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.

10 Comments:

At 1:57 am, Blogger Bredbury Blue said...

1. “The most expensive was a London club at £24 per annum” – Who?

2. “It is important that the cost of membership is not a major factor when potential members decide to join” – it is very important that you set the cost right the first time. If too high people won’t join, if too low you don’t make the necessary dosh and its very difficult to increase it / reset it without members moaning.

3. “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” – Who? And why do they charge more for members out of the UK, surely it should be less as those overseas receive less for their money.

4. “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.” – The link is http://www.roymorgan.com/news/press-releases/2006/490/.

 
At 9:45 am, Blogger Ollie said...

Thanks Bredbury Blue for the feedback.

We were trying to keep the article short and factual, in doing so we consciously tried to avoid going into too much detail but you have raised some very good points, so here's that added information for you.

The highest membership fee we came across was Arsenal (in fact we have come across clubs outside of the Premiership charging more than the Premiership average of £10 per annum membership.

Many clubs do different types of membership including fees that reduce for paying for several years up front. As you correctly state the setting of the membership fee is crucial and needs to be researched in detail before the types and level of membership fees are presented to the membership for voting.

The biggest Supporters Trust is the Manchester United Supporters Trust and we haven't asked them why they charge more for overseas members. My guess is that it is to cover the extra mailing costs etc but it is just that, a guess. Again, the level of fees for overseas members will need to be considered and voted on, we have no views on this at this time but what is clear is that there are many overseas supporters who want to contribute (we have been contacted by supporters in Hong Kong, USA, France, Australia and other countries).

Thank you for the link to the Roy Morgan press release which formed part of our research for this area, we will make a conscious effort to put in links wherever possible in future.

Once again, thank you for your feedback/ input, please do not hesitate to continue doing so either here or by e-mail to mcfcsupporters@hotmail.co.uk.

Best regards
Ollie

 
At 1:32 pm, Anonymous Goater's Lad said...

I'm a little confused here, I thought the whole idea of this supporters trust was a place where small shareholders like myself could pool our shares and obtain a voice within the club?
What are membership fees for?
What would we be buying?

 
At 4:34 pm, Anonymous Swiss Tony said...

Like what Goaters Lad said, What would we exactly be buying?

Also, why don't you use this blog to run a poll to guage how much supporters would be willing to pay per annum?

Having missed Channel M's half hour the last couple of weeks, are you "Advertising" the trust on there?

 
At 5:35 pm, Anonymous prophet of Doom for Chairman! said...

No doubt we would be paying for an office for the three stooges to spend all day doing nothing, pretending that they will ever be in a position to influence the Board. Of course there will be associated media costs and ballots to run and meetings to arrange...it all costs money! This whole idea is a non-starter. It may well be fine to bale out Stalybridge Celtic but has no place in premiership football.

 
At 8:52 pm, Blogger Ollie said...

The proposed Supporters Trust will be an Industrial & Provident Society (e.g. a mutual or co-operative) regulated by the Financial Services Authority and audited by an independent auditor.

To become a member you will buy a single share in the trust regardless of how many Manchester City shares you have. The trust itself, as a legally formed entity, can hold shares on its own account but can act on behalf of a block of shares held by its members. There are various ways to do this, including actually transferring your shares to the trust or simply allowing the trust to act as your proxy at an AGM.

The trust is not simply about acting as a shareholders pressure group but more about acting as a permanent link between the fans, the club and the wider community. Of course one of the uses for it is to act as a sort of small shareholders association but it can do much more than that.

The membership will vote in the board (we estimate twelve to fifteen board members will be required), the membership will vote in the aims, they will also vote in the membership fees and will also vote in what the funds raised are to be used for. We will present our proposals at the Open Meeting and ultimately the decision whether the trust is required will lie with those present and voting.

With reference to setting up a poll, we do intend polling the subscribers to the newsletter (it is cost effective) in due course with reference to a number of ideas, please register via mcfcsupporters@hotmail.co.uk. In the future it is our intention to canvass input on a wider scale eg at the public Open Meeting.

With reference M channel, we were approached by them two weeks ago but at that stage were not in a position to make any announcements with reference to the date of the Open Meeting etc but this will change in due course.

 
At 9:05 pm, Blogger Ollie said...

Prophet of Doom, welcome to the blog.

Our offers to discuss your ideas/ plans still stands, please e-mail us and we can arrange to meet in person. Those offers have stood since you first voiced your opinions on the other board about six weeks ago and we look forward to you contacting us.

I am sorry to disappoint you but we have no plans to give up our day jobs and spend that time relaxing in an office at the trust’s expense also, we are raising all media and meeting costs etc from either our own resources or grants however, if you would like to contribute we would consider it.

I notice that the whole idea is “a non-starter” please confirm on what basis you have made that judgement, the 150 supporters trusts in operation up and down the country, in and out of the English Premier League would suggest otherwise.

Finally, if you would like to put yourself forward as Chairman your application would be welcomed as will anybody else who wishes to stand for election, the Supporters Trust is a democratic one man one vote entity after all. All views and opinions are welcomed as debate and voting by the members will ensure that the trust succeeds.

I look forward to hearing from you and note from our records that for someone who is anti-trust you have spent much time reading this blog.

Thank you for your time and input.

Best wishes

Ollie

 
At 11:20 pm, Anonymous The Prophets Campaign Manager said...

Ollie, I think you will find that the previous post was not written by the Prophet but surely someone voicing their opinion that the doom-monger would make a good chairman! You guys don't have to respond to every piece of ctiticism you receive. Having said that The Prophet of Doom does have as much chance of getting a seat on the board as the ill fated Trust does.

 
At 1:11 am, Blogger Mickey H said...

I respect everyone's opinion, but don't get the negativity from some surrounding the trust. I read many "it'll never work" comments from people, but these are never backed up with why it'll never work and what viable alternatives there are to try? I am yet to see a critique of the trust that is based on exactly what has been presented so far, just insults and attempts to belittle the efforts made so far.

Don't get me wrong, if such a balanced, well thought and well preseted case was made against the trust, then I'd definitely give it consdieration, after all, to make an informed decision you need both sides of an argument.

As things stand this hasn't happened. So please, stop with the bile and vitriol and give me real food for thought.

We're pretty much agreed the club is in need of all the help it can get. So what is wrong with a group being set up to allow the fans to do what they can to help?

Every 1000 mile journey starts with a single step.

 
At 1:13 am, Blogger Mickey H said...

I respect everyone's opinion, but don't get the negativity from some surrounding the trust. I read many "it'll never work" comments from people, but these are never backed up with why it'll never work and what viable alternatives there are to try? I am yet to see a critique of the trust that is based on exactly what has been presented so far, just insults and attempts to belittle the efforts made so far.

Don't get me wrong, if such a balanced, well thought and well preseted case was made against the trust, then I'd definitely give it consdieration, after all, to make an informed decision you need both sides of an argument.

As things stand this hasn't happened. So please, stop with the bile and vitriol and give me real food for thought.

We're pretty much agreed the club is in need of all the help it can get. So what is wrong with a group being set up to allow the fans to do what they can to help?

Every 1000 mile journey starts with a single step.

 

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