Celtic Trust meet the bloggers, the vloggers, the podcasters and the fans

In February, the Trust held a meeting with representatives of the fan media to try to get our message out there and to give a better explanation of what the Trust is and how it can be used to give fans more say in the way the Club operates. A significant number of podcasters, bloggers and vloggers joined us in person at Grace’s Irish Bar and online. After a lengthy Q&A session, one of the things that became clear is the degree of confusion and misinformation that exists among the Celtic support about what the Trust is, what it does and what supporting Trust initiatives means.

One of the problems that the Trust faces is that our structure and our aims and some of our campaigns do not lend themselves to slogans or simple explanations. The Trust was asked, therefore, to provide some fact sheets which set out, in a simple, clear fashion, what the Trust is, what the Drive for 5 campaign is and also what a Fan Advisory Board is and why we want one. Those sheets are going out today (14/3/24) and hopefully that will drive some discussion among the fan media who will be in a better position to answer questions about these things from their own listeners and readers. Hopefully it will also dispel some of the myths about the Trust which seem to be out there.

The following week after the fan media meeting, an Open Meeting was held – also in Grace’s. This is the third of this kind of meeting that the Trust has held over the years to address issues of concern to the wider fan base ie beyond Trust membership. The first two related to ticketing arrangements (European and Domestic away ticket allocations) and resulted in a resolution of those matters. This time it was in relation to the more intractable issue of the mismatch between the ambition of the current custodians of the club and the supporters.

There is, undoubtedly, little the fans can do in relation to this season and we can only cheer on the team and hope for the best. However, the fact that we find ourselves in this position from time to time with little to do but protest in carparks and in the stadium stems from a failure of the support to progress initiatives that would give us a stronger and more coherent input into the running of the club.

The Trust put forward two of our campaigns which we think will help in this regard. The first is the Drive for 5 which you can read about elsewhere on this site ( Drive for 5 – Frequently Asked Questions ) and the second is the idea of a Fan Advisory Board (Fan Engagement and Football Club Governance: Celtic, Supporters’ (advisory) ‘shadow board’ and the Celtic Trust ) .

There were other proposals from some of those in attendance and the examples of the Spirit of Shankly and the Everton FAB was raised. The Celtic Trust has been in discussions with the Celtic Board for almost 18 months now in relation to a FAB at Celtic and there is some academic research, soon to be published, which shows that Celtic fans are supportive of the idea. It was therefore agreed that the idea of a broader fan organisation which could form the basis for a FAB should be explored and also that we should organise a public meeting with representatives of clubs with a FAB so that we could broaden out the discussion of this as a way forward for Celtic.

It was agreed that the existing fan organisations could take a lead in getting these discussions under way but that eventually, if such an organisation is formed, it will elect its own representatives. This would not be, in any sense, a plan to replace the existing organisations which all have their own objectives and their own membership, but a way of bringing broader sections of the support together to underpin the idea of a Fan Advisory Board.

These initiatives are now being discussed and updates in relation to them will be posted here and wherever else Celtic fans read about and talk about all matters Celtic.

These things don’t happen instantly, but if we are to avoid periodically finding ourselves completely unhappy with the Board and with no productive way to vent that unhappiness throughout our Celtic-supporting lives, then we need to move these initiatives forward.

(***enormous thanks to John and the staff at Grace’s for the use of the bar to hold these discussions!)

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