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Trust aiming for more influence by electing board.

THE Birmingham City Supporters' Trust, the group set up to give fans a greater say in the running of the club, are poised to take a significant growing step.

They are preparing to call an EGM for October to elect a board to solidify their foundations, and hopefully expand in membership and increase influence.

The Trust was formed almost a year ago and is a part of Supporters Direct. Robert Hughes CBE is the interim chairman.

"The Trust is growing and although our membership is modest at present, we are close to the 200 mark when we will then call an EGM to elect a board," said Hughes, who for 11 years was chairman of the Horserace Betting Levy Board.

"It will be a democratic and transparent process, and we will then continue to represent the views of our members and build our relationship with the club.

"The club are more accepting that we have a legitimate role to play.

"We are not here to trip them up or man the barricades. The way I describe it is that we are a 'critical friend'."

The Trust recently organised a 'week of action', an initiative whereby fans were urged to contact key personnel at parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited and seek answers and assurances via telephone, fax and email. It ruffled a few feathers in Hong Kong.

"There is naturally a lot of concern about BIHL, but I wouldn't say people are protesting at how the club is being run at St Andrew's," said Hughes.

"I do feel that Peter Pannu is actually trying to do his best to keep Blues on an even keel in difficult circumstances and questions about BIHL are not a criticism of him personally."

Hughes, 69, from Ward End, had an outstanding career in local government with authorities in Birmingham, Grimsby and Huddersfield.

He was awarded a CBE for services to local government and to the community in Kirklees, West Yorkshire.

Hughes, who now lives in Herefordshire, first started watching Blues when he was five and recalls fondly legends like Gil Merrick and Jeff Hall.

He said: "The Trust steering group is made up of people from all walks of life, with varying skills. Anyone who believes they have something to offer is more than welcome to get involved.

"Maybe Birmingham City fans have been too accepting in the past. We won't be listened to unless we get organised.

"The Trust is a properly constituted and regulated democratic organisation."
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 16, 2012
Words:414
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