Monthly Archives: September 2017

Full details of next week’s Robins Trust AGM and relaunch

The Robins Trust will relaunch with a new look and new ambitions next week.

Since the Trust was established in 2005, great successes have been achieved.

More than £250,000 has been invested in Cheltenham Town Football Club, securing Robins fans an elected representative on the club’s board of directors.

Much of this success can be credited to the hard work of a long-standing Trust board, and especially down to the efforts of outgoing Trust chairman Clive Gowing.

With Clive standing down as Chairman and Fan Elected Director, and with the election of Murry Toms as FED, the Trust felt it was time for a fresh new look.

Murry explained: “Since I was elected to serve as FED in April, the Trust has been preparing for a relaunch, aimed at making the next step.

“A decade ago, the idea of having a Fan Elected Director was something of a pipe dream – that all changed when the Trust received the fantastic legacy from our founding secretary Bryan Jacob.

“The role and responsibilities of the Trust changed when we achieved our long-held aim of securing a Fan Elected Director, and now the Trust must change to follow suit.

“At our AGM on October 12, we will outline some exciting changes the Trust will be making with the aim of achieving some ambitious new goals.

“We will be electing a new Trust board and proposing a change to our membership subscriptions that we believe will make the Trust become more representative, and more open than ever before.

“What has been achieved by the hard-working board since inception back in 2005 has been nothing short of remarkable.

“Our aim, now, is to build on that outstanding base and make the Robins Trust better than ever.”

Manager Gary Johnson and Chairman Paul Baker will be joining us for a Q&A afterwards, which will kick-off at 7.45pm.

The evening is open to all supporters of Cheltenham Town, although existing Trust members ONLY are able to vote on each of the items on the agenda.

With only two members of the existing Board standing for re-election, an election to fill the remaining places on the board will be held, with nominations open to all Trust members.

Any existing Trust member willing to stand for election to the Trust Board, must inform the acting chairman by Thursday, September 28 (5pm).

In the event that there are more nominees than available places on the Board (16), details will be published of an election prior to the AGM.

  • The AGM will be held on Thursday, October 12 (7pm) at Cheltenham Town Football Club (main bar).


1. To receive and approve the accounts for the year ending May 31, 2017

2. Robins Trust 2.0 – Relaunch of the Trust

3. Elections to the Society Board
Because of a number of resignations over the previous year, an entirely new Trust Board will be elected to serve for a two-year period. Nominations to stand for the Trust board must be received by the Trust, within two weeks of the date of the meeting. In the event that applications for the board exceed the maximum number permissible (16) by the Trust’s rules, an election will be held with details published prior to the meeting.

4. Change to Trust membership subscriptions
To approve or reject the following proposal in regards to membership subscriptions: (One member, one vote. Straight majority).

In order to make the Trust more accessible and to encourage greater membership numbers, Adult Trust subscriptions will be reduced to £5

a. All memberships to run from June 1 each year, in line with accounting dates,
regardless of date joined.
b. Family subscriptions will be withdrawn
c. All existing year-long memberships will be honoured for the term of the
initial subscription.
d. New members joining, if vote approved, will run until May 31, 2018.

Keep the current subscription costs and renewal process

5. Open forum

Exeter City programme notes: Grecians are prime example of what fans can achieve working together

The Robins Trust provides some thoughts for the club’s matchday programme for each home game. These were our notes for the visit of Exeter City on Saturday 26 August, 2016:

The match against West Ham United was a fantastic occasion. It was a beautiful night, with all four sides of the ground packed and the only disappointment was the result.

I’m guessing around 3,000 of the people here that night will not be inside the LCI Rail Stadium this afternoon, which is an eternal source of frustration but make no mistake, those supporters are key to the club growing their regular fanbase over the next few years.

With a little luck those people will have enjoyed the occasion and begin to come back a little more often over the season, and we will warmly welcome them when they do.

Exeter City are League Two’s sole supporter-owned club, and I really admire them. Their Supporters Trust became the majority shareholder in 2003 after they dropped out of the league with the club millions of pounds in debt. The organisation kept the club afloat in tumultuous times and that’s something, thankfully, we have never had to face here in Cheltenham.

They have handed over the best part of £2million in that time through fundraising initiatives, including the ‘Red or Dead’ scheme to begin to clear the debts in which supporters chipped in with £500 a time to raise almost £150,000. The subsequent 1931 Fund, Pitch in for City and Light Up The Park campaigns have added a further quarter of a million to the club’s coffers which is, quite frankly, a staggering achievement.

My career has taught me that when people work together, amazing things can happen and I’m trying to bring a bit of that to Whaddon Road. The Grecians are a prime example of what can done when everyone gets together, and I applaud them. I think we should take inspiration from it.

It’s vital for the club to have a robust Trust, ‘just in case’. Effective fan mobilisation at the likes of AFC Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester and Exeter City is borne out of a crisis and we’re so fortunate to have swerved one our own but that leaves us here with a bit of an identity crisis.

That sense of ownership is key to greater levels of engagement at every level across the club and we should aspire to that in some form. Remember as a Trust we’re the fourth largest shareholder having invested around £240,000 of our own but our level of fan involvement is nowhere near theirs. Why don’t we buy the club one day? We’ve seen in recent campaigns the impact that supporters can make.

Having that level of financial and emotional investment brings an added responsibility of care for the club, and a greater community around it all. Everyone becomes an ambassador and plays a part in its success, on and off the pitch.

We’ll be announcing plans to drive recruitment at our AGM on October 12, when we hope to share our plans for the next 12 months. We want to treble our membership to become more representative of the wider community. If you’re not a member already, we urge you to sign up. You’ll find us in the bar, where we’ll talk all day long about what we want to do. Come and say hello and get involved.

Murry Toms
Fan Elected Director

West Ham programme notes: Nights like these are what it’s all about

The Robins Trust provides some thoughts for the club’s matchday programme for each home game – here’s what we said for the West ham United edition:

Nights like these are what it’s all about. You quickly forget the 4am finishes, the motorway standstills, dreadful service station sandwiches, grotty hotels and last minute defeats when West Ham United and the TV cameras roll into town. What a fantastic occasion it promises to be and another one to add to the memory bank.

There has been just 16 days since we were paired with the eastenders and tonight’s match, leaving the club little time to pull together a plan. The Trust were represented in the initial meeting the day after the draw to advise on pricing and priority but the club got it spot on both counts.

Having a say in these discussions is so important and a major reason for being part of the Trust. It’s a direct line into the meeting and I can assure you, the club take note. We’ve seen dozens of new sign ups in recent days, each of which guaranteed their match ticket by joining. It’s another of the Trust’s key selling points following an agreement between the Trust and the club back in the day.

We offered help in terms of bodies to help ease the pressure on club staff over the week, but in the end they weren’t required. Credit to Luke James, the club’s ticket office manager. It’s no mean feat to service the demand but together with a handful of regular volunteers, his operation ran smoothly. Well done all.

It’s great to welcome back those supporters that don’t come as often as the rest of us. These evenings are so important if the club are going to grow its regular attendances over the season. Making our big games better is key to attracting people back to Whaddon Road and we look forward to seeing you all again soon.

For the diehard fans this is reward for all the time, effort and money invested into the cause. We’ve had some big ones down the years against Fulham, Sunderland, Tottenham, Everton, Newcastle and of course West Ham United but we’ve never nicked a result, losing them 15-3 on aggregate.

A famous cup win would be the coup de gras to mark the 20-year anniversary of our Wembley win. And hopefully we’ll see a few of you back for the important match against Exeter City on Saturday.

Murry Toms
Fan Elected Director