Introducing the new home of our weekly column, Paper Talk, as published in the Stockport Express. On this page you find all the articles we publish every Wednesday from 9 July 2014. This will be updated with all previous articles overtime. These articles will be listed in chronological order starting with the latest.
For articles published prior to June 2018 please see this link.
With many thanks to the Stockport Express for publishing our regular column.
Please note these are the UNEDITED articles so may differ slightly to that printed:
July 18 2018:
When the date of an important event draws near- it is then that the organiser of said event starts to get twitchy if the numbers signing up to take part start looking on the low side.
If entries at first were somewhat slower than previous years, no such worry exists now for Race Director John Giles as he plans meticulously for Stockport County Supporters Cooperative’s flagship event `Hatters Half Marathon’ on Sunday 2 September- numbers are very much on the up!
There’s just under 2 months now to race day and the race has just gone past 200 runners in record time, with 25 signing up in a 2 day period last week.
It is just £18 to enter for affiliated runners, and £20 for unaffiliated, so to enter go to
Amongst those energetic souls who have signed up to run on Sunday 2 September, is Matthew White.
Matthew is better known for his work organising matters at Offerton Cricket Club than for his athletic exploits , but he has bravely stepped forward to run the race raising money for the Cooperatives Guardian Account.
With less than 2 months to go Matthew gave the Stockport Express his second training update :-
`When attempting a half marathon for the first time, it is important to plan your training schedule carefully. Like all plans, however, you are at the mercy of unexpected events.
The first setback I received was a bruised knee and gashed foot. I earned this while running up the down escalator at Asda with a full shopping bag in each hand and coming a cropper. No, this wasn’t part of the training schedule and it meant two weeks off running.
The second challenge to overcome upon returning to training was the heat. That really was unexpected. This meant 5am starts when it was cool, but two 7k runs, the longest yet, gave me renewed confidence. Especially as the second run saw me knock 5 minutes off the time of the first.
Then came the World Cup with associated beer intake while watching matches. I must confess, I have been remiss but will be back this week to 5am runs. I aim to be doing one 10k run a week along with two 7k runs by the end of the month and to build from there.
The sands of time are running out. Race day on 2 September looms.’
Indeed it does, and we again wish Matty well on race day.
A less energetic, but very valuable way to get involved in what is a marvellous showcase for the Cooperative, the Club ,and Stockport, is to join `Team Hatters Half’ and enjoy the exhilaration of being part of a massively impressive event!
A free ticket to a County game goes to every volunteer along with the Cooperative’s grateful thanks.
If you can spare us a couple of hours from around 08.30 on Sunday 2 September, please contact email@example.com
July 11 2018:
FOR THE PAST, THE PRESENT AND THE FUTURE
We all know the last few years have been tough for County; but football’s a journey, and along the way there are always bumps in the road.
As County begin their next journey, on the way back towards national football, County fans – people like you – can play a part in making sure the club has a bright future. Just like our fathers took their scarves from round their necks and gave them to us, it’s up to us to pass the scarf on again.
Who we are and what we do
The Co-Op (Stockport County Supporters’ Co-operative) is a democratic and non-for-profit organisation for County supporters.
We’ve got legal protections to make sure everything is done properly, and we’re a shareholder in Stockport County. We hold 17,500 (3%) of the shares in the club, and we meet with at least two of the club’s directors every six weeks to keep each other informed of what’s going on.
The Co-Op is run by a board, with elections to the board each year at our Annual Meeting in November.
We can also invite, or co-opt, people onto the board to offer advice and support when we need it.
Crucially, the Co-Op is and can be every single County fan; and now we need you.
Why should you join?
In return for £12 a year, the Co-op is the eyes and ears of County fans – and it’s just a pound for under 16s. We hold the club to account, and ask County fan’s questions directly to the club.
The more members we have, the more power we have, too. If we have most County fans on board, our voice is stronger when we’re speaking to the Club and its partners – including the council and parties interested in buying the football club.
The next season could be a huge one for County – and whatever is around the corner, we can be ready to make the most of it.
