Planning a Bloods transfer: Purchase your stake in football club’s future

The 2012/13 team in front of the new stand at Catons Lane

The 2012/13 team in front of the new stand at Catons Lane - Credit: Archant

THE fiasco which saw Saffron Walden Football Club withdrawn from the league two years ago will be safeguarded from happening again if a monumental decision to hand control over to the community is met with approval.

Members will gather for the club’s annual meeting next Wednesday (July 10) and a vote taken on whether it should become a limited company owned by supporters.

Effectively, everyone who pays to become a member would part-own the Bloods should the new Community Benefit Society (CBS) structure be adopted.

Committee member Martin Johnson told the Reporter members would be voting for “a secure and stable future for the club”.

He said: “We would be a limited company but run for the benefit of the town and not-for-profit. The main objective of the club is to focus on the local community. We think this is a very good fit for a town like Saffron Walden.”

If, as expected, the proposal meets with approval from its 350 members, rules on how the new form of governance is to be implemented will then be agreed.

It is hoped this will improve the club’s chances of receiving financial grants, such as National Lottery funding, and strengthen its place at the heart of the community for years to come.

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Mr Johnson added: “We have been around for 140 years and hope that by approving this new structure we can be around for another 140 years.

“It may not look like much has changed because this is what the committee has been trying to achieve for a number of months and we have been implementing these required standards for a while – what this vote essentially means is this will become a necessity rather than an option.

“We had a really bad experience in 2011 when the first team was withdrawn from the league and want to make sure it never happens again. This democratic governance would become part of the fabric of the club.”

The CBS underpines rules that include the club behaving in a sensible financial manner, holding democratic elections for committee members and the requirement for accounts to be filed to an appropriate standard.

Chairman Melvyn Seymour said: “I want us to become a club for the whole community and that includes getting involved with schools. The youth of today is the first team of tomorrow and we want to reflect this by going out to schools in the area and telling them about the club.

“Ulimately I want to get schoolchildren down for a coaching session with the players, hold five-a-side competitions at Catons Lane and generally promote the club in the area because sport brings everyone together.”

Building relationships with companies with a view to possible sponsorship opportunities is another aspiration, while wedding receptions, parties and functions can already be held at The Meadows.

The AGM meeting will be held at 7.30pm in the clubhouse. There will also be an election of committee members for the coming season. Anyone wishing to stand must be a member and have another member nominate them. There are currently 10 committee members and a maximum of 13 is allowed.

To become a member it costs £5 for adults, £10 for families and £1 for non-voting juniors under the age of 16.

Mr Seymour added: “I would urge everyone in the community to come along to the AGM so they can join as members and earn a stake in the future of the club.”

• Saffron Walden Town Football Club is teaming up with the Reporter to offer youngsters aged 15 or 16 the opportunity to take on a unique hands on role in the running of the team.

The club is looking for as many young people who are interested to take on the role of an assistant to the reserve team manager.

Chairman Melvyn Seymour said: “Anyone interested in football, boys or girls, should get in touch with us if they want to find out more about how the club is run, from handing in team sheets on match day to writing up reports of the game to appear in the Reporter newspaper. They would be like a football apprentice.”

Call SWTFC on 01799 520980, e-mail or get in touch with us here at the Reporter if you are interested in this exciting opportunity.