The PST is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at the club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves.
Our Mission is "to successfully develop the model of a professional football club that is owned by it supporters and central to the community in which it operates".
How does the Trust differ from a Supporters club?
Formed and regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) regulations, it is legally empowered to run a Football Club.
Under its own rules/regulation is legally entitled to purchase shares and/or own all or part of the existing Club.
Can elect from within its own membership any suitable persons to represent the Trust members on the Board of the Club either in a voting or non voting capacity.
A Supporters club would find it legally difficult to achieve any of the above. The principal differences between the Trust and any supporters' club are twofold - ‘organisation' and ‘attitude'.
The Trust is set up as an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS). This enables legal assets to be owned 'corporately' in a group rather than by individuals. Members also get the benefit of limited liability, being only liable for £1 if anything goes wrong - if for example, the Trust is sued.
As an IPS the full force of the law can be brought to bear on anyone who misappropriates the funds. There must (except in certain circumstances) be transparent externally audited accounts, democratic open elections and an AGM. The Trust states clearly and boldly that its aim is the securing of representation and strengthening of links between the club and community. The Trust can own shares or property, it can ultimately own the club, and at the very least, own a significant shareholding. It can sign contracts with the club for shares received and set the terms of the deal. It has powers to employ and manage staff within a democratic structure.
Finally, the people who get involved in the Trust as members know their money is protected; it can't be spent on anything other than what the constitution says, Anyone who does this can be held liable and/or be liable to legal action.
A supporters club is fundamentally more of a social collective which might be equally concerned about the situation at the club but due to its unregulated status be legally unable to buy the club or operate in the same way as a Trust
Whilst they can raise money, campaign, or seek to secure the future of the club, without the right legal vehicle such as the Trust they would be unable to do so
That's not to disparage supporters clubs who have a significant role to play in the greater scheme just to indicate that instead of it being something they would like to do it's something the Trust is explicitly there to do. As indicated a supporters club which is unincorporated will find it impossible to legally own shares and employ staff.
This revolves around putting a professional face to the club and saying 'we're capable, skilled people with something to offer the club.' That doesn't mean that you're unable to criticise or beholden to the club - as a democratic organisation, the members determine the Trust and stance towards the club.
An IPS imposes certain disciplines on a group that we think can only be a good thing - democracy, accountability and transparency.
Supporter’s clubs whilst being perfectly legitimate often become identified with a small band of individuals and might always seem to be criticising (even if it isn't in reality!). It is also limited in how it can grow, and how secure that growth is.
The Trust, constituted as an IPS will stay in existence until its members decide to dissolve it, and so they have greater ability to stay around. Often supporters clubs go into a lull when key individuals become inactive. All these are of course applicable to the Trust, but the disciplines mentioned above make it more likely that weaknesses are identified and rectified.