Are you the next Mike Ashley?

Fan ownership campaign starts

Fan ownership campaign starts

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) has launched its ‘Yes We Can’ campaign, which aims to raise enough funds to finance a fan buy out of the club.

The NUST’s plan, which has been dubbed ‘Barcelona on the Tyne’ by the financial community, aims to democratise the club and ensure that the ‘current situation at Newcastle United does not repeat itself’ (NUST’s words).

Fans will be able to invest in the club via a number of ‘financial opportunities’ and the money will be held in Escrow by local solicitors to provide proof of funds to Mike Ashley.

Fan ownership is of course popular on the continent, perhaps most notably at places like Barcelona and Real Madrid. At Barcelona fans pay £139/year to acquire ‘socio status’ and for that you get the right to buy the best season tickets and take part in the club’s decision-making process. There are about 172,000 ‘socios’ whose fees raise approximately £24m/year before selling any season tickets, television rights, merchandise etc.

Socios vote for a president every 4 years (soon changing to 5 years) and they can approve or reject his actions at AGMs, dispense with him in emergency situations, stand for the board and even become president themselves. The current Barca president – Joan Laporta – was simply a fan with a deep love of Johan Cruyff before being elected.

However viable fan ownership is, it’s no utopia. Laporta inherited a club in financial difficulties and one that operates with a debt that oscillates between £200m and £500m. Laporta has survived attempted coups, a walk-out by 20 members of his board, was caught using private detectives to spy on his board and – one I particularly like – courted controversy by mooning at airport police in an objection against the airport’s security checks.

Real Madrid has had problems too. It’s president – Ramon Calderon – was accused of vote rigging and intimidation before he was eventually forced to resign.

Yet both clubs are successful on the pitch, play attractive football, produce exciting players and employ top coaches.

So what of the NUST? NUST spokesman Mark Jensen said:

“We have emailed over 40,000 supporters to ask them if and how they want to buy into the campaign to lead a citywide bid to buy back the club.

“There are a number of ways supporters can buy into the model – which has been dubbed by the financial community as the ‘Barcelona on the Tyne’ – which would see a democratisation of the club to ensure that the current state of the club would not be repeated.

“The idea is based on fans investing in the club through a number of financial opportunities which will be held by a local solicitor in an escrow account to demonstrate to Ashley that the fans have proof of funds.

“Supporters will be asked to pledge 10% of their investment into this account and guaranteed that the money will be returned if the bid fails.

“It is clear that we have no knight in shining armour to end the charade at St James’ Park so we must look at how we can do this ourselves.

“The club is a fantastic investment if run properly and we aim to attract the type of investors who will seek to bring back the values of integrity and honesty to the club.

“We’ve been in discussions with serious people in the city and beyond and they have thrown down the gauntlet to supporters to lead the charge.

“We’ve been obsessed by protest but this is the ultimate protest.

“If people want more info they can visit www.nust.org.uk and find out more.

“There are a range of ways to invest, but fans can be sure that it will be on a ‘one investor one vote’ basis with fans electing six fans’ representatives through the Trust and a President who will bring in a professional team accountable to the fans ultimately.

“There are serious investors who want to back this idea because they can see the potential in the club. This is an investment which is not only ruled by the heart but by the head also.”

The NUST is soon going to launch a Business Plan which will set out the exact financial details of their venture and how it will benefit fans and investors. They’re hoping to reach a specific total of pledges over the next 6 weeks, although they’re not revealing what that total is because they ‘want to negotiate with Ashley on their terms rather than his’.

I wonder what happens if things go wrong – do we chant for ourselves to ‘get out of this town’?

avatar 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 633 articles on this blog.

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122 Responses to “Are you the next Mike Ashley?”

  1. 1
    avatar Aussie Magpie Fan says:

    I’m not normally one to pedal the doom and gloom angle…. but this has disaster written all over it… I can’t explain why I feel this way but I just do… To slightly misquote the song “there’s a bad toon on the rise”

  2. 2
    avatar geordie deb says:

    Aussie Magpie Fan

    I agree with you 100%. I never believed they had pledges of £20 million, and on TV last night they are now suggesting there could be pledges of £10 million – which is it? Nice idea for fans to own the club but dont think this particular scheme will ever work. People keep quoting Barcelona etc, but from my understanding fan ownership started in the early days of the club when it was feasible and affordable. If Barcelona were to try to introduce it now based on the value of the club, it wouldn’t work as it would be unaffordable for most fans.

  3. 3
    avatar lesh says:

    So… Joan Laporta – was simply a fan with a deep love of Johan Cruyff before being elected?

    A deep love for Johan Cruyff eh?  Ahhh, bless  ‘em.  It brings a tear to the eye.

  4. 4
    avatar lesh says:

    OH dear, Aussie Magpie…. the there’s a bad toon on the rise!

    Could it be the Fogharty on the Tyne?

  5. 5
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    It could work, if someone with the vision and nous were to  make it work. But whether it will is a different matter. As I said on the other thread, for now, I’ll keep an open mind if not an open wallet.

    Before anyone leaps in, there are fundamental questions to be answered. I know Stardust has his own views on the back-to-front methods and whether it’s ethical.

    But for now, these would be mine:

    - Who are the insitutional investors who have agreed to back this and what percentage?

    - Should a bid be accepted and the club increases success/value/league what provisions have been made for dividends if any?

    - How is the club going to be run financially and in particular if a profit is made where does that money go? Possibly straight back into the club but also quite possibly into the pocket of the larger investors.

