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Can NUST answer your questions? Yes They Can!

Posted on January 26th, 2010 | 20 Comments |

YWC_white I suppose it depends on whether you asked one mind…
Peter Williams, a Blog Liaison for the trust, kindly offered to answer some questions that many Newcastle United fans were asking and some of you lot on the blog wanted answers to. Having gathered a number of questions via the blog, I passed these on to Peter.

However, I must confess that Peter provided the answers in 2009. The tardiness of the response is entirely my doing, and owes probably to some intoxication on the day I read it and filed it away, then promptly forgot about it. As a result, some of the information is now outdated, but I’d like to point out that shouldn’t be taken as any indication of my views of NUST or the people who asked the question. So I say again, sorry for being p*ssed at Christmas.

Anyway, rather than me prattling on, here’s the response in it’s entirety –

“Due to the volume and nature of the questions I have tried to group questions and answer them in a more coherent logical form. If I failed to address someones question by answering the questions this way, I apologies in advance. I have also added a bit of my personal opinion to give more complete answers where applicable. I would like to start with a brief overview of the ‘Yes We Can’ campaign.

The current and first stage of the Yes We Can is designed raise awareness and to determined the actual level of support for fan ownership among Newcastle United fans. The results of this portion of the campaign will be used to determine the direction of later stages of the campaign. Based on these findings and the continued work of the Trust’s legal team a detailed business plan and a prospectus are scheduled to be released in the new year.

I would like to emphasize that the trust has no intention of asking for anyone’s hard earned money in support of the campaign before these details are released.

Financial Questions:

Q: How much money has the Trust currently collected? Why is the trust asking for peoples money without releasing financial documents?

A: The trust has not collected any money to purchase the club. As mentioned above the NUST has no plans to ask for transfer of funds until all the relevant business and financial plans have been released. In addition when funds are the collected they will be held by a trusted third party financial institution. The funds will only be transferred upon the completion of a successful purchase of the club. The only money that has been collected is minimal funds from trust membership fees (₤5 or ₤10 per year) and donations.

Q: What would happen to investors money if the bid failed?

A: The third party financial institution would return investors money minus a minimal service fee. This service fee would be retained to cover the financial institutions administration expenses.

Q: Are there major investors already committed to helping?

A: In a word Yes, but due to legal concerns we cannot currently release any names.

Q: Is the Trust encouraging people to invest their life savings in this idea?

A: No. If ₤25,000 from a SIPP or ₤1,500 is your life savings the NUST would recommend that you do not invest. Before people invest in a SIPP they should meet with a financial adviser. The NUST does not expect or recommend that people gamble their life savings investing in Newcastle United.

Q: Why has the minimum level of investment been posted as ₤2500 and ₤1500 which is correct?

A: Neither. The reason the amount changed is that the constraints listed above are being placed upon us by financial institution we are working with and due to legal concerns. The Trust is doing everything possible to work around these constraints to lower the minimum investment level. Due to legal concerns we have been advised to no longer share an amount for the minimum level of investment until more details of the business plan have been finalised.

Q: Will there be a drop dead date to invest and if so when will it be?

A: There is currently no set drop dead date. That information will be released at a later date likely after we start accepting funds.

Questions about Running the Club:

Q: How would the Trust have enough money to invest in the playing side? Would a supporter takeover limit the future success of Newcastle United?

A: Many of these topics will be covered in more detail in the business plan. But to briefly answer the question. We do not expect to raise enough funds from supporters to finance a revolution like Chelsea experienced. However, there are no Billionaires lining up to purchase the club. The Trust feels that Mike Ashley is slowly running the club into the ground and that with a team of top professionals hired to run the club we can greatly increase revenues.

Q: How will the management of the club be selected? How will the trust ensure that the club is run professionally and won’t have the same problems as before?

A: The individuals responsible for the day to day operation of the club will be hired professionals. Those professionals will report to the board of directors who will be democratically elected by the members of the supporters trust. More details on this process will be released before individuals are asked to invested in the Yes We Can campaign.

General Questions:

Q: Why did the NUST turn down a meeting with Mike Ashley?

A: As mentioned above the Yes We Can campaign is still in the early development stages. The committee felt it would be wise to wait to meet Mike Ashley for two reasons. First with so many details still to be finalised they felt that it was best to get everything internally lined up and correct and then meet Mike Ashley on our own terms at the time that is best for NUST. Second the NUST wanted to avoid the appearance of being a puppet of or somehow unscrupulously benefiting from a partnership with Mike Ashley.