We also have a Guardian Account, set up more than three years ago, with the aim of acquiring an asset on behalf of the football club. That could be a new training ground, Edgeley Park, or anything else which helps County. There is nearly £50,000 in the account, and what happens to it is up to you.
Where does your membership money go?
We use the money from membership fees to run the Co-op day-to-day. Running the Co-op costs a lot of money, especially in legal fees and organising events.
How can you join?
It’s easy to join the Co-Op. You can either sign up online at www.countysupporterscoop.co.uk/join-us/;
Or, you can pay by cheque (made payable to Stockport County Supporters’ Society Ltd) or cash at the cabin located in the Cheadle End car park, which is open at every home game.
Still have questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or in writing at 21 Hurst Street, Reddish, Stockport, Cheshire SK5 7BA.
July 04 2018:
We started the report of the recent meeting between board representatives of Stockport County and the Supporters Cooperative. This week we continue and conclude the questions and answers.
- What will the 2018/19 playing budget be, and will it be increased?
- Playing football budgets are generally not released by any football club, but it can be confirmed the budget as agreed with the Manager, was being increased, and underwritten by the Clubs active shareholders, and where appropriate further funds if necessary will be added to the budget.
- What profit or loss are we looking at currently?
- It is anticipated that a small loss will be incurred this time around, but after a situation not long ago when losses of £800k were incurred, this is disappointing but not a bad performance, and the loss has been underwritten by the active shareholders.
- Will there be a further write down of debts?
- This has not been looked at as of yet, but it will be looked at and discussed seriously by the board when required.
- How can we stop future owners from using Edgeley Park for leveraging debts against the Club ?
- In reality, this eventuality is almost impossible to avoid, but we are committed 100% to doing rigorous `due diligence` to cover this possibility and avoid mistakes of the past. In addition, it can be added that neither of the current bids want to take such an undesirable route.
- Are the Club open to other options regarding the purchase of Edgeley Park such as SCSC involvement, and part ownership and an equity share in EP via the Guardian Account. We do have, thanks to SCSC, an Asset of Community Value order on Edgeley Park currently, and this is due to be renewed in November, so we do have a role to play.
- The Club are open to discussing other options and involvement by SCSC, and should the point be reached whereby Edgeley Park was about to be purchased, discussions will be initiated between Club and SCSC. It has to be said however that there is still a way to go as far as SCFC/ SMBC negotiations on the ground are concerned.
- What progress has been made in obtaining a permanent training facility for the Club?
- Discussions are ongoing with SMBC as the Club seeks to progress this matter. A facility involving community element and Council and Club as well is the desired aim.
- What progress is the Club making in County going full time by 2020?
- The Club are currently supporting the Manager and endeavouring to see that whatever he identifies as being needed in the move to FT is provided. The coming season will see the Club offering training to the players on Monday (am), Tuesday (pm), Thursday (pm) and Friday (pm), a flexible system that accommodates the needs of a reducing but valuable number of PT players, along with those committed to FT.
June 27 2018:
A recent meeting between representatives of the boards of Stockport County and the Supporters Cooperative saw the Cooperative ask a series of pertinent questions on behalf of their members.
This article contains an opening summary and a couple of those questions, read next weeks offering for the rest.
The meeting commenced with an update from S Bellis for SCFC, who referred to what had been an interesting and busy period for the football club, confirming that thus far there had been several approaches from parties interested in investing in the Club that were under full consideration.
Responding to a question from SCSC, the Club indicated that they could not reveal the names of any the party’s concerned, as the information was covered by NDA. However, they felt it is worth noting that no deal is expected imminently, and the club has to work within the timescales of both what is a timely and orderly manner for the Club and the interested parties concerned.
The Club was now being viewed more and more as a definite, viable investment as it stabilised, and the Club Board were definitely open to engaging with potential investors of which there had been numerous in recent years.
Invariably these shows of interest have fallen down upon the request, by the Club, for proof of funds and sight of viable long term business plans, but there, thus far, is reason for optimism that the same is not true for those currently interested.
