HISTORY OF WCFC SUPPORTERS TRUST
Throughout the history of Worcester City FC, supporters have always played a prominent part since the club was established in 1902. In 1928 the Club became a limited company and articles of association were created which meant no single person could own more than 1% of the available shares. The Supporters Club played a prominent part within the Football club raising vast amounts of money when the club was in need (which was quite often). The Supporters also raised the money and built the old main stand at St Georges Lane. However the ownership model of the club set up in 1928 gave the supporters no real influence in the running of the club despite the large amounts of money it raised.
However by the 1990’s it was no longer a strong entity due mainly to many of its key members moving onto the main club Board.
Worcester City FC Supporters Limited was formed in 2003 with the purpose of giving fans a strong voice within the running of Worcester City FC. It was an early member of Supporters Direct (which has recently joined together with the Football Supporters Association).
During the late 1990’s and early 2000’s the Club was constantly “close” to moving to Nunnery Way in Worcester to a brand new purpose built stadium and by 2008 the Trust fell away and was due to be dissolved. However, a chance meeting delayed that decision and a meeting was held where supporters were exposed to the true situation that the club was in at the time.
It was made clear to supporters that Nunnery Way was never going to happen and the football club was being used to enable the development at the site opening up the Junction 6-7 corridor of the M5 for development.
The Trust was then re-launched with over 250 supporters attending a meeting at Worcestershire County Cricket Club. On the eve of the meeting the Club announced that they had “SOLD” St Georges Lane for £7.36 Million. Despite having the rug pulled out from under its feet the Trust remained solid, knowing that the ground had not been sold and the contracts the Club Board were signing into would sign the death warrant for the club.
The Trust were unable to prevent this from happening and as time went by the ground actually sold for just over £3m but were still locked into a contract.
In 2012 Faced with no future, Trust representatives met with the City Council and were encouraged to pursue Perdiswell as the most suitable location for the football club. The aim was to create a Regional Sports Hub for the City and County where a wide range of sports could be played including the building of a new swimming pool.
The Trust then raised around £50,000 as well as using planning experts within its ranks to start the process of preparing a robust planning application to go before the City Council Planners.
Speficically asked to work alongside the Pool Development Team, The Trust were invited to show plans alongside the Swimming Pool public consultation at Perdiswell Sports Centre in 2014.
However in 2015, the leadership of Worcester City Council changed and the support the Trust was getting disappeared overnight.
The drawings featured show the original proposal for the swimming pool alongside the proposed football ground.
In May 2013 The Trust ran a fundraising event at St Georges Lane by putting on a match between a Worcester City XI v Liverpool Legends which featured John Barnes, Mark Wright, Alan Kennedy, Paul Walsh, John Wark, Michael Thomas, Don Hutchison, Bob Bolder, Howard Gayle and Mark Walters. It was the last Worcester City FC game to be played at the Ground in front of over 2,500 fans.
As time went by the whole Perdiswell planning application became a politcal football with those Councillors against basing their views on winning seats at the local elections rather than on the merit of the proposed application, so in 2016 to highlight the plight of the club, the Trust took charge of the Vanarama Conference North game v fan owned FC United of Manchester, pulling in a crowd of 2,135 at Aggborough.
At the game, fans displayed flags around the ground to start the #bringcityhome campaign.
On Saturday 5th March 2016, a crowd of 2,135 turned up for a “Home” game at Aggborough vs Fan Owned FC United of Manchester to highlight City’s homeless plight.
During the period from 2013, the Trust also pushed Community Ownership for the Football Club but there was still resistance from some shareholders within the Club whilst it was gradually dying.
The Trust continued to promote the club at every opportunity whilst in exile at Aggborough (Kidderminster Harriers) at the Victoria Ground (Bromsgrove Rovers).
Whilst in exile the Trust organised the Sports Zone at The Worcester Show as well as attending many other community events.
There were two Worcester City FC AGM’s where proposals to change the constitution of the Club were rejected, stopping community ownership and with no other plans on the table the future looked uncertain.
In 2018 a robust planning application was heard by Worcester City Council but rejected by a 6-5 vote by the planning commitee. This was overturned at appeal due to the robustness of the application but a majority of the Council stated they would never allow the ground to be built.
In 2019 another attempt was made to give the Trust majority ownership of the Football Club which finally gained the required support from shareholders. Within months of the Trust gaining 48% of the shares in the club, a deal was made to bring the Club back to Worcester and to Claines Lane. The final steps of the Trust owning 50+1% of the share capital of Worcester City FC Ltd happened on Saturday 6th November 2021 at a Club & Owners Day in front of 710 fans for our home game v Bewdley Town.
In December 2022 a new membership structure came into place, following models used by many other Supporter Owned clubs across the Country.
The Club now has the prospect of a bright future, operating sustainably with the Fans right at the heart of it, so why not be a part of it?