Q: Why has the campaign seemed unprofessional at times?

A: Basically it is due to growing pains. Every member of the committee and almost everyone helping with the Yes We Can campaign is volunteering their time free of charge. Everyone helping with the campaign has a day job to pay the bills and is generously donating their free time for an idea they believe in. Unfortunately that means that NUST at times has made mistakes that a team of hired professionals would not have made. As the Yes We Can campaign progresses we are very aware of the need to line up the correct professionals to assist in the campaign. (My Personal Opinion: The passion, effort, and sacrifice several individuals have put into this project is truly impressive. If you get a chance to make it to one of the roadshows and talk to the any of the committee members you will be able to instantly see and understand that they are not doing this for individual gain).

Q: Didn’t the NUSC initial oppose the idea of supporter ownership?

A: Initial the NUSC felt that supporter ownership was an unrealistic and distracting goal that took away from more achievable short term goals. But after further investigation many committee members began to realize that fan ownership was a real possibility. We feel that if you study the issue just as we did you will come to the same conclusion.

Q: Why is the Barcelona model constantly referred to, wouldn’t any ownership model set up by the Trust be significantly different?

A: Barcelona is often mentioned because it is the most high profile case of successful supporter ownership. However, you are correct that due to the different traditions and different legal constraints supporter ownership in England will not be exactly like Barcelona. But the examples set by Barcelona and many other supporter owned clubs show that successful supporter ownership is a realistic and viable idea.

Q: If the bid fails how will the Trust proceed?

A: No matter what happens our goals are to increase the power of the supporters voice and ensure the long term success of Newcastle United. We will simply regroup and focus on achieving these goals in a different manner.

Conclusion:

I understand that I was not able to answer some of your questions in as much detail as you or I would have liked. I can only encourage you to stay tuned for as we will continue to release more details as they are finalised. No one at the Trust is encouraging you to suspend reason or part with your hard earned money without detailed business plans and financial documents. We only ask that you objectively review the information and make the decision that you feel is best for yourself and Newcastle United.

Sincerely,
Peter Williams
NUST
Blog Liaison”

Thanks to Peter and NUST for taking the time to answer the questions and get back to us.

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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20 Responses

  1. Folks I know we are diverted onto Routledge’s signing – but the above is as bigger load of tosh that I have ever read.

    Watch out for the lead investors, watch out for where the money comes from signings, watch out for who are “given” executive roles in the clubs and big salaries, watch out for for example “warehouses being rented”, watch out for everything these incompetents stand for. The above might have wellof said

    “we are winging it” and lead investors will take the cream. Big warning Stay Away.

  2. Routledges signing could be Mike Ashleys “Fait Accompli” to NUST’s bid.

    If he adds one or two more signings / loans – People will view Ashley as wealthy enough to support us and interested enough to support us.

    NUST havent got the money for a long term future Ashley has and we are in excellent financial shape for the promotion push.

    It looks like NUST bye bye. But youve just wasted a great deal of other peoples cash on your pipe dream.

  3. I dont hold much hope for a fan takeover at NUFC and would`nt personally invest.
    However there are precidents for fan ownership that work fine, the best known is I suppose Barca. but there are numerous German clubs also owned by their fans , that function perfectly well.
    Having followed the fortunes of The Toon for many years and having observed the different management teams (some who were sellers of our best players,others who in general used the club as a cash cow).
    To have a fan owned club with sufficient oversight which would ensure the club was operated purely in the interest of both the club and therefore the fans, would be something few could object to.
    Then again this may be a somewhat romantic goal, it`s accomplishment would be imo very difficult to achieve, but not impossible.

  4. Chuck – all of those fan based clubs have history and experience – this lot have neither, and have been amateurish since day 1

  5. STARDY
    Your role as an apolagist for MA is becoming tired and boring, when are you going to realize MA `s interest in this club is to Sell @ the first opportunity and to invest only enough to gain promotion.
    It should be apparent to you and everyone else associated with the club that there`s just no way a reconcilliation between fans and owner is possible.
    Think about it, who you will become following the eventual sale of the club, the only one dumb enough to be an MA supporter and a laughing stock.
    Wise up !

  6. Batty
    We both know that`s not gonna happen, would be too expensive and MA is not particularly interested in building a team, only promotion where he can sell at a better price, without spending too much.
    He would however be a great buy and could be sold on at a big profit, but dont let Mike in on that.

  7. STARDY
    They have already, except the ghost of things to come refused to show up, said that geezer`s got no future,
    too feckin old.