The weekend's Supporters Summit, held jointly with our friends at the Football Supporters Federation, was first of all a massive success numbers-wise.
At an event we've hosted (or co-hosted - and outside that of the Supporters Direct Cup) outside of London, we've never had such a big attendance. Representatives of over 110 organisations, plus a good smattering of individuals who had chose to attend, pushed those present to around the 300 mark.
The event also ticked the boxes content-wise too: the David Bernstein speech was set alongside one by SD co-founder and former Chair, Andy Burnham MP. He made an at times barnstorming speech calling for the Premier League in particular to be reined in, prices to be cut (“No Premier League game is worth £60. It just isn’t that good."), and an impassioned call for The FA to return to its rightful role of chief regulator. David Bernstein couldn't resist a response, which though it was at times a defence of his time as Chair, also contained some quite clear criticisms of the Premier League too.
See Andy Burnham's interview with the Coop News (below):
Although sadly, Swansea City Chairman Huw Jenkins wasn't able to make the event, he did send a video message for the "Sustainability or Bust" session outlining his part fan-owned Club's approach to the issue, in a session also featuring Paul Rawnsley from Deloitte, and academic Dr John Beech.
You can see his address to the session below:
Other speakers included Roisin Wood from Kick it Out, Aston Villa Chief Executive Paul Faulkner, with Tim Connolly coming all the way over the Pond from Green Bay Packers, Wisconsin - the only fan-owned club in the NFL. A special word for Tim, as he was not only one of the most relaxed and approachable, straightforward and clear-speaking people we've ever had at a conference, but he also made it pretty plain that he felt at home amongst us all.
The event also saw another major landmark reached for SD, with the launch of the European Commission funded project report on the day, an impressive accomplishment for our pan-European operation, involving seven football fan organisation partners from Sweden, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium, plus Coops Europe.
We have to make a special mention of Derek Greenwood, Chairman of fan-owned Runcorn Linnets FC. Since their formation in 2006 after the demise of Runcorn, he has not only led the Club he supports to a return to the Town, but has, in the same vein as our former and much missed treasurer and Swansea City activist Richard Lillicrap, helped many more others across the country. He was winner of this year's Richard Lillicrap award.
In the closing session, Dr Adam Brown, Tim Connolly, FSF Chair Malcolm Clarke and David Lampitt, formed a panel for Football Question Time with former Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Star journalist Matt Scott chairing.
Thanks to all those who made the event such a success, from speakers, to delegates, and those who exhibited, organised and hosted the event.