"Through establishing and developing supporters' trusts, the aim is to bring about responsible, democratic representation at spectator sports clubs, and so help promote the highest standards of governance, accountability and embed those clubs deeper into their communities."
Supporters Direct is a mutual, owned by its members, and funded in England by the Football Stadia Improvement Fund - the partner organisation of the Football Foundation, in Scotland by the Scottish Government, and in Rugby League by the RFL and the Co-operative Group.
It is not a Government organisation and retains its independence through ownership by its members, benfitting from cross-party support.
What is Supporters Direct?
SD provides advice to trusts on how to organise and acquire a collective shareholding in their clubs on a not-for-profit basis for re-investment. Its role is to secure greater level of accountability and deliver democratic representation within sports clubs and within sport's governing structures.
It delivers advice and guidance on governance and financial accountability to our members and to ensure they play a valued and responsible role in the running of their clubs, improving communication and building a better relationship with the local community.
- Promote the responsible voice of supporters in the running of sports clubs through securing democratic representation.
- Deliver advice and guidance on corporate governance and accountability to trusts that have secured board representation, ownership or control of their club.
- Influence or change ownership structures so that the interests of the Club, supporters and the club's communities are more purposefully aligned.
- Promote the use of sports and other facilities of professional sports clubs by their local communities and to cement their position as a focus for civic and community life.
- Raise the standard of training, expertise and service delivery to the volunteer membership base of trusts.
- Help trusts re-orientate clubs into becoming community hubs, working with clubs in trust ownership/control or trusts working in partnership with clubs in private ownership.
History of Supporters Direct
1999 SD arises from 3rd Report of Football Taskforce in 1999. Announced at Labour Party Conference 1999. Officially launched January 2000 and begins work in October 2000
2000 Originally based at Birkbeck College with ‘research contract' underpinned by 3-year funding from Reduced Pools Betting Duty
2001 Original Business Plan envisages 50 successful outcomes. Becomes clear demand massively exceeds expectations; Brian Lomax becomes full-time MD in June whilst Andy Burnham MP becomes Chair.
2002 SD gets funding for two-year extension of work to Scotland. Glasgow office opens
2003 SD arrangement with Birkbeck brought to an end. SD leaves Birkbeck for new offices in Bowling Green Lane, London in April. In August, SD converts to an IPS, Brian Lomax retires in August after illness, with Dave Boyle made Acting Managing Director.
2004 SD within two-days of being shut-down before funding until March 2007 is confirmed. Phil Tooley made Acting Part-Time Managing Director in April. Phil French appointed new CEO in autumn, arriving in post in May 2005.
2006 SD move from to share office space at Sport England.
2006 Scottish funding renewed for further two years
2006 English funding increased from April 2007
2006 UEFA announce project to investigate potential for Trusts in Europe
2007 European Feasibility Study begins
2008 Year's sponsorship by Virgin media announced
2008 Phil French leaves to join the DCMS as a Special Advisor
2008 Dave Boyle is appointed as CEO.
2009 Funding from the RFL confirmed to expand SD's work with rugby league trusts
Supporters Direct Main Achievements
Growth: Supporters' trusts have now been established at over 170 clubs.
Membership: Over 300,000 people are members of supporters' trusts.
Finance: Supporters’ trusts have now brought in well over £30 million of new finance into football and rugby league.(This amounts to almost £7 of investment for every £1 of funding to SD)
Ownership: 30 clubs in the UK are in ownership or in control by supporters’ trusts, including Football League clubs AFC Wimbledon, Exeter City and Wycombe Wanderers
Partnership: Over 100 supporters' trusts now have shareholdings in their clubs.
Boardroom: Over 65 supporters’ trusts have directors at their clubs, including Premier League Swansea City FC
Reach: Supporters of nearly 70% of clubs in the top five divisions of football in England, and the top four divisions in Scotland have established supporters' trusts.
Clubs owned or controlled by their supporters' trust:
AFC Telford United, AFC Wimbledon, Bramley Buffaloes (RL), Brentford, Cambridge City, Clydebank (Scotland), Enfield Town, Exeter City, FC United of Manchester, Gretna (Scotland), Merthyr Tydfil, Newport (IW) FC, Rochdale Hornets (RL), Runcorn Linnets, Scarborough Athletic,Wycombe Wanderers.
Supporters Direct Media Guide - Some Facts & Figures about SD and Supporters Trusts, how to contact them and a full list of all clubs involved in the Supporters Trust movement. Download here as a PDF File