The Galway Soccer Co-Op that was established in December 2014 held its first Annual General Meeting at The Meyrick Hotel on Sunday, April 26th. The main purpose of the AGM was to elect the Co-Op’s Management Committee for the forthcoming year. This committee replaced the initial steering group who had established the co-op.
The management committee for 2015 is made up of the following; James Brennan, Nicola Deacy, Tom Quigley, Cliff Rowe (outgoing steering group members); Ger Bane, Mike Buckley, Ronan Coleman, Caomhan O’Connell, James O’Toole. Following the AGM the Management Committee of Galway Soccer Co-op elected James Brennnan, Nicola Deacy and Tom Quigley to the roles of Chairperson, Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Nicola Deacy and Tom Quigley are representing the Galway Soccer Co-op on the Galway United Board of Directors.
A review of progress that has been made by the steering group in a relatively short period of time was conveyed to the members together with an finacial update. The Galway Soccer Co-Op is registered as a co-operative with the Registrar of Friendly Societies through the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society Limited (ICOS). Close to 200 members have joined from Ireland and around the world, and have been issued with membership cards and share certificates. A website, Facebook page and twitter have been set up. All this work has been undertaken by the steering group, which included Pat Sweeney, Aine O’Connor and Keith Kelly. A lot of credit must go to the steering group. For years many of our supporters have looked for an collective ownership structure at Galway United, this vision is now starting to become a reality.
It was noted that a lot more work remains to be done. The co-op needs to at least double its current membership base by the end of the current season and expand further in 2016. The members will need to be enabled to determine the direction and vision of the Galway Soccer Co-op. This was one of the themes that was brought up at the AGM. What is the Galway Soccer Co-op and what do we stand for? The main aim of a supporter owned Galway United will be one that will resonate with a lot of our supporters but this objective and its benefits needs to be brought to a wider audience, especially in the Galway football community. Many people at the AGM spoke on this topic and it is hoped their ideas can be carried out throughout the next few years.
Gavan Duffy, Chairperson of the Galway United Supporters Trust(GUST), informed the meeting that at the Trust’s recent AGM that a resolution was passed that would see the transfer of GUST’s two seats on the Board of Directors of Galway United FC for the 2016 Season. It was noted that this would give the Galway Soccer Co-op the largest representation at Board Level in the Club and a further step along the way of a Galway United fully own and ran by the member of the co-op.
Over the next few months the Galway Soccer Co-op will seek to expand our membership, get more members involved, get our message across to more people while also working to support the objectives of Galway United. One of our first objectives is to develop links with junior and juvenile clubs in Galway and in the wider region, and this week work has already started in this regard. Other areas mentioned at the AGM where our members felt that we should be involved in are the establishment of a youth structure at Galway United and a long-term plan to develop the clubs own facilities.
What can you do? If you are not a member I would strongly encourage you to join. If you are a member, there must be a fellow supporter, family member or friend that you can persuade to join the Galway Soccer Co-op. Annual membership is the cost of admission to two matches (€30). Membership forms are availble at matchdays or from any of the committee members. If you know someone from outside of Galway that may be interested in becoming a member they can be directed to our website at gufc-coop.com where they can join on-line with paypal or download a membership form to fill.