    - Looking it another way, if the worst happens and they take it over and run it into the ground, what’s going to happen to your wedge?

    - Is there going to be any debt secured against the club? And more importantly should the worst happen and we go under, who is liable for that debt?

    - Is there any provision for transfer funds from the money raised? If not where do they intend to get this from?

    - How can they guarantee that they will not ask for further funds in the near future should overheads outstretch income?

    - How many people have £20k knocking around in their pension, which they are willing to risk their retirement on by doing this?

    I lifted some of that lazily from ToTT because the fella had articulated my thoughts pretty well. Apparently there is a re-education session but whether everyone gets their answers, I don’t know?

  6. 6
    avatar lesh says:

    Forgive me if I sound naive but how can NUST formulate a business plan without being aware of the clubs current finances?

  7. 7
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    lesh – well judging by recent events and statements, we know roughly that we need £20m a year to help with current costs! And that it apparently needs to be something @ James’ Park to generate revenue, which suggests they can’t be great?

    I’m pretty intrigued by the high level stuff though. By our reckoning the other day, we should be breaking even at the very least without any of that, but I’m undoubtedly not au fait enough to make a valid judgement.

  8. 8
    avatar magpie6699 says:

    I think more info on who the “big” backers might be will be forthcoming, although it may be a Catch 22 with some waiting to see how many fans pledge. I can’t see the problem for any individual fan who wants to sign up though – other than wasting a few quid (5% of the deposit) – and some of us waste a lot more on this club in various with nowt in return already.
    As a lovely lady cleaner I knew (related to Mrs Malaprop?) used to say , “We’ll just have to see what conspires!”

  9. 9
    avatar Stuart79 says:

    BBM – Your questions are good questions.

    The one big one I want to know is you are these big businesses and wealthy investors that have said they will invest the majority if the fans put their hands in their pocket too.

  10. 10
    avatar lesh says:

    BBM @7. 

    Yes we know there’s a need for at least an extra £20m to go towards annual running costs but can NUST be certain that any, if any, debt will be written off pre-sale?

  11. 11
    avatar danny-boy says:

    so far a lot of very good questions, kinda feels a little like the NUST are preying on the outrage that Ashley has generated, which is worrying in itself, to then ask for such large sums of cash on top is very concerning, we don’t necessarily need a man city style multi-billionaire to buy the club, just someone with a good business plan who is willing to at least talk to the fans, I keep pushing it and I may be way off mark but I could put up with Ashley still as long as his muppets puppet Llambias gets gone, replaced with a football mind not a debt collectors

  12. 12
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    lesh – that’s the worry that won’t go away for many of us.

  13. 13
    avatar Stardust says:

    To me – this is being presented by a non FSA registered idiot in a way that suggests its an investment to the common man – a straight forward Collective Investment Scheme – I see NO attempts at governance and compliance (crappy words but they are there to protect the common man from losing his life savings).
     
    In addition they are not allowed to canvass people for money who arent sophisticated investors. (HNWI’s)
     
    The whole thing stinks of opportunist skulduggery. Lets hope the

  14. 14
    avatar Stardust says:

    …FSA are informed.

  15. 15
    avatar danny-boy says:

    hard to believe stardust but I agree!
    8)

  16. 16
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    Will everyone get  a KFI? 8O

  17. 17
    avatar lesh says:

    BB@12…. and so, we’re back to my question…. how can a business plan be developed if the developers don’t have the whole financial picture?

    Ah, ah, Guten Morgen Herr Stardust.  Wie gehts?

  18. 18
    avatar lesh says:

    re BBM @ 16, a KFI? 

    And, I hope a KFC, CDM, GCHWQ, QWERTY and a WMD at the very least.

  19. 19
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    lesh – I’ll stick it on my list of questions ;)

  20. 20
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    Reet, must get some graft done.

  21. 21
    avatar batty says:

    has any 1 else heard that sting has been in touch with ashley through nust

  22. 22
    avatar danny-boy says:

    saw that him and Jimmy Nail had joined the call to not rename the ground, hopefully he can use those Karmic mind poers he practices to show him some sense lol

  23. 23
    avatar batty says:

    lol danny

  24. 24
    avatar Spitfire says:

    Why does Stardust have to call the NUST spokesperson ” a non FSA registered idiot” ?  Is it because anyone who is not for Mike Ashley must be an idiot? Just because NUST are floating suggestions and ideas does not make them idiots ( and no I have no links with NUST at all) Maybe they are idiots and the  proposal is a bit vague and clumsy at the moment but…… oh no hang on thats exactly what we have at the moment with Lardarse and Lamebrain in control. Stardust this maybe right up your street, perhaps its another lost cause for you to champion.

  25. 25
    avatar lesh says:

    And for good measure, those two ‘characters’ (characters?) Ant and Dec would sit nicely with the comediens currently in charge of the club. 

    But, you may say, they are not comediens cos they’re not funny…… correct, none of the four! 

  26. 26
    avatar workyticket says:

    This thing just isn’t right so far, and I’m surprised that such high profile people have got involved with it. Many things about it are very worrying. Stardust has pointed out a few of them.

    Other things. Who decided that 10% was acceptable as proof of funds when previously it has been 100%? What is the bid going to be? If it’s a low figure and Ashley doesn’t accept it, alot of Geordies are going to lose alot of money, yet the NUST have covered their arses by keeping hundreds of thousands of the fan’s ‘investment’ if it all goes wrong.  There should have been much more information available before the NUST started asking people for money. It’s cowboy finances so far.

    If people think things are antagonistic within the club now, they could get alot worse before this thing unfolds.

