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Supporters Direct welcome Barca to Brum

This is a story from the FSF archive – the FSF and SD merged to become the FSA in 2019.

Word reaches us that European champions Barcelona are to speak at Supporters Direct’s (SD) upcoming conference in Birmingham this Friday October 16th. Barca are, of course, the world’s most famous fan-owned club and have history with SD – in the nicest possible way.

For those who are unfamiliar with SD their key objectives can be found here, although it’s fair to say their basic mission is to help fans get a financial foothold in their club to ensure it is run in a fair and sustainable manner.

In 1999 Joan Laporta addressed the SD conference in his then role as an activist with the independent ‘Elefant Blau’ group who were seeking change at the Catalan giants. Following a disappointing decade Laporta was elected president in 2003 and changed the club’s fortunes around.

Since then they’ve been crowned European champions twice, it had only happened once prior to Laporta’s reign, and won La Liga three times while playing some of the most scintillating football in the known universe.

Who says fan ownership can’t work, then?

Barca will be represented by Lander Unzueta who is responsible for extending the club’s membership scheme beyond Catalonia and Spain. The FA’s chief executive Ian Watmore will also speak at the conference alongside UEFA’s Alex Philips – the European governing body back the trust movement and have funded SD to extend their work into other countries.

We’d seriously recommend any fans in the Midlands area, or further afield come to that, get themselves along if they’re interested in finding out more about the trust movement. Unhappy with the way your club is being run?

Then there’s very little to stop you setting up a supporters’ trust at your own club. SD can provide expert advice and even financial support in the right circumstances. Check out the full list they’ve already helped here, impressive stuff.

For more details on directions, dress code and (crucially) whether or not they’ll feed you – visit the Supporters Direct conference pages.

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Funding partners

  • The Football Association
  • Premier Leage Fans Fund


  • Gamble Aware
  • Co-operatives UK
  • FSE
  • Kick It Out
  • Level Playing Field
  • Living Wage Foundation
  • SD Europe