Trust try to clear up confusion over publication of much-criticised Project: Proud To Be document

The NTFC Supporters’ Trust say the much-criticised Project: Proud To Be document published last weekend was ‘designed to stimulate debate’ as part of the exploration of a community ownership model for the Cobblers, and nothing more.

The 13-page document was available at last Sunday’s open meeting at the Park Inn hotel in the town centre, that saw more than 100 supporters attend.

It covered 10 points titled Direction, Philosophy & Vision, Structure, Benchmarking Progress, The Brian Lomax Foundation, Team Northampton - A Sporting Club for Northampton, From BTFC Trust to Community Ownership Trust, Branding & Club Image, Fan Culture and County Town Team.

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There were some interesting ideas, but certain sections of the document were widely criticised and even mocked by supporters on social media.

There was talk of what tactics the team should be playing, the club being ‘a centre of football innovation’, as well as a creation of a ‘Team Northampton’ sporting club alongside the Saints and Northants.

These were all heavily criticised, but it was probably the ‘Northampton Town DNA’ section that attracted the most attention, as it listed what the characteristics and skills Cobblers players should possess, such as being ‘rapid’, ‘responsible’, a visionary’ and a ‘gentleman’ in ‘building a Northampton type’.

Other information on how a community ownership model could work and the forming of a Brian Lomax Foundation to help raise funds for ground improvements had merit and were of interest, as were other sections.

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But it was the other aspects of the document, no matter how well intentioned, that grabbed all the attention, with fans taking to Twitter, Facebook and messageboards to voice their criticism.

That was when it also became clear that not all members of the Trust board were aware of the planned publication of Project: Proud To Be document, nor gave it their blessing.

Trust chairman Andy Roberts has moved to clear up any confusion though.

He says the leaflet was a ‘discussion document’ that ‘does not represent a Trust proposal for community ownership at Northampton Town’.

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He also maintains that only board members who were part of the ‘working group’ ahead of the public meeting were involved in its production.

Roberts also said the document’s contents ‘may be included in full, in part or not at all when a finalised Trust proposal’ may be put forward at a future date, and added that any publication at that time would need full Trust board approval.

Roberts’ said: “A member of the Trust’s community ownership working group prepared the Project Proud To Be discussion document which was circulated at Sunday’s public meeting.

“The document, as with other preparations for the meeting, came under the scrutiny of the working group and did not require approval from all Trust board members.

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“It was seen prior to the meeting by five board members who were involved with the working group, myself included.

“The document includes case studies of community ownership initiatives across the world of football and is designed to stimulate debate as part of the Trust’s exploration of the subject.

“The document does not represent a Trust proposal for community ownership at Northampton Town, it was intended purely for discussion and this was made clear in its introductory section.

“Its contents may be included in full, in part or not at all when a finalised Trust proposal, which would require full board approval, is brought forward at a later date.”