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What is the Fans' Forum ?

Please forgive my confusion but,

I am a 5 year season ticket holder and I've been to two events in the last couple of years hosted by Michael Slater and SCP. At the last one (about November 2011) there was an election and a guy was re-elected as the rep of the 5 year ticket holders.

Is this the Fans' Forum or is that something else ? If something else, what is it ? And who is the guy who was elected ?

Where does all this fit in with the Supporters Trust ? Obviously, the Trust is different because it is an independent separate legal entity. But I assume the aim of improving communication and establishing dialogue is common to both / all groups.

Can someone clarify please ?
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    I had an email from craig (the guy who got elected last year) saying that we would be having a Q&A with Slater. When I asked him what the date would be I got told 'soon' as Slater was trying to clear some time for it. However, that was a few months ago.........
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    The ff is or was a group of representatives of all cafc fan groups that used to meet with chief execs including Steve Kavanagh. He recently set this structure up at Southend emulating the Addicks.
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    They also took on the running of the player of the year event since when it has been running at a profit
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    edited December 2012
    I understand that the supporters forum is suspended until the 'management review/restructure' is complete. Hopefully soon.

    We at CAS Trust are fully committed to establishing a positive relationship with the club, however long that takes, and will be doing all we can to achieve that.
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    edited December 2012
    ooops
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    edited December 2012
    .
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    Personally, and I know others disagree, but I think it would have been a much better plan for those involved in the trust to put those efforts into re-stablishing the Fans Forum. It is easier to re-connect when a connection has existed, more so than trying to establish a new conneciton.
    And if the fans forum does come back online, will it be fighting for time with the directors? It seems a little bit like splitting the opposition vote at election.
    Sorry but thats my opinion.
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    I wouldn't want to tread on anyone's toes. The Trust have been talking to all the supporters groups and offering them assistance, what form that eventually takes is under discussion and agreement but not something we would want to impose nor replace an already excellent mechanism, more a complimentary process.

    We are 100% committed to achieving a positive relationship with the club, we think this is the best thing to do to achieve our objective of long term survival and success of CAFC, and most importantly according to our research at least, what fans want from the Trust.

    And yes the onus is on us - to achieve legitimacy and a mandate, that we represent all fans and are not a small group with an agenda. It is up to us to do this and make representations to the club.

    We are the new kids on the block here and we totally accept it is up to us to gain respect and trust. Hopefully this will come in time, with a lot of hard work and care, I certainly do not expect this to be handed to us without that.

    BR
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    Generally speaking the idea of Trusts is that they have a bigger ambition to get involved in the effective and business-like running of the Club than is implied by something called a Fans Forum.

    I think that once this Trust collectively decides what its goals are, they will be distinctly different to those of a Fans Forum or supporters' club. I believe that many other clubs have both types of organisation.
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    Not sure I totally agree with Prague on that, but he is right that the trust will need to decide what it does in the coming months and post AGM.
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    DRF - Isn't the current status of the fans forum precisely why we need an independent fans voice which can't just be suspended ? If, instead of forming a Trust, we put all our efforts into re-establishing a fans forum who's to say it won't be suspended again when the club don't feel like talking to us next ?
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    se9addick said:

    DRF - Isn't the current status of the fans forum precisely why we need an independent fans voice which can't just be suspended ? If, instead of forming a Trust, we put all our efforts into re-establishing a fans forum who's to say it won't be suspended again when the club don't feel like talking to us next ?

    Very good point

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    I suspect that a lot of the people who were involved with the Fans Forum (and the 5 year VIP group) are the same people who are joining the Trust. It shouldn't be too difficult to ensure a co-ordinated approach.
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    DRF said:

    Personally, and I know others disagree, but I think it would have been a much better plan for those involved in the trust to put those efforts into re-stablishing the Fans Forum. It is easier to re-connect when a connection has existed, more so than trying to establish a new conneciton.
    And if the fans forum does come back online, will it be fighting for time with the directors? It seems a little bit like splitting the opposition vote at election.
    Sorry but thats my opinion.

    The thing is that the fans' forum, if it ever comes back online, will always be controlled by the club. IMO there is a clear benefit in an independent trust, as long as it is able to build and maintain a positive relationship with the club.
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    razil said:

    The ff is or was a group of representatives of all cafc fan groups that used to meet with chief execs including Steve Kavanagh.

    Raz, surely the Trust can also have a representative at a Fans Forum meeting?



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    se9addick said:

    DRF - Isn't the current status of the fans forum precisely why we need an independent fans voice which can't just be suspended ? If, instead of forming a Trust, we put all our efforts into re-establishing a fans forum who's to say it won't be suspended again when the club don't feel like talking to us next ?

