Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fan On The Board Our Opinion

We’ve seen and heard a few things in the press and on the message-boards about a main aim of the proposed trust to put a “fan” on the board. As you all know, the trust has not been formed yet and we are working towards a public Open Meeting early next year where we will present our proposals for the potential membership to vote on.

We have five aims for the trust which are currently in draft form which we expect to finalise over the next week or so, at that stage we will publicise an aim at a time and explain our rationale for each aim. In the meantime, we want to clarify the “Fan on the Board” issue as it is important that we continue to be clear on this subject.

However there seem to be a couple of myths around the issue of supporters as directors.

(1) Supporters don’t belong on the board.

We don’t believe this and neither do Supporters Direct. Chairmen, directors, managers and players come and go but fans are here for the long term. Who is better equipped to influence the long-term direction of the club? Who really has the long-term interest of the club at heart? Who will put that long-term interest before worrying how they are going to maximise or recover the value of their investment? Our fans, that’s who.

Of course any representative of the trust put forward for such a role must have the appropriate background and skills that will complement and enhance the current board. Any representative of the trust must not be there just to be the voice of the fans but to add something to the existing board. Many supporters of Manchester City probably have the requisite skills and experience. So do many supporters at other clubs.

Of course there are issues with having a trust representative on the board. The most obvious one is who their loyalty is to. Confidential matters discussed clearly can’t go out the boardroom. There needs to be agreement between all parties as to what can and can’t be reported to the trust. It’s not easy but it can be achieved and has been at a number of clubs.

(2) You have to have a lot of shares or put in a lot of money to be on the board.

Of the current board, John Wardle has around 16% of the shares in his own name and another 13% in trust with David Makin. They have put in a lot of money, which they’ve not received a penny of back. They are also undoubtedly fans. Mark Boler represents the shareholding of 18.75% built up by his late father. In both these circumstances, it is natural that they should have a seat on the board. The other three directors are there for their skills rather than their investment in either shares or cash.

The supporters of Manchester City have invested a lot of money in the club over many years. We pay for season tickets and buy club merchandise. We also own shares. The big four shareholders own two thirds of the shares so we can assume that fans hold the other third, in various quantities. That’s more than double the holding of John Wardle.

From when we started in earnest three months ago and more recently on Thursday 2 November 2006 on this blog we have made our views known. The formation of the trust is a good few months off and it is too early to tell how much support or funds will be raised.

We have already said that representation on the board of Manchester City plc will depend upon the amount of shares under the direct and indirect control of the trust and the views of the trust membership. It will also depend, as we’ve already said on having potential representatives with the appropriate experience. However, we're not worrying about that at the moment as it's a long way off.

Until the appropriate time, discussion about representation on the board is premature but we do feel that when the trust has a significant shareholding either directly and/ or indirectly it will be an important issue for the board of the trust and it’s membership, at that time, to debate internally before approaching Manchester City plc.

One thing that we can be sure of, is that not one of us feels that we have the requisite skills or experience to be able to represent the trust on the board of Manchester City Plc should or when that time comes.

Onwards And Upwards (Through The 10,000 Mark)

For the regular readers of this blog you would have noticed that the counter has gone through the 10,000 mark overnight. It took 39 days to pass 5,000 and another 26 days to pass 10,000. So far today we've had over 500 hits which takes it closer to 11,000.

We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your interest, the time you have spent reading this blog and the many comments, feedback and questions we have received. Your input is very welcome and encouraged. Please continue to contact us and subscribe to our newsletter via

Thank You and Best Wishes

Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie

Independent Analysis Of Manchester City Plc

Everyone from the board to the supporters to the shareholders to other interested parties have an opinion on the state of Manchester City Plc's finances.

Some think the finances of the club are under control and some think that the club is in the vicious grip of a downward spiral where only continued player sales and cost reductions can keep the club treading water. Those views are only two of the many, whatever your views may be I think you will all agree that if you are a supporter and/ or a shareholder of the club it is hard not to let emotions cloud your judgement.

During some recent research I came across who amongst many things provides news and analysis of the off-exchange marketplace including OFEX (now Market Plus) where City's shares are traded. have recently published their analysis/ research on Manchester City Plc.

Whatever your viewpoint is, it is always good to read an impartial independent view. Please take some time to read their full report which can be accessed here

Best wishes


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

How Much Will Membership Of The Proposed Trust Cost?

We have taken some time to study other Supporters Trusts at other Premiership Clubs and outside of the Premiership. If you weren’t already aware, there are currently over 150 Supporters Trusts across the UK and at least 8 in the Premiership. We say at least 8 as it would appear that another may have been formed recently but we haven’t been able to clarify this and their website is not “up and running” yet.

