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Yeovil Town programme notes: blue day was a success

We’re thrilled with how the blue day went, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for our Boxing Day match against Yeovil Town.

We have raised around £2,500 with the online auction of the squad’s match-worn kits to follow so we could reach £4,000 for the British Lung Foundation at a push, which is a staggering effort.

It was a tremendous show of support for Ian and Vicky and everyone played their part in making it happen, and that’s what makes Cheltenham Town such a special place.

Once again the supporters were front and centre, working with the club and – in this case – the charity to produce an idea that caught the eye in the town and beyond.

We’ve seen similar successes with bigger initiatives such as the Crowdfunder, the 12th Man and season ticket campaign, away shirt launch and the open day.

But it’s becoming more evident in smaller ways every day and that’s contributing to burgeoning culture of ‘fan engagement’ at Whaddon Road.

In the lead up to Christmas I travelled with Paul Godfrey to join The Fan Experience Company for a really interesting session at the Etihad Campus in Manchester, part of City’s incredible facility.

Mark Bradley, the chap behind the organisation, put on a fantastic event with speakers from across the industry and challenged us to think long and hard about what we stand for as a club.

There were some inspirational stories of supporter-led projects from across the footballing world on the night and it really got us thinking on the way home.

One thing it wasn’t was a gathering of greedy ‘suits’, hoping to stumble across the silver bullet for bigger attendances or a new way to rinse supporters of their hard-earned cash.

This was a group of proper footballing people who are dedicated to the cause, sharing ideas and know-how to grow the relationship between their club and their supporters.

It rightly dismissed the ’emperor’s new clothes’ tendency to celebrate high numbers of social media followers and demanded more relevant and meaningful conversations online.

And it had nothing to do with driving success on the pitch – winning of course helps but that’s out of our hands so we’ll leave that to the experts and focus on what we can do.

It was all about building a strategy and culture to grow a sustainable future, and Mark’s team focuses on four key areas to achieve success:

  • Building a meaningful identity
  • Creating an authentic supporter dialogue
  • Consistently excellent fan experiences
  • Valued and motivated workforce

I think we’re on the right path but there’s also so much more we can do too. We aim to work into all of these themes in the new year and we want everyone to get involved to have their say.

The board are fully behind what we’re doing but it’s up to us to continue to shape the type of club we want here. We’ve started to prove that by working together we can do that, so I’m looking forward to see where we can take it in 2018.

Cambridge United programme notes: Football has the power to do so much good

Bill Shankly once said that football was more important than life or death, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for the Cambridge United match.

Of course the great man was wrong, although there are times when it feels like that.

The idea for turning the club blue was a Trust one and the club’s board should be applauded for once again, backing an idea that came from the supporters. It’s a simple but effective way of rallying around two of our own at a challenging time in their lives.

It’s what communities are all about and it’s what Cheltenham Town Football Club does best. The joint event between us, the club and the British Lung Foundation should raise a huge amount of awareness around lung disease and a fair few quid along the way.

November also is Lung Cancer Awareness Month so Monday’s announcement is timely. We will be sharing stories and other articles leading up to the Crewe Alexandra match so please read them, and share away. If we help one person through this initiative, then it’ll be worth it.

On the day the Trust are planning to host an ‘fans fest’ with DJ Shippers, building the atmosphere with good music ahead of the game. Afterwards we’ll be auctioning one of the one-off match shirts for the charity and our aim is to bring everyone together for the cause.

Football has the power to do so much good. This forthcoming weekend the charity Stonewall will be promoting its Rainbow Laces campaign to bring LGBT issues in football back to the fore. It’s another simple idea that catches the eye and delivers a powerful message.

The corner flags at Forest Green Rovers will be rainbow coloured, as will the captain armbands. Many players will be sporting the laces in a show of solidarity to support lesbian, gay, bi and trans-gender fans, players and staff across the game.

It’s important to continue to challenge archaic attitudes both inside football and within the wider society, and this campaign is a terrific example of how you can harness the game to do that. Maybe one day a player will feel safe enough to come out because let’s face it, there must be dozens that are too afraid at the moment to do so in the professional environment.

Saturday promises to be a memorable day as a thousand Cheltenham fans make the trip to Nailsworth for the county’s first league derby. Make sure you leave yourselves enough time to get up the hill and enter the ground. Let’s put on a real show down there and show them what it means to support a proper football club.

Gloucestershire is red (and blue on December 9).

Maidstone United programme notes: 1985 and all that

It’s been another busy week at the Robins Trust, wrote Dave Jennings in our programme notes for the FA Cup first round match against Maidstone United.

Firstly we’re delighted to announce The Kemble Brewery, the popular matchday venue in Fairview Street for Cheltenham fans, as an official Trust partner.

