Welcome to the 1874 Northwich Supporters Trust Website
Statement on current situation
Parent Category: 1874 Trust
Written by NVST
Firstly, on behalf of the fans, the Trust would like to place on record its huge thanks and appreciation to the two Andy’s and their back-room team for their fantastic efforts over the past three years in what have been unbelievably trying and difficult circumstances. It is a mark of their abilities that this year’s squad has achieved so much in such a short time and played some of the best football that Vics fans have seen for many a long year. Without denigrating Airbus UK, I think that the Trust speaks for most fans when we say that we hope that Andy, Jock and the team are given the opportunity to manage at the higher level they deserve to at some time in the near future.
Likewise, huge credit must be given to the current squad to what they have and could have achieved had circumstances been different. Their only consolation is that their undoubted ability, spirit, skill and determination will mean that they will all have a rosey future in the game. Whilst many of the current crop of players have only been with us for a relatively short time, I’m sure that I speak for many when I say that they were one of the most talented, committed and joyous team I have had the pleasure to watch.
Moving onto the current crisis, the Trust Board wishes to re-assure all fans that since the news came out about the purchase of the ground, discussions have been ongoing between the Board itself and several other key parties regarding this matter.
The issue that both the Board and all Vics fans have at present is the lack of absolute facts regarding the current position - with regard to the current situation of the club in terms of its right of tenure and other related matters, the position and intention of THOR Chemicals, the view of both the Evostick League and the FA and the role that Deloitte’s are playing in this matter.
Hence, our initial position is to try and establish the facts. Without this information we will be unable to advise both Trust members and fans (I will touch on why we have to treat the two separately later in this post) of what we believe the situation is and what options are / may be open to us.
As a first step, the Chair of the ST and other Board Members are seeking to meet with Jim tomorrow. There are several issues that we wish Jim to clarify / provide information on, including;
i) Under the terms of the current tenancy agreement , what rights does the club have as sitting tenants (i.e. is the tenancy is open-ended or time limited)
ii) Is there a notice period in the agreement and if so what is it?
iii) Has the club breached the terms of its current agreement rendering any protection they may have in (i) above null and void?
This meeting is yet to be confirmed, but if it goes ahead it goes without saying that we’ll be asking Jim when he knew about the offer from THOR and what legal advice / steps he is taking to protect the existing clubs tenure at the VS. However, it needs to be understood by all that even if we get answers to some or all of the above, we might not be able to reveal everything to you, either because it is legally privileged information, told in confidence or may well prejudice one or other party who is involved in this matter. But it goes without saying that as a fans’ run organisation, we will tell you what we can, as soon as we can.
In relation to THOR, the Trust wants to make it absolutely clear at this point that we fully understand that the decision they have taken to purchase the VS is wholly based on commercial considerations alone. As such, we believe that it would be inappropriate for any Vics fans to stage a ‘knee-jerk’ protest against a well regarded company who has brought much needed investment and jobs to the area. We’d therefore ask any fans who might be thinking of staging such a protest to refrain from doing so at the present moment.
This being said, we also wish to have open and constructive dialogue with THOR as to their short, medium and long-term ambitions and plans for the VS site and whether this may be able to accommodate the continued use of part of the area for football, whether this be in the short, medium and long-term. With this in mind, we will also be seeking a meeting with THOR’s local and national management teams. It goes without saying that if we do attend such an event, we will be stressing the huge role that NVFC has played in the life of the community they are situated within for the last 125 years and the key role it still currently plays in the area in terms of the link we have with NVFC Juniors and the wider community and the impact the cessation of the club would have.
The Board is aware of the many heartfelt posts that have been made on the Trust forum since the news broke re the ground situation and the passion of these comments it is measure of how much the club means to both Vics fans and others and how everyone wants NVFC to continue in one shape or form. There have been many post arguing that we should seek to try and continue to support the current club as much as we can whilst others prefer a ‘clean-break’ with a ‘new’ wholly fans based organisation. Again, the Board is fully appreciative and understanding of both views – indeed, I think it fair to say that the current view of the ST Board mirrors that of the wider fan-base.
But, as stated earlier, the Board’s view is that until we have a greater understanding of the various facts, then it would be both premature and inappropriate to take a view one way or the other. What our aim is at present is to try and garner as many facts as we can so that when we do organise a general fans meeting - which we are aiming to do in the next 7 days or so – we have some facts and information to tell fans so that we can collectively start to make some reasoned and rational decisions as to how we might want to take this whole, sorry mess forward.
It needs to be recognised that any meeting we do organise (and we hope that this will be done jointly with the SC) will be open to all fans. However, I think that it is important to point out at this stage that any decision regarding committing funds currently held by the Trust will only be able to be made by members of the Trust. This is partly because we (quite rightly) need to discuss this with those who have contributed the Trust’s coffers over the past 5 -10 years but also as an Industrial and Provident Society we have a legal (never mind moral) obligation to let the membership decide on how the funds are spent.
In the next few days it is also our plan to seek advice and support from Supporters Direct and other fans based clubs (Chester, Telford, Runcorn Linnets ) and learn from them how they coped with similar situations that affected their club. The backing , support and legal advice we get from SD will be a key part in our ability to respond to the current crisis and we’ll no doubt invite a representative to attend any meeting we organise.
Finally, it goes without saying that the ST will try to keep all fans up to date with developments as soon and as much as we can. The key thing is that as Vics fans we must let bygones be bygones and work together for the greater and best interest of the club both now and in the future. If nothing else, we owe this to those who managed to keep the club going for the last 135 years and to those future generations of Northwichers who may be robbed of the joy and pain of supporting their home town club!