One of the areas we have looked at, is the cost of membership. The majority of Premiership trusts charge a membership fee of £10 per annum and the most expensive was a London club at £24 per annum. The cost of membership of the proposed trust will have to be debated and voted upon however, it is our view that the membership cost should be low to ensure that it is affordable to as many supporters as possible. In addition to an adult membership fee, other categories of membership will have to be debated and voted on including pensioners (over 60s), family and junior memberships.

As well as individual or family memberships, we suggest that corporate memberships should also be available. From the limited research we have done in this area it would appear that the average cost of a corporate membership is £100. Again, this would be open to debate.

We have received many e-mails from potential members stating that they would be happy to pay £50 a year (and some more than this) and whilst this would be admirable and welcomed by the proposed trust, it is important that the cost of membership is not a major factor when potential members decide to join. We have also received many e-mails saying that if the membership fee isn’t enough then the trust will not be able to raise much money. What is in place with every Supporters Trust we have looked at, is the option for those members who can afford it and want to contribute more can do so by way of an additional donation.

So how much do we expect to raise by way of membership and donation? That is a very good question. The biggest Supporters Trust in the UK has approximately 35,000 members, their basic membership fee is £10 and they charge slightly more for European and Rest of the World based supporters. What we have not been able to establish is if they have any corporate memberships.

We realise that one of the reasons why many supporters feel disillusioned with the game is the over commercialisation that has occurred and continues to occur within the game. In fact, if recent reports are to be believed the Premier League are about to break it’s involvement with the FA at the end of this season so that the Premiership League/ teams can further exploit their “brand”. Whether this happens or not we will know shortly, what lies around the corner in respect of "brand" development and further commercialisation who knows.

Although we suggest that the proposed trust is as commercialisation free as possible, we do think that the avenue of corporate memberships should be explored. We have at our disposal a database of 14,000 companies the majority of which are based in and around Manchester. We are in the process of using that database to test the water, those results will be made available on here when appropriate.

Going back to the how much do we expect to raise question, well according to Roy Morgan International (a research company) Manchester City are the 10th most popular team in the United Kingdom with an estimated 886,000 Manchester City supporters in the UK alone. If we take a conservative worldwide figure of 1,000,000 Manchester City supporters then we know the full potential membership. Of course we are not stupid enough to think that they would all join but if we managed to get just 2% of that figure it would be a fantastic start! And of course, at this stage we do not know the potential corporate memberships that could be out there.

In short, how much in total will be raised is a big unknown and the potential membership figures are huge. What the proposed trust does with the funds will also have to be discussed and voted on (we will write an article or two on this before the Open Meeting) but please bear in mind that at current stockmarket prices £130,000 would buy you 1% of Manchester City Plc if the shares were available. The potential for the proposed trust and indirectly it’s members to acquire a worthwhile stake in the club in a relatively short space of time is a real possibility.

Interest From Around The World

Carrying on from the previous story, readers continue to log in from all over the world with the vast majority come from England (mainly the North West). Next popular is the United States and then Ireland. In addition to countries mentioned in the last story we're now seeing readers from Israel, Korea, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Scotland.

Thank you for your interest and we hope you enjoy the articles to be published over the coming days and weeks.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Big Brother Is Watching You!

Two days ago, we installed statistic counters on the blog which tracks everyone logging into the blog, where they came from, how they found the blog, their IP address, where they are based in the World etc etc. In fact the information being collated is far far too much for what we need.

It’s far too soon to make anything of the statistics however, at some stage in the future we will fully analyse them and give you an overview here. In the meantime, in the first forty eight hours of collating information we have had readers from the West Coast to East Coast of America, East Coast to West Coast of Ireland, Iceland, Denmark, Saudi Arabia, Australia, France, Spain, Russia and of course up and down England (mainly in the North West).

Thank you for your time and continue to send your queries, feedback and input to please also e-mail that address to subscribe to our newsletter.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 24.11.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't move very much and not many shares are usually traded, so you can pick up here at the end of each week our summary of the week gone by.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 22.5p
Bid price: 21p
Offer price: 24p

Share price movement for the week:-

20/11 0
21/11 0
22/11 5,000
23/11 5,375
24/11 1,142

Total volume for the week: 11,517

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Barcelona - A Club Owned By Its Fans

When Roman Abramovich decided that his next plaything, to throw his oil money into, would be football he first looked at two of the largest and most supported teams in the world Barcelona and Real Madrid. He soon moved on when he realised that they were both member clubs (clubs owned by the fans) and thus extremely difficult, almost off limits, for him to buy. In complete contrast all the great names of English football are or have been easily available to be bought by the highest bidder with no thought to the fans or that club.

