NCISA is dead, long live INCSC
Wednesday night saw the 17th NCISA Annual General Meeting, followed by a question and answer session with Chris Lakey and Michael Bailey.
I know that many of us on the committee were a little apprehensive before what was a very important meeting, as we were putting some quite radical changes to the membership for approval, not least a change of name.
We had felt for sometime that there was no real future for the organisation as it was. Membership numbers were declining, and there was obviously a lot of negativity associated with NCISA. Most of it was undeserved, but nevertheless it was something that needed addressing.
We were hoping to bring a new direction to the group, with new blood coming onto the committee, bringing with them some exciting new ideas. We hoped to branch out to as many supporters as possible, forge links with other fans groups, and improve the social side of supporting City by using social networking sites, to organise events and benefits which would attract new members, and generally make it fun to be a member of.
But to do these things we had to seek approval of our membership, many of whom had been with us through thick and thin over the years, and were naturally guarded about what we were proposing, particularly the name change.
We needn’t have worried. Over the years I have always thought of NCISA forums as the ‘thinking man’s Norwich City meetings’ and I wasn’t disappointed. This was no exception. What ensued was thoughtful, rational and informed debate.
The case for change was put eloquently and thoroughly by acting chairman Robin Sainty who was able to give reasoned and logical answers to people’s concerns. He emphasised that the changes wouldn’t necessarily mean that we will shy away from articulating the concerns of our members. Inevitably there will be bad times again, and there will be issues that the fans will be unhappy about. NCISA would still be there to listen and act. We weren’t going soft.
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Committee members individually stood up and told the audience about themselves, and why they should be elected. Personally I was disappointed not to be able to stand up and read out my manifesto speech, in which I was going to outline my plans to gradually have the association run exclusively by females, and one by one rid the committee of men. No, I jest. I am sincerely grateful to the membership for giving me another stint as secretary and electing each of the new committee.
Thank you too for giving us the thumbs up with our constitutional changes and new plans. You have given us a mandate to venture into previously unchartered territory, with a new direction and a new name. From today NCISA will now be known as The Independent Norwich City Supporters Club (INCSC).
Remember though, at the end of the day we are accountable, and if you feel we got it wrong, then you can kick us out a year from now.
A far too brief thank you to Chris Lakey and Michael Bailey who were by no means a support act to last night’s event. They faced some tricky questions about their own relations with the football club, and also those of other sections of the local media. But as usual they handled it with honesty and candour, and it made for a very entertaining evening.