  27. 27
    avatar danny-boy says:

    at least Ant & Dec would be better scouts than wisey, they could use FIFA on the wii to show how good a player is…..
    8)

  28. 28
    avatar workyticket says:

    geordie deb says:

    “People keep quoting Barcelona etc, but from my understanding fan ownership started in the early days of the club when it was feasible and affordable. If Barcelona were to try to introduce it now based on the value of the club, it wouldn’t work as it would be unaffordable for most fans.”

    Deb, it started when Barcelona was little more than an advert in the Los Deportes by Joan Gamper, and 11 gadgies turned up at a gym. That’s how many fan owned sporting clubs started. In Germany however, it is the law that clubs are majority owned by fans.

  29. 29
    avatar NorthernPaul says:

    I love the idea of fans owning the club, but I definitly won’t be putting any money into it simply because I can’t afford to at the minute. I think 95% of other fans will fall into my category too.

    I’m certainly not risking my pension or any of my other investments, as when I’m retired and skint I’m sure the club won’t pay for a reasonable lifestyle for me.

    If I had the spare cash, I would be interested, but as I don’t I’m not.

  30. 30
    avatar troy stavers says:

    stardust you quote the common man has no protection in this process.
    You hate the common man so why do you pretend you do?

  31. 31
    avatar Michael says:

    Northern Paul:  Why not?
    The Questions and Answers section of the website makes it clear you can stick in as little as a tenner (the small donations would be bundled together to make a £1,500 ‘share’).
    One thing that  is for certain is that we’re going nowhere under Ashley’s ownership.  If, as seems likely, he’s gambling on getting a higher price in May are you confident we’d end up with anyone better?
    How can a business plan be developed if the developers don’t have the full financial picture?  You mean like Ashley did when we bought the club without performing due diligence?
    A question to the naysayers:  What’s your alternative then?

  32. 32
    avatar Pons Aelius says:

    NorthernPaul – you’ve pretty much summed up my feelings no the whole thing.

    For me this sort of scheme can’t work in the north-east cos the majority of us are f ‘ in skint.

  33. 33
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    It is a disaster waiting to happen.  Nice idea, but it will not work.  Look at Halesowen Town for an example of how this sort of thing works.   When they wanted to buy a new player they had a vote on their club website.  Can you imagine how ridiculous that would be with NUFC?  By the time we’ve decide on who we should buy they would have been snapped up by someone else.  You say this won’t be how the club is run.  However, if the club is spending my money then I want input into how it’s being spent.
    There are enough rich Geordies that could invest, should they want to.  The famous ones are obvious, but would you really want Cheryl Cole representing NUFC at board level?  She could sing at half time as I’m usually off getting a kit kat or somthing, so I won’t hear her, but as a director of a football club?  Sting?  Anyone remember what happened to him?  He lost millions without even noticing it was gone!
    It’s a romantic notion that the fans will save the club and push us forward, but in this day and age, like trade unions, it’s an idea best left in the past.

  34. 34
    avatar workyticket says:

    Micky Toon says:
    November 11, 2009 at 11:25 am

    “but in this day and age, like trade unions, it’s an idea best left in the past.”

    WTF?

  35. 35
    avatar danny-boy says:

    this site is a pure example of what would happen if the fans were in charge, 9 times out of 10, there are several different opinions or variations on any given subject, does anyone seriously think that would work at the top level of a football club?

  36. 36
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    Trade Unions are a waste of time.  Simple as.  The people that run them are only out to cause trouble.  You don’t see any trade union officials going on strike and having to do without, do you?  They are on big money and drive around in nice cars.   In this day and age there are enough workers rights in place to make sure that no one is treated unfairly in the workplace.  Unions used to have a role to play in the workforce, but they are an outdated concept.
    Hence my comment.  Fan ownership would have worked in 1907 but not now.

  37. 37
    avatar NorthernPaul says:

    Micheal@31

    If they accept smaller donations then I would certainly do my part as I love the idea of making a difference to our stricken and rudderless club.

    Maybe they should make that more obvious, as I thought it £1500 or nothing. I admittedly didn’t read much about it as I thought it was a no go straight away.

  38. 38
    avatar Michael says:

    Micky Toon:
    “Look at Halesowen Town for an example of how this sort of thing works”.
    Why not FC United?  AFC Wimbledon?  Schalke?   In fact, all German football teams are required to have at least 51% supporter ownership.  Then there’s Bilbao, Osasuna, Barcelona, Real Madrid…
    On second thoughts, you’re right.  That list’s got 1907 written all over it…
    “However, if the club is spending my money then I want input into how it’s being spent”.
    Who’s money do you think the club’s been spending all these years?  Douglas Hall’s?  Freddie Shepherds?
    Now’s your chance. So why don’t you want any input?

  39. 39
    avatar totsy says:

    well im another nufcblog.com reject i guess……i just hope this site can fill the void left

  40. 40
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    Michael – Because Halesowen Town was the club that sprang to mind, as it happens the club I was actually looking for was Ebbsfleet Utd.  As for the Spanish clubs, it’s already been said that they were owned by the fans before they became the mega clubs they are now.
    As for the German clubs, I’d never heard of this 51% supporter ownership so I looked it up.  For those, like me, it’s called the 50+1 rule and it stops any one individual owning more than 49% of a club.  Essentially it would have meant that Ashley would not have been able to go ahead with his stadium name change without the approval of the people who combine to own the rest of the club.   I couldn’t find anything about it being fans who own the rest of the club, but if someone can show me otherwise, I’m willing to be educated.
    As it happens a lot of clubs are unhappy with the rule as it stops them from being competitive with the EPL and their mega rich owners.
    As for who’s money is being spent, this is different to paying for a ticket for the match.  When people buy their season tickets or a ticket for an individual match, you pay that money for the 90 minutes of “entertainment” you are about to receive, first and foremost.  If I was going to invest a lump sum into the club as an “owner” then I would expect more input that just shouting FCB over and over again and I would expect my input to be listened to and seriously considered.  I would also want to know why my ideas and decisions were not taken forward and also why any objections I had to future or current plans were not taken forward also.