    True, but unless the Trust has a stake on the board then the exact same can be said of them. And as there is currently no way of the Trust getting a stake on the board it can only influence if the board allows it to.

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    Oggy Red said:

    razil said:

    The ff is or was a group of representatives of all cafc fan groups that used to meet with chief execs including Steve Kavanagh.

    Raz, surely the Trust can also have a representative at a Fans Forum meeting?



    my personal view on this is that it would be that the FF is a club mechanism for communication and to try and usurp that and hold something of the same name in the absence of the club would be presumptious and a mistake, but also not fulfil the purpose of that group.

    That is not to say that we can't hold a different meeting with fans groups particularly if they want this to happen.
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    edited December 2012
    Fair enough, Raz. Thanks for your thoughts.

    I like the idea of the Trust interacting with the fan groups.
    It could help create a unity of Charlton support.
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    DRF said:

    se9addick said:

    DRF - Isn't the current status of the fans forum precisely why we need an independent fans voice which can't just be suspended ? If, instead of forming a Trust, we put all our efforts into re-establishing a fans forum who's to say it won't be suspended again when the club don't feel like talking to us next ?

    True, but unless the Trust has a stake on the board then the exact same can be said of them. And as there is currently no way of the Trust getting a stake on the board it can only influence if the board allows it to.

    There are many clubs who have an influential Trust who don't have a "stake on the board" - by which I assume you mean a fans director type position (?).

    Either way I don't think even the most optimistic of supporters would expect a Trust which was only legally established two days ago to have begun influencing the decision makers at the club. Rather we need to build credibility and garner the support of our fan base. The progress that's taken place in the five months since we first met in a pub in New Eltham shows we're on track with both. Once we achieve both those goals we'll have our "stake on the board".
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    Agree, this is a long term thing, expectations need to be managed accordingly, it is unlikely we will achieve everything overnight
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    A fans forum is a bit dependent on the availability of interested 'ears' from the club, abd as we have read above the fans forum is called or not called at the behest and whim of the parent club...which I suppose in one way is fair enough.
    A supporters trust has the gravitas offered by being part of a much larger supporter movement throughout the land, and therefore has a degree of independence from the club because of that.
    Both groupings would hope to have a conversation with the parent club from time to time, and yes it depends if the club are prepared to engage. However a supporters trust is something that can continue to work meet and develop even if ignored by the parent club, but I think a fans forum only seems to spring to life when a meeting has been arranged, and it dies away when there are no meetings happening, which I believe is the state of affairs at the moment.
    I might have this a bit wrong, but my point is that a supporters trust can be more independent and sentient than a fans forum.
    Also if a fans forum depends on getting a five year season ticket, or even a season ticket at all it is less accessible than the present supporters trust which is five quid a year at the moment.
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    edited December 2012
    To answer Picos original question, this is my understanding

    Current VIP scheme - 5 year STs annual meetings, MS attends, this is a legacy group of those who were willing to stump up cash up front, and who therefore get access to the Chairman

    Fan's forum - evolved after Supporter's Director abolished (which arose from the previous VIP scheme) members were invited by the club to meet with the CEO and Comms Director? and are drawn from supporters clubs and groups etc to discuss issues affecting fans - or potholes and pies.

    As far as I know both of the above still exist, but have lapsed due to the management restructure, but feel free to ask the club directly concerning this as I do not speak for them obviously.

    The trust would need to be invited to the club's fans forum for it to attend.

    BR



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    As a member of the afore mentioned Fans' Forum, albeit not its mouthpiece, I'll re read these posts /thoughts tonight and put something up.

    But this will purely be my opinion .
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    edited December 2012
    As Chairman of Ashford & Shepway Addicks, I am a current member of the Fans Forum and have no reason whatsoever to believe that this will not be reconstituted shortly now that the Club's new management structure is in the process of being finalised.

    The Fans Forum, comprises primarily of elected representatives from various Supporters Groups and plays a valuable role in discussing general, not business, matters of interest between the Club and its supporters, as well as arranging the Player of the Year Vote, the End of Season Player of the Year Dinner and the recently established Hall of Fame. Messrs. Kavanagh, Everitt and Perfect previously represented the Club at these meetings and were always very supportive of the Group, being prepared to listen, debate and act upon its views and ideas, where appropriate. However, with all three having now left the Club's employment, it is hardly surprising that no meetings have taken place since July with Rick himself having suggested the postponement of the one scheduled for 25th September.

