Neil Black Q&A, 27 Feb 2017
Tuesday night was a refreshing opportunity to see the chairman of the Panthers in the flesh and is hopefully a sign of future interactions between the club and the fans.
The format of Tuesday night was not set up for constructive conversation and as suspected there was an element of accusation from some supporters met with defensive responses from Neil Black. Some points raised sparked interesting discussion with some positive and equally some negative responses from the man in charge.
The main positive from the evening is that Neil Black seems keen to engage with passionate supporters so it will be interesting to see the structure such communication will take.
The world of Supporters’ Trusts in football is often concentrated on ultimately take part or complete ownership of the club or providing a unified voice against the running of the club. Some Trusts however are in situ to provide a unified voice for supporters when trying to communicate with the club they support.
A quick browse of the websites of a number of Premier League Trusts shows not too many groups exist with this in mind, however the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust seems to be a great example. The What we do section of their website basically points towards canvasing opinion of the fanbase and returning their findings to Spurs Board at 3 meetings a year while also representing Tottenham fans in league wide issues such as away ticket pricing.
The front page of their site though lists a lot of positive results that they have pushed for and ultimately managed to implement at their club. A lot of these circulate around ticket pricing for particular games and seasons while also extending the age that concessions are considered but there are also other key points that offer guidance on the sort of changes that can be achieved.
The trust has campaigned heavily to secure the support of the club on the issue of safe standing at football grounds while also help soften the clubs approach on the display of flags and banners at games. While these might feel like small issues they have been brought by a collective voice to help make changes at the club. The work of the Trust gives supporters hope that the new White Hart Lane will keep as much of the old atmosphere as possible and not just becoming another money generating, characterless football stadium.
Back here in the world of Ice Hockey and the Nottingham Panthers Supporters Trust is still an idea waiting to happen. If you want to hear more about the Trust, take part in the debate and have a vote on its formation then come along to the open meeting at the Bolero Suite in the NIC on Thursday 30th March at 6:30.