The Chelmsford City FC Supporters’ Club would like to update its members on the recent rumours going around about officials at Chelmsford City Football Club wanting us to consider disbanding our organisation and for them to form their own ‘Supporters’ Club’.
This potential action was mentioned in a private email between a Football Club official and the Chairman of the Supporters’ Club on 24th February 2023 in response to a request for an update of when a public release of the minutes from the first “Clarets Vision” meeting on 26th January 2023 was going to be forthcoming, a meeting which we felt was a positive and encouraging start to the process. This email was shared by the Supporters’ Club Chairman with the rest of the committee on the same day.
The Supporters’ Club committee wishes to express concern at the contents of the email received on 24th February 2023, especially as the feeling of the committee was that recent meetings with Football Club officials, including the first “Clarets Vision” meeting, had gone well and that the relationship between the two parties is constantly improving.
We were due to have a meeting tonight with an individual who works closely with the management of the Football Club in order to seek clarity about these comments from the Football Club, but it has been postponed due unforeseen circumstances, though we will look to quickly rearrange.
We were hoping to use this statement to provide a detailed update following the planned meeting tonight, but despite this, we would like to make it clear that any move by the Football Club in the future to form a new Supporters’ Club would be strongly opposed by our committee and we would not ever consider disbanding the current Supporters’ Club under these circumstances.
While it is in the interests of all parties for the Supporters’ Club and the Football Club to have a strong relationship and to be closely aligned with each other, our Constitution states that the “Supporters’ Club will be administratively and financially independent from the Football Club (FC)”. We are a members’ club where we are obliged to follow the wishes of the membership, while at the same time “maintaining a healthy and helpful relationship with the Football Club”.
We therefore will not be held to ransom whenever our viewpoint differs from that of the Football Club. Ultimately, it should be remembered that both parties want the best for Chelmsford City Football Club, though views can sometimes differ about how to achieve this.
While it is unprecedented, in recent times, for the Football Club to have not received any funding from us by this time of the season, this is only in part due to the wishes of our membership. It was agreed by members in the summer of 2022 to withhold funding until the relationship with the Football Club improved and sufficient progress towards the Six Aims were made.
Following the Supporters’ Club Members’ Forum on 19th December 2022, it was agreed that there had been enough progress on both fronts to remove all spending limitations and to change the 12th Man Fund from a playing budget fund to a project based fund, as per the wishes of the Football Club at the time.
As a result of these changes, the Supporters’ Club wrote to the Football Club on 21st December 2022 offering to fund 50% of the cost towards new goalposts for the main pitch, while we have also since asked the Football Club to consider what other projects we could potentially help contribute towards in the near future. As of the date of this statement, we have yet to receive the invoice for the goalposts or have any concrete proposals for future projects where any funding may be required from us. We also offered to provide the Football Club with partial funding towards a portable defibrillator earlier this season, but we have not seen an invoice for this either.
The Football Club have been aware of our plans to rebrand the 12th Man Fund, ahead of next season, for a few weeks now, so it was very disappointing to have the fund branded as a “waste of time” by them when funds are currently available and haven’t been utilised.
The Supporters’ Club remain open to continued engagement with the Football Club, including resuming work on the new “Clarets Vision”, though it is vital that our independence is maintained and respected by the Football Club without any threats of breakaway organisations.
Finally, we will use the rearranged meeting as another opportunity to raise the blocking of individuals from the social media accounts of the Football Club and will pass on the details from those who privately messaged us in the last few days. If there are any other supporters who have been blocked, but haven’t notified us, please contact us directly by the end of the week.