    What spare cash I have at the moment goes into my daughters trust fund or on my ridiculous mortgage and I’m not will to put the equity in my house into a football club.

  41. 41
    avatar Martnos says:

    I’ve asked my mate who is a Port Vale fan what he thinks of fan ownership and he said this ” From a fan of a fan owned club id say no, look at us weve just gone down hill since the fans took over. It would be a case of too many cooks and all that, if you wanted a decision made it would take ages because of how many people need to agree to the proposals.

    This is unless the group as a whole democratically elect a CEO to make all the business decisions, and let the manager run team affairs answering only to the chairman / CEO”.

  42. 42
    avatar mmm_pease_pudding says:

    Stardust says:
    November 11, 2009 at 9:44 am

    I’m not a financial genius like you Stardust but I have bothered my arse to read the NUST website. I have taken the liberty of pulling out a couple of chunks of text:

    ‘You can invest directly into the account set up with a local Solicitor or you can take advice from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) about a product called a SIPP.  It releases part of your pension and allows you to invest it in the club.
    We will be launching a list in the next few days of 27 IFAs who can advise you on the best way to invest in the Club’

    ‘the scheme is backed by the Financial Services Authority and has Inland Revenue approval.’

    Now maybe I am mis-understanding being a complete simpleton, common man or mob lover. But does this not suggest that the FSA are aware and on board?

  43. 43
    avatar lesh says:

    Worky @26….. by high profilers I presume you’re referring to Sting, Jimmy Nail et al?  If so, as far as we know all they’ve voiced is their concern at the @SJP rebadging of the ground.  That surely doesn’t transalet into coming forward with some £ to go into the NUST escrow, or have they?

    Off thread, the Chron’s reporting Hughton’s interest in Sol Campbell - 

    http://www.chroniclelive.co.uk/nufc/newcastle-united-news/2009/11/11/chris-hughton-ponders-sol-campbell-move-72703-25141903/2/

    What value would he add to what we’ve got?  Or could it mean we’re about to lose a central defender I wonder?

  44. 44
    avatar Michael says:

    Micky Toon:
    “As it happens a lot of clubs are unhappy with the rule as it stops them from being competitive with the EPL and their mega rich owners.”
    What mega rich owners?  Malcolm Glazer? Tom Hicks?  Aside from Manchester City, name me one billionaire who’s currently bankrolling a Premier League club.  Abramovich certainly isn’t anymore.
    As for the Spanish comparison, if we were a “megaclub” like Barcelona or Real Madrid we wouldn’t even be talking about a takeover.  Last time I checked, however, we were in the Championship and up for sale at under £100 million.

  45. 45
    avatar lesh says:

    Re mmm_pease_pudding says:
    November 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm
    ‘You can invest directly into the account set up with a local Solicitor or you can take advice from an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) about a product called a SIPP.  It releases part of your pension and allows you to invest it in the club.

    CORRECT.

    We will be launching a list in the next few days of 27 IFAs who can advise you on the best way to invest in the Club’

    NOTE to NUST – be very careful which IFA’s you nominate.  They do have their interests in ceratin funds even though they shouldn’t!
    ‘the scheme is backed by the Financial Services Authority and has Inland Revenue approval.’

    SIPPs are regulated by the FAS and do have IR approval but that hasn’t, doesn’t and won’t stop mis-use of funds by administators – if SIPP holders appoint them.

    Now maybe I am mis-understanding being a complete simpleton, common man or mob lover. But does this not suggest that the FSA are aware and on board?

    NOT necessarily – they don’t have to be aware at this stage.

  46. 46
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    lesh – Sol would add to the bare thin squad.  We need cover at the back, so we don’t have people filling in, out of position.   Personally I think Sol could do a good job in the Championship, but his wage demands may be too high.

  47. 47
    avatar danny-boy says:

    martnos @ 41

    all the talk about Barcelona being fan owned, they follow the CEO approach don’t they? elected presidents and all that and still it’s brought them a lot of trouble, just as my opinion, I really can’t see it working at NUFC but we’ll see what happens

  48. 48
    avatar danny-boy says:

    to be balanced pease, if it has the inland revenue’s backing I’d stand well clear, we all know how they love to shaft us at any given opportunity!!
    8)

  49. 49
    avatar Stardust says:

    mmm_pease_pudding says:
    November 11, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Sipps is a way of diving into pensions as opposed to asking for investment per se. Of course buying shares in this way via Sipps and FSA approved – they have created a notional sterile gap between the offer and how it is bought – however.

    I disagree this is anything other than a Collective Investment Scheme – for example if you approach them with 500 that you have in the bank – will they insist you visit a FSA advisor for a Sipps before they accept (when they are canvassing for £10 contributions). They are advocating people can collate money to buy a share between them, again it seems like a CIS.

    Anyway that is a side show re the legality of the scheme – for myself on a basic level it doesnt stand up to even 1 second of scrutiny , but I dont have access to the contracts (and I wont form a view from what a benefactor tells me)  so I havent had a chance to form an informed view – just on the surface this says “dont touch it with a barge pole” there are scores of unanswered questions.

