Coteries do a great deal for the club, and what’s more, they’re an organised group of supporters enthusiastic to put time and money into the club over and above the basic membership/showing up to games. What that DOES mean is that they are a rich source of people who are likely to vote at the AGM. Up until recently, I think they were the primary source of such voters. If you wanted to get on the board (unless you were a famed EFC name), you were a fool not to be involved in the coteries because there were so many potential voters there who you could meet and schmooze up to.
This changed somewhat with the election of Paul & Katie. It became very clear that the coteries were no longer the largest concentration of supporters talking about the club. Instead, this place was.
Because the coteries previous importance as a lobbying ground for wannabe board members, they naturally attracted ambitious types. I suspect we’ll start getting that sort of thing happening on Blitz more and more as time passes too.
Have to admit that I feel pretty blah about the whole election, to be honest. The sheer nature of board confidentiality means that there’s no way to hold individual board members accountable for their actions. If the club does Thing X which you disagree with, all you can do is vote against the incumbents at the next AGM, but you have no way of knowing whether the board members you’re voting against actually supported Thing X or were in fact its most vocal opponents but got voted down and have to fake a grin and support Thing X in public because board confidentiality. If you cast a protest vote your only option is nuclear, and if the members look like voting in too many inconvenient opinions, a few appointed directors can restore the status quo. It’s a pretty sad parody of democracy, really.