Source: Daily Post
by Andrew Gilpin, DPW West
May 27 2011
LOOK at how we live our lives today. Through our smart phones and computers we’re constantly connected to everything and everyone we love.
We’re part of many different networks depending on our interests. Ideas, pleas and information are transmitted all over the world through the likes of Twitter and Facebook as part of a huge social experiment which stretches as far as you want, from North Wales to the rest of the world.
Networks where like-minded people join to celebrate and discuss the things they love, from 80s sitcoms to political ideals to football clubs.
There’s never been a better time to feel a part of something.
Networks can work for the good of modern society, with revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt this Spring having been fired by them.
Information is freely assimilated and those who care can decide what actions must be taken. Those with bad intentions will soon be shouted down by the greater good.
A network of people who care, working for the good of an institution. It’s a great fantastical notion isn’t it?
But it works in the real world – as well as in the heads of idealistic hacks – as Wrexham Supporters Trust are so close to proving as they hope to announce their takeover of Wrexham FC in the next few days.
The owners of our national game are slow to catch up on notions like these, but the change is coming.
Let’s not forget that when the internet was growing, the beautiful game was at the forefront of it, because nothing connects people from all walks of life more than sport.
The days of the single owners of public institutions like football clubs are coming to an end. They must be.
Since the Bosman ruling there’s no real way to get rich quick out of football. You can’t sell players at the drop of a hat and even the ones who leave under the age of 24 are usually passed on to bigger clubs on the cheap.
All the TV and sponsorship money goes to the big boys and the top teams hoover up all the best teen talent. It’s extremely rare for a talented youngster to slip through their net and make a small club a mint – you’re usually left with their cast-offs.
The only way to make money – or even break even – is to tinker with a club’s other assets, and Wrexham fans know that’s a dangerous road.
Why would you want your football club owned by just one man, unless he was a rich benefactor who loved the club such as Jack Walker or Dave Whelan?
Football clubs are too important to too many people to be left to the whims of one man. Soon all small football clubs must be community owned or they won’t survive.
Fans-owned club had a rocky start, but due to bodies such as Supporters Direct the tide is turning. For every Stockport or Lincoln there’s an AFC Wimbledon, Exeter, FC United of Manchester, Chester City or even Barcelona.
Well-run clubs at the heart of their communities, where local businesses are pleased to get involved and supporters gladly hand over their cash both for matches and merchandise knowing all the profits will be poured back into the club.
Wrexham FC stands on the verge of joining them, and it could be the proudest day in their 139-year history.
There will be tough times ahead, especially in the early days, but fans have joined together to save something they love, so look at the possibilities.
Say the club can’t afford to pay the wages, or a tax bill for example. Now it can be upfront and appeal directly to the supporters – the club’s owners – to help. A few pounds from fans on a pledge website would solve the problem in an instant and stop debts mounting up.
Wrexham fans wouldn’t be anywhere near this moment without the internet – it’s done more for supporters than standing together at 3pm on a Saturday.
And WST would also not have been able to raise their profile, membership and bank balance as successfully without it (but don’t forget local newspapers, they’re important too).
The new birth of Wrexham FC won’t fail unless we let it, but if one thing’s been proved over the past decade, it’s that there are dedicated fans who love the club and would do anything for it.
If they pour their energy into this fans-owned venture as much as they did saving the club, Wrexham FC has a very bright future to look forward to.
Join WST at www.wst.org.uk and be a part of it.