  50. 50
    avatar Stardust says:

    Lesh – I disagree – I think the FSA need to be aware now as they are canvassing people who are not “sophisticated investors” to invest (their word not mine) in shares.
     
    The final venture would have a pool of people all owning shares and profits generated would have to be redistributed. (again a classic CIS – the admin costs of which for compliance are prohibitive)

  51. 51
    avatar workyticket says:

    mmm_pease_pudding says:

    “the scheme is backed by the Financial Services Authority and has Inland Revenue approval.’

    Now maybe I am mis-understanding being a complete simpleton, common man or mob lover. But does this not suggest that the FSA are aware and on board?”

    mmm_pease_pudding,

    What they mean is it REGULATED by the FSA because it is a trust, and should be automatically regulated as an ‘IPS’ (Industrial and Provident Society) “Backed” tends to imply that the FSA are actively supporting this in some way, but they are a regulatory body. I will be running some checks on them.

  52. 52
    avatar mmm_pease_pudding says:

    lesh/stardust – i’ll take your word collective words on that. Though from your posting history star I wouldn’t expect you to be anything other than against the campaign.
    I believe more info will be coming over the 6 weeks of the campaign and that they are just dishing out little chunks at a time so thickies like me can try and follow it. Time will tell.
     

  53. 53
    avatar danny-boy says:

    maybe we should breakaway and form the REAL NUST, start paintbombing their rallies and such like….
    8)

  54. 54
    avatar Stardust says:

    “Though from your posting history star I wouldn’t expect you to be anything other than against the campaign.”

    Thats a bit harsh pease_pudd isnt it lol.

  55. 55
    avatar lesh says:

    Danny – SIPPs are regulated by the FSA and yes, antbody considering one should choose carefully and take advice from an FSA.  There’s good and bad in both so caveat emptor!

    Stardust, I didn’t say that FSA should be kept out of things and yes, better to err on caution.

    However, my experience of it,  FSA won’t act on speculation and to date, what is there to go on.

  56. 56
    avatar workyticket says:

    Does anyone know the society number of the NUST?

  57. 57
    avatar Stardust says:

    Danny – Battys killing off anyone not associated with this blog…. watch this space lol.

  58. 58
    avatar danny-boy says:

    is it not on the website worky? or do you need to be a paying member of the trust to access that, seems like they are currently quite happy to take money for anything!

  59. 59
    avatar danny-boy says:

    thought that was him scratching “1 – ed” onto the lid of his laptop outside sportsdirect.com@st….zzzzzzzzz
    sorry, nodded off typing the name in…
    8)

  60. 60
    avatar workyticket says:

    danny-boy says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:05 pm

    “is it not on the website worky?”

    I was just asking if anyone knew off the top of their heads, Danny. I’ll stick on my Deer Stalker and whip out my magnifying glass later. :-)

  61. 61
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    Michael- I’m sorry, I’m not following your logic.  You use clubs like Barca to point out how fan ownership works and when I state that you couldn’t do it with Barca now, you then say that if we were Barca we wouldn’t need fan ownership.  What are you saying?
    You say that RA isn’t a billionaire any more, I wouldn’t mind being £1000 behind him in money stakes.  To dismiss him as a rich owner is wrong.  It was him and him alone that transferred Chelsea from near relegation also rans into a massive European club with big name players.
    I guess it’s all down to your definition of “mega rich”, I never mentioned billionaires.  To me someone with a £250m fortune is mega rich, which is why Ashley seemed like someone who could afford to run a football club.  The owners of the top four teams certainly fall into that category.  You did realise I was actually talking about the successful PL teams, didn’t you?  I can’t imagine any German club aspiring to be mid to lower table finishers.

  62. 62
    avatar Stuart79 says:

    Micky Toon says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    To dismiss him as a rich owner is wrong.  It was him and him alone that transferred Chelsea from near relegation also rans into a massive European club with big name players.

    Chelsea weren’t relegation also rans pre Abramovitch.

    They were in the Champions League.

    They were heavily in debt and close to adminstration but no relegation also rans.

  63. 63
    avatar workyticket says:

    Micky Toon says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    “To dismiss him as a rich owner is wrong.  It was him and him alone that transferred Chelsea from near relegation also rans into a massive European club with big name players.”

    Chelsea weren’t “near relegation also rans” whan that Russian extortionist bastard took over, though they did have some financial problems.

  64. 64
    avatar Stuart79 says:

    workyticket says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    I’m glad were not adhering  to the usual libel laws on this blog!

  65. 65
    avatar danny-boy says:

    it’ll need to be a big magnifying glass Worky, they seem to be quite fond of burying anything that’s actual fact under a mountain of username, password & social security number checks..
    who said libel? that implies none of the above is true
    8)

  66. 66
    avatar workyticket says:

    danny-boy says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    “it’ll need to be a big magnifying glass Worky, they seem to be quite fond of burying anything that’s actual fact under a mountain of username, password & social security number checks..”

    That’s largely what’s inspired my curiosity, Danny.

  67. 67
    avatar batty says:

    Stardust says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:04 pm
    Danny – Battys killing off anyone not associated with this blog…. watch this space lol.<<<<< iam beging to think u fancy me or sumit

  68. 68
    avatar danny-boy says:

    can’t blame you, all seems a bit iffy to me too, an awful lot of rhetoric coming from a group who seem to keep changing their story, all the stories I’ve read emanating from the homesite seem to be plying the emotional push a bit too much for my tastes
    might be on the level, but personally it makes me a little suspect

  69. 69
    avatar lesh says:

    Stardust@50…. if you feel that strongly, tell FSA about your concerns…. this is after all a free (?) country!!!

