A FEW WORDS FROM THE NEW BWFCST CHAIRMAN – TERENCE RIGBY
Introduction to the New BWFCST Board
You will have read on the trust website that on the 3rd January 2018 the existing members of the BWFCST board, myself and Maggie Tetlow, welcomed back previous board member Mike Smith, welcomed newly elected board members Paul Brown and Simon Nightingale and also welcomed back, as co-opted board members Roger Allanson and Ian Bridge.
We had an excellent meeting when we all confirmed or reconfirmed our commitment not only to do everything we can to promote and support BWFC, but, most importantly, to try and secure a stable and prosperous future for the club, the supporters and the local community.
My BWFC History
I have been involved with the initial steering group and then the first trust board from the very start of the BWFCST, but have, to date, kept a relatively low profile. However, with the recent resignation of Daniel Izza, to whom we owe a considerable debt, I was asked by the new board to step forward and now have the honour of being appointed as the new chairman of the board.
Like all the board and, indeed, most of the BWFCST members, I am a devoted lifelong supporter of the Wanderers. My first memories of the club are of being taken to Burnden Park by my father in the 1950s. He had played schoolboy football with Nat Lofthouse and I could not have had a better guide to football generally or a better introduction to the Wanderers, for whom I quickly developed what some would describe as an addiction!
I am by occupation a barrister practicing from chambers in Manchester. I have always had an interest in sports law and have had experience of representing players, managers and clubs in relation to employment and contract matters. I have never had any close formal connections with the club or its owners, always preferring to be a fan, watching and commenting on the running of the club from the terraces. But things changed towards the end of 2015, when it became clear that the club was in great danger of going out of business.
Around that time, I was approached by the founders of the BWFCST and asked to become a member of the initial steering group. I have been pleased to work on the establishment of the trust as a Community Benefit Society which could, given the right circumstances, play a significant role in the governance of the club. I was also involved in the securing of the ACV status for the stadium, a process that I know will prove to be of benefit to the club, the supporters and the community in the long term.
Moving Forwards with the Trust
There have, in the past, been criticisms of the trust regarding lack of transparency and of the trust being either too critical of or too cosy with the owners of the club. The new board are determined to do everything we can to foster and promote inclusivity and transparency between the board and the members. We are also determined to have as constructive a relationship as possible with the club’s owners, whilst never losing sight of the fact that it is the club, the supporters and the community to whom we are responsible. With that responsibility comes the need to question and sometimes to criticise the owners if, at any time, there are problems with the governance of the club affecting long term stability.
The board also has a responsibility, as set out in our Model Rules, to take whatever steps are necessary and available to us to address any dangers to that long term stability, as we did in securing the ACV status for the stadium. However, there are always different ways of approaching such situations and I will use the best of my abilities and experience to ensure that all avenues are fully explored.
In the very near future, I anticipate that we will be setting a date for our AGM which we hope can be combined with a social event. We hope that there will be a good attendance and that members will take up the opportunity of meeting the board face to face. In the meantime, if anyone wishes to raise any matters with me, I can be contacted via email@example.com. Please mark any communications for my attention and I will get back to you as quickly as possible.