So, perhaps you’ve noticed the amount of cyber ink spilt on supporter’s trusts. The idea is intriguing – supporters care about the club and provide a long-term voice of reason to combat shortsighted executives. In a time of crushing debt and looming administration, the fundamental economics of football are flawed and alternative organizational structures certainly appear enticing.
I, however, remain unconvinced. In the States, the word “trust” is synonymous with tax evasion, so perhaps its just my cultural bias. Of course, as a fan, my immediate concern is watching my team win the next game. Thus, I want my club to spend a ton on talented players’ wages so that we win that next game on the path to a championship.
I have a feeling I am not alone in my view of fanhood.
I also have the slight sensation that I am not the only person uneasy with these so called “trusts.” However, rather than toss the baby out with the bathwater, I will offer an alternative – my very own Soccer Trust. Anyone can be a member, but we will have a few very stern principles. Please join.
First, we have no specific club affiliation. We are a “soccer as a concept” trust, not a club-specific lobby group. This is crucial to our objectivity and neutrality when evaluating soccer and our own lovely clubs. I really don’t want this project to get bogged down in “reality” or “details.”
Second, absolutely positively no debt. This means nobody associated with this Trust can even have a credit card. Why? Because debt can lead to temptation. Debt is the purest evil of all pure evils. While several businesses operate at a loss for years at a time, soccer is not a business. Soccer is not some profit generating cow to be milked when you get thirsty! So no debt. And the CEOs cannot have a credit card, not even a prepaid credit card.
And if they have a mortgage, will they just need to sell their homes at a loss and start renting.
Third, the death threats. From what I’ve seen, this is the key to any successful Supporters’ Trust. A death threat gets us free publicity and also an air of credibility with the coaches, players, and executives. Anyone can light a candle outside a house or wear some obnoxious t-shirts, but only one thing gets a busy professional’s attention – the prospect of their imminent demise.
Now, I know your immediate concern. And believe me, it worries me too.
Overuse. I know if we just send of death threats to any old player or coach, or even more than once a week, we will lose all credibility as an organization. That’s why we will be limited to one death threat per month. Also, death threats, like your vacations at work, will not rollover. I could easily see a situation where we save up all death threats for a season, and then go to town in May. And you know what? I think that would just be counterproductive.
But who decides the worthy threats? That leads me to the organization element.
Fourth, the death threats committee. We will need an odd number of individuals to head the death threat selection committee. Now, I am a bit more flexible about this. I think 5 is a good solid number, but 7 is also okay. 3 I think could make any committee disputes a bit too personal – and in the heat of a “death threat draft,” I want to make sure that calmer heads prevails. I think 9 is a bit on the big side, yielding an unwieldy bunch that may be a bit too long on discussion and light on action.
And of course, you ask, who will chair this committee? Well, I think I can chair the first few months of meetings. However, after we get things started, I am perfectly open to one of my readers taking the reigns for a spell. Should there be term limits? A rotating chair? I am open to all these ideas – but believe the committee fundamentally should vote by simple majority on such matters.
And will the committee draft and deliver these death threats? Won’t that eat up a lot of time? That leads to the most important and difficult part of this venture. I, however, have an idea.
Fifth, the death threats administrative assistant. I envision the death threats committee being volunteer based at least in the first three years, thus very few will have the spare time and energy to actually deliver these threats. As a result, we will need to do some initial fundraising to pay a part time administrative assistant. Conversely, we may also be able to poach some uni intern talent.
However, one thing is clear – this administrative assistant needs to lean on the menacing side in demeanor and appearance. No Mary Poppins, mind you. Now, I’m not saying we need a bearded biker in a leather jacket, but the qualities of “edge” and “danger” will be sought during the initial round of interviews. Also, grammatical errors and misspellings on the cv may be a plus – we really don’t this edgy and dangerous person to be too detail oriented.
Thus, that is my short-term plan for FC Distrust Supporters Trusts Trust. I invite you to join, but strap yourself in for a ride. At FCDSTT it’s not all about the death threats, but yes, they do play a large part in our identity as an institution committed to the betterment of football.