    Worky@56. the NUST’s registration number as shown on its site is 30721R.  

    However, it is registered with Companies House as the Newcastle United Supporters Society Ltd and its number is IP30721

  70. 70
    avatar danny-boy says:

    69

    lesh says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm
    Stardust@50…. if you feel that strongly, tell FSA about your concerns…. this is after all a free (?) country!!!
    Worky@56. the NUST’s registration number as shown on its site is 30721R.  
    However, it is registered with Companies House as the Newcastle United Supporters Society Ltd and its number is IP30721
    just because their working within the laws doesn’t mean it’s all above board, on a small scale my wifes grandparents were sold an extended warranty on their TV (against my advice) the second they had a problem with the speakers, not interested, they did nothing wrong selling it to them – just played on their fears, dishonest but not illegal

  71. 71
    avatar workyticket says:

    Stuart79 says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    “I’m glad were not adhering  to the usual libel laws on this blog!”

    Stuart,

    This covers what I am getting at reasonably well. Abramovich is pondlife.

    “But when we ask if he has any Sibneft shares, Sterhov becomes agitated. “I have no shares in anything. Tell me, will anyone censor what you write? If not, I have nothing to lose by telling you the truth. There is a saying that there is no exile further than the north, and I am already here for life.”

    The Sibneft minder shrugs his shoulders and Sterhov continues. “After Abramovich won the ‘loans for shares’ auction in 1995, we became Sibneft employees and the company stopped our wages for two, three, four months at a time.”

    The Sibneft minder nods vigorously. “It’s true. That’s right,” he says. “Our wages were held back.” Sterhov continues: “Sibneft said it couldn’t afford to pay us. The country was heading for another financial crisis, and by August 1998, when the economy collapsed for the second time, people here were desperate. Then Sibneft started saying that although it couldn’t pay our wages, it would buy any shares left over from the privatisations of 1992.”

    Company shops sprang up in Noyabrsk and Muravlenko, where the Sibneft shares were accepted instead of money. “Food, fridges, anything,” says Sterhov – a claim that would be repeated by many Sibneft employees we interviewed in Muravlenko and Noyabrsk. This was not the only way that Sibneft ended up with the bulk of the shares. An account of Sibneft’s complex financial manoeuvrings, produced by Russian analysts and seen by Weekend, confirms that in August 1997 Sibneft issued 45 million new shares in one of its most profitable subsidiary companies.

    Core shareholders such as Abramovich and his partners were able to increase their stake in this subsidiary from 61% to 78% in this closed share issue. As a result, the shares belonging to workers who had bought into the subsidiary in 1992 were watered down and significantly dropped in value. The Sibneft workers launched a futile legal action while the £168m in extra revenue raised by the share issue was used by Sibneft to settle tax liabilities.

    Christopher Granville, chief strategist of United Financial Group, a brokerage in London, told us, “Sibneft’s minority shareholders were completely ripped off. The new shares were a closed subscription offered only to core shareholders.” The Sibneft minder sitting beside us chips in. “My shares plummeted in value, along with everyone else’s, when the 1997 closed share issue was announced.”

    Lord Richard Layard, co-director of the Centre for Economic Performance at the LSE and an economic adviser to the Yeltsin government, said that this strategy was possible due to loopholes in company law. “Most Russian companies did not issue share certificates. The only proof of ownership was a shareholders’ registry, quite often a handwritten book that was held by the company.

    In some cases, the records of a shareholder’s ownership were simply crossed off this list. In other cases, firms issued new shares, free to some of their shareholders, without informing the others.”Mann responds for Sibneft: “Any registrar system based on people, pen and paper is open to human error but Sibneft has never had a policy of crossing shareholders off its registry.”

    By 1999, Sibneft’s most productive worker, Vladimir Sterhov, was struggling to feed his family on a monthly salary that sometimes dipped as low as £112. Abramovich and his core shareholders had bought out Berezovsky, and through a new series of auctions won control of 97.2% of Sibneft.

    The following year, the company began paying dividends that broke all Russian corporate records: £28m in 2000; £552m in 2001; £612m in 2002; and £696m last year, of which £640m went to Abramovich and his fellow core shareholders (who by now included Eugene Shvidler and Kenneth Dart, a carpetbagging Styrofoam cup billionaire and resident of the Cayman Islands). ”

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/may/08/russia.football

  72. 72
    avatar workyticket says:

    danny-boy says:
    November 11, 2009 at 3:02 pm

    ” Worky@56. the NUST’s registration number as shown on its site is 30721R.  
    However, it is registered with Companies House as the Newcastle United Supporters Society Ltd and its number is IP30721″

    Thanks alot for that Danny-boy. I was going to start sifting through their website and other places later but you’ve saved me some time.

  73. 73
    avatar danny-boy says:

    sorry worky, wasn’t mine I was just quoting Lesh!!

  74. 74
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    Hmm, it seems I should have looked at wikipedia before I make statements.  I honestly though RA bought Chelsea before then.

  75. 75
    avatar workyticket says:

    danny-boy says:
    November 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm (Edit)

    “sorry worky, wasn’t mine I was just quoting Lesh!!”

    In that case, thanks Lesh!

  76. 76
    avatar lesh says:

    Worky@75…. no probs, you’re welcome

  77. 77
    avatar workyticket says:

    Micky Toon says:
    November 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    “Hmm, it seems I should have looked at wikipedia before I make statements.  I honestly though RA bought Chelsea before then.”

