Every month or so our current Swans Trust members receive an update on a variety of issues that we have been working on.
Earlier this week every Trust member was emailed our October update, extracts of which we’ve included for wider information below.
If you’d like to automatically receive these updates plus other regular news from the Trust then you can join the Trust here
And for anyone joining before the end of December you will only pay 50% of our usual fees, i.e. no more than £5!
Football Club Update
There has certainly been a lot to activity regarding our football club over the last month, as Trust members will have seen in our statements on the change in the constitution of the club’s Board of Directors and the Project Big Picture proposals, along with the summer transfer window activities.
With regards to the changes at board level, the Trust has done its upmost to identify the reasons for the resignation of Steve Kaplan as a director and what that means regarding any changes in ownership or control of our club. Since Swansea Football LLC is filed in Delaware, it is impossible for us to verify information independently. However, we have been informed that there has been no change in the ownership structure. The Trust has also now met with Jake Silverstein, who has confirmed this. We will continue discussions with him in the coming weeks and months as we seek to understand his interests in our football club.
As members will have read in our previous statement, the Swans Trust was not in favour of the proposals within Project Big Picture, which would have addressed the immediate financial concerns of EFL clubs but would have handed an unacceptable amount of power to nine current Premier League clubs which would be unlikely to be in anyone’s interests, apart from their own, in the long term.
We were glad that these proposals have been rejected, but the issues that EFL clubs face haven’t gone away. With no prospect of fans being allowed back into stadia soon, the situation is weeks, if not days, away from reaching crisis point for many clubs. While the situation is not quite that desperate for the Swans, as outlined in Julian Winter’s recent interview, we are also very aware of the financial pressures our club faces. As a club that has twice almost gone out of existence, we are more aware than anyone of the need to balance the books to protect the long-term future of our club.
We know that the current crisis has only exacerbated the financial issues that already affected many clubs, some of whom were already living beyond their means. We have repeatedly called for improved, independent, governance to ensure clubs comply with the rules and are run in a self-sustainable manner. That is more important than ever. This is why the Swans Trust fully supports the FSA’s call to the Premier League and Government to step up and deliver an alternative financial package urgently but also, critically, the pressing need for the fan-led review of football governance that the UK Government previously promised.
With the summer transfer window recently closing, there is a lot to be positive about regarding the quality incomings to our squad. With the likes of Marc Guehi and Freddie Woodman returning to our squad, along with the addition of Jamal Lowe, Korey Smith, Kasey Palmer, Viktor Gyökeres, Morgan Gibbs-White, Joel Latibeaudiere, Ryan Bennett and Ryan Manning, we look to have strengthened very well, which is a credit to everyone involved in that process.
Sadly, what should have been a story about a strong transfer window has been overshadowed by the sale on deadline day of Joe Rodon to Tottenham Hotspur. Like almost any other club, it is an unfortunate reality that our best players will attract interest from clubs higher in the football pyramid and it is no surprise that Joe has attracted interest from some of the biggest clubs around. As a club we need to balance the books and, if we want to continue to develop youngsters through our very successful Academy, then that will occasionally mean we will need to sell players to fund it. However, what we cannot do is sell players far below their fair value, and there can be little doubt that that is what has happened with the sale of Joe Rodon. The Trust has expressed our significant concerns on this matter, both to the club’s management team and our fellow shareholders and, while we can understand that a depressed market and the financial realities of COVID have swayed the decision in their minds, we do not agree that there was an urgent need to sell at a price so far below his true value when the January transfer window was only two months away. As the recent transfer windows had seen us perform far better in terms of realising a decent return on any players that had moved on, it is disappointing to see us return to the mistakes made when we were first relegated back to the Championship.
On the pitch, we have seen a very positive start to the season, with the Swans currently finding ourselves within the promotion places. Due to the compressed nature of this season, the next couple of months are going to test our squad to the limit as we play games every 3-4 days, and we’re sure the Jack Army will be cheering the team on as we aim to match, or better, last season’s finish!
We hope by now that supporters have seen our activity across our social media platforms promoting our ‘Join the Swans Trust’ campaign, which we launched at the beginning of the season. We are delighted with the response so far and are happy to announce that our membership has risen to well over 1450. This is an increase of over 150 this month and over 350 since the start of the campaign. We have thanked all those who have renewed and welcomed anyone who has joined us for the first time. You might be interested to know that we now have members in 13 countries, and we continue to work with the club in developing ‘Global Swans’ supporter groups.
We have also improved the way new members can pay for membership or make donations, by changing from PayPal to a simpler and more efficient online payment processing system. This has the additional benefit of costing us less per transaction.
If you too would like to become a member of the Trust and receive our regular updates and news releases then it literally takes just a few minutes to sign up online here
We have also said a big Thank You to those members who have made donations to the Trust or those who have forgone refunds of their annual membership fees (due to this season’s free membership for existing members) if previously paid by standing order. So far, those donations have exceeded £1,000. A superb gesture by those concerned and which is much appreciated.
Social Media continues to be an increasingly important means of communicating with our members, and the wider fanbase, especially when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible. Numbers of followers on Facebook and Twitter continue to grow and we are working on increasing our presence on Instagram. Our Trust Chair Andy Godden recently held an online ‘Question and Answers’ session with our Trust members on Facebook and we will look to run similar sessions on a regular basis. For anyone who has yet to see extracts from the Q&A they can be seen here along with other updates and match day programme pages that supporters may be interested in reading.
We have also previously announced that next year will be the 20th anniversary of the formation of the Swans Trust. The Trust Board is busy looking at ways of how we can mark this anniversary and members have been invited to send us their own suggestions via email, our website or our social media platforms!
Finally, can we ask that as well as considering joining the Trust yourself that you also encourage your friends and family members to join too, not forgetting our special offer of 50% discount off normal rates which is available until 31st December 2020. A nice little Christmas present for all concerned?
Several of our members have contacted us to raise concerns with the condition of the steelwork on the top of the Liberty Stadium, which has shown signs of rust and deterioration.
As many of you will have seen, remediation work has been taking place over recent weeks and this will continue, where possible within the current guidelines, over the coming weeks and months.
The Big Step
You may have seen the club announcement here a few days ago regarding a new partnership with gambling harm reduction charity The Big Step.
The Big Step is a football-focused gambling education project and part of the Gambling with Lives charity, which has people with lived experience of gambling harm delivering a community-based education, training, awareness and signposting programme in conjunction with the Swans.
The 18-month Gambling Harms Prevention programme will be delivered by Swans’ fan Nick Phillips, himself a recovering gambling addict.
The Trust was first approached by Gambling with Lives on this issue several weeks ago and is proud to have played a part in setting up this new partnership. We are looking forward to working with Nick, The Big Step, and the Swans’ Community Trust on this very worthwhile cause!
Swansea City Supporters’ Trust
31st October 2020