Giving Orient fans a voice
Leyton Orient Fans' Trust
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In memory of Brian Lomax

It is with great sadness that I learned that the 'inspiration' of Supporters Direct and Godfather of Fans' Trusts has died at the age of 67 after a serious illness.

Brian became the first supporter-elected director at a football club in 1992 at Northampton Town, after he set up the first ever Supporters Trust, as an answer to get the club out of crippling debt.

His idea being that supporters should be more than just 'turnstile fodder'. His idea worked and the club was saved. He was more than just a token fan on the board.

Brian's vision showed that fans could actually have a say in how their clubs were run, and influence and help the community.
In October 2000 Supporters Direct was launched at the Birkbeck College when there were just a handful of Trusts. Brian was managing Director (and later chair) and the organisation's guiding light.

At the time, some O's fans had been thinking about starting an Independent Supporters Association (ISA) and fellow O's fan (and later LOFT vice-chair) Ian Ochiltree had contacted me after he saw Brian in Rugby who was doing a talk on Trusts. Ian went for a thirty minute chat and stayed all afternoon.

Ian says that the one phrase that always resonates with him was his "there is more talent and meaningful experience in this room than in the average boardroom. Why can't fans run clubs?"

We went along to the launch, along with a few other interested fans. Brian was so approachable and took us under his wing. He advised us to ditch the idea of an ISA and work towards a Trust and that he and his right hand man, the always energetic Dave Boyle, would guide us - and guide us they did.

They were always on the end of an email or phone to offer help and advice and were at our own launch meeting in 2001. They continued to guide us through our formative years.

Without Brian, there would be no Fans' Trusts and no Supporters Direct. His influence on football today cannot be underestimated. He was influential in not only helping Trusts to form but crucially in helping to form new clubs such as AFC Wimbledon and Enfield.
His legacy is all over football for positive reasons, all over the UK.

On a personal note, myself and Brian have always greeted each other as old friends. I last saw him at the Supporters Direct conference in 2014, where we caught up on each other's lives and football in general. He had, as always, a calming and unmistakable voice.

One moment sums Brian up to me. In the mid 2000's at a Supporters Direct conference, Brian was chatting to a guy who had come over to talk from UEFA - William Gaillard, the director of communications and public affairs. As Brian saw me, he said "this is Doug Harper from LOFT. You must talk to him". So William and me chatted for a few minutes. I am sure that he had never heard of Orient beforehand, but thanks to Brian he had by the end of the chat.

That was Brian all over. Such a lovely thoughtful guy and involving everyone, no matter how big or small.

I shall remember Brian Lomax OBE, as an innovator, champion of the underdog and all round nice guy.

Doug Harper
LOFT Chair

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