It’s a responsible world…

Date: 9th June 2016

i-believe-sfsa

I can remember the time that my boss at work decided that I would be the guy who should go on the board of the Football Academy. We were one of the founding members and he had been given the job of representing us at Board level; but he didn’t like “fitba”.

Having heard that I was a season ticket holder it was with undue haste he arrived at my door and before the kettle was switched on I had my remit, my instructions and my agreement laid out for me. Truth be told I was an easy sale.

Being a board member of any organisation comes with incredible responsibility and when I agreed to take on the policy portfolio there was a massive sigh of relief from the rest of the Board; it was an onerous task.

As for my kids though I had none of them as fanatical football supporters as I was and there was a misconception that I had become a Director of the Football Club and not the Academy – they were already trying to work out when they were free to be mascots. I wish…

Or do I?

The head of our organisation, Paul Goodwin knows a thing or two about running a football club and I am constantly amazed that the experience has not sullied him. To just be in charge of the policy portfolio of a League One club’s independent Academy is bad enough but hey! To be in charge of the full “fitba” team!?

And the stadium…

And the match day…

And the liaison with the fans…

And the budget…

And be there when things go wrong…

And pick a manager…

And get sponsorship…

And ball attendants…

And the SFA paperwork…

I’m getting dizzy…

Yet the appetite to be in charge or at least part of the team that takes charge has never diminished. One of the most recent pathways to fan ownership is at Fir Park where the Well Society have, in place, an agreement with the owner, Les Hutchison, to take over the club. The problem is, they are a bit short of the cash.

The general manager of the Well Society, Craig Hughes was recently reported as saying he hoped that enough people would realise that once the wealthy benefactor is gone, they need to dig into their own pockets. If not, then Motherwell could have another one of those financial meltdowns that cause supporters sleepless nights, banner headlines and buckets at the gates.

The wealthy guy is on his way out and he has done what the fans have always been looking to see happen – hand over the club to the fans. The fans need though to be able to put their money in and support a sustainable model for survival. Anything less is catastrophic.

Now Motherwell is hardly in the top 5 most affluent places to lay your head in Scotland but the community need to come out and give their support, according to Hughes. It’s a rallying cry, heard at other clubs around the country – sometimes even on an overly regular basis.

Whilst the Well Society, like many other organisations borne out of a necessity rather than planning can suffer from a lack of proper resource for the future, it does seem they have managed the one thing many others fail at; getting the owner to sell to them.

As I am involved again in my own club and their Academy, I can but reflect on how that journey became a learning curve; the new fan based owners of the ‘Well may have a steeper one but you get the impression they are up for the fight.


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