Swansea City & Carlisle United – Structure makes relationships work
The recent histories of both Carlisle United and Swansea City are pockmarked with disputes and times when fans, their representatives, and those on the board of the club, or the majority owners, were in serious dispute. Both clubs have had periods of time where the club’s sense of purpose took a backseat, whilst difficulties played out – sometimes very publicly.
Some people might look at the Shareholders Agreements in place between the Swansea City Supporters Trust and Swansea City FC, or Carlisle United FC and the Official Carlisle United Supporters Club (the supporters’ trust), and declare that it makes such agreements pointless. Except what it does it to miss one of the very purposes of having such an agreement: to ensure that there is a set of minimum requirements or levels of involvement that supporters should be guaranteed, and that this guarantee is legally enforceable.
Rules, regulations and legal documents such as a shareholders agreement can be, if they are used in the right way, very effective in ensuring that these relationships – ones that need to work – aren’t fatally harmed because of a dispute or problem, and mean that when the time is right, can restart with good foundations.