Society Board Members
The Trust is run by its Board, which currently consists of six people, with the assistance of a Secretary and Treasurer. The Trust Board members are listed here.
The Trust Rules and five supporting Policy Documents can be found here. The Rules are filed with and approved by the FSA.
History and Purpose
The Argyle Fans’ Trust (strictly, the Plymouth Argyle Supporters’ Society) was set in motion in November/December 2010 as the club’s financial troubles began to become apparent. It played a key part in galvanising support to save the club.
The Trust is a legal entity which can conduct itself in various ways but always with the objective of enabling supporters and the wider community to play a part in the decision-making of the club. We believe that responsible supporter engagement in decision making – in partnership with the owner, with the City Council, and with other bodies with a legitimate interest in the club, is necessary to pave the way to renewed sustainability.
The Trust’s Core Objectives
Our core objectives are described here. These are the principles that guide the Trust, which are also shared by around 150 other Supporter Trusts in the UK.
About the Trust
Below are some notes about Supporters’ Societies / Trusts generally, for information.
What is a trust, and how does it differ from what we have right now?
A supporters’ trust is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision-making process at a club and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves. It is independent of the football club.
It is legally registered and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), and it can hold assets like a company can. This means that any money raised or shares bought would belong to all members equally, and not need to be held by individuals. The Argyle Fans’ Trust can also hold proxy votes for other groups and individuals when it comes to the shares of the football club, which vastly improves the potential influence particularly when shares are dispersed.
The main differences are in the way a trust is organised, its strategies and the attitude it has towards issues at the club:
A major strength of a supporters’ trust is its constitution. Because it is regulated by the FSA, it must provide annual audited accounts, which means it’s transparent. Any paid up members can put themselves forward to be elected to the board of the trust, and the income that the trust raises is spent according to the members’ wishes in line with the registered aims.
Other groups are what are called unincorporated associations, which means the assets – shares, money etc – are held by individual committee members on behalf of the group who also are liable for things like tax. A trust’s assets are held by all members equally and liabilities, debts and such like come out of the organisation’s funds, not directly from fans’ pockets.
Every fan would love a voice and the Argyle Fans’ Trust seeks to represent the views of Plymouth Argyle fans and to provide them with a democratic voice capable of having an influence on the way that our club is run.
The trust’s attitude
A supporters’ trust is about channeling the passion of supporters, into a forward-thinking organisation that looks to the long term offering solutions to the club and community.
On one level Argyle Fans’ Trust seeks to act as the guardian of the future of the football club; if the club is being run incompetently and not in the interests of the fans it will not be afraid to criticise. But, it is not there to be relentlessly critical. It is also about helping the club, tapping into the skills and expertise of its membership and offering solutions.
A lot can change in football – chairmen, managers and players – but the fans remain, so why shouldn’t they be involved in the big decisions at the football club?
The trust movement
There are over 170 supporters’ trusts across the UK each sharing the same values and objectives. All are members of Supporters Direct (www.supporters-direct.org ) who are on hand to provide guidance on a range of issues and offer services such as legal advice, training and a bespoke membership management and communications system. Trusts network and work with each other sharing ideas and issues for the benefit of all.
This is not a rebranding exercise of any existing supporters’ organisation. Whilst both groups want to see the club performing well the supporters’ trust remains independent of the club and looks to the medium to long term. We don’t want to be in this mess again. A supporters’ trust gives us a better platform to ensure that doesn’t happen.