Peter Garston - Our Fan on the Board

In recent years a number of enlightened football clubs have realised that the supporters have an important and positive role to play in the running of the clubs. A good way of achieving this is to have a supporter on the board of directors.

In 2003, a group of Millwall fans founded the Lions Trust, a Supporters' Trust at Millwall, and one of the objectives was to pull together the shares of the many Millwall supporter shareholders, to give the fans a bigger and better say in how our club is run. The ultimate objective was to have a Fan on the Board. Subsequently this was achieved through the MSC, and the Lions Trust shareholding has grown so it is a small but significant shareholder of Millwall PLC.

With the arrival of Peter de Savaray as club chairman in November 2005, came one of his earliest decisions to try and turn around many years of deteriorating fan relations at Millwall FC by including a 'fan on the board' here too.

Very much a new direction for the club, the MSC were charged with drawing up an outline of the duties involved, sifting through applicants and then, in March 2006, organising elections for the role.

Five fans stood for election, with Peter Garston being announced as the successful candidate, on April 4th 2006. The club have been as good as their word and have given Peter full Director's privileges - including access to information and voting rights. Pete served for an initial two year term and has since continued in this role having been re-elected for a third term in March 2011.

Since taking on the role Peter has helped develop the 'Let 'Em All Come Back' Society - trying to encourage season ticket renewals - and has worked closely with the MSC especially in regard to developing good relations with the police and club security team. Many fans have also commented on the vast improvement in communications since the Fan Director role has come into being.

Peter has also been pivotal in the development of the Annual Dockers Day Celebrations working in close liaison with Chris Bethall so that each day is related back to significant events in the history of our club. Peter can always be contacted by email.

Peter writes:

I am 50 and married to Linda two sons Harry, after Harry Cripps and Alfie, after Alfie Woods, my wife wouldn't allow Gordon after Gordon Hill! I live in Bickley, Bromley.

I work for a major telecommunications company and I have total responsibility for the account management of customers to a value of 9.2m. 

My first Millwall experience, a home game, was 1970 and away 1972. Since then I have attended an average of approx 90% of home games and 70% of away games. I have never lost the passion to go, Millwall for me is not only about the football (luckily!) Along with my wife I am a current season ticket holder.

I have been your Fan on The Board since the position was formed in 2006 and have built up strong  relationships with the other members of the board and our Chairman continuing to be the link in the chain between the board room and the stands.

There is a great need to continue marketing Millwall to youngsters, they are the clubs future, we need also to keep ticket prices for youngsters and families to a minimum where possible and fill any empty seats with people who are potential fans.

I feel there is a strong need to put more focus on the Junior Lions, they will grow up and bring their children eventually, we need to give them better facilities, maintain and develop the Family Enclosure continuing to provide them with their own area on match days, to make this feel like a family club, we need to listen to and act on their needs.  Whilst last year we achieved a Football League Family Club Award we still need to build and develop on this.

We also need to take the club to the local area, build up strongholds in the other areas where Millwall fans have moved out to, for example Welling/Sidcup/Dartford, we need to look at the club assisting with communal travel, also look at the car sharing options to get more fans in.
In this role I have helped to build a relationship between the fans and the Chief Executive of the club, before hand theere was a between certain key staff and the fans, that rift has been bridged and there is now a good relationship between the board, the MSC and the fans all working together for the club.

I arrange meetings with the chief police/stewards to find out how we can improve their relationship with the fans and like to see any issues fans may have with the police/stewards discussed and resolved. I continue to assist fans who are the subject of 'Banning Orders' arranging meetings with Andy Ambler so they can put their side of the story across and the order assessed more fairly and based on both sides.

My experience of following Millwall home and away for the last 35 years, understanding of Millwall culture, my business knowledge, my ability to put into laymen's terms any relevant boardroom information, along with desire to want the best for Millwall FC are the right qualities needed to be the fans representative on the board.

Fan on the Board - Terms of Reference

Purpose and Objectives
To represent the MSC membership at Board level and enable Millwall FC to sustain the closest possible relationship with its current fan base.
To ensure the views, interests and aspirations of the fan base are taken into the fullest possible account and supporting the growth of the fan base, both in the local community and across the region.

Role Description
Non executive Board member of Millwall FC with full access to all relevant information and shared accountability for Board decisions. Particular responsibility for effective two way communication between MFC and MSC members.
To enable greater utilisation by MFC of relevant skills, knowledge and ideas offered by MSC members. To act as an ambassador for MFC in relation to the media, local communities and political representatives. To liaise fully with the MSC committee including regular attendance of their monthly meetings.

Candidate Requirements

Experience
A long term, forward looking fan who understands the history and spirit of Millwall FC who recognises through personal experience the ongoing issues faced by supporters at both home and away matches. Candidates must always respect and maintain boardroom confidentiality, and respect what can and cannot be communicated. Awareness of business management, PR, marketing, media relations and boardroom experience is preferred but not essential.

Qualities
A fit and proper person within the Companies Act, with an unblemished history and character. Must be articulate and able to communicate effectively with all levels.

Time Commitment
Able to be flexible on timing and availability. The successful applicant should expect the hours required to be intrusive into their existing daytime and evening schedule. This is likely to be a minimum of one full day per month.

Nomination Process
Open to all MSC members who qualify as above, by application to MSC in writing. Applications must be supported by a proposer and two seconders, all of whom must be MSC members. Applications will be vetted by MSC committee against these Terms of Reference. Short listed candidates will be interviewed by MSC committee members with final selection being made by the vote of all MSC members, by post or online. The appointment will be subject to MFC Board approval.

Term of Office
Three years, depending on appropriate conduct and performance in relation to the Terms of Reference.

 

Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den, Zampa Road, London SE16 3LN  -  phone: 07895 022 325  -  email: info@millwallsupportersclub.co.uk

 


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