The Club will continue to encourage incoming investment, whilst always ensuring that we avoid the pit falls of the past that have brought us to where we are today, but until any agreement is reached with any third party the Board will continue to support the Manager and his budget.
In response the Supporters Cooperative indicated disappointment with a lack of information forthcoming from the Club that was not helpful to SCSC or the supporters. We continue to look after the interests of our members and County supporters generally, and support the Club, but for us to do it properly and effectively, we need to be kept informed, particularly about the ongoing negotiations.
Now just a few of the questions ( and answers)……
Q When any final decision is pending on incoming investment, will the matter be placed before all shareholders, and will SCSC have an opportunity to talk with the investor?
- The potential investors behind the current bids have stated a willingness to meet with the Supporters Cooperative. On the question of any final offer/decision, to sell the club in its entirety this matter will be placed before all shareholders before execution of any deal.
- Will general season ticket and walk up ticket prices remain as they are or increase, and will there be an `Early Bird’ offer this time?
- The Club has confirmed no increase in prices for either was anticipated. There will be an ‘Early Bird’ offer again probably by early July.
June 20 2018:
If you have family, you will know just how valuable in times of need their support can be.
In the sporting world, and most specifically in the football segment of same, there are some increasingly numerous examples of organisations who have previously existed thanks to the support from their fan base, but now in times less stress filled boosted by the silly money from media outlets, show no more than lip service to the notion that their supporters count and that their interest should be nurtured .
In this respect you only have to refer to the escalating cost of admission to Premier League matches despite the TV companies largess, to get a flavour of how little fans actually count to clubs at that level. Add rip off away admission costs and the fact that these true travelling fans are dragged all over the UK for games at times and on days that make such travelling almost impossible, and my case is made I think.
Thankfully at County’s current level within the football pyramid there is a greater appreciation abroad with competing clubs that fans matter. Largely because most of them exist mainly because of the input from supporters whose volunteer work helps to keep these genuine community clubs in existence- think Stockport County……think Help the Hatters, the SCFC Foundation and a host of unsung heroes with no label or several.
For the Supporters Cooperative, we derive our support from our membership without whose input we would be hard pressed to survive never mind represent the supporters interests to the Club.
Much of what we do is targeted towards supporting the Guardian Account by raising money for same, and events such as our Quiz Nights at the Spinning Top enjoy huge support which encourages us to continue.
Our largest and most significant event is the Stockport Hatters Half Marathon which this year is on Sunday 2 September starting from outside Edgeley Park . Race details at http://hattershalf.co.uk
The race is a brilliant show case for the Cooperative, the Club, and the town of Stockport and enjoys a growing reputation for excellence.
It is also extremely labour intensive however and thus very dependent on volunteers to ensure the races high standards are maintained.
Most of the tasks needed to be covered are not that onerous, but they are totally vital, so if you can spare us a couple of hours from around 08.30 on Sunday 2 September please let Race Director John Giles know on email@example.com.
If you can join Team Hatters Half we would be pleased to welcome you to a business like but friendly team that is supported wonderfully by long time County sponsors Parfetts Cash and Carry, Wilmslow based sportswear outlet Running Bear, and Focussed Nutrition who will be supplying energy flap jacks and protein bars for runners and spectators this year.
So….no doubt you support County- thank you and please keep on doing so, join us at https://webcollect.org.uk/mem/index.php?page=login&action=login.sign_in_or_sign_up
June 13 2018:
Last week saw a welcome increase in Supporters Co-operative membership with approaching 3 dozen taking advantage of our online facility which enables a number of payment options, including credit card, to sign up.
In truth a number of these `sign up’s’ were in actual fact renewals, by members whose membership had inadvertently lapsed.
It is a vexing issue as our online system does send out an automatic reminder when the date of an individual members renewal approaches.
The issue we are fairly sure is not one of members being inattentive , but probably a case of their computer system either spamming the reminder or , in the case of gmail users particularly, lumping them in `Promotions’ where they get lost midst a plethora of real spam.
