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Chairmans Report To The Clarets Trust AGM 24th May 2017

The membership still remains under the 200 mark of which over 100 are life members. Membership costs still offer good value. The family membership is a very good offer but it still fails to attract any members and our motion at the AGM will remove this offer. We get very few new members and lose a few members every year. Martin tried recently to attract those who look at our Facebook page and we will see if that has any impact at all!

No one on the Board was due for re-election this year but two vacancies exist – but no one came forward. We really do need to add to the Board and strengthen it. Thanks to all Officers and Members of the Board for the work they do for the Trust. I said a couple of years ago we do need to take steps to revitalise the Trust and new some new blood – including some from the Burnley area.

The Trust owns 176 shares in the Football Club. The Trust shareholding increased during the year. Only a handful of shareholders hold more shares than the Trust. The Club Board own more than 90% of the issued shares. There are other shares on offer to the Trust but due to shortage of funds there has been limited progress is buying shares. . We have had to direct would be sellers away which is a pity. With the present position of the Club the shares could possibly be worth more now than a few years ago!

The Trust continues to have a column in the Home Game programmes and have had additional items in the programme on occasions. These articles in the current season have again been done by me as Chair. If someone else wishes to take on this task then clearly they are welcome to do so – but it needs working to a timetable and sometimes a very tight schedule.

Our working relationship with the Club has continued and we have meetings in what we call the Alliance or Partnership which includes representatives from the Club, two members from the Supporters Clubs and two members from the Trust There is a signed agreement by the three Parties and it has been published in the Club programme. These meetings have obviously led to some positive actions by the Club. That said there is still room to ensure further progress and more positive discussion and involvement of fans/supporters before decisions are taken. It is possible that proposals may be made to finish the Alliance/Partnership and merge it with the other fans forum. A key issue currently under discussion is the improvement of facilities for the disabled and progress is being made to meet a target for the start of the season 2018/19.

Due to limited finances the Trust were unable to sponsor a first team player again last season but have sponsored a development team player Freddy Yao.

The Trust Player of the Year award winner was Ben Mee in a very close fight between three player.. Our trophy was presented prior to the kick off at the final home game of the season. Members this year were again allowed to vote for any first team player. Unfortunately the TRUST were unable to get any tickets for the fans supporters night.

Shirts4South Africa – the Trust hopes to get further football gear into South Africa and we have again had a number of messages from those playing in Burnley strips in various places in Cape Town and other parts of South Africa. One of our main contacts in South Africa sadly died. The Ottery Project which we have supported continues to fight and survive.

We are looking at possible other options for doing a further run of our Clarets Trust beer – it is sad we were not able to tie something in with our promotion a year ago..

The Trust remains linked to easyfundraising which enables our members to buy goods at competitive prices and the Trust to make a bit of money – we need to do more to encourage members to use this! Making use of our website and/or Facebook.

The website is now run by Tim Blackledge and is to be revamped and improved. We have tried to make use of Facebook and are also now using Twitter as means of communication for our members. Our newsletters continue to be issued to members – views on how we can improve them are welcome

We need to look at revitalising our links with Supporters Direct and in particular the Premier grouping to which we now return. There are issues of concern to fans in general in the football world and we should be involved in discussing them.

We have been involved in discussions with the Premier League and it is important to build on this.

After consultation with our members the Trust has changed our policy in relation to standing at matches. We support discussions and moves to permit some areas of safe standing at grounds – but then ensuring standing should not be allowed in other areas of the ground.,

We do need to increase membership and we do need to know what members want. It would be really good to get members views on the way forward. We are not in competition in any way with other supporters clubs or groups – indeed should we getting such clubs involved as affiliated members? Or perhaps invited them to meet us 3 or 4 times a year. It is important that we look at improving liaison between all supporters groups that follow the Clarets

I have always believed that the Club is of great importance to Burnley as a whole and not just the football world. I think that is increasingly important. I believe that it is crucial that all of us that claim to be Clarets fans should work together and give our full and 100% support to the club.

The Trust congratulates Sean Dyche, the players and all at Turf Moor on a successful season and for ensuring that we remain in the Premier League for another season – for the first time since the mid 70’s. We also congratulate all those who have received international recognition during the year – another sign of the positive progress of the Club.

Now the season is over we know some of the players will not be with the Clarets for the next season and some will leave with the regret of many fans but we wish them all well. We hope that Sean Dyhe will have every success in strengthening the squad for what will be another tight fight next season. That is not an easy task but our stronger all round position and now having premier class training facilities at Gawthorpe will help.

Finally I am sure we all wish the Club the best for the next season building on the achievements of this last season, and hopefully securing a better return of points from our away trips

COME ON BURNLEY – UP THE CLARETS

Peter Pike
Chairman
21.5.17

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