Below is the email that was sent out to Robins Trust members on 30th August 2023:
Join the Trust to receive news and updates before anybody else.
Dear Robins Trust Member,
It's been a rough start to 2023/24 on the pitch, an excellent away draw to Portsmouth aside, but while we wait for the tide to turn the Robins Trust have been continuing our work.
We've just set up another very short survey for supporters around cycling to games at Whaddon Road, with a view to reviewing the bike parking options at the club. It's online here: https://forms.gle/EGU4LaQ9ZJZaeuSn8
Thanks to everyone who has already responded to the previous survey; this is one final call out for responses to the survey about where Cheltenham supporters are based: it takes 20 seconds, and it's really useful to help us look at potential events: https://forms.gle/JKKpnGwtRrHPH2vi9
Thanks to everyone who completes either survey.
In this issue:
- Update from Fan-Elected Director Dave Beesley
- Robins Trust Review from Chair James Young
- Support Liaison Officer Announcement
- Alcohol Serving Times on Matchdays
- What should our priorities be for 2023/24?
- Whaddon Road Visitors Guide
- Community Noticeboard
- Who are the Robins Trust Board?
Thank you once again for your ongoing support - the Trust only exists with your commitment and dedication to the cause.
Update from Fan-Elected Director Dave Beesley
Dave Beesley's column will return next month. As you will appreciate, Dave and the club board have a busy end of August finalising comings and goings.
As a Director of the club, Dave is also bound by collective responsibility - in light of the statement we've included below regarding the Supporter Liaison Officer, we felt it was appropriate that Dave took a seat on the bench for this edition.
Robins Trust board review from Chair James Young
While things may look quiet on the surface, below the water there is some frantic leg thrashing going on to keep things moving in the right direction.
At August's Trust board meeting a decision was taken by the board to separate out our responsibilities a little, as we look to drive membership and engagement in the coming months.
For the past two years lot of my attention has been geared towards the Government's Fan Led Review of football through my role as a Football Supporters Association National Council member.
That is now gathering pace and we are hopeful of seeing legislation being introduced - as promised by the Minister for Sport in June - in the new Parliamentary session this Autumn.
Hopefully that will lead to significant changes for football governance and structures across the professional game, it will also force us to get our own house in order.
Therefore, as a board, we took the decision to separate out our 'operations and governance' function, which I am happy to lead, and our 'membership and action' function which (in alphabetical order) Jaimie Henderson, Jenny Hancock and Sam Lear are working on.
We hope these changes will help the Trust prepare for a new era, as we strive to be more representative of the wider support base.
On August 21, I attended the first in-person meeting of the FSA National Council for more than three years. We were able to discuss a number of important matters, and I was also able to speak at length with colleagues from Supporters Trusts elsewhere in the country.
It's heartening to know that the same issues we are experiencing here at Cheltenham, are being reflected up and down the land, and it's even better to know that there are others around to lend help and support.
One of the more exciting projects the FSA is engaging in revolves around the function and importance of Fan Advisory Boards (currently a requirement in the Premier League and soon, hopefully, to follow in the EFL).
Following a meeting of the EFL National Council Reps last week, my council colleague Peter Tarbitten from the Hull City Supporters Trust and I will be leading a FSA Working Group to put in place formal structures and documentations to make Fan Advisory Boards work in the interests of supporters moving forward.
Hopefully there will be more to share on that, and on the progress of the Fan Led Review and Government legislation, in the coming months.
Support Liaison Officer Announcement
Trust Vice-Chair Jenny Hancock has stepped down from the role of Supporter Liaison Officer at Cheltenham Town with immediate effect.
The role of the SLO is defined in the EFL Competition Handbook, and is seen as a key resource by clubs up and down the country. The Football Supporters Association made proactive engagement through SLOs a key part of their work towards the current Fan Led Review of Football Governance.
The EFL Handbook's rule 20.6 states:
20.6 Each Club shall appoint a supporter liaison officer who shall:
20.6.1 have responsibility for the delivery of the Club’s policy with regard to its stakeholders insofar as that policy concerns supporters;
20.6.2 act as a point of contact for supporters; and
20.6.3 liaise regularly with the Club’s management (including, without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, on safety and security-related issues).
Jenny has worked tirelessly over the past few seasons to make a success of the role, working diligently across all three of those requirements. She was the perfect candidate for the position.
However, it has become evident to Jenny that the Supporter Liaison role is not embedded into the culture of the Club and this has a negative and consistent impact on Club engagement with the Supporter Liaison Team, prohibiting them from fulfilling the requirements of the role as set out by the EFL and ultimately representing fans.
She has discussed her reasons for leaving with the Club and emphasised that dialogue needs to be two-way to actively embrace and grow the positives that the role can bring. Jenny has offered to support the Club and a newly appointed SLO if that would be beneficial. As a trust board member, she remains committed to representing fans.
We want to thank her for the incredible work she has done (giving many, many hours of her time on a voluntary basis), alongside the other SLO team members Dave Hardy and Chris Saunders.
It is hugely disappointing that it has come to this point. Thankfully, Jenny will remain on the Trust board in her role as vice chair.
It is now the club's responsibility to make sure that the SLO responsibilities are fulfilled via the following channels: - email@example.com - @CheltTownSLO
Alcohol Serving Times on Matchdays
Following a discussion at the end of last week’s Robins Report podcast about the catering outlets not serving alcohol until the half-time whistle, we contacted Cheltenham Town Stadium Manager John Duffy to ask for clarification on the club’s policy. John provided the following explanation of the club's approach: https://www.robinstrust.org/posts/alcohol-serving-times-on-matchdays/
What should our priorities be for 2023/24?
We've got some ideas, and several projects that are underway, but the people best placed to tell us about things that we might not have even considered are you, our members.
Please send your suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org - or contact us using the links at the bottom of this email.
And we want to hear about anything, big or small, that you feel is important.
Whaddon Road Visitors' Guide
The Visitors' Guide to the Completely Suzuki Stadium that the Robins Trust has produced is now available on the club site: https://www.ctfc.com/fans/visitors-guide/
Please share the link with any family, friends or colleagues who are planning a visit to the ground.
The Cheltenham Town Community Noticeboard
We'd like to help connect some of the strands of the wider CTFC community that not all of our members might be aware of: please send any links or information that other Trust members might be interested in to email@example.com and we can include it here.
Due to demand, we are intending to run another pre-order window for the Gulf Oil retro shirt - more information to follow.
**The following two links are to commercial businesses with no links to the Trust or the club - they are included for information only and other retailers are available!**
Who are the Robins Trust Board?
This is quite a busy Newsletter, so we'll run this again, but we wanted to introduce ourselves ahead of the 2023/24 season - please come and say hi if you see us home or away, we're always happy to answer any Trust related questions, discuss your ideas or just chat CTFC:
Chair: James Young - firstname.lastname@example.org - @YoungyJames
Vice-Chair and Fan-Elected Director: Dave Beesley - email@example.com - @DaveBeesley
Vice-Chair and Supporter Liaison Officer: Jenny Hancock - firstname.lastname@example.org - @CheltTownSLO
Treasurer: John Cooper - email@example.com
Jaimie Henderson - @JaimieWH
Leo Hoenig - @LeoHoenig
Sam Lear - @ProudRobins
Simon Watten - @Watten86
General Enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org - @RobinsTrust