If we take Barcelona as our prime example for this article, they are a members club and have currently over 140,000 member fans. Barca, as its fans affectionately know it, was founded in 1899 by Hans Gamper and has since gone on to become one of the most successful clubs in the world. One of the club’s vice presidents states that “The club is truly owned by its fans. They control its destiny and can control the direction the club takes.”

Some say that Barca are hypocrites as they are a member of the G14 clubs and take an imbalanced stake of the Spanish TV money but this is probably a bit harsh. Yes they are an ambitious club and in the current climate if you are not then you will probably not be successful but they still represent a more inspirational identity of a football club than one run as some businessman’s plaything.

Until this season Barca were the only club in the world not to have shirt sponsorship and it was only in 2003 that its members voted to allow shirt sponsorship. Whilst you can sympathise with their predicament, they have tried to keep true to their values and decided not to accept sponsorship from some types of company/ industry (gambling firms for example); I’m not sure that a lot of clubs would do this perhaps preferring to accept highest bidder. As I just mentioned, this season Barca have decided to have their shirts sponsored but it’s a sponsorship with a difference as they are actual paying UNICEF to use their logo on the shirts!

Barca have just won La Liga twice in a row and in the summer they finally ended a long wait to re-claim the Champions League but the President who brought all this success couldn’t rest on his laurels as he then had to stand for re-election (a President can only serve a maximum of two terms in office) as his 4 year term in charge was at an end. The way Barca works is similar to a supporters trust in so far as it is a democratic one man one vote system that takes place. In short, if the members don’t like the people who are running the club they have the ability to vote them out, simple as that!

“It’s a challenge to remain member owned” adds the Barcelona vice president “we run other sporting clubs like Basketball and Handball, which operate at a loss, however, our charter states we must run these for the good of the people of Barcelona”. He also adds “we take pride in our values and history and our fans would feel alienated if we were run like some of the British clubs”.

The Catalans presence and success in today’s football world, dominated by over-commercialism and where the heart and soul of our beautiful game is being ripped out should serve as a reminder to us all that almost all British clubs started out as member organisations and the model of a club owned by the fans is not just a Utopian vision.

We are not saying that Manchester City Football Club can become like Barca, a club owned entirely by its fans, but a club that has its fans at its heart, who involve their fans in the major decision making of the club and are accountable to them could be a big positive step forward.

Keep the faith

Colin Howell

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Danny Pugsley And Iron Pumping Women

First of all, let me apologise for the headline. Whilst it is relevant about this article it is a bit misleading and slightly sensationalistic. Perhaps, having had a quick introduction to the media over the last week some of their style has rubbed off on me! Anyway, I'll explain so stay with me!

On Sunday evening I was reading Danny Pugsley's blog and noticed that on the right hand side of his blog he had a high rating on Blogtopsites. For those who don't know what this is, it is a website that rates the top Blogs by visitors/ pages visits etc. I love reading Danny's blog and thought it worthwhile registering our blog also. As I write this Blogtopsites rates 422 sporting blogs and Danny's is currently ranked 14 and deservedly so.

After registration, I was very surprised to note that we had an immediate ranking of 181 and over the course of the next 24 hours this rose into the top 75. So why have I mentioned Iron Pumping Women, is there something about Danny we need to know? No not all, basically for the last forty eight hours or so our blog has been jostling for position in the 50s with a blog carrying profiles of female bodybuilders and muscular fitness models including photos. All four of us have been having a chuckle as our blog kept swapping places with the Iron Pumping Women until this afternoon when our ranking went up to 37. By the way, you won't catch us posting any pictures of our ugly mugs on here but if you want to take a look at the competition here's their blog details I also see that there is a Maria Sharapova blog 3 places below us, you can find it here

There is actually a serious part to this article by the way! We've had many supporters asking us if we plan on having a website. We are pleased to confirm that we registered & .com about three months ago and that a website is in the pipeline.

Until the website is up and running we will continue to publish articles and information here on this blog. We will also continue to send out our newsletter every week or two and have no plans to stop this. You can subscribe by sending an e-mail to

The reason why we set up a blog was simple. It is a quick and easy way to publish articles and information however, we always knew that this would be a stop gap ahead of a website. Blogs are definitely on the rise and some recent research has been published which may interest you:-

1) Approximately 10% of the UK population read blogs
2) There are over 50 million blogs worldwide
3) Approximately 175,000 blogs are created each day worldwide
4) Approximately 1.6m blog postings a day are made worldwide

Best wishes


Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Colin, The Media And Some After Thoughts

Further to the stories appearing in the press last week and coverage on Radio 5 Live and Radio Manchester we would like to make it clear that we have not been behind these articles but having become aware late on Wednesday night that a wildly inaccurate story was breaking, felt it necessary to do what was required to correct the mistakes then put a lid on the press comment. I spoke to the Manchester Evening News and BBC Radio Manchester but have since declined to speak to numerous media organisations, including the Press Association, Channel M and Radio 5 Live. (I also had to fend off the Daily Mail and my local rag! - Ollie)

Over the last three months we have undertaken a great amount of work which will lead to the open public meeting early next year and there is a lot more to do. During our planning and research stage we have spoken to supporters, shareholders, potential providers of finance/ donations, interested parties, various industry professionals and most importantly have the full support and regular input of Supporters Direct, the organisation that assists and supports the establishment and operation of Supporters' Trusts. We are keen to ensure that we do as much planning and research as possible before we unveil our proposals at an open public meeting in late January 2007 or early February 2007.

