Thank you for your email asking me to sign EDM 1909 regarding the funding arrangements for Supporters Direct. Unfortunately due to my position on the Labour Front Bench and strict Parliamentary protocol I am unable to sign EDMs save under narrow circumstances. However, as a season ticket holder at Fulham I don't need reminding how important football is to millions of people in this country and worldwide - so I certainly will make sure this issue is kept on the agenda.
I am broadly in favour of schemes that allow fans to have a say in how their clubs are run, and there is no reason at all why a consortium shouldn't be allowed to own and administer a club. This will require a considerable regulatory effort, but I see no reason that it can't be made to work if there is enough enthusiasm.
One thing I do feel strongly about is that a football club should represent its area and the people who live with and support their club. Treating a club like a business commodity that anyone can buy or sell betrays what the game is about - you need love as well as money to run a football club. There are examples of rich individuals taking over clubs and making it work, but they all have in common the fact that the club was a passion for them as well as a business opportunity.
I have found the following blogs on the BBC Sport website very interesting, both concern fan ownership of football clubs, and one is specific to supporters direct. You can find Dan Roan's blog here; 'Does the Supporters Direct Cash Crisis Matter?' and Matt Slater's here; 'Football's trusts must keep faith'.
If you have any further questions regarding this issue please feel free to write to me again.
Labour MP for Hammersmith
Wednesday, 15 June 2011
A politician's view
There's a couple of scenes in the Yes, Minister special 'Party Games' where Jim Hacker offers to support two separate candidates for the job of PM 'under the radar' - 5.55 in. I couldn't help be reminded of it this afternoon when I got an email back from my local MP Andy Slaughter - replying to my request of him to sign up to the Early Day Motion supporting Supporters Direct in its current funding issue. The link between the two is probably a bit harsh on the Hammersmith MP, but I thought I'd replicate the letter here to provide a politicians view on the kerfuffle: