Let’s be honest, since Petty, the trust hasn’t been needed in any major way! That isn’t to say that it hasn’t done a lot of good for supporters rights regarding ticket prices, travel etc… but until the last twelve months, we had a board which we all loved and a chairman in which we had total trust and so in reality, although I’m sure there has been much work going on, in regards to media coverage and to the daily fan, the trust was made kind of obsolete.
And because of this there seems to have been divisions amongst Swans fans regarding it. It’s well known that people unite when there is a common enemy and when there isn’t then infighting begins. You only have to spend ten minutes on Planet Swans to see somebody slating the ‘other site’ for criticising the trust and vice versa.
I know I pissed off (Supporters Trust Chairman) Phil Sumbler this time last year (for something which I still maintain I’m right about!) and I want to tread carefully because I want to build bridges not burn more but I do feel that there are ‘clicks’ surrounding the trust which is off-putting to many and the ‘click’ is often too sensitive.
I have offered free space in this magazine on numerous occasions to both Huw Cooze and Phil Sumbler for the Trust to print anything that it wants to tell our readers. Now, Phil might not like me personally, he may not like the magazine but this is easily the most read Swans magazine and it seems madness to me not to use it to get a regular message out to Swans fans.
Frankly, (and this is really fucking frank) I think the Trust needs to be less isolated, less sensitive and embrace criticism and not surround itself with people that agree with everything they say and do. The trust and planet swans naturally feed into one and it isn’t welcoming in any way, its borderline bullying at times. You almost have to join the ‘click’ or be outcast and that needs to be addressed.
The moment any slight criticism of the trust arises then that person is shot down and that cannot work if it seeks to broaden its voice.
Having said all of that:
I’ve interviewed Phil for this magazine and (although he may think I’m a twat), he is the one person that I trust wholeheartedly has Swansea City Football club and its fans as his only priority! I know that he works incredibly hard for the trust and I know that there are many others who do to. Huw Cooze has an impossible job. I have said this before, he needs to be close to the board but he’s crucified if he’s’ too close. He needs to pick his fights carefully and smile and nod when he needs to too. Ita a very difficult balancing act and one which I feel he does incredibly well.
Both are incredibly clued up. Decisions are rightfully thought out over a long timescale which is rare amongst football fans, we could easily have some hot-headed idiots at the top which would cause chaos. Generally, I think we are massively fortunate to have the Trust and it does a fantastic job! We have to get more members right now, we have to ensure that the Trust maintains a say in the running of our football club and we have to work together to do that, we have to build bridges where needed and the trust should open up and use any resources it can to get the trusts message across even if that means using a publication where the editor is a twat!!
P.S This was written before revelations and the resignation of Huw Cooze.