    There is a distinct difference between the role of the Fans Forum and the aims of the newly created Supporters Trust. However, I can see no reason whatsoever why the Supporters Trust should not to be invited to participate on the Fans Forum and it is my intention to propose this at the first opportunity.

    Please note that these are my personal views and not those of the Fans Forum.
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    razil said:

    To answer Picos original question, this is my understanding

    Current VIP scheme - 5 year STs annual meetings, MS attends, this is a legacy group of those who were willing to stump up cash up front, and who therefore get access to the Chairman

    Only last year was MS there (the 2nd of year of the 5) alongside Powelly and Steve Kavanagah. The first year had Parky with no one from the board there
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    Thanks for posting that, ashfordaddickted. That's pretty much what I wanted to say.

    Last season the "in" phrase was "One Aim" ... The aim is now to re establish good lines of communication between the Club and its paying customers, Both the FF and the Trust have this at their heart.

    As pointed out , the FF is still alive, albeit resting at the moment until such time as the senior management changes bed in. At present, we are awaiting confirmation of a date for our next get together with a representative of the Club in attendance. Once this is in place, we hope that an invitation to Trust personnel will be accepted and hence information can be shared / discussions held from which we can go forward. Unfortunately, with the festive season fast approaching , we may have to wait until the New Year ...

    Regarding the VIP Q & A, Craig , the VIP rep on the FF is working hard to arrange this season's event and is mindful again of new senior personnel at the Club. He is certain that those 5 yr season ticket holders will not be disappointed but as with the FF meeting, the VIP event will invariably not be staged until the New Year. He has asked me to point out that his contact details can be found on the FF section of the OS should anyone wish to get in touch.

    Just a couple of points I'd like to clarify...The FF chose to meet quarterly and in general this time scale has been honoured. Airman took responsibility for assembling the agenda and reminding members of approaching meetings. Steve Kavanagh, in his role as CEO attended the majority of said meetings and was very supportive of the group. David White also attended in the initial stages but not for the past 12 months or so. At the end of each session, a date would be agreed for the next so it was not at the behest of the Club ( Seth, dear friend !!) It could be said that little happens between meetings but action points would be dealt with either by members or Club personnel before the next, if so required. As stated by my fellow member, there has also been the small matter of the POTY event and its organisation which has taken place under the FF umbrella for the past 2 seasons..... with no perks such as a free meal for any of us !

    Finally, I should like to point out that the FF represents ALL supporters ; nothing to do with being a 5 yr season ticket holder, or a season ticket holder of any kind. I represent NWKA, Ian represents Bromley Addicks, Heather, CADSA, Vernon , West Sussex , John, Ashford & Shepway Addicks, Syd Cheesewright represents his rail travelling group and Craig, the VIPs. Other Supporter Groups were approached but have failed to send anyone to meetings since its inception, hence we represent the bulk of fans who join said organisations . However, as set out on the FF link to the Club's website, our contact details are clearly indicated for ANYONE to get in touch in order for an issue to be raised next time we meet. Such issues as coaches arriving late to matches and problems with the beer in Bartrams have been brought to the Club's attention in the past and discussed with points made & listened to on both sides of the table.

    I do hope that I have clarified a few points for those interested and that I have reassured Lifers that there are plenty of people volunteering their time behind the scenes who only have the wellbeing & future of our beloved Club in their hearts. Charlton Life with the work that its administartors carry out is a prime example as we are aware. No free season tickets or the like for our time and none expected or sought & no personal agendas. I would do just about anything that, in some small way helps Charlton Athletic to be successful & retain its enviable status as a caring Club and I know many others who feel the same. Long may it last .

    Onwards & upwards !
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    But apart from that what have the Fans Forum ever done for us? : - )

    Thanks Fanny and AA, good to hear about the unglamourous work that fans do behind the scenes to help the Club and fans.
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    edited December 2012
    I'll leave the fans forum to speak for themselves, but I think you can safely assume the Target 40k committee is defunct and will not be revived. Perhaps, therefore, the forum should be asking for a meeting to discuss season ticket pricing before it is announced, as there is a risk there will be no input from supporters for the first time in 20 years. Bear in mind also that PT Prothero and the new COO are less well placed to understand what supporters will pay than any previous regime. Not saying fans should decide, just that it would be sensible to get some feedback.
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    Airman, just a suggestion, but the constant references to "PT Prothero" do you no credit whatsoever and come across as, well, a bit bitter. You risk losing some of the impact of what you say, which is otherwise generally well respected and considered.

    You probably don't care what I think - fair enough - but thought I would mention it anyway.
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    Point taken & noted , Airman.
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