THERE is something amiss in this world when proactive football fans have their initiative mocked for no real reason.
Every week, on one messageboard or another, I read snide comments which take aim at Trust STFC’s genuine and concerted attempts to reintegrate themselves within the Swindon Town community. Keyboard warriors, sat at home at half two on a Tuesday afternoon, spitting unsubstantiated bile at honest, hardworking, concerned supporters of a club who has been through far too much for its own good.
Wholly unjustified, these bitchy remarks can only do damage to the Trust’s potential to become a very important, critical friend of the football club.
By their own admission, the Trust lost their way under the opulent reign of Andrew Black, where being held to account meant celebrating another equity deposit and bad times were rarer than a Frenchman’s filet mignon.
Spoilt, they didn’t need to make a scene, but the landscape has changed dramatically now and the Trust are attempting to adapt. They are branching out to the club, with whom they have already held constructive discussions about a variety of topics, as well as the local media. They are organised, eloquent and, if occasionally a little over-enthusiastic, exactly what a Trust should be.
Those who snipe at them with accusations of toothlessness and illegitimacy might, right now, have a point - but how on earth can a meaningful body of fans generate the capital for a financial safety net if all we want to do is bicker amongst ourselves about the relevance of their very existence?
This football club, our football club, has had enough infighting at boardroom level in recent months, without fans taking a swipe at fellow fans. The Trust, like the Supporters’ Club, has a massive role to play in the future of the Robins. Like the local media, they are there to observe, praise, cooperate and criticise in a fair and balanced way.
Unlike the media, they can - in theory and over the course of many years - club together to offer financial relief in times of trouble and strife. And, goodness me, doesn’t Swindon Town seem susceptible to that?
From the conversations I have had with members of the Trust board in recent weeks, it has become increasingly apparent that they recognise their recent failings and are determined to raise their profile - not for the sake of their own egos but for the future good of the club. That is to be applauded.
There remain elements of their grand plan which, personally, I still question - most prominently the necessity for a supporter to sit on the club’s board - but £1.25 buys you a platform to question and debate such policies for 12 months. £1.25. That’s about the value of your spilt beer last Friday night.
So, next time you’re inclined to ridicule the efforts of the Trust, reassess exactly what you want for the club. Their presence does absolutely no harm whatsoever; at some point in the future their absence just might.
As Aesop wrote: “In a field one summer’s day a grasshopper was hopping about, chirping and singing to its heart's content. An ant passed by, bearing along with great toil an ear of corn he was taking to the nest.
“Why not come and chat with me,” said the grasshopper, “instead of toiling and moiling in that way?”
“I am helping to lay up food for the winter,” said the ant, “and recommend you to do the same.”
“Why bother about winter?” said the grasshopper. “We have got plenty of food at present.”
But the ant went on its way and continued its toil.
When the winter came the grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer.
Then the grasshopper knew... It is best to prepare for the days of necessity.