. We have the right to be told why season ticket prices are going up, why there needs to be an administration charge on ticket bookings, why facilities are not up to scratch and where exactly 'our' money is spent.

In his book 'Football Against the Enemy', Journalist and award winning author Simon Kuper wrote 'what players and directors think is beside the point, because a club is what it means to its fans. A football club should not exist to make money for the few; its sole reason for existence is to be of value to a particular community. The owners of football clubs are custodians of institutions which belong to their fans and because of this they should not be able to do as they please'.

Individually, fans make enormous financial and emotional investments in their club and as such they are the only reliable owners of the clubs they support. The fans are the only people who are avowedly committed to their clubs survival and prosperity, so why are they not involved in how their clubs are run? Why is there so little dialogue between those who claim to own football clubs and we who are expected to pay our way without complaint?

Football supporters need to become more vocal on the issue of ownership. Just as has happened at Northampton Town Football Club, Crystal Palace Football Club, Luton Town Football Club and Lincoln City Football Club, supporting can become a more active part of our lives; never forget that Barcelona members run one of the biggest clubs in the world. The number of people in the stands at Walsall week in week out would give an established, democratic, politically active body of supporters an incredible energy and vision for moving the club forward.

The formation of such a body would allow us to show that we can be constructive and work with the club that we are proud to support. We can work to gain a say in how the club is run, to promote issues and get answers to questions that are important to us. More importantly we can safeguard the future of our club. The diversity of people in the stands gives us a huge range of abilities and skills that are never called upon. There is no reason why this should not change.

In January 2000, the Government set up an umbrella organisation called Supporters Direct to help fans buy into their clubs through the formation of Trusts. Walsall Football Club Limited has over 900 shareholders with whom a prospective Walsall Football Supporters' Trust would work to buy shares. We would then need to negotiate with the existing Directors to persuade them to vote a Supporters' Representative onto the Board and to give that person an equal voting right to other Board members.

This will undoubtedly take time to achieve; however many of us have already committed, or will commit to years of support to Walsall Football Club. It is time that we had a real say in how the club is run, and through the Walsall Football Supporters' Trust, we have a real chance to make a difference.


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Walsall Football Supporters' Trust is the trading name of Walsall Supporters Society Limited which is registered in England and Wales as a Co-operative and Community Benefit Society (Registration No. IP30010R) and regulated by (with the guidance of Supporters Direct) the Financial Conduct Authority.



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