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About the Hartlepool United Supporters Trust
The aim of the trust is to be a truly representative supporter’s organization offering much more to the football club than merely a physical presence at games and vocal support to the team.
For too long supporters at Hartlepool United have been seen as “passive contributors” or “customers” of a business. A Supporters Trust will change that.
We believe that the Supporters Trust model that has been established across the country is what the supporters of Hartlepool United need want and deserve. We also believe that the Trust and all it stands for should be part of the very essence of the football club and its connection with the community.
Hartlepool United Supporters Trust (HUST) is born out of a need for change at our football club but its aims, which are set out in the document, are based on a vision of a two-way engagement with the custodians of Hartlepool United. We aim to develop links between the owners and the community the club serves, and ultimately to have supporters representation on the Board of the club through the purchase of an increasing stake.
Now is the perfect time for owners to connect with the supporters through the Supporters Trust established by the Hartlepool United Supporters.
The Trust is registered with the Financial Services Authority as a Community Benefit Society and has its own Model Rules and independent auditors.
Our Trust needs to entrench its influence through share ownership. However, money is always a means to an end, the end being supporter involvement.
The Trust actively encourages club officials and interested parties to make contact.
We appreciate at this time the club and interested parties may be noncommittal about this, but it is important they are clear from the off about it. If the Trust is to remain viable, it needs to have a medium and long-term strategy. The strategy should reflect the aim of securing genuine, long term supporter involvement within the club at all levels.
To strengthen the bonds and dialogue between the Club and the supporters. To encourage the Club to take proper account of the interests of its supporters and the community it serves in its decisions and to honour the contribution made by the community in the past. We believe that the town and surrounding areas have earned a real and meaningful stake in the club by investing time, labour and hard cash into the club. This history cannot be ignored.
Ultimately, we wish to promote the full, accountable democratic and constructive involvement of supporters in the running and direction of the Club, including the principle of supporter representation on the board of the Club
Similar to those run by MP’s, the trust would run a monthly surgery for supporters to meet with The Trust and the decision makers within the Club to air problems and present ideas. These ideas would then be developed through the Trust for further analysis and implementation where necessary.
Introduce and encourage involvement in a truly representative supporter’s panel.
This panel would be made up of supporter representatives from across the wide spectrum of supporter groups; young people, family groups, traveling supporter groups, fanzine editors, and forum representatives. This group would work with the trust to highlight issues, draw the attention of the club to problems and present the club with workable, sensible resolutions. The Trust would then take forward the issues and work with the club on developing issues and ideas.
Hall of Fame
The Hall Of Fame is a concept adopted by many clubs and is designed to recognize the stars of yesterday; stars that have a place in the history of the club; stars whose achievements should not go unnoticed or merely be consigned to the history books of the club. It is proposed that an annual event is held by The Trust, recognizing and paying tribute to those former players and figures associated with achieving excellence during their association with Hartlepool United Football Club.
What is the Trust, and What can it Achieve?
Democratic – The board running the HUST will be democratic, and will be subject to regular elections and regular meetings. It will communicate with its members regularly.
Fans but not lapdogs – The HUST will always strive to avoid knee-jerk solutions and statements, wherever possible providing clear, concise and objective views.
When the Club is doing well, the Trust should not be afraid to say so. When the Club is not doing so well, the Trust shall also point this out, but in a constructive way, offering solutions rather than just criticism.
Seeking Ownership – The HUST would like to have fans to have ownership via the Trust of as much as the club as is feasible, and shall be looking to extend this to the maximum it is sensible to pursue at any given time.
Seeking Involvement – The HUST would like involvement at the highest levels.This does not mean that we will not comment on more mundane matters, but the Trust shall always be stressing that its vision is as much strategic as contingent.
Formalised – HUST feels it is important to cement fans involvement in the club by either a constitutional openness from the club to the Trust and a voluntary offer of a place on the board of a fans representative.
Not-for-profit – No member of the Trust committee shall gain financially from their involvement with the Trust; all involvement is a function of being committed to the values underpinning the Trust, not personal gain.
Inclusive – Any fan can join the HUST and share the values underpinning it. The Trust will promote equality and diversity regardless of age, disability, sex, orientation, race or religious beliefs.
Sustainable – The vision underpinning the HUST is medium-to-long term. The Trust platform is about how the club can be run a better and more inclusive club where club officials and supporters work together towards a common goal.
What We Are Not...
A single-issue protest group – The Trust is committed to ensuring the long term success of Hartlepool United and, wherever possible will not allow short term single issues campaigns to interfere with its long term aims.
A Fundraising Body – It needs to be remembered that a supporters’ trust is different to a clubs Official Supporters Club. Trusts often raise money to enable them to buy shares in the club, but Trusts do not simply hand the money over to the club: the HUST would in this position ensure that supporters get something in return, over and above the goodwill of having given the club money.