The Robins Trust provides some thoughts for the club’s matchday programme for each home game and we’ll publish them on our website a few days afterwards:
I’m still very much finding my feet as Fan Elected Director.
Annoyingly I’ve been stitched with the parking space between Paul Bence and Andy Wilcox, but on the positive side I’m massively encouraged with the way the board are backing our new ideas.
We had another positive meeting to discuss the future of the Robins Trust this week. Bryan Jacob’s extraordinary gesture gave every Cheltenham Town supporter a voice at board level, but our membership of fewer than 300 people remains a source of frustration.
I always think it’s important to look back to move forward. We’re lucky in a sense that for 20 years now we have had a huge amount of success on the pitch, give or take a few moments to forget, so the role of the Trust hasn’t needed to be a militant one. The club has been run sustainably and we’ve been rewarded with so many great memories as a result.
Before Bryan’s contribution the idea of raising enough capital to take a seat at the top table was a pipe dream. A lot of hard work went into establishing the organisation and fundraising but the end goal was always a long way off. But everything changed overnight.
So how do we build for the next 20 years? We have a responsibility to continue to raise funds – every penny of which is invested into the club in exchange for shares – but as the fourth biggest shareholder in the club we now need to be far more representative of the town and supporter base.
There’s obviously not enough of us for starters, which we’re looking to change. We want at least a thousand people on board and we hope to reveal our plans to achieve that at our AGM in October, because it’s not unrealistic in my eyes given the crowds we get at Whaddon Road.
There is some terrific work going around the place by the Community Trust, Academy and Ladies and we need to tell the story of what they’re doing in a much better way. I’ve been talking to everyone involved and we hope to work far more closely with them to make sure the town knows what’s going on here.
You only have to look at the excitement created by several England sides this summer, including a stunning success by the great Keith Downing with his Under-19s, to realise that there is much more going on at clubs beyond the first team. Recruitment and community are key.
Our Open Day was a big hit and it perfectly encapsulated the three themes we’re trying to put centre stage this season. The current playing squad and staff were fantastic, mixing with supporters ahead of the new season. The Ladies, Academy and Community Trust held interactive sessions and the legends gave up their Sundays to play a crucial part in our Crowdfunder campaign.
The past, present and future working together – as you may have seen during the away kit launch at Pittville Pump Rooms.
We’re giving it all prominence online, across social media, on the scoreboard, in the new-look programme and on the new BBC Gloucestershire show every fortnight. It’s so important to get the #OurTown message out there.
But while I represent the Trust at board level, the Trust doesn’t truly represent the supporters and we have to come together to improve that.
We’ve got the seat, but now we need to speak confidently on behalf over everyone.
Murry Toms, Fan Elected Director