Newsletter four – the next steps

Newsletter four – the next steps

Newsletter 4 – The Next Steps
It’s been a while, longer than we’d have liked, but we’ve not gone away. As we said in the last newsletter, we’ve been pondering on your successes through our first two campaigns and trying to work out what the best way to move everything forward is.

I could write a pamphlet here about the state of football administration, how we got here and how I think we can go some way to fix it. But what would be the point. We’ve all stuck with this so far because we all think something between an independent supporters’ organisation being a good idea at Latics and one being an essential part of a modern, properly functioning football club. It doesn’t matter where you are on that spectrum, we all think we’re trying to achieve something positive.So, instead of a pamphlet, we’re going to start off with a bold statement.

We’re setting a target of having a formal independent supporters organisation in place by November 2023.

“Bold?” You might say “that’s six months off, why can’t you just start taking memberships and be done with?”

Well, we could, but what would people be signing up to? What guarantees would members have on how it would be run? How would they be assured that it would act in the best interest of all Latics supporters and in a manner directed by its members?

An organisation needs structures, it needs governance, and it needs safeguards to make sure that those who are charged with running it do so in a proper fashion. What would we look like if we came off the back of criticising the stewardship of our club and ran straight into setting up an organisation that didn’t have those strong foundations in place?

But we are starting off the process towards building that organisation right here, in this newsletter with three steps…

1) Laying out a “manifesto” for the new organisation
2) Setting up our working group
3) Opening our “pre-membership” scheme

The Manifesto
A football club belongs to the fans.

Managers, players, staff and even chairmen are merely the latest in the long line of people entrusted with the safekeeping. These custodians are employed to govern, represent and manage the club in the best interests of football supporters who pay through the turnstile. Without us, they are nothing.

Every football club should have a strong, independent supporters’ movement to protect the best interests of those supporters and work for the common good of their club.

That’s what we believe, that’s why we’ve stuck our oar into recent events at Latics. During that period, it’s become clear that there are others that share this view and a real appetite for a formal, independent supporters’ organisation at Wigan Athletic. So we guess it sits with us to get that ball rolling and lay out the three principles we believe this organisation should be built on…

The clue really is in the name, but INDEPENDENCE is the thing that would make this organisation different from other supporters’ groups at the club. Proudly unofficial, we want to have a healthy, constructive relationship with the club without relying on its patronage or have commercial ties with it. This is what will allow us to both give credit, where it’s due, but also to hold the custodians of the club to account, in public, when it’s needed.

That’s not to say we want to be a protest organisation, or a group of agitators. On any number of occasions, Latics supporters have proved what a force they can be when they work together. This organisation would be one piece of the jigsaw that makes our club strong. UNITY is key to all this, and we would be prepared to work with any other group if it is in the best interests of supporters and for the common good of the club and Latics’ community.

Last, but not least, a strong, independent organisation needs to be built on DEMOCRACY. If an organisation is going to claim to speak on behalf of its members and the wider fanbase then those members should have a say in how the organisation is run, who runs it and what the bounds of their responsibilities are. A proper constitution will be in place, officials will be elected, and priorities agreed with members on a regular basis.

But we can’t achieve any of this alone or in isolation, we need your help…

The IndieLatics Working Group
We’ve been clear from the start that a handful of supporters, mostly communicating in a WhatsApp group does not a supporters organisation make. We have the will, the passion for the idea and a track record for making noise, but we don’t have the range of skills required to bring that to fruition.

We’re sure that the people with those skills, maybe even with time on their hands, are out there. People with experience of setting up and running voluntary organisations, with a bit of expertise in governance or finance, people with time to run a website, produce communications or even just to organise the above into something tangible and keep everyone moving in the right direction.

If you’ve got any of that, a real passion for what we’re trying to achieve OR some other skill or experience that you think we might find useful, we’re interested in hearing from you.

We’ve added a simple form to the website here:

IndieLatics Working Group Registration – Independent Wigan Athletic

use it to tell us who you are and how you think you can help us, and we’ll get back in touch over the next couple of weeks.

“What the hell is ‘pre-membership’ then?”

In short, it’s a word for something we’re not sure there’s a word for. Half-way an expression of interest in joining this independent supporters’ organisation, half-way saying you want to be involved in making some key decisions about what the organisation will look like and if need be, who will run it whilst it’s being set-up.

This is the group we’ll consult with as we’re planning and setting things in place. We’ll be offering you nothing more than a say in those plans and a vote in anything that needs a vote before we have a formal membership structure in place.

It’s a step up from being on a mailing list so we’ll be asking you to fill in another form. That you can find here:

Indie Latics Pre-Membership Registration – Independent Wigan Athletic

If you choose not to take up pre-membership now, you’ll still carry on getting these newsletters, you just won’t be invited to take part in exciting consultations like “What the hell should we call this thing?”, “What logo should we use?” and “whether the correct conjunctive is used at clause 4.1.1(a) of the draft constitution”.

So that’s it, step one of a plan and if you want this thing to happen, your chance to get involved. We look forward to hearing from you…

Keep the faith

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