The Nuneaton Borough Supporter’s Cooperative have today announced that they are to be one of the parties that will be taking part ownership of Nuneaton Borough today, in what is a landmark moment for not only the club, but football and potentially other sports, within Nuneaton.
In a post on their website the Coop stated that;
“the Co-Operative would like to announce that the board has approved a substantial investment of its funds into the Football Club in return for shares and a likely Fan Director role.”
This is only ever good news and on a number of levels.
Firstly, any club that is engaging with it’s fans on a board level has a level of accountability that means that decisions will be made under the eye of supporters. Decisions now will have to take the impact of the fans into consideration. It means that the notion of Shop Window FC, which was ultimately a huge turn off for the fanbase, should no longer be a company policy. It means the fans have a direct path way to decision makers, and that their concerns, the areas that matter most to them, will be discussed, debated and hopefully acted on by the board. If they’re not, there will be a reason why forthcoming.
Secondly, and perhaps most tellingly, is the fact that the Cooperative have committed funds.
A criticism that has often been levelled at the Coop, has been that it’s sat on money that could have been used to help the football club. It’s a criticism that was trotted out by previous owners and by some fans. It’s a criticism that didn’t always take into account the way in which the Cooperative can actually spend funds. It simply cannot throw away money willy-nilly, which means that this investment will have passed a number of tests set out by the board before they ratified it. This will have been a considered and thoughtful process, which seems to have come to a positive and sensible outcome.
The club have what they want, in terms of cash. The Coop have what they want, in terms of a seat at the table.
How that seat will be structured has yet to be fully revealed. Whether it will be a representative nominated by the board, or the whole Cooperative membership is yet to be seen. Current acting chair Mark Axon would seem the sensible choice. He has been a conciliatory voice on the board, reigning in the more over ambitious whilst also motivating the less enthused. He has settled the Coop and made them feasible and would make a great addition to the furniture in the club’s boardroom.
The statement does go on to add that;
“The Football Club still faces some big challenges in the upcoming months, and we would encourage all Boro fans to continue to support the Boro’s fundraising events and efforts in order to put the club on a more level footing.”
That’s a crucial message. So many people breathed a huge sigh of relief last week when the immediate future of the club was secured, but for the club to fight next year in a way we all hope it will, there’s lots to do, especially if we don’t want to be back in the same situation, twelve months down the line.
With the Cooperative now officially on board however, the hope is that the sort of kamikaze attitude that possessed the club in recent years, will be a thing of the past. There is work to do, we all do need to pitch in, and like the Coop say, we do need to make sure we don’t start getting complacent.
But then, they would say that, now they’re part of the system.