Crystal Palace Supporters’ Trust calls for Fan representation on any future Board
Crystal Palace FC has come a long way in the past four years. On the 2nd May 2010 the club was one defeat away from falling into the third tier of English football, against a backdrop of administration with no guarantee of financial redemption in sight.
Fast forward to today and that dramatic day at Hillsborough feels a lifetime away. The side secured their place in the Premier League for the first time in the club’s history, with the set up earning plaudits for the players’ work ethic and its superb support. The club has never been on a more secure financial footing, owned by four fans who care deeply for Palace, and have grand plans in place to take the club to the next level, including the redevelopment of Selhurst Park.
Although CPFC2010 have always made it clear they are “reluctant custodians” and have said they would entertain offers if they felt it would benefit the club to have new owners, suggestions of a prospective sale have still come as a profound shock to supporters.
Football is clearly big business, and there is no shortage of wealthy businessmen in the market looking ahead to the potential riches of the next Premier League TV deal in a couple of years, which could bring in double the revenue that clubs earn even now. And CPFC is an enticing proposition: debt free, in a great location, and with strong potential to expand both on and off the pitch.
And yet, there is a link between May 2010 and today. The fans. They are the constant, supporting the club through thick and thin, through times of relative glory and periods of failure. They are the glue that binds the club to its community, to its present owners, and to the players. And in this era of multi-million takeovers and absentee owners, their voice is struggling to be heard. Palace is currently blessed with fans as owners who have been in regular dialogue with the support, and perhaps that is something that we have all taken for granted. There is no guarantee such a dialogue will be forthcoming with any new owner. That dialogue is needed more than ever with all of the issues facing the current game.
Supporters’ Direct, and more recently the Labour Party(http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/29652317 ) have put forward policies to give fans more of a voice. The suggestion that fans should have the right to have a minority stake in their club in order to secure a voice and a say in how that club is run, is a radical one. Some may question whether such a small percentage of ownership in a club would make any difference, or whether a fans’ elected board member would merely be a token gesture to appease the masses. However, success stories abound of fan involvement in the running of football clubs. Swansea, Portsmouth, AFC Wimbledon, Wycombe, and Exeter are shining examples of just what can be achieved.
All Palace fans deserve a chance to voice their opinions on the future of this great club. The Trust welcomes dialogue with any potential new owner to give the fans the chance to formally cement that voice.
You can contact the Trust directly on 020 3514 897 or on email; email@example.com.