Your BWFCST Questions Answered
Over the last few days we’ve received and increasing number of questions, particularly across social media. We understand it’s important to keep communication levels high, but the sheer volume of questions has made is physically impossible to reply to every single person. This is the best solution we have: to answer as many questions as possible in one place. Here goes.
Who is Richard Hurst, and why is he involved with the BWFCST?
Richard Hurst is a life-long Bolton Wanderers fan who has extensive involvement in the Bolton community, spanning many years. His community presence is not limited to, but includes:
- Governor, Bolton College (1990 – 2000)
- Director, Bolton and Bury Training and Enterprise Council (1991 – 2001)
- President, Bolton and Bury Chamber of Commerce (1993 – 1995)
- Chairman, Bolton and Bury CCTE (2000 – 2001)
- Member Bolton Millenium Commissions Awards Comm. (2000 – 2001)
- Chair, Bolton Vision Group (2000 – 2006)
- Council Member Greater Manchester LSC (2001 – 2006)
- Board Member, Bolton Arena Trust (2001 – Present)
- Chair, Bolton Arena Trust Board (2007 – Present)
- Trustee, BWFC Free School (2014 – Present)
He brings a wealth of experience in the role of acting chairman that is essential in establishing a functional and effective Trust, and is a well-established and respected figure in the Bolton community. Richard has an excellent working relationship with the Trust’s Steering Group which is something that will help the Trust at this stage, but to clarify he is not a member of the Bolton Wanderers board and has been a critical friend to the Trust when required. He is on board as acting chairman, involved in an advisory capacity, and his knowledge and expertise are a welcomed asset to the Trust at this time. Once the Trust is set up and the board elected, his involvement will cease. Of course he knows Phil Gartisde, as do hundreds of other Bolton businessmen, but Richard & Phil Gartside are not ‘best friends’ as some fans have alluded to. The Supporters’ Trust has nothing to do with Phil Gartside. We are looking forwards, not backwards.
Why are the Steering Group acting on behalf of all Bolton fans?
The Steering Group has been put in place to physically establish the Trust, a process that normally takes around six months. We are not making any crucial Trust decisions – that will be done by the Trust’s elected board. However, due to the size of our Trust (now the biggest ever!), Supporters Direct have assisted us in moving this forward as quickly as possible. We estimate that everything will be sorted within the next couple of months, as a lot of it is out of our hands. We have submitted paperwork for bank accounts etc., but are still waiting to hear back from the relevant bodies. Again, you will be updated with any developments as soon as we have them. Think of it this way – at the moment we’re building the train, and in a couple of months time there will be a driver and a crew elected properly to drive/run it.
Are the Steering Group doing this for personal gain?
Absolutely not. The group’s members all work full-time and are juggling their everyday lives with attempting to establish the Trust, which includes staying up until the early hours of the morning reading your Expression of Interest forms. There is nothing to ‘gain’ from a personal point of view. The end goal, for everyone involved, is to have an established Supporters’ Trust that will live on for many years. Nothing more, nothing less.
Why hasn’t there been proper Trust elections yet?
There cannot be elections until the Trust is fully formed. We will announce the elections as soon as the Trust is ready to facilitate a proper membership, which, as above, should be in the next couple of months – all being well.
Why hasn’t the Trust had another meeting yet?
We are planning a meeting in the next few weeks and hope to have it penciled in before the end of February. With almost 6,000 Trust members and counting, it’s tough for us to find a venue that can hold everyone (if every member decided to attend). As soon as we have a date set and a venue booked, we will let you all know the details.
I want to help. Why haven’t you contacted me after I filled out an ‘Expression of Interest’ form?
We had over 1,000 forms to go through after the initial meeting and subsequent recruitment drives, so not everyone that filled one out could be brought into the Steering Group. We understand that all Bolton Wanderers fans that have signed up to the Trust want to help, but sadly there just isn’t room for everyone at the table. Supporters Direct have helped us assemble the current group, which is made up of people who are specialists in their fields that can help set the Trust up quickly and efficiently. You may feel you are better placed to carry out certain tasks than others, but the reality is that this is moving so fast we need the best people on board as quickly as we can. If you can’t commit the time because of working/family commitments, it’s going to be difficult for us to facilitate your request to help. If we find that we need an extra pair of hands (which has happened on more than one occasion since January 6th) we always refer back to the EOI forms and, under the guidance of Supporters Direct, choose whomever we think is the best person for the job. This is not a permanent appointment, but will be in the interim until there can be elections.
Will any of the Steering Group members stand for election when the time comes?
Contrary to common belief, that is up to each individual member. Some members have already indicated they will not be standing for election, but if you wish to know further specifics for each member, please contact them directly.
Is there anyone working “behind the scenes” at the club, secretly running the Trust?
Despite many people believing this to be true, it is not the case. The Trust is completely independent, and although we are in constant contact with people at the club (Trevor Birch included), there is no one “behind the scenes” doing anything in secret. Those who have suggested so are merely speculating and wasting their time.
What can I do to help?
Sign up to the Trust, pledge your £10 and support Bolton Wanderers through one of the most challenging periods in its history.
If you have any further questions, please contact us using one of the methods below: