THE 1874 COLUMN – By Matt Waters

SINCE forming in 2012, owning and running our club has never been easy.

Each and every day different challenges come upon us but since our inception, we’ve had a vast group of dedicated volunteers that have got us to where we are today.

Everything that happens at 1874 is fan-inspired. Whether it’s a decision at board level or an iniative put forward by one of our fans, every decision which is made will always have the club’s best interests at heart, which is why we have become a footballing family these last seven years.

Year upon year, we see new faces buy into what we do at 1874 and seeing the number of members we have shows how passionate and dedicated our support base is.

To say that you have the chance to shape your club’s future by becoming a co-owner is something extremely rare and makes 1874 the special club it is.

It’s not down to an individual to make a decision – it’s down to our whole paying membership, keeping matters fair and democratic.

This season, we have seen our fan engagement team take things to a new level, showing that we really are a ‘community football club.’

An example of this was shown through the birth of the “Two Bags of Sand” fanzine.

After three extremely successful and popular editions have already been released, we have seen the ‘zine take a light hearted approach to all things ‘74.

Not only that, but it has also given fans the opportunity to create their own content and voice their opinions.

Alongside this, there is the Sal Est Vita website for unofficial merchandise such as ordering old editions of the fanzines and various different 1874-themed stickers, which have proved extremely popular so far shortly after their release.

However, another example of where our fan engagement team have taken things to the next level this season is through the new flags we’ve seen on the terraces.

Thanks to several generous donations from our supporters, we’ve seen numerous new flags including some player ones.

One in particular is the one of left back Matty Russell pointing to the sky in memory of his late mother.

When I spoke to Matty about the flag after our game against Hanley Town earlier this month, he said “It’s superb, I didn’t notice it at first but when I saw it on social media, I thought it was amazing.

“It means a lot to me and my family and I can’t thank everyone who contributed enough.”

It’s these acts from so many of our supporters that makes 1874 what it is.

Being top of the league and in the semi final of the Macron Cup is one thing, but when you’re creating such a good atmosphere off the field at the same time, things can’t get much better. 1874 host Whitchurch on Saturday.