Tracey Crouch MP and the FSA hail as ‘a model for others to follow’…
Cambridge United has created a new Shadow Board to help unify and give a stronger voice to fan groups, strengthen fan engagement and ensure fans can act as a sounding board for the Club.
This move follows the repurchase of the Abbey Stadium, which was completed last month, together with the stated desire of the owners to introduce ‘Golden Share’ protections for the future.
The creation of Fan Shadow Boards was one of the key recommendations of the Tracey Crouch Fan Led Review in which Cambridge United were the only EFL club represented on the Advisory Panel.
The establishment of the Board follows six productive meetings over the summer between the Club, Cambridge Fans United (CFU), Cambridge United Supporters' Panel (CUSP), Amber Belles and more recently, the Cambridge United Supporters’ Club, to reach agreement on the Shadow Board role and its constitution. This is published in full and can be read here.
The Shadow Board will compliment rather than replace the existing four fan groups. Two from each will comprise the inaugural membership of eight representatives who will serve for an initial two-year period.
Shadow Board Members:
- Andrew Stephen CFU
- Ben Phillips CFU
- Ben Payne CUSP
- Nigel Browne CUSP
- Anouska Wright Amber Belles
- Emma Smith Amber Belles
- Paul Mayes CUSC
- Jim Hardingham CUSC
Tracey Crouch MP, Chair of the Fan Led Review, said, “It is great to see Cambridge United putting fan engagement at the very heart of their club with the creation of a new Shadow Board. It represents a model for others to follow and will no doubt help strengthen the Club as they look to modernise and develop their facilities now they have repurchased the Abbey Stadium. I am particularly pleased they plan to introduce Golden Share protections for fans for the future.”
Kevin Miles, Chief Executive, Football Supporters’ Association said, “It is very encouraging to see the way Cambridge United is capturing the spirit of the Fan Led Review and moving quickly to put fan engagement right at the heart of the Club’s future. We would strongly encourage other clubs at every level of the game to follow their leadership.”
Shaun Grady, Chairman of the Board, said, “This is an important step in the next stage of the Club’s development. It is often said - because it is true - without fans football is nothing and everyone at CUFC knows how fortunate we are to have such brilliant supporters who have been there through thick and thin.
"As we look ahead to new opportunities as a Club we believe the Shadow Board can further strengthen us. For example, we want to modernise and make the Abbey, as Paul has said, ‘our forever home’ - an area where the Shadow Board will have a vital role to play in helping shape future plans and where they can act as a fans’ voice in the process. At the same time, we will need to work together over the coming year to put in place the right Golden Share protections for the future.
“The Shadow Board comes about after a lot of hard work over the summer and on behalf of the Club I would like to thank the different fan groups for the very positive and constructive way they have participated, working together with Dave Matthew-Jones and Godric Smith from the Club.
“It has been a genuine partnership ‘United in Endeavour’ and we are all confident we can take that spirit into the future together. Particular thanks go to Nigel Pearce for all his help with the drafting of the Constitution and we all look forward to the first meeting next week.”
Andrew Stephen, Chair of CFU said, “CFU are delighted to have been involved in the creation of the Shadow Board which will ensure the proper involvement and engagement of all Cambridge fans. It is another historic development following the Club's reacquisition of our ground. We have been fully committed to and involved in this initiative, which follows the recommendations of the Fans Led Review in which Cambridge United played a key role. The relationship between the lub and its fan groups has never been better. CFU looks forward to many years of productive cooperation with the Club."
Ben Payne, Chair of CUSP, said, “It is great to see that the Shadow Board has come together to strengthen and build on the excellent work carried out by the owners, board and the management of the Club in the last few years. I am pleased that CUSP will continue to have a key role in the day-to-day feedback between the fan base and Club. At the same time, also contributing to the longer-term development and protection of the parts of the Club we all hold important to us. It’s a new dawn for Cambridge United and I hope that we can also be a model for Clubs up and down the land with good governance and setting best practice for interaction with the owners, board and fanbase.”
Anouska Wright, Amber Belles, said, “Amber Belles are proud that we have been given the opportunity to represent our fans on the Shadow Board. We are still a new group who are passionate about our Club's history, its future and the safety of our fans. The decision to create the Shadow Board shows that they value our heritage and future as much as the fans do. We look forward to working with all of the other representatives to create an excellent relationship which will be beneficial to all at our wonderful Club.”
Paul Mayes Trustee and Director of the Supporters’ Club said, “The Cambridge United Supporters Club are happy to be invited to join the Shadow Board. We look forward to working alongside the other fans groups and the football club in the exciting times ahead.”
It is expected that there will be four meetings a year with the first to be held on Monday October 17 when the Shadow Board will meet representatives from the Club.