We publish everything that we are doing on our blog but will not comment publicly about the people, organisations and companies we have been dealing with unless they are happy that we do so.

However there is one thing that we would like to comment on. In his post-match interview on 5 Live Stuart Pearce was asked about the Supporters Trust.

He replied to the effect that unless the people behind the trust were prepared to put in the sort of money that John Wardle had put in, which enabled him to buy players, then he didn't see the point. Clearly he seemed to be under the impression that the Trust was a take-over group rather than what it actually is so we are not going to criticise his comment. However it did get me thinking about what he said.

John Wardle and David Makin have put in nearly £20m of their own money and no Manchester City fan could be anything other than grateful to them for that.

They must have done this knowing that there was a chance that they would not get some or all of this money back, which makes it even more praiseworthy.

However, over the same time that they have done this (starting in the year to 31 May 2002), the supporters of Manchester City have put in nearly £50m in gate receipts and possibly somewhere around £40m in sales of merchandise, etc.

As I said, this is not a criticism of Stuart Pearce's remarks or John Wardle's generosity. But sometimes it is easy to forget just how much money the fans have put into this club as well.

Colin Savage

Monday, November 20, 2006

The End Of Live Football As We Know It?

In just over 3 seasons in our new home, The City of Manchester Stadium or the COMS as it is known, the crowds have been steadily dropping and this season we’re averaging just over 39,000. As we all know every season ticket holder is counted in the attendance figure whether they attend or not, almost certainly our average attendance would be lower if it counted actual people in the stadium!

Below is a summary of the average attendance at home for the last 5 seasons and it paints a rather bleak picture but publicly the club aren’t admitting we have a problem retaining paying customers as we are sometimes referred to;

2002/03 – 34,565 (last season at Maine Road)
2003/04 – 46,834
2004/05 – 44,915
2005/06 – 42,856
2006/07 – 39,067

From the figures above you can see how the average attendances are edging ever closer to the average we had in our last season at Maine Road and if things don’t change then there is a real risk that the average will be at the 34,000 mark by the 2008/09 season.

Since we first moved into the stadium in 2003/04 we have lost nearly 8,000 fans that’s nearly 1 in 6 fans that have stopped going for one reason or another. In any other business this would be seen as a crisis and something would have been done to arrest this alarming slide.

Why is this? If you take supermarkets for example, if they had a 17% fall in customers, like we have had, then they would have slashed prices or something similar to attract back the customer but in football the normal punter like you and me are no longer king! Television and Corporate fans come before us now in the accounts, so really the clubs aren’t too bothered if we don’t come through the turnstiles, as they still received the large income streams from the TV money, conferences held at the club midweek and the prawn sandwich brigade that treat a day out at the match just like they would attending the theatre or opera!

Now I’m not naive enough to realise that today football is big business and to survive a club needs to utilise every spare square foot of the stadium 24/7 but the heart of football, the fans, are being ripped out in the process. Its not just City, its just a symptom of modern day football and the English Premiership is fast turning into the way Baseball is in the USA. In the USA every game is shown live on TV, subscription TV, so attending a game has become a rarity rather than the norm and this is the way our game is going and an indication of this is PremPlus on SKY Television and the way American business men are buying into clubs like Man United and Villa.

Why do you think the Glaziers and Randy Lerner’s of this world are buying our clubs? It’s not because they're secret United and Villa fans it's simple because they see the future and they want a slice of the TV money they’ll get when they can access every one of the thousands of fans they have via every game being pay per view.

Lets take United for example, at the moment there attendances are around 70,000 for every home game but if they could show every home game live via their in-house TV channel (what was the first thing Roman Abramovich did when he bought Chelsea – he created Chelsea TV!) they could sell the match to probably half a million United fans around the world!

Getting back to our own clubs plight, why are attendances down? Is it the price or is there a more deep-rooted problem?

