Supporting the underdog
Updated: Sep 10, 2022
I have been a member of a number of Supporters’ Trusts over the years and some of them are quite poor when it comes to communicating regularly with member; some don't even respond to enquiries or complaints! Trusts who represent supporters of smaller clubs obviously have a smaller pool of volunteers to help run Trusts but there is at least one outstanding exception to this rule of thumb; step forward Stirling Albion at Stirling Albion Supporters Trust (safctrust.com)
I know I’m open to an accusation of bias here, but the communications by CAST, the Charlton Athletic Supporters’ Trust are the best I've experienced from a Trust. Their output includes the issue of a terrific weekly newsletter. A couple of weeks ago under the heading, Calling all Charlton fans In Scotland, three Scotland-based Charlton fans indicated they were keen to establish a new group for Charlton fans in Scotland. The idea was born when CAST had a Zoom Question and Answer session in December, with Charlton’s new Danish-American owner Thomas Sandgaard. During the Q & A, it emerged that at least three of the online attendees were based in Scotland, including CAST Chair Heather McKinlay who resides in Kintyre. The trio subsequently met (virtually), with the aim of establishing a Scottish group which could perhaps coordinate visits to The Valley or to northern English grounds when Charlton are the visitors. Such activities, it was felt, would also contribute to the new owner’s ambitions to develop the club’s potential far and wide. By the beginning of January 2021, a WhatsApp group had been established and twenty "MacAddicks" had signed up. Some of them were Scots who had opted for Charlton as their favourie Emglish team. Others had originally been based much nearer to The Valley before moving to Scotland. A number declared that they also supported a Scottish team and their choices were quite instructive: Dumbarton, Dunfermline Athletic, Dundee United , Morton and Stenhousemuir have been mentoned so far. On reflection, people who support a family club like Charlton Athletic are not very likely to be attracted to the very different atmosphere which unfortunately surrounds Rangers or Celtic.
In marked contrast to Stirling Albion and its admirable Trust, a few months ago, I got briefly involved with a huge club when I joined, not a Trust, but a UK/Republic of Ireland supporters club for Borussia Monchengladbach. It included one or two UK-based Germans but most of the members were either British or Irish. It struck me immediately that those who dominated this WhatsApp group had one thing in common, and it seems to me to be a recurring theme with some fans of bigger clubs; an annoying sense of entitlement. The attraction in supporting Borussia Monchengladbach is obvious. There are one of Germany’s biggest and most famous clubs, with a team which is once again competing with the best in the Bundesliga. Somehow, that isn’t enough for some people. A 1-1 draw with the capital’s cult club Union Berlin, for example, was not well received. There was no attempt to acknowledge that Union, fresh from consolidating their place in the top tier after their tremendous debut season, had taken another step-up in quality and were now also formidable Bundesliga opponents. The prevailing sentiment on the forum was that BMG should be swotting away such opposition.
I felt uncomfortable in such compamy, notwithstanding it was online. I quickly withdrew from the group and immediately sold my “UK Fohlen” badge on E-bay. Give me someone who supports the Binos, Stenny or the Shire any day of the week.