L.U.S.T Public Meeting, 3rd March 2012, The Magic Sponge.
Meeting commenced at 1938hrs, Trust represented by Gary Cooper, Aidan Booth and Lee Hicken, apologies from Patrick Bushell and Malcolm Christie.
Summary of discussions;
- Update from the Trust members on activities since the protest march including increased attention in the media and acceptance of the Trust buy local and national media as a point of call for newsworthy issues. The trust now has excellent relationship with Leeds City Council who has offered full support for the Vision Statement. Leeds fans United initiative going well with only one RMC wishing to have no association with it; the initiative was supported superbly by the Kent Whites and their event at Bewleys Hotel with several RMC’s present alongside the Trust and SC representatives, Nigel Martin, Dom Matteo, Brendan Ormsby and Gary Edwards who made up the panel along with Gary from the Trust and Steve from the Kent Whites. Many RMC’s have contacted the Trust to offer full support as have many SC branches and members of the SC Executive.
- Questions from the floor regarding the update were taken and included ‘how serious did the Trust feel the press had taken the protest’ and ‘do the press now make regular contact with the trust’? LH answered both and felt the press have now seen the judged the Trust and the protest to be very credible and regular contact now takes place.
- Issues raised from the floor included support for those choosing to boycott games and/or products at Elland Road, the Trust re-affirmed its position to support any Leeds Utd supporter’s democratic right to protest as they see fit to do so as long as that protest is peaceful. A boycott of a future fixture or products inside the ground remains a viable option for a game later in the season however those present felt this was best left until and only if it becomes mathematically impossible for the team on the pitch to achieve a play off position.
- The protest march was very well received and endorsed by comments both from the floor and over the internet, a future march was suggested with the option of marching from Elland Road away to the city centre considered, this could coincide with a boycott.
- The production and wearing of ‘high viz’ vests was also a suggestion that was well received, obviously the club will not allow banners as they don’t comply with British Standards for fire resistance where as the vests do. These could be produced with the Trust logo and of course wearers could write on the front or back positive messages of support for the vision statement. It was also suggested that the tactical purchase of tickets in a sparsely populated area of the south stand and using the high viz vests we could spell out a message or words just by sitting or standing in our seats?
- A suggestion regarding the drop in season ticket renewals was also made that the Trust could coordinate a campaign amongst its members that would advocate a mass purchase of season tickets by those who had previously chosen not to renew if the Club demonstrated its willingness to support and act on the vision statement for example by agreeing to meet with the Trust and listen to the real concerns of ordinary supporters offering demonstrable actions based upon those concerns?
- Concerns where also raised about the language used by some supporters during the march and that the actions of a few supporters might tar the Trust with a bad name, it was felt that in reality the Trust has no control, nor would it exercise such control if it had it, over individuals rights to free speech and whilst we recognise it seems to be a tactic of the club to associate any negative it can with the Trust the vision statement clearly shows such attachment is nothing more than by suggestion and certainly not a given.
- Questions taken from the internet included the long term future of the Trust which raised the parliamentary report scheduled for the next week or so which will endorse Supporters Trusts as the preferred option for independent supporter representation at all clubs and could form part of a future licensing requirement.
- It was agreed that the Trust would take forward the suggestions and proposals made and report back to its members and the wider fan base as soon as possible and that the next meeting would take place in three weeks time at a larger venue due to the numbers attending tonight which more than filled the room, LH will sort another larger venue and that will be announced in due course.
- The Trust placed a message of condolence on behalf of its members and those present on its social media to the families and friends of the brave lads who lost their lives this week whilst serving in Afghanistan. RIP.
The meeting closed at 2148hrs.