The Early Years

The trust began life on 14th February 2002. Although it was Valentine's day the White Lion public house was packed after an emergency meeting was called following the resignation of the then Chairman and self-proclaimed benefactor Malcolm White

Dave Boyle, who later became CE of Supporters Direct in 2008, came up to speak to the gathering and mooted the idea of a supporters trust. The White Lion, historic home of the club, became the base for the trust and its weekly meetings.

Two weeks later at a home match with Dewsbury fundraising began, with a pre-match collection, but supporters hearts sunk even further with a 12-75 loss to a not impressive Dewsbury. Even so £250 was raised. Further collections at the Leigh 'home' match at Hilton Park raised £625 and the Barrow supporters had a collection for us raising £460, for which we are truly indebted.

A successful race night took place in April and with the launch night in June, plus a £500 donation from the aptly name Earl of Swinton swelled the coffers of the trust.

It wasn't long after the initial bombshell when the groundshare at Gigg Lane came to an end as Bury FC asked us to leave. The club was in immediate danger of extinction, but while the club focussed on finding somewhere to play the second half of the season, members of the trust committee attended a football match at Moor Lane, the home of amateurs Salford City FC.

Initial discussions went well and once the club got involved an agreement was reached and in August 2002 the club played their first match at Moor Lane, after travelling to Leigh and Chorley to play 'home' matches. The trust also financed the cost of the rugby posts and also a bus to take supporters to Moor Lane which was proving successful

Tony Barrow the club CE at the time, invited the trust to invest money in return for shares and a place on the board. Steve Wild, founder of the trust, took up this important position after the first £15k was invested.

A sportsperson dinner in October proved very successful and brought in some much needed funds. Guest speaker was rugby league legend Alex Murphy and among the special guests were Swinton greats Alan Buckley, Ken Gowers and Billy 'Daz' Davies.

Also in November the trust, in keeping with their commitment to the local community, provided Folly Lane ladies with their first ever kit. Previous years had seen them borrowing kits from the senior mens team.

The end of the 2002 season came and everyone was thankful the club was still fighting. With the clubs mind on other things the trust took it upon themselves to put on the end of season presentation evening at the Folly and the £5 entry proved very popular and a good night was had by all.

The following season the trust took on the production and sale of the matchday programme so as to leave the club able to concentrate on more important matters. Although not a grand production, mainly down to the black and white pages many people like the retro sixties front cover and thanks to home a cup-tie with Wigan the finances of the programme broke even.

For the next four seasons the trust continued with the compiling and editing of the programme although the club had taken on the advertising and financing.

Prior to the start of the 2003 season Club physio Laura Henderson had attended a trust meeting and asked if the trust would pay for much needed medical equipment which was overwhelmingly supported.

A successful Race night and Table Top sale both at the Folly brought kept the income flowing and also the Polo Shirts with the Swinton and Pendlebury town crest and the newly introduced 60's Retro Shirts increased the merchandise takings.

The Retro shirts went on to have two more print runs due to their popularity and orders are still being taken even in 2007.

In April Randall Lewis, possibly Swinton's oldest surviving player, came up from his home in South Wales to take in a match at Moor Lane and was kind enonugh to leave a £250 donation to the trust.

The trust again put on another successful the end of season presentation evening at the Folly and also had 2004 calendars on sale which sold out on the night. The calendars were double sided and included semi-naked pictures of the players on one side and historic pictures on the club on the other.

Before the end of the year another Sportspersons Dinner was held at Buile Hill Park with guest speaker for the evening Shaun Wane the former Wigan, Leeds and GB international.

The accounts of May 2004 show that the trust had invested just over £32,000 into the club by this time. Quite a considerable amount which in these difficult times proved a lifeline for the club.

More to come ......