Member Focus: Leyton Orient Fans’ Trust
LOFT was one of the first Trusts formed in early 2001 (under the guidance of Supporters Direct, especially Brian Lomax and our case worker Dave Boyle).
At the time, there were no immediate concerns, but our fledgling Trust thought it would be best to be prepared for any eventuality and we are so glad that we did! This is a lesson for any clubs fans that think that they do not need a fans group.
For what was had been a pretty dormant Trust since our launch, the current horrific situation has seen LOFT go from about 180 members to well over thousand in recent months.
We have held two meetings in the last few weeks, one for members and an open meeting to all fans that were both well attended (in fact our last three meetings have had to be held in bigger and bigger venues) and the LOFT Board were given some useful feedback, which as ever, we have taken on board.
Soon after Mr Becchetti took over the running of the club, there was an uneasy feeling among the LOFT Board that all was not right. We decided to contact Trusts that had been in ‘crisis’ and sent out a questionnaire to them. The idea being that we could create a Recovery Plan if things went wrong. Well they did go wrong and we are so grateful for the advice that we received from those Trusts. Our Recovery Plan is an ongoing beast that is amended almost weekly due to the changing situation at the club.
We had an SGM on 2nd March to announce our Recovery Plan for members to vote on and our Regeneration Fund, but a day before the SGM, it was announced that the club faced a winding up order. This gave the meeting a different feel, in fact the LOFT Board had an emergency meeting at the venue 45 minutes before the meeting started and even then there were different views among us. To say the meeting was emotional would be an understatement
The report of the meeting
These are tough times for fans of OUR club, but what has been apparent is that not only fans and ex players of The Os have galvanized in our time of need, but also people in the wider football family and all Os fans are grateful for that. This is a hard lesson for all of us.
As LOFT Chair Doug Harper has said
“This must not be allowed to happen again. There are too many members of the football family hurting thanks to the actions of certain people that should not be allowed anywhere near the board rooms of football clubs. These people who treat these clubs as their own personal plaything , with no regard for those that love and work for these clubs not to mention the community they affect, should be stopped by the powers that be. The Government, FA and Football League need to act and act fast instead of sitting on the fence. This has gone on too long.”
Save the Date: Supporters Summit (1st & 2nd July 2017)
Supporters Direct and The Football Supporters Federation will host the joint annual Supporters Summit at St George’s Park, Burton-Upon-Trent, on 1st and 2nd July 2017 – in partnership with the FA.
The event brings fans together from across the UK, from clubs and supporter organisations, to debate the issues at the heart of the game.
Last year’s Supporters Summit, held in Wembley, included debates on:
- the EFL’s Whole Game Solution,
- the Twenty’s Plenty campaign,
- away fans and much more.
The full programme of events for the 2017 summit is still being finalised. The FSF’s AGM will be held on the following day, Sunday, 2nd July. For now, save the date. More details including registration details will be announced in due course – if you have any further questions please email us at [email protected].