To be fair to City the pricing at the club is one of the lowest in the Premiership and if you renew early (2 or 3 months before the current season ends!) then you’ve not seen a price rise in the last few years. However, even though prices are relatively low compared to clubs around us, in reality the price of the modern day game has and is pricing the average working man out of the game. If you wanted to take your two kids to the game nowadays, with refreshments and a programme you wouldn’t get much change out of £80 and for much less you could go and see a film at your local cinema and eat out afterwards! To back this up the price of going to the cinema has risen by only 15% over the past 10 years whilst the cost of going to the game has gone by at least 100% and much more at some clubs!

Another credit for City is the way they are treating the younger fans and although it’s probably a case of bolting the barn door after the horse has bolted it should still be recognised. Most games this season a concession ticket can be bought for £5 and my son’s season ticket this year only cost £90! To me this shows that although publicly the club won’t admit they have a problem, privately they are doing things behind the scenes to try to arrest this slide in attendances as they give out thousand of free tickets each game to local schools which might generate future fans and are canvassing ex-season ticket holders to find out why they haven’t renewed.

One thing I must add is that it cannot be helpful to the players to be playing at home in a stadium that is low in number and low in atmosphere and to think this is probably the best run we’ve had at home since we’ve moved to the COMS, yet there’s lots of empty seats. If you can, get to the game and cheer the lads on!

Keep the Faith

Colin Howell

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Supporters Trust North West Regional Meeting On 12.11.06

Just a quick report of the North West Supporters Trust Regional Meeting at Rochdale FC.

There was a good turn out at the meeting including a representative of MU Supporters Trust (who is also a director of Supporters Direct itself).

Paul Hazelhurst, a Rochdale FC director opened the proceedings and said that intially they were wary of the trust but have forged a much closer relationship.

The first speaker was Rochdale's FITC Officer who talked about his work. Pretty much as you'd expect, involving organising football-related and other activities and identifying young talent for the centre of excellence.

The next speaker was Asif Rafiq, representing an organisation called Sports for All. He was really inspiring, talking about using sport to reach out to ethnic minorities. They seem to have done an awful lot in a short time but it was interesting that the Rochdale Trust and Rochdale FC had only come across them recently. Possibly this is still because sport is still not being used as effectively as it could be to bring all races together. But these guys really impressed me.

The next up was local lad Dave Boyle, Deputy Chief Executive of Supporters Direct. Dave talked about the extension of funding for SD, announced at the recent national conference and how it wasn't just a case of "more of the same" but using that money to develop and build on the work they've already done. They want to make existing trusts agents of change in their communities. However they recognise that everyone is a volunteer giving up free time and can't be expected to increase that commitment. Therefore they had to find other means to this end.

There were two ways of doing this:

(1) All trusts were Industrial & Provident societies so there were many common processes and requirements. SD would be looking at providing central back-office functions in order to reduce bureaucracy at trusts and free up trust members time.

(2) SD recognised that trusts couldn't compete financially with club owners so wanted to focus on the policy debate and generating new ideas.

Over lunch I spent most of the time chatting to Karen Matthews, the MUST member. She was incredibly helpful. There appears to be some ill feeling between them and FCUM I gather as they have different objectives. MUST have over 32,000 members and their Phoenix Fund has over £2m. People think the issue ended when the Glazers took control but they are still trying to convince people that it is very much alive. They have a small city centre office and are looking for something closer to the ground where they can be more visible to fans. Sadly, their main hope of achieving any significant club ownership is if the Glazer-owned club runs into trouble and he has to sell.

The post-lunch session revolved around reports from the trusts. Having been quite depressed on Saturday about our performance (the Newcastle game) both on and off the pitch this really gave me heart. When you listen to some of the stories from around the smaller clubs and see the obvious love and dedication that these people have for the game and their club you simply can't help but be inspired. A couple of the highlights were the onging saga at Northwhich Vics, where there has pretty wll been a complete breakdown between the trust and the owner. The talk from the representative of Runcorn Linnets was another highlight, having been formed from scratch in the close season following the demise of Runcorn FC.

Colin Savage

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 17.11.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't move very much and not many shares are usually traded, so you can pick up here at the end of each week our summary of the week gone by.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 22.5p
Bid price: 21p
Offer price: 24p

Share price movement for the week:-

13/11 0
14/11 18,000
15/11 0
16/11 0
17/11 0

Total volume for the week: 18,000

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reaction To Media Interest

Further to the story first published in Insider Magazine yesterday, a further story by the Manchester Evening News today and coverage on Radio Manchester we would like to take the opportunity to clarify a few issues. We must make it clear that we have not been behind these articles but having become aware late on Wednesday night felt it necessary to speak to them and today issue the following statement.

