Brian Lomax was only 67 when he died in 2015. He was the first managing director of Supporters Direct. He was as passionate about the involvement of fans in their clubs as he was about his own team, Northampton Town. In 1997 he presented the model of Northampton to the government of the time who were concerned about the commercialism of how football was going. His ideal of mutual ownership struck an immediate, heartfelt chord with thousands of football supporters and with Andy Burnham, the task force’s administrator. That led in 2000 to the formation of Supporters Direct, to promote and help fans form trusts, CFU were formed at that time one of the first to do so.
The Origins of Northampton Town Supporters' Trust
Northampton Town Supporters' Trust was formed in January 1992, as a result of a large public meeting attended by over 600 fans. This meeting was called by a group of ordinary supporters, including Rob Marshall, editor of the fanzine What a Load of Cobblers, and myself, in response to a financial crisis at the club and a series of misleading statements issued by the then chairman.
The club was reluctant to send representatives to the meeting, but relented at the last minute, and the situation disclosed by them was a debt approaching £1.6 million, representing more than two years' turnover for the club. As the Trust subsequently discovered, the rot had set in some time before, and unpaid bills stretched back several years, to the time of the previous regime at the club.
The crisis, however, had been precipitated by the club's failure to pay the previous two months' players' wages, which amounted to about £64,000. The Professional Footballers' Association had had to cover this, and so it too had now become a creditor of the club.
The Trust was set up with two objectives: first, to raise money to save the club (but not for the then current regime), and to be accountable to the supporters for the expenditure of that money; and second, to seek effective involvement and representation for supporters in the running of the club in order to ensure that such a crisis situation would never occur again.
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