Fan buy-out schemes make a comeback.

Posted on October 4th, 2009 | 8 Comments |

Derek Llambias
Llambias: no. NUST: Yes We Can
Ever since Mike Ashley first put Newcastle United up for sale there have been rumours of various fan buy-out schemes for the club. The latest of them was probably that Graham Roberts nonsense, which I took a particular dislike to and refused to waste electrons on. However, it seems that the results of the Keegan tribunal have prompted a second stream of enthusiasm for these schemes.

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is launching on Wednesday 7th October at the Newcastle Civic Centre and it claims to have £20m in pledges with which it hopes to buy a stake in the club.

The NUST is also backing the ‘Yes We Can’ campaign, which has the support of City financial institutions and has used new pensions legislation to entice 483 x £20,000 of investment (nearly £10m) and has a further 202 members committed to signing up.

Neil Mitchell, Chair of NUST, said:

Realistically, we’re looking to buy a stake in the club, though we don’t think buying it outright is unrealistic in the long term. With the takeovers at an impasse, we’re looking to raise funds to help a new buyer. We want to give supporters a voice, something they’ve not had in the past.”

The NUST is using the Keegan tribunal’s revelations that the club lied to the fans as a hook to drum up new enthusiasm for these fan buy-out schemes and Mitchell added:

The fact that the fans have been lied to is a damning indictment of the way the club’s been run over the last couple of years.”

The NUST’s mission statement claims its main aims are:

  • To strengthen the bonds and dialogue between Newcastle United and its supporters;
  • To encourage Newcastle United to take proper account of the interests of its supporters and the community it serves in its decisions and to honour the contribution made to the club by the community;
  • Ultimately, to promote the full, accountable democratic and constructive involvement of supporters in the running and direction of Newcastle United including the principle of supporter representation on the board of Newcastle United.

And it claims the Trust will ‘act responsibly as the guardian of the future of Newcastle United‘.

In principle these sorts of schemes aren’t a bad idea and they do work successfully with some continental clubs. The practicalities of such schemes can cause difficulties though and it remains to be seen if the NUST has the wherewithal to drive something like this through and whether or not a new owner will look upon fan ownership favourably.

NUFCBlog Author: Hugh de Payen I'm a baby-boomer of the punk rock persuasion, currently exiled in Somerset for crimes committed in a previous life where locals keep trying to poison me with something called 'scrumpy'. Hates sprouts, coat-hangers, Cilla Black, ornaments, Steven Seagull movies and 50 Cent (he's not worth 10). Hugh de Payen has written 634 articles on this blog.

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8 Responses

  1. Interesting – but I think they have a lot of work ahead of them. The key will be the level of interest from the NUFC fanbase and whether this is sufficient to support the aims of the project.
    Not the best of times to be starting an initiative of this type, given the recession but I wish them luck.
    Personally, I won’t be selling my villa in the south of france and handing over the dosh to these people at this stage :)

  2. They may have the right intentions but can’t see it working in a million years. Who is going to stump up cash not knowing who the owner is likely to be or what their credentials are for running a football club? Even if thay did manage to raise some cash, how would they increase their stake if we are promoted and the value of the club increases significantly?
    Would the fans be happy to sit in the background knowing they had a stake in the club, if things weren’t going as well as predicted or would it make the situation worse?
    Who would be the representatives at board level on behalf of the fans? Hopefully not the self styled representatives who have been in the public eye so far.
    What decent prospective owner would be interested in having a potentially vociferous group buying into the club who have already stated their intentions to want to take over the club?
    Nice idea but too many difficulties to even mention and would definetley lead to more trouble and unrest imo.

  3. Sell us 20% of the club and let us run it or it’s bedsheet time again. This is a great move for deterring future interest and keeping Mike Ashley at the club.

  4. Agree with you Worky. Surely any potential new owners are likely to be deterred by this. Bit like buying a house but the current lodger says he will give you a lump sum to live there but his house rules must apply and when he has enough money his intention is to buy the house from you. Why would you buy the house in the first place?

  5. Point of order: they, clearly, are not the ‘bedsheet brigade’, and to have potentially raised up to £20 million pounds in pledges confirms they are to be taken seriously whether you like them or not. I personally don’t think a Barcelona type set-up would work, but silly, snide remarks about them gets us nowhere.

  6. I agree with point 5, loads of people knocking the trust,what are you doing to help the club? Will it take ‘an Old Man Withers at the ameusment park’ ending where Ashley reveals himself to be Satan made flesh before you do or say anything positive. They’re giving it a go and as fellow fans they deserve your respect. Ever heard the addage? ‘If you do what you’ve always done,you’ll get what you’ve always got.’ I’m waiting for details,if i like how it’s financed then i’m buying into it.Potential once in a lifetime opportunity to get a piece of the soul of the club back.

  7. Shiver – if you get back to this thread, send me a better email (i.e. one you use more often) if you want to contribute in the future? Even if it’s just a one-off or very occasionally?

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