Over the last three months we have undertaken a great amount of work which will lead to the open public meeting early next year and there is a lot more to do. During our planning and research stage we have spoken to supporters, shareholders, potential providers of finance/ donations, interested parties, various industry professionals and most importantly have the full support and regular input of Supporters Direct, the organisation that assists and supports the establishment and operation of Supporters' Trusts. We are keen to ensure that we do as much planning and research as possible before we unveil our proposals at an open public meeting in late January 2007 or early February 2007.

We publish everything that we are doing on our blog but will not comment publicly about the people, organisations and companies we have been dealing with unless they are happy that we do so.

Our mission statement is clear and should not be misinterpreted:-

"The supporters of Manchester City appear to be increasingly disillusioned about their club and generally feel remote from it. Crowds are falling as fans see themselves as less important than other external stakeholders. We see a democratically constituted Supporter's Trust as the ideal vehicle to try to reverse this, being independent from the club management but ideally working with them, to ensure that the paying fans are recognised as key stakeholders in Manchester City's future.

We want to create a mass-membership organisation, covering every element of our fantastic support, where everyone has an equal stake and whose actions are democratic and transparent. We see a trust as a channel that is run by the fans, for the fans and with the club's best interest at its heart. We also recognise the excellent work that Manchester City already does in the community and wish to support that and spread it further, wherever possible. We do not see the trust as simply a pressure group but do see it engaging with and challenging management where we feel their actions are not conducive to the best interests of the club and its supporters.

We see a trust as the appropriate umbrella for existing shareholdings and also as a vehicle for potentially acquiring further shares, wherever possible. However membership will not be limited to existing shareholders of Manchester City plc but all members will become shareholders in the trust for an affordable subscription, thereby ensuring it is accessible to the widest possible constituency."

Supporters Trusts are on the increase right across the UK and now Europe, in fact there are currently 8 in the Premiership. Supporters Trusts are backed by Uefa and the government. Supporters Direct is the national body that assists these organisations, which now includes over 150 across the game. We wish to confirm that this project is not meant to lead to a takeover of Manchester City Plc as has been reported nor is it a vehicle for regime change we cannot state that enough and have been doing so publicly for over three months.

Finally, there is no hidden agenda, we are not the front guys for someone else and not stalking horses (as much as some would like to think). We are four supporter/ shareholders with a vision which we hope the majority of true City supporters will support as passionately as the great club we all love.

Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie

Monday, November 13, 2006

Meeting With Supporters Direct On 10.11.06

On Friday (10 November) Colin Savage and myself met up with Jacqui Forster from Supporters Direct to discuss progress and in particular our work towards the Open Meeting. Jacqui had been attending a course at the COMS in the morning and we met her in the City Café for some lunch, the first time I had ever eat there (and I can recommend the tuna crunch and the coffee wasn’t bad either!).

First of all, we filled in Jacqui on progress (including Colin S becoming a local radio star and the blog going past the 5,000 hits mark) before getting down to the real business. Jacqui had some comments on the first drafts of our Question & Answer document and Trust Aims which we have taken on board (for further amendment). We also mentioned some of the work we are currently undertaking including an information pack which will form part of our PR/ Media campaign.

During our meeting with Jacqui she mentioned that we were neck and neck with a group of Sunderland supporters also setting up a Trust. We also discussed that we were looking at venues for the Open Meeting and had earmarked late January or early February as dates.

The meeting lasted nearly 3 hours but we did get sidetracked with talk of other football matters! I want to take this opportunity to personally thank Jacqui for her time, not only for the meeting on Friday but for all she’s done for us so far. Her input and feedback has been excellent and greatly received by all four of us.

Finally, meetings with Jacqui (who is a very, very, very busy lady!) are like buses, we’ve been trying arrange one for ages and then two come along in as many days as we’re due to meet up with her again on Sunday at the North West Trusts Regional Meeting at Spotland, which is being hosted by our close neighbours Rochdale F.C. Both Colin S and myself will be in attendance and we will look to put together a report from the meeting to keep you all up to date on progress.

Keep the Faith and keep spreading the word!

Colin Howell

Fifty Articles Published - The Major Ones Detailed Here

Over the last seven weeks or so we've published 50 articles; a few have been re-published from other sources but the vast majority are our own.

