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Read the ‘Fans for Diversity’ annual report

We’re pleased to share the third ‘Fans for Diversity’ annual report, jointly produced by Kick It Out and The Football Supporters’ Federation.

It highlights the great impact the campaign has made by working to bring fans, communities and clubs closer together in both the Football League and the non-league scene.

It’s primary aim is focused on making the game as inclusive as possible, and key to this success has been giving fans the opportunity to access the Fans for Diversity Fund.

The funding is designed to help and encourage fan-led activity that celebrates equality and diversity in football, and to date it has funded well over 100 events, activities and fan resources.

If you have any ideas of your own, or know of any Cheltenham Town fans you feel would benefit from the fund, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

Newport County programme notes: Exiles story one to admire

When I arrived at the Weston Homes Community Stadium for the match against Colchester United on January 2, I could never have imagined how the next 12 months would pan out, wrote Murry Toms in our programme notes for the match against Newport County.

It’s a year I’ll look back on with a lot of pride, as should today’s visitors Newport County.

A month after the trip to Essex we welcomed the struggling Exiles to Whaddon Road, the day I turned 40 (I know, I don’t look a day over 60).

They were down but not quite out, and a win would have given us some breathing space at the foot of the table.

But a chap by the name of Jaanai Gordon salvaged a point with a last-gasp equaliser and they haven’t looked back.

The goal deep into injury time sparked a remarkable 12-game run that saw the Welsh side stay up against all the odds and reward the hugely impressive Michael Flynn with the manager’s job at his hometown club.

Now they’re flirting with the play- offs. It’s remarkable.

Then in the summer former chairman and lottery winner Les Scadding agreed to transfer his shareholding in the club to the Newport County AFC Supporters Trust.

In October the club became fan-owned after £236,000 was raised to complete the move with the vast majority coming from fans, bringing the feel- good factor to Rodney Parade.

What an amazing story and one I hugely admire. I’m sure they face many challenges but like the supporters (and co-owners) at Wycombe Wanderers and Exeter City I’m sure they wouldn’t have it any other way.

You only have to spend 90 minutes or so at a famous old club like Coventry City to see how badly it can go.

We’ve seen it even closer to home with our great rivals Gloucester City, who used to provide us with the festive period’s highlight on Boxing Day.

We’ve been talking to their Trust, crossing the divide to offer our help at a challenging time in their history. We’ll do whatever we can help to support them.

As Cheltenham supporters we can look back over the last 12 months with a great deal of pride and satisfaction with the way we have worked together to create some memorable moments.

None more so than seeing the legend ‘Churchy’ lead out the players to launch the new away strip in Aaron Downes’ shirt at the open day back in July.

For me it perfectly encapsulated the year, seeing the players and supporters coming closer together to really celebrate what it is to be involved with this club.

There’s plenty more to come but for now I think we can enjoy a well deserved pint.

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.

Actor, writer and broadcaster Tom Watt to host blue shirt auction

This weekend we’re helping to turn Cheltenham Town blue to raise awareness for the work done by the British Lung Foundation.

But we also want to raise a few quid in the process and there are a number of ways that everyone can help the cause.


Firstly there will be a bucket collection in all four corners of the ground at Saturday’s game.

Members of the Trust, together with youth players and representatives of the charity will be shaking blue buckets from 1.30pm onwards, so please anything you can spare.

There is also a special text-to-donate number. Supporters can text CTFC17 £3 to 70070 to make donations from their mobiles. We will be putting the number up on the scoreboard during the game, as well as sharing information from the charity.

Fans Fest, special guests and giveaways

Before the game, DJ Shippers will be joined by guest DJs Jordon Forster and Jordan Cranston for a unique event before kick-off. Entry is free but there will be an opportunity to donate any loose change you may be able to spare at the door.

We will be giving away a selection of our legends T-shirts featuring Neil Grayson, Bob Bloomer, Julian Alsop and Aaron Downes to a handful of lucky punters so join us to help get the day off to a great start in the main bar.

Auctions – stuff you won’t get anywhere else!

After the match we will be auctioning a shirt worn by one of the players in the League Two match against Crewe Alexandra. We need your help to decide which one through a Twitter poll on the day so follow us and keep your eyes peeled during the game.

Actor, writer and broadcaster Tom Watt has very kindly offered his services as our guest auctioneer, getting underway at 5.30pm in the main bar.

He will open the bidding for the fan-chosen blue shirt, a pair of Carabao Cup final (general admission) tickets, an official Mitre Delta EFL match ball signed by the squad plus a signed Neil Grayson legends T-shirt with every penny going to the charity. Everyone is welcome to come and get involved.

Up in the hospitality areas they will be vying for the Man of the Match’s jersey in an auction of their own. The award is traditionally chosen by the sponsors but in the event that the winner matches that of the poll we will auction the player with the second highest share of the vote.

Online auctions – coming soon

The remainder of the squad’s shirts will soon be auctioned online with our friends at AMS Auctions. The Leckhampton-based have a wealth of experience both in the UK and overseas markets, but more importantly they are regulars at Whaddon Road and often sponsor matches themselves! They have kindly offered their expertise at no cost to help us raise as much money.

We’re truly thankful for everyone who has offered to play their part in the event. It has been a monumental team effort. Keep an eye on our Twitter and Facebook pages over the next few days for all the latest updates.

Come on you blues!

‘Blue Christmas’ Fans Fest: DJ Shippers plus special guests to kickstart charity day

The Robins Trust will be holding a special ‘Blue Christmas’ Fans Fest before this weekend’s game against Crewe Alexandra at the LCI Rail Stadium.

It’s all part of the effort by ourselves and the club to turn blue for the first time ever and raise awareness of the work done by the British Lung Foundation.

And because it’s the final match before Christmas we are inviting the legendary DJ Shippers (above) to play a set to kickstart the day in perfect style.

The resident Lakefest DJ and Whaddon Road regular will be building up the atmosphere and getting everyone into the spirit of things before kick-off.

He will be joined by our special guest DJs Jordon ‘Fozzy’ Forster and Jordan ‘Cranners’ Cranston, playing their part in the occasion with a few selections of their own!

As usual the bar will open at midday and DJ Shippers will get underway around 12.30pm, while the players will join the party by 2pm.

Entry is free, but there will be a bucket for the British Lung Foundation and we encourage supporters to make a small donation if they’re able to do so.

Please note the capacity is limited so we would also urge fans to arrive as early as possible to guarantee entry.

The side bar will be open for supporters who want to enjoy a pint in more peaceful surroundings, and there will also be another opportunity to join the Trust for £5.

  • The Robins Trust’s Dave Jennings and Jordon Forster will be the studio guests for Footy Thursday on BBC Radio Gloucestershire this week, discussing Saturday’s charity event so tune in between 6pm and 7pm for the weekly football show.