    Ken Beast and Matthew Harding started it, Micky. But  Harding fell out with ‘the Beast’ then died in a helicopter crash. I actually preferred tham in the days of Gullit, Zola, Vialli et al. Wonderful players.

  78. 78
    avatar danny-boy says:

    blimey we’re an intellectual bunch today, politics, financial services etc.
    we’ll ignore the references to Ant & Dec early on…
    8)

  79. 79
    avatar danny-boy says:

    you could turn that into a Movie worky, guy falls out with “the beast” killed in helicopter crash then team bought by a russian billionaire who’s accused of insider trading (more or less)

    what a day!!

  80. 80
    avatar lesh says:

    Danny @78…… “blimey we’re an intellectual bunch today, politics, financial services etc.
    we’ll ignore the references to Ant & Dec early on”

    Oh Danny-boy, you’re not a philistine and you know that reference to Ant & Dec’s the ‘art’ contribution to the brains trust!

  81. 81
    avatar workyticket says:

    danny-boy says:
    November 11, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    “we’ll ignore the references to Ant & Dec early on…”

    God we’ve come down a bit! We used to have people like Earl Grey, Admiral Collingwood and George Stephenson, and even Stan Laurel was a Bishop Auckland lad really. Now, all we can muster is Ant n’ Dec, Jimmy Nail and Sting!

    And big Al I suppose.

  82. 82
    avatar batty says:

    worky a can see robson green sticking his ore in before too long

  83. 83
    avatar workyticket says:

    LOL batty. Best crack of the day so far!

  84. 84
    avatar lesh says:

    And Tim Healy and er…….. Denise Welch and er………  er……  er

  85. 85
    avatar lesh says:

    er…. Mike Neville and…… er…. Kevin Whatley (does Soap City count? and…. er….. help!

  86. 86
    avatar workyticket says:

    Pedro and Kathy Secker…

  87. 87
    avatar workyticket says:

    Bobby Robson was a good one, like, but the poor fella’s gone now.

  88. 88
    avatar lesh says:

    Brian Johnson?

  89. 89
    avatar lesh says:

    and …. Ross Noble?

  90. 90
    avatar lesh says:

    Then there’s Mark Knopfler.. he can be leader cos Local Hero’s his of course

  91. 91
    avatar chuck says:

    Micky Toon
    Yeah, perhaps there`s a few things you should look up before posting shit off the top of your head.
    Try looking up Trade Unions.
    The most moronic, childish, conservative and naive explanation I have ever come across  in regard Trade Unionism.
    Sound like a traitor to your class, being from Blaydon and all.
    Perhaps you should  go back and concentrate your efforts on You Tube and find more obscure players from even more obscure clubs and impress the shit out of us with your knowledge, jerk !
    It`s a trueism, a little knowledge can be dangerous.

  92. 92
    avatar Stardust says:

    Sid the Sexist?

  93. 93
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    chuck – you’re getting your ‘Toon’s mixed up again. MT isn’t ‘The YouTube Kid’, that was Tom.

    Bit ‘arsh on MT, it was only an opinion.

  94. 94
    avatar bowburnmag says:

    Biffa Bacon

    He’d sort things reet oot.

  95. 95
    avatar workyticket says:

    Apart from the ones above

    Catherine Cookson, Michael Bridges, Steve Cram, Bryan Ferry, Ridley Scott, Andy Taylor, Baron Taylor of Gosforth, Baron Woolf, Neil Tennant and Chris Waddle…

  96. 96
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    cram is a m………

  97. 97
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    Brendan Foster though.

  98. 98
    avatar chuck says:

    Sounds like an ideal situation (fan ownership).
    The reality, probably a complex nightmare (buyer beware)
    Probably  too small a catchment area and not exactly a booming economy.
    Two Geordies = three points of view.
    A Russian  or mid east oil rich arab ?
    Careful what you wish for.
    WORKEY
    Yeah, your article from the Guardian, proves the old adage the pen is mightier than the sword .
    Probably the greatest swindle ever,  the transfer of wealth during the   Soviet Union`s  transition from a socialist economy to a (so called) free market economy, all with the stroke of a pen.
     
     

  99. 99
    avatar chuck says:

    O`K BBM,
    Mickey Toon
    Apology`s  for the U Tube crack.
    But not the trade Union stuff.

  100. 100
    avatar workyticket says:

    chuck says:
    November 11, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    “Probably the greatest swindle ever,  the transfer of wealth during the   Soviet Union`s  transition from a socialist economy to a (so called) free market economy, all with the stroke of a pen.”

    Gorbachev was completely right about what would happen.

  101. 101
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    How big a catchment area is Barca?
    No bigger than Toon fans in the NE alone.
     

  102. 102
    avatar workyticket says:

    CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    “cram is a m………”

    He was born in Jarra, Clint. I alwys think Brendan Foster sounds like a Mackem with that whingy voice of his though.

  103. 103
    avatar chuck says:

    Wow!  had`nt  realized apart from a few dead engineers and inventors, there`s a dearth of famous people, from the north east region.
    What does that signify?
    And hey, anyone in contact with Sting, could you ask him if he is still in touch with the guy from the  Brazilian rain forest, remember the one whose lips were the size of dinner plates.
    I am sure they probably exchange the occasional e- mail`s.

  104. 104
    avatar workyticket says:

    CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 11, 2009 at 5:42 pm

    “How big a catchment area is Barca?
    No bigger than Toon fans in the NE alone.”

