King’s Lynn chief seeks to ‘distance’ club from Trust body
King's Lynn chairman Buster Chapman wants to 'distance the club' from the Blue and Gold supporters' trust.
The Linnets' chief released a statement on Tuesday indicating legal advice had been taken to recover the domain name thelinnets.co.uk - the unofficial site - from the supporter-led body.
The news followed last week's announcement of the official launch of a 'Friends of the Linnets' supporters' group ahead of the 2011/12 campaign. Chapman was awarded the lease from West Norfolk council on the Walks stadium in preference to a fan-led bid in early 2010.
The statement read: 'After evaluating the efforts and contribution of the Blue and Gold Trust over the past 15 months and considering his responsibility to protect the integrity and reputation of King's Lynn Town football club, chairman Keith Chapman has sent a letter to the Blue and Gold Trust stating the need for the two parties to distance themselves.
'Among other things there have been unsubstantiated allegations contained on the Trust's website that have, and may again in the future, have a detrimental effect upon the club's capacity to secure sponsorship. It doesn't help that the impression has been created that their website has some official connection to the club which gives it unwarranted credibility. I believe drawing a visible line between the two parties and making the public aware of their non-affiliation will help limit any future damage.
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'I believe the club has been fair in giving the Trust a period in which to prove their good intentions and it is sad these have not come to fruition.'
Chapman has requested that the ownership of the domain name 'thelinnets.co.uk' is transferred to the club within the next 28 days.
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The statement continued: 'Under Common Law, 'The Linnets' is a trademark belonging to the club and the Trust has no permission or right to use it. The club have been known as 'The Linnets' for nearly 135 years and we have suggested the trust should instead use their own domain name, 'blueandgoldtrust.org.uk', which is more accurate in representing who they actually are. I hope they will adhere to this request with the minimum of fuss so both parties can avoid any costly legal bills.
'No doubt this news will upset some of the senior Trust members, but I would ask them to try and understand that it is in the best interest of the club and it's supporters, that it's future and well being are not put at risk by something that appears to have the club's official backing.'
The Blue and Gold Trust in response released a statement saying: 'The Trust yesterday (June 13) received a personal letter from Keith Chapman confirming that the club did not at this time want to consider working with the Trust and raising some issues they had in regards to the Trust sponsored website.
'We are therefore extremely disappointed that before the Trust had an opportunity to reply to the club that parts of the letter have been released and published in today's Lynn News.
'This would appear to be yet another attempt to show the Trust as acting against the club on its concerns without the chance to respond. On several occasions during the last year we have made positive suggestions to assist the club, such as the Player-of-the-Month awards only to be discouraged or ignored. The Trust is today taking advice through Supporters Direct in regards to the club's concerns relating to the website and will reply in confidence to Keith in due course.
'We can only reiterate that the Trust has no desire or seek to be in dispute or disagreement with the owners of the club but will continue to be an independent voice for supporters of Kings Lynn Town FC. We are always willing and open to talk with the owners of the club.
'In the most recent season the success of clubs who have welcomed the involvement of Supporters Trusts are there for all to see, with AFC Wimbledon promoted to League Two and Swansea to the Premiership with a 20% ownership of the Swans Trust. A successful club with long term stability is all we are working towards with our local football club.'