One of our Twitter detractors recently suggested that CF10 was so small and irrelevant the members could meet in a phone-box. Well, that phone-box has just got a lot bigger; our membership has just gone over the 500 mark.
That’s fantastic news, because it means that over 500 people are committed to not only sign-up but also to pay-up to be a member of the organisation. Five hundred people, and climbing, wanting to see fans have an influence on the direction of travel of Cardiff rugby.
Now some might think that the only people interested in the success of Cardiff rugby are people from Cardiff. That would be a big mistake. It’s as daft as suggesting the only people who support Manchester United come from Manchester!
Cardiff rugby is known the world over. The club has had more players capped by the British and Irish Lions than any other in the British Isles. It is therefore no wonder that the membership of CF10 reflects this fact. Let’s see where a few of our members live:
- Worldwide – New Zealand, Australia, Spain, Austria, Ireland;
- UK wide – Birmingham, Bristol, Cheltenham, Huddersfield, Ipswich, London, Loughborough, Penzance, Watford, Weymouth, Yeovil;
- Wales wide – Aberdare, Brecon, Bridgend, Blackwood, Caerphilly, Crickhowell, Hengoed, Llanelli, Merthyr Tydfil, Milford Haven, Newbridge, Newport, Old Colwyn, Pontypridd, Pontypool, Port Talbot, Swansea, Tonyrefail, Tredegar, St Asaph, St Clears to name but a few.
It just shows the nonsense of trying to put boundaries around where supporters should come from.
So why have 500 people joined the Trust? Well, because they believe passionately in the same things:
- They want to see Cardiff Blues excelling at the highest levels of club rugby.
- They want the greatest possible supporter influence in the running and ownership of the club.
- They want to ensure the voice of all supporters is clearly heard whenever major decisions are being made at Cardiff Arms Park.
- They want to ensure the heritage of Cardiff rugby is preserve and the collection of heritage materials is continued.
- They want to ensure that future redevelopment of Cardiff Arms Park retains the ground, first and foremost, as a rugby stadium which reflects the heritage of the club and ‘Cardiff’ in the professional team name.
The Working Group which preceded the formal establishment of the Trust was nothing more than a disparate band of individuals who shared the above ambitions. Nobody knew each other and we weren’t friends (though we’ve become great mates since!). This enabled us to focus on establishing the company with a skills based board, robust governance (all our rules, policies and minutes are on the website) and sound financial control. If we were going to comment on the performance of others then we needed to ensure we practiced what we preached.
Some of our achievements are tangible – our Twitter feed; our blogs; the Heritage Project which has catalogued over 800 items; 35,000 proxy shares in Cardiff Blues making us the 10th largest shareholder. But much of our work also goes unseen; our networking especially. It happens without most people knowing about it, especially when something else is happening publically; our meetings with Cardiff Blues, WRU and politicians to give some examples.
The Trust has always been clear, it will act as a critical friend to Cardiff Blues Ltd. We have met with management many times during the year and established an open and honest dialogue. After all, we have the same fundamental aim at the end of the day. Through our various series of blogs we have been both constructive and occasionally critical of decisions or sometimes the lack of them. We have adopted the same approach in relation to Cardiff Athletic Club (CAC) the freeholders of Cardiff Arms Park and the main partner in terms of agreeing a redevelopment proposal.
We want to see all stakeholders have:
- The same ambition as us for the club;
- A vision for the development of Cardiff rugby as a precursor to the redevelopment of the ground
- Insights and a strategy to achieve the vison
- Clarity of roles; who does what best
- A commitment to work as one.
These are fundamental to any high performing organisation. We also have to assume that they are fundamental requirements of partners such as the WRU and sponsors. With the resources at our disposal as the capital region we significantly underperform. Putting those five points in place will be a priority of our influencing strategy.
The more members we have the greater the influence we will have. We have an unreasonable ambition of having 1000 members, so we are half way there. Climbing up the second half of the mountain is always the most difficult but it can be achieved.
If every current member signed-up a friend we would achieve the target tomorrow. So please help us achieve your ambition. If you like what we’re doing, join and support a thriving supporter group; if you don’t like what we do, join and change it! It’s a democratic organisation after all-but don’t just spend all your time whining on social media.
As the Chinese philosopher LaoZi said:
‘The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step’.
We’ve taken a massive step and are half way along our journey. We would love you to join us; please get in touch.