    Barcelona’s is about four times the size of Newcastle’s, Gateshead’s and Gosforth’s, but they have two big teams, Barcelona CF and Espanyol.

    Population of Barcelona is around 1.7 million, but the whole sprawl is over four million. Newcastle, Gateshead and Gosforth add up to almost 500,000, but the full area is more like a million I think?

  105. 105
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    cram supports the m………s, i meant to say.
    Not every Toon fan in the NE is from Tyneside though.
    Northumberland, Durham etc, that’s not even counting those from other areas.
    I think there’s over 6 million in the NE alone,m obviously not all Toon fans or football fans.

  106. 106
    avatar chuck says:

    Not sure and too lazy to look it up (Catchment area surrounding Barca.)
    However I am sure it`s quit a bit larger than the Tyneside region, though Barcelona does support two upper flight teams, the other being Espanol.
    Though on saying that, the mostly south of the Tyne region is also a catchment area for “the Other Team”.

  107. 107
    avatar workyticket says:

    CLiNT FLiCK says:
    November 11, 2009 at 5:57 pm (Edit)

    “I think there’s over 6 million in the NE alone”

    It’s around 900,000 for the Tyneside conurbation, Clint. I checked to see if my million was right. I think it’s safe to say that you woudn’t really count the ‘City’ of S________d (LOL) as a ‘catchment area’ for Newcastle !

  108. 108
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    After spending quite a few years living ‘south of the Tyne’, most people support the Toon.

  109. 109
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    I wasn’t counting there at all. LOL
    Ok, take away 1m from the darkside & 300,000 from smogside.

  110. 110
    avatar chuck says:

    Yeah Clint
    It`s somewhere in the region of eight hundred thousand, both banks of the Tyne ,Gateshead,etc., not really anywhere close to Barca`s.

  111. 111
  112. 112
    avatar workyticket says:

    Villareal CF in Spain are amazing. The town itself is only about the same size as Durham City.

  113. 113
    avatar batty says:

    879,995. actually

  114. 114
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    Yeah, but you’re talking about Newcastle &/or tyneside exclusively.
    I’m not.
    But anyhoo, ok, let’s not do it then cos there’s obviously no point verses such ingrained intransigence & anyway, ‘we’re only little’.

  115. 115
    avatar chuck says:

    C`mon Clint, ya really want the white bedsheet brigade running things ?
    A fecking recipe for disaster.
    Intransigence ?
    Not really, just look back over the years following KK`s original bailout,
    off the top of your head “quickly”can you give the number of managers we have had from that period until the present, or name them ?
    That whitesheet brigade certainly played a major role in creating the instability that has permeated this club, being responsible for the most part for the firing of even Bobby Robson.
    And you are in favor of these same people both owning and running the club, are you mad ?

  116. 116
    avatar CLiNT FLiCK says:

    Chuck,
    no way do i.
    I was being a hell of a lot more pedantic about the NE mentality than that.
    The managers thing tells y’everything y’need to know, doesn’t it?

  117. 117
    avatar workyticket says:

    chuck says:
    November 11, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    “being responsible for the most part for the firing of even Bobby Robson.”

    Joe Harvey. Eight years as a player, 13 as a manager, 4 major trophies. A cup defeat to Hereford and a disappointing showing in the League and it was “Harvey Oot!”. He resigned and Newcastle haven’t won a proper cup since.

  118. 118
    avatar workyticket says:

    “lesh says:
    November 11, 2009 at 2:55 pm
    Stardust@50…. if you feel that strongly, tell FSA about your concerns…. this is after all a free (?) country!!!
    Worky@56. the NUST’s registration number as shown on its site is 30721R.  
    However, it is registered with Companies House as the Newcastle United Supporters Society Ltd and its number is IP30721″

    I can’t find either the ‘Newcastle United Supporters Trust’ or the ‘Newcastle United Supporters Society Ltd’ on either of the FSA Registers, and if they are registered, they should be on there.

    Can anyone else find them using the information above?

    http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/cisSearchForm.do
    http://mutuals.fsa.gov.uk/Search.aspx

  119. 119
    avatar Micky Toon says:

    Chuck for some reason you seem to have it in for me. Meh. Instead of hurling abuse why not tell me why trade unions are stil valid? I don’t see what my comment have to do with where I come from or the conservatives, so please educate.

  120. 120
    avatar Starkadder says:

    My real concerns with this potential take over (if it ever gets that far), is what happens to the grass roots supporter. It seems to me that there is no opportunity for the younger or poorer supporters to get a foot in the door, unless they club up with like minded souls, which kind of does away with the one-fan, one-vote idea.

    Now I’m not particularly genned up on all things financial, unlike some of our other posters obviously are, but assuming that we do get to the situation where enough money is raised to complete the take over, are we not left with a situation where a small number of ‘co-owners’ are able to wheel and deal their shares among themselves until such time that the club is eventually owned by a minority of wealthy ‘fans’?

    I also wonder what will happen if the thing is over-subscribed. I believe somewhere it said your share/investment gave you entitlement to purchase a season ticket. What if we get 200000 investors and they all want their season ticket. The ground is not big enough for them, never mind me and you?

  121. 121
    avatar lesh says:

    94

    bowburnmag says:
    November 11, 2009 at 5:09 pm
    Biffa Bacon
    He’d sort things reet oot.
    And to add a little class to the Geordie legions of rich and famous, what about…….  the Fat Slags?

    They’ll eclipse Cheryl Cole!

  122. 122

    What’s up, I check your blogs regularly. Your writing style is awesome, keep it up!

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