We realise that many City supporters are coming on to this site and may not have the time to read the blog in detail or are not fully aware of our extensive back catalogue of articles. With that in mind we have detailed below the major articles and the days on which they were published, please take the time to read the ones that interest you and continue to send your feedback and questions to

Supporters Direct 22.9.06
Supporters Trust Article 23.9.06
Frequently Asked Questions 24.9.06
Mission Statement 25.9.06
Who Are We? 27.9.06
Supporters Trust NW Meeting 29.9.06
Community Projects 1.10.06
Supporters Trusts At Prem Clubs 1.10.06
Substance Recommendations 7.10.06
What Is An IPS…? 7.10.06
Corporate Governance 7.10.06
An Example Of An Active Trust 8.10.06
Are You Thinking What I'm Thinking? 11.10.06
What Is An Open Meeting? 18.10.06
A Game Of Two Trusts 20.10.06
Points Of Blue Meeting 20.10.06
Supporters Trusts On The Increase 21.10.06
How Do I Buy City Shares? 22.10.06
When Colin Met Wagg & Cheeseman 1.11.06
Some Key Questions Answered 2.11.06

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 10.11.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't move very much and not many shares are usually traded, so you can pick up here at the end of each week our summary of the week gone by.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 22.5p
Bid price: 21p
Offer price: 24p

Share price movement for the week:-

06/11 0
07/11 0
08/11 416
09/11 0
10/11 0

Total volume for the week: 416

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Corporate Membership

We have already touched on individual memberships and compared prices of those memberships at other Supporters Trusts (for Premiership teams).

Until fairly recently, we had not researched Corporate Memberships. We are still finalising our research in this area but following interest wish to confirm that we will be proposing that the Supporters Trust offers Corporate Memberships.

We therefore confirm that we are happy to hear from potential corporate members. Please e-mail us at In due course, we will be contacting companies in the Greater Manchester area via an extensive corporate database which has been made available to us and in the meantime look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, November 03, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 3.11.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't move very much and not many shares are usually traded, so you can pick up here at the end of each week our summary of the week gone by.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 22.5p
Bid price: 21p
Offer price: 24p

Share price movement for the week:-

30/10 0
31/10 0
01/11 0
02/11 0
03/11 0

Total volume for the week: 0

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, November 02, 2006

MCFC Supporters Trust - Some Key Questions Answered

An anonymous poster has raised some interesting points which we feel deserve an article all of their own, so here it is. Anonymous says "I'd like to know what your real aims are, it seems a lot of talk for nothing at the moment. What are the credentials of the proposed supporters trust? What finances do you have behind you and what do you hope to raise and how? How do you negotiate representation on the board of a multi million turnover football club? As much as your aims are to be admired by the true City fans (and match goers and share holders) out there, what do you seriously want to achieve? "

Thank you for your comments they are gratefully received and you have made some good points. Before we start, we must point out that the trust hasn't been formed, no finance raised, no members have joined and the aims/ objectives of the trust have not been voted on by the members. Bearing this in mind, some of the answers given are a little hypothetical however, it is very important to respond to you and provide as much information as we can.

The reasons why we feel the trust is required are set out in our Mission Statement first published here on 25 September 2006. Our proposals for the aims of the trust will be presented at the Open meeting currently pencilled in for January 2007. We have a draft set of aims but do not feel that it is appropriate to publish these at this early stage. That is not to say that there is anything untoward or antagonistic contained within them, it is simply "work in progress" right now. What we can say is that the aims will be specific to Manchester City and will mirror in some ways the aims of other Supporters Trusts at other clubs inside and outside of the Premiership. We have written an article on Premiership trusts, if you have not read it already please give it your attention and let us have any comments you may have.

We're not sure what you mean by credentials, if you are asking what are the credentials of the people working on this project then we can confirm that we come from professional backgrounds and are based in Manchester, London and Guernsey. Our areas of expertise include but are not limited to accountancy, communications, finance, fiduciary services (company and trust formation/ administration) and IT. We have access to and indeed are regularly consulting with people in areas of expertise that compliment our own and indeed areas in which we profess to not being skilled.

The finances of the trust will be raised from the membership by way of an annual subscription and donation. We are speaking to all types of supporter from those who would like to be a member, to those who wish to donate sums of money, to those that want to donate shares and to those who want to pledge their voting rights. It would be inappropriate to comment on some of these ongoing discussions or indeed the level of likely support but we are supremely confident at this early stage that the trust will receive much backing.

Representation on the board of Manchester City Plc will depend upon the amount of shares under the direct and indirect control of the trust and the views of the trust membership. We must point out that it is our view that any representative of the trust put forward for such a role must have the appropriate background and skills that will complement and enhance the current board. However, we're not worrying about that at the moment as it's a long way off.

What do we want to seriously achieve? Well, we want to pull shareholders and supporters together in a cohesive force for the benefit of our great club and the greater good to contribute positively towards making our club great again. In particular we want to help the club re-engage with those supporters and shareholders who feel disillusioned and remote from their club at this time. The club spends thousands of pounds on advertising campaigns to bring the supporters back, we see the trust as contributing, at no financial cost to the club, to bringing back those supporters and that can only be good; not only for attendance levels and the atmosphere at matches but for the club's finances also. We know that this may seem like some sort of ideal utopia but we feel that there is a real chance of doing this and we would rather try and fail then fail to try.

