Thursday, 27 February 2014

Q+A with Leeds Supporters Trust

Up next in our series of Q+A's we spoke to Leeds Supporters Trust (LUST) that represents Leeds United supporters. Taking our questions was Gary Cooper who is the Chairman of LUST.

A huge thanks to Gary for taking the time to answer our questions.

Please feel free to leave any comments or follow up questions in the comments box below.

Can you tell us why you formed Leeds Supporters Trust?

The trust was formed long before my time as a member but my understanding is it was recognised as a clear opportunity to provide an independent voice for its members with the club which at the time was begining to reel from the over spend of the Ridsdale era.

You state on your website that it is vital for fans to have an independent voice. Why do you think this is important?

In any democracy independence from influence, pressure and a party line is vital to hold to account those charged with the responsibility of governance, LUST is the vehicle which is able to provide that independent voice to its members. We are not bound by club rules or regulations and free to say what we are thinking without constraint, we feel that's invaluable.

With regards to investment in the footballing side, and given the documented history, what sort of financial policy would you like to see implemented at the Club. Do the Trust have a view on this? 

We try to be open minded but its difficult when your club has suffered the conseuences of massive over spend followed by huge under investment on the pitch, we have swung full circle in more ways than one so what matters most to our members if sustainability and proper strategic and financial planning pretty much in line with what UEFA are doing with FFP.

Do you have any contact with the Club owners/board to discuss concerns etc?

Since GFHc took control from Ken Bates contact has been very good although right now turmoil has taken over during a new sale to another new owner. We have been able to speak freely on all matters relating to our club and our members concerns and the MD, David Haigh, attended our last AGM and took questions from our members in attendance, on social media and listening to our broadcast so we cant complain about contact really.

And finally, what advice would you give for fans who are thinking of joining a supporters group or Trust? 

There is lots of support available from Supporters Direct and Jacqui Forster* is always available for good advice and direction if needed. I would say speak to other established trusts, ask questions of them and try to relate your own issues to those others have experienced in order to establish if there is good practice to learn from them. As a body of individual groups we are very supportive of each other, with that comes not only strength but also unity and purpose, we are stronger than the sum of our parts because we look after the sum of our parts. The trust movement will only grow in the years to come and any independent group can benefit from that by belonging.

For more information on Leeds Supporters Trust click here

*The SISA committe have met with and has been in constant communication with Jacqui Foster and Supporters Direct in our preparation for forming our own Trust. Don't forget the Members final vote for this is on Saturday April 5th April before the Yeovil match

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