It might not be common knowledge, but I was present (at least virtually) when the idea of forming a Bolton Wanderers Supporters' Trust was mooted.
A conversation with a fellow fan on Twitter led to a meeting a couple of weeks later across from my work with the esteemed Ian Bridge, who quickly ascended to the role of chief motivator and leader of the nascent Trust. At this point it was all a bit hush-hush, as it was, at that time, just an idea.
What we have seen since then has been nothing short of remarkable. Though my involvement ended at an early stage, the Trust has risen from nothing to a 4,000 person backed organisation in next to no time. Despite opposition from some, they held a meeting at a packed-out Premier Suite and appeared set for an important role in the future of the club.
At the time, we were seemingly in court more often than we were on the pitch, and fans rushed to pledge their approval in the hope that we might see a brighter future than the dim and dark present that we were living through. These hopes and dreams were encouraged by those who made up the steering group, although the sale of the club soon after tempered some of the fire that was expressed at that first meeting, which is understandable.
Since then, the Trust has built a website and taken £10 in subs from a reported 4,000 fans. A considerable sum, but bills have to be paid. They also put on a well-received and heavily-promoted 'Legends Match' that entertained thousands and gave thousands more the chance to poke fun at them online afterwards for their relentless plugging of said event. Again, we're talking about huge amounts of money for an organisation that isn't a year old yet.
The steering group would soon become a board. Unelected, but a board nonetheless. The reason given was that whilst nominations were sought from the public, the Trust failed to receive a sufficient number and so had no choice but to appoint from within. This left a sour taste in the mouth of some, but again is understandable given the apathy of those who were so fired up before.
So this leaves us at the crossroads that we find ourselves today. The Trust is a body that is viewed with suspicion by many due to their apparent lack of positive activity in the last few months since the relentless daily plugging of that damned Legends Match came to an end.
The Trust recently released its very own 'app' - which I reviewed for this site, and came to the conclusion that it was pretty much a waste of time at the moment - which has the potential to be very useful but which doesn't really do much very well.
With social media being so important these days, the relative silence of the Trust has left many feeling like it is going nowhere. In fact, it seems like the only time they speak out is to promote some local business or other who has palled up with the Trust.
I love Italian food too, but I don't want to hear about it from an organisation who I've paid £10 to act on my behalf in matters relating to Bolton Wanderers.
You would be hard-pressed to find out much via the website that the Trust put together - www.bwfst.co.uk - other than to put a face to certain names. The subject of social media again rears its head at this stage, as you don't have to delve too deeply into the twitter accounts of various board members to be faced with questions over their suitability for the role. Again, I understand that these roles were almost inherited due to supporter apathy, but at the same time it does make a person question the motives of people who have put themselves forward. Good luck to them, anyway.
So we are where we are. The Supporters' Trust is an entity with huge potential, but one that appears rather aimless at this moment in time. I still believe in the founding principle, and remain a paid-up member.
What I want to happen is that we all attend the AGM booked for 29th September at the same Premier Suite and listen to what they have to say.
Given recent mistakes and mis-steps, I hope that they can get the fans back onside and can provide a positive and forward-thinking strategy for achieving their statement which reads "we can stand by and do nothing, or we can stand up and be proud that we tried everything". At the moment, the only thing being tried is the early-bird menu at a local Italian chain restaurant.
You can obtain tickets for the AGM by clicking here - although, tellingly, that page does not seem to have been updated in a while.
Let me know your thoughts on the Trust in the comments below.