So…..thanks to all who have signed up/ renewed recently, and to others who may not have done so, and possibly erroneously think that their membership is still current when possibly it is not, could we invite you to check out our on line site here .
Membership costs just £12 for adults and £1 for under 16’s.
Or help provide County supporters with a stronger voice by signing up at http://www.countysupporterscoop.co.uk/join-us/
If you are in any difficulty with either of these options please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
On now to the Hatters Half Marathon, and we are on the look out for marshals for the Hatters Half marathon, which takes place on Sunday 2nd September. All volunteers will receive a free Stockport County ticket for a game next season.
If you can help, please email our Race Director – email@example.com
Meanwhile, and still on the subject of the Stockport Hatters Half Marathon, you may recall that Supporters Cooperative co-opted board member Matthew White stepped forward to run the race raising money for the Cooperative’s Guardian Account.
Matthew has never run further than 11k before , and that was 30 years ago , and now having reached 52 years old ,and with an ever expanding waistline, he is bravely set to conquer the 21k of the Stockport race.
Matthew threw open the pages of his diary to us…..
Week 1 w/c 21 May
A 5k wall to and from work along the banks of the Mersey bookended my first run at lunchtime. A miserable 1.8k under a merciless sun seemed a feeble effort. However, this was followed by four 3k runs on the following days, giving me some confidence that I might actually be able to do this.
Week 2 w/c 28 May
A 3 k run is followed up by a 5.6k run taking in Vernon Park hill! Now I am highly positive. However, on Thursday I bash my knee and slice my foot running up a down-escalator with two full bags of shopping. Training programme suspended
Week 3 w/c 4 June
As of yet no return to training but should be good to go next week.
Good luck Matthew !
July 06 2018:
The season may have ended for County, but the Supporters Cooperative , hot on heels of their recent statement to members and the County fan base, moved to strengthen their numbers and the Cooperative Boards combined skill set by co-opting Accountant Steve Murray to the board.
It is with great pleasure that the Stockport County Supporters Co-operative welcome Steve onto our board, a move that should help to provide us with valuable financial advice and guidance. The Co-operative believe this appointment will add very pertinent expertise and skills to the Co-operative board, and assist us no end in seeking to protect the interests of Stockport County supporters..
Steve is a Portfolio Director at The FD Centre, an organisation established in 2001, to provide Financial Director services to UK companies. Qualifying as an accountant in 1981, Steve worked as a Finance Director in industry (mainly construction, logistics and transport). Originally from Cale Green, Steve now lives in Sheffield and watched his first County match in 1972 – a 2 nil win against Barnsley, for those interested!
Steve’s FD Centre Portfolio Directorship, started in 2013, and he has been involved in business planning, corporate strategy, acquisitions, divestments and management buy outs.
We would like to welcome Steve on board and look forward to working together.
Steve’s arrival now raises the Cooperative Board numbers to 11 namely….
Peter Towey ( Chair )
Caz Burt ( Independent Secretary)
Andy Burt ( Treasurer)
Andy Plant ( Vice- Chair)
John Giles ( Hatters Half Race Director / Events)
Damien Beaumont ( Membership)
Ian Brown ( Communications/ Media)
Edward Keane ( Events)
Matthew White( Membership)
Paul Thompson ( Media)
Steve Murray ( Finance)
This seems a substantial number, but then so are the number of problems seeking solutions, thus we are always looking for help and assistance from outside the board, and have proved consistently willing to supplement our numbers with judicious co-options.
The Board receives excellent support from the membership, but , particularly via social media does come in for more than a dash of criticism, some of which is constructive and therefore valued, and some less so.
When all is said and done it is the future of Stockport County and its supporters that we are striving to protect, and the greater the input from the supporters outside the board we receive- the more our decisions are likely to be sound and a true reflection of the members wishes.
I am not aware of the Cooperatives AGM date as yet, but I do know it is in November, and it would be especially good to see contested elections this year.
So many of you have good ideas so why not put them at the service of the Club via the Cooperative Board- wait for the AGM details to be sent out …and stand for the board.