Our members can now not only enjoy the menu in a friendly atmosphere but take advantage of an exclusive 20% discount on all food purchases by showing their membership card.

Food is served Tuesday to Sunday each week and dishes vary from pizzas to Sunday roasts.

For opening times please visit www.thekemblebrewerycheltenham.co.uk and follow them on Facebook for news of events and special occasions. We thank everyone at The Kemble for supporting the Trust with this excellent offer!

In other news, we held our first ever ‘Saturday Surgery’ before today’s match. The new idea has been created to allow supporters a regular opportunity to approach members of the organisation to discuss any Club or Trust related issues that they may have, enabling us to represent them.

You may have seen Acting Chairman Tarran Wilson and new board member Jack O’Neill located in the main bar chatting to fans.

Other members of the Trust, including the Fan Elected Director, will always be dotted around the ground and are always happy to discuss any supporter matters.

Finally you may have also seen that Robins Trust members will receive ticket priority for November’s historic first Football League Gloucestershire derby.

November’s ‘El Glosico’ clash with Forest Green Rovers at The New Lawn will see a large travelling contingent of Robins heading to Nailsworth.

With tickets likely to be in high demand, the Trust have, once again, secured ticket priority, ahead of general sale tickets.

Robins Trust members will then have a priority window running between Thursday, November 9 and kick off in the League Two home match with Luton Town on November 11.

If you’re not already a member, then you have until midnight on Wednesday to join up and ensure second tier priority.

Back to matters on the pitch and today’s match evokes memories for supporters of a certain vintage of the 2-1 win against today’s opposition on August 24, 1985.

Madonna was In to the Groove at no.1 in the UK charts, Dirty Den an Angie were pulling pints in the Queen Vic and Everton were the current Champions of English football.

John Murphy’s men were Champions of the Southern League and had taken their place among the elite of the non-league, taking on the Stones in their first ever National League (Gola League) match.

Whaddon Road was the venue and there was over 1,000 spectators (a rare occurrence in the 80s), winning thanks to goals by midfield maestros Steve Brooks and Brian Hughes.

The victory set us up for a tough but enjoyable first season at that level and we eventually finished 11th in the league – won that season by Enfield.

Lincoln City programme notes: Meet the new Robins Trust board!

During the Relaunch of the Robins Trust and the election of a New Board we have been looking at ways in which we can add value to all our members, wrote Dave Jennings on behalf of the Trust in our notes for the match against Lincoln City.

We have been discussing with local businesses the opportunity they have by becoming a Robins Trust Partner, offering preferential deals, offers and discounts to Trust Members.

Over the next few weeks we will be announcing our Partners and the benefits they will offer. Currently we have negotiated deals with local businesses such as Pubs, Restaurants & DIY Outlets.

If you are a local business or have a service to offer and you are interested in becoming a Trust Partner we would be delighted to hear from you.

Those who recently attended the Trust AGM will have seen our commitment to not only representing the interests of our supporters, but also the interests of the wider community in which we live and work.

The safety and comfort of our fans is paramount but we will also be in conversation with the local community understanding the impact of the Football Club and how we as a Trust can develop Social Value initiatives.

We are here to be your Voice at the Club, a point of contact for your concerns and issues. As a Trust Board we will take it upon ourselves to encourage full inclusivity in how we support our club, developing initiatives to widen our support base across our whole community.

We have recently worked with the club to introduce the Robins Trust Speedy Skips Half Time Challenge. Our Trust Members, Jack O’Neill and James Robinson took part in the first event which will give our fans the opportunity to demonstrate their own football talents while raising funds for Sue Ryder charities.

Speedy Skips have kindly offered to donate £100 for every ball that lands in the skip! We would like to hear from you if you would like to take part in future Half Time Challenges.

December 9th! Keep this date free in your diary. We have exciting news coming soon!

Statement on today’s FA Cup ticketing announcement

Within minutes of the FA Cup first round draw, the Robins Trust – through fan elected director Murry Toms – made immediate contact to the club board over ticket pricing for the match.
The Trust board felt that £10 adult tickets in all areas of the ground would encourage fans to attend the match, while also rewarding supporters for their support over the past year.
Murry put those arguments to the board, in line with his responsibilities to represent all Robins fans.
However, after discussions with the rest of the board, a decision was made to implement another pricing strategy.
Murry said: “Shortly after the draw I got in contact with the rest of the board to ask for tickets to be £10 in all areas of the ground.
“Discussions with the rest of the board followed and led to another pricing strategy.
“The club board is democratic and we respect the financial needs of the club and the decision that has been made.
“However, as fan elected director it is my responsibility to campaign for the needs of regular supporters and, as a Trust board we wanted to make our stance public.
“The Trust remains determined to put forward the case for affordable football, while balancing the needs of the club’s finances.”