Gazette Column - 27th August 2021

LIFE INSIDE BST


So, the regime change most of us wanted has happened. A new owner who has ambition and wants to invest is in place. Promotion back to the Championship has been secured. It’s time for BST - the bye word for organised protest - to pack up and go home, isn’t it? Read on……


The first thing to say is that Supporters Trusts are only about protest in the worst cases. For the vast majority, the day job is about working collaboratively with their club where possible, holding them to account where necessary, but above all helping to cement the place of the club in the local community. More progress, than protest, you might say.


This kind of work takes many forms. In recent years, the world of Supporters Trusts has become strongly linked with initiatives like Food banks. Leaving the politics of why these are needed aside, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the work of feeding the neediest and most vulnerable in our communities is a long way from done. Ultimately, it helps save and nurture life, and like all Trusts we know, we are determined to be part of the local effort. Our Food bank collections began again in earnest before the Cardiff home game - and we will be stepping up our efforts in the time before the Fulham match, including (for the first time) organising home collections for those who want to help but would find it hard to come to us. if you want to take advantage of this, contact Francis Charlesworth at memberships@blackpoolsupporterstrust.com



At Blackpool, the other big initiative we are working closely with the club on is that which will give a club shirt to every Year 2 Pupil in Blackpool who wants one. You will hear more about this from us, and our friends at BFC and the Community Trust, over the coming days and weeks, but it is yet another example of how Trusts can and do work to promote their clubs with their own area.


This is an especially poignant initiative for us. The prolonged boycott of the club felt very necessary ; but we undoubtedly lost half a generation of young supporters while it was going on and we feel it is vitally important to close that gap. It has cost us a good deal of money to do it - and we need to think hard about how we would fund any repeat - but it is the right thing to do . In fact, it is the kind of thing our Members often tell us they expect us to do.


One vital part of our local community is the football club itself. It is (at last) emerging from a prolonged period of neglect, but the damage runs deep and dealing with it has undoubtedly been hampered by COVID.


This is an area where the BFC volunteers have really stepped up. The group is open to everyone who wants to come along and help. The work is very varied and there is always plenty of it, be it cleaning, painting, repairing, or even helping out in t