Finally and far from least of all, Supporters Direct the government backed agency set up to facilitate Supporters Trusts in the UK (and who are now looking to spread into Europe) continue to provide us with regular support and feedback. In fact we have a number of meetings lined up with them over the next week or so. They have been a very important and integral part of what we are doing and will continue to be so. We have already provided them and had accepted our plans for the run up to the Open Meeting next year. We cannot stress enough how important they are to us and the Supporters Trust movement.

The last point to make is that we are personally financing the research, discussion and planning work entirely from our own personal resources and will not be seeking any compensation for this. A significant grant will be available to us with reference to the marketing campaign, the open meeting, registering the trust with the Financial Services Authority etc all such funds will be used directly for this and will not find it's way back to us.

Thank you for triggering this response. As we say to all supporters and shareholders we welcome feedback, comments and questions, please send them to and you will receive a response. In some cases, we will contact you personally (by phone) but cannot promise this to all due to the high number of enquiries.

Best wishes

Colin Howell, Colin Savage, Miles Webber & Ollie Goddard

A Big Thank You From The Trust Working Group

For the regular readers of this blog you would have noticed that the counter has gone through the 5,000 mark overnight. The counter was installed 39 days ago and over the last four days we have been averaging over 350 hits a day. We want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your interest, the time you have spent reading this blog and the many comments, feedback and questions we have received. Please continue to contact us via

By the way, we are in the process of putting in place a sustained PR campaign to increase the profile of the work we are doing, especially in the run up to the Open Meeting early next year. PR, Marketing & Media is not an area we profess knowing too much about and we would therefore like to thank the two industry professionals and their firms who have been providing us with their time, input and expertise so far. What is even greater is that they like us are committed City supporters and share our views. Their involvement has been an immense help to us and will become increasingly so over the coming months.

Thank You and Best Wishes

Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

When Colin Met Wagg & Cheeseman

It was Andy Warhol, I believe, who said that, in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes. He clearly had me in mind when he said that. Let me explain.

On Friday, following the publication of City’s financial results I received a phone call from BBC Radio Manchester, asking me if I would comment on them for the station, as well as talk about the Supporters Trust. After some discussion about the best way to do this we agreed that I would come on the pre-match programme on Monday night, before the Middlesbrough game. This naturally ensured I spent three sleepless nights, running through facts, figures and possible questions in my head.

Monday night came around and Ian Cheeseman came out to meet me and took me to the press area inside CoMS. For those of you who don’t know, the press section is at the back of Level 1 of the Colin Bell Stand, above the tunnel. Jimmy Wagg, the presenter was already in place, waiting for the news to finish. I was talking to him saying how easy it all sounded when you were listening but assumed it wasn’t that easy really. Jimmy said that the art was to think a few moves ahead, like a chess player, but to bear in mind that your next move may not always be the one you thought it was going to be. This became apparent as Jimmy & Ian had to shuffle things about as a couple of people weren’t ready or available for their planned spots.

Eventually, after Jimmy and Ian had a chat on-air about the team line up, it was my turn. Ian passed me the headset and off we went. Jimmy asked me about my background and I made the obligatory joke about accountancy being too exciting so I had to give it up. Then it was onto the figures but I didn’t know what questions he was going to throw at me so had to be on my mettle. I was also conscious of trying to avoid anything too controversial as I assumed someone from the club would be listening (although little did I know quite how closely).

Somehow I bumbled my way through but I can assure you it was not easy. For one reason you are in the open and there are loads of things going on around you, as well as monitors showing various TV programmes but mainly Sky Sports. However for some unaccountable reason, the one in front of Jimmy seemed to be showing a European channel with a dancing girl wearing a low cut dress. This was obviously quite distracting but Jimmy is over 21 so who are we to argue. The other distracting thing, having been on TV a few times and being used to talking to the camera, was that there was no such focus on the radio. While I was talking, Jimmy was sorting out his next moves so you felt like you were talking to yourself most of the time. So my admiration for the guys like Jimmy and Ian who do the radio commentary increased immensely.

Eventually it was the turn of Chris Bailey, the Manchester Evening News reporter, who was stood behind me to go on and with an inward sign of relief I handed the headset to him. As Ian was taking me out of the press area he asked me if I had noticed Paul Tyrell, the City press officer, sat nearby, listening on headphones and scribbling away intently. I hadn’t noticed to be honest as I was too busy concentrating but it did occur to me that the club’s financial position must be worse than I thought as we couldn’t apparently afford a few quid for a transistor radio. Or maybe they had a radio but couldn’t afford the batteries. So, Paul, now you know I don’t have two heads or an eye in the middle of my forehead or even a pair of horns; you could even come and say hello next time.

Colin Savage

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