BWFC Supporters’ Trust: 12th Man Survey Initial Results

May 2016

Last month we issued a survey to over 1,800 members asking for opinions on views to help guide the development of our nascent Supporters’ Trust. Established only in January this year, we now have over 2200 paid up members and plans are currently well underway regarding holding the first elections for members to vote in an inaugural Board of Directors.

In total we got a 62% response rate in just a two-week period. This is an amazing response rate and your answers will be used to lay the groundwork in establishing the mandate and the strategy of the Trust. The responses received will be used in formulating the key objectives established in the Model Rules and ultimately in our registration with the Financial Conduct Authority. We will undertake member surveys in the future on critical decision areas to gauge opinion and gather important viewpoints in establishing the majority voice and in understanding the range of opinions that need to be considered.

Today, we are pleased to publish the initial findings from the survey here. Over the coming weeks the Trust steering group, established to deal with Trust issues until the first elections and handover to the elected board at the first AGM, will analyse the results and make sure that the members voice and opinion is embedded in the mandate to be taken forward.

Some of the key headlines are set out below:

What should the Trust’s stance be towards the new owners (Q3)?

More than 85% of members expect the Trust to take a proactive position;
Of those, the largest proportion (41%) feel the initial stance should be quite passive BUT want the Trust to monitor the Club actions and report this back;
There are a significant number of members who feel the Trust should adopt a stronger stance & attitude.

Would members wish to invest in the Club under the Trust umbrella (Q4/5)?

This is something that has been done successfully at Portsmouth and Hearts, though these clubs take different approaches. Portsmouth invested through lump sum investments whereas Hearts adopted a monthly subscription method. This will be an area the Trust will investigate further in the near future with members.

80% of members have indicated a willingness to invest in the club under the Trust umbrella;
This goes up to 85% if there was a little longer to save up

If the Trust could have some involvement in running the Club how should this be achieved (Q6)?

Just 11% thought the Trust should take an observer role;
The majority preference would like to see the Trust have one or more Board seats with special voting rights in key areas;
24% thought the Trust should have the ambition & strategy to acquire a majority interest over time.

This will be an area for more investigation & member survey in the near future

What other investment initiatives would the members think appropriate for the Trust to be involved in (Q7)?

By far the most popular initiative is the sponsorship of one or more Academy players (64%). The supply of future talent has been massively important for the club and this season we’ve seen Zach Clough and Rob Holding give a good account of themselves as Academy graduates. Discussions have already started with the Club on this to try and assist in maintaining the current “Cat 2” status of the Academy.

How many member nominations should be needed for someone to stand in the Trust Board elections (Q8)?

81% thought that up to 9 nominations would suffice;
The majority (51%) thought between six to nine nominations most preferable.

Based on this it is proposed that members wishing to stand for election will be required to provide six nominations from other members to stand.

At Question 10 we asked an open question about the role & function of a Supporters’ Trust, and in particular our Trust. This was an optional question but almost 30% of responders provide answers & feedback. The full list is here. It will take some time to go through these and pull together the common threads but it is worth taking a look because there are some great answers and valuable feedback in there that will be incorporated into the structure & governance of the Trust.

It’s abundantly clear from the response to this survey that we are a passionate bunch of fans who have the best interests of our club at heart. Your responses and time given to attend the two meetings and to complete this survey have been very humbling. We know that what we have is not perfect but with your continued support and input we will go from strength to strength. Please don’t hesitate to be in touch with any questions & comments to either me, George Bower, at George@BWFCST.co.uk or Ian Bridge at Ian@BWFCST.co.uk.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW/DOWNLOAD THE SURVEY RESULTS

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