Saturday, December 30, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 29.12.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't usually 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 past week there has been little activity with one sale of 1,200 shares at 32.5p. The price however, has fallen out of proportion to activity and this is more to do with the difference between the bid and offer price being shortened. There could be a number of reasons why this has happened but almost certainly it is due to lack of demand/ interest in the shares.

If there continues to be no positive news over the coming weeks it is possible that the share price will continue to drift slowly back towards pre-takeover announcement levels.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 33.5p
Bid price: 32p
Offer price: 35p

Share price movement for the week:-

25/12 Market closed
26/12 Market closed
27/12 1,200
28/12 0
29/12 0

Total volume for the week: 1,200

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Friday, December 29, 2006

New Appointment Announced/ More Required!

We are very pleased to announce that Mickey Horan has joined us on the Working Party. Mickey is based in the Manchester area and shares our vision for the proposed trust. He brings with him much drive, commitment and passion and we welcome him on board.

The run up to our public Open Meeting early next year will be a very busy one and we will be appointing additional members to the Working Party over the next week or two. If you want to play a positive part in the future of our great club, have time to commit over the next few months and beyond, aren’t afraid to get stuck in and are preferably Manchester-based we would like to hear from you. Please e-mail us on tell us a little about yourself, your availability, the sort of skillsets/ experience you can bring to the Working Party and we will get back to you.

We will be expanding the Working Party even further after the Open Meeting, if you are keen to get involved but do not have the time right now please bear that in mind and by all means drop us a line now.

It has always been our intention to expand the numbers in the Working Party but during the initial stages of our planning and research we purposefully kept our numbers low so that we could react to developments and make decisions quickly. That time has passed and we are now moving on to the next stage.

During the last four months we have undertaken a great amount of work and there is a lot more to do. We have spoken to and continue to speak to fellow supporters, shareholders, potential providers of finance/ donations, interested parties, various industry professionals and most importantly continue to have the full support and regular input of Supporters Direct, the organisation that assists and supports the establishment and operation of Supporters' Trusts.

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

The Trust will be a one man one vote democratic legal entity and we continue to welcome fellow supporters' contributions and input. If you share our vision and want to play a positive part in the future of our great club then contact us now. Together we will be heard and contribute, we look forward to hearing from you on

Saturday, December 23, 2006

First Aim Of The MCFC Supporters Trust Announced

Recently we agreed the draft aims of the proposed trust. There are only five aims and we will be publishing each one in separate articles over the coming weeks. The aims are in draft form and will have to be voted on by the supporters present at the public Open Meeting next year, whilst the aims are draft and open to amendment the essence of each aim is clear and we would like to expand on them a little below:-



At the moment 51.3% of the Manchester City Plc’s (“our Club”) issued shares has no representation on the board of our Club. That figure of 51.3% is made up of approximately 6,500 individual and corporate shareholders. The vast majority of the 6,500 investors are individual supporters who have no real voice or ability to raise their collective concerns other than at the Annual General Meeting.

We strongly believe that the Trust can become an umbrella organisation for those shareholders/ supporters as well as a vehicle to acquire additional shareholdings. We also strongly believe that the Trust will attract those shareholders/ supporters that want to make a positive contribution to the future of our Club and continue to actively make this point.

As mentioned in previous articles the Trust will be a “one man one vote” non profit making entity whose aims and board of representatives will be voted in by the membership. The Trust will be an Industrial & Provident Society and as such will have to be registered with the Financial Services Authority (“FSA”). The trust financial records will need to be audited by an independent auditor and presented annually to the FSA.

To acquire a direct shareholding in our Club of over 3% is a realistic aim and whilst acquiring the shares via Plus Markets (the exchange on which it is listed) may take some time (due to the illiquid nature of that market and the lack of available shares at times) we understand from our research that there are shareholders willing to sell their shares privately to the Trust at an appropriate price. Acquiring over 3% in the first few years via private arrangement or Plus Markets is a realistic goal but is dependent on the level of finance raised from the membership, donations and other sources.

When the Trust has acquired over 3% of the issued shares it will become (as at today) our Club’s fifth largest shareholder after John Wardle & David Makin, the SE Boler Settlement, BSkyB and Francis Lee. Whilst there would be no chance of the Trust being able to seek representation on our Club’s board with that level of shareholding the aim is meant to be a goal which upon obtaining will recognise the Trust and it’s membership’s standing whilst also providing a springboard to bigger and better things.

As well as owning shares directly the Trust would be able to represent other shareholders should they so wish. Whilst we have already been approached by many shareholders who are willing to donate large amounts of shares to the Trust this course of action will not be actively encouraged. The donation of shares is admirable and would be gratefully received if the donor was adamant with reference to their intent but we realise that in most cases it may take some years for the Trust to build up an appropriate level of goodwill and a good track record. In such circumstances those 6,500 shareholders who share the aims of the Trust would be able to give the voting rights of their shares to the Trust. In such circumstances the shares will remain the property of those shareholders however, an element of power would have been ceded to the Trust.

We have already said previously that representation on the board of our Club 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. 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 our Club.

When the Trust is in a position to appoint an appropriate representative to the board of our Club we strongly believe that such a move would be in the best interests of our Club. Appointing an appropriate individual with the right and appropriate experience (who not only shares the aims and ethos of the Trust and its membership) will strengthen the board and provide additional credibility to the existing board. In doing so, the Trust and its membership will also have an appropriate channel to voice views. Of course this should not be viewed as a one way channel to the board it should be viewed as it is meant to be, a two way channel to be used regularly.

We do not have an appropriate individual to represent the Trust in mind but we have spoken to many City fans with the required level of experience, strengths, business acumen/ contacts and credibility who share the Trust ethos. Whilst we have spoken to many, we are sure that there are many more that could meet this criteria and when the time comes this will need to be debated by the membership at that time.

On 29 November 2006 we published an article entitled "Fan On The Board Our Opinion" which can be found here we suggest that it be read in conjunction with this article.

Please send any feedback, comments, suggestions or input to us at

Best wishes

Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie

City Supporters Send Us Your Views Now!!!

We receive input, feedback and questions all the time. We've actively asked for them especially with reference to the proposed trust. We have already drafted an article summarising the views received in our postbag but perhaps it is about time we opened this up a little bit more, so here's a general open question for you by all means expand on it:-

"What one thing sums up your frustration with City at the moment?"

We want to know your feelings, your thoughts, your expectations, your experiences on any and every level. Send them to us and we'll take it from there.

E-mail us on and if you do not want to receive our newsletter please make sure you say so in your e-mail.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Christmas Message From The Trust Working Party

With Christmas fast approaching we want to take the opportunity to thank you all for your continued support and feedback, it is very much appreciated. The amount and level of interest in the proposed trust has been very encouraging and as the song says "we've only just begun".

Next year will be a very big year; we look forward to the formation of the trust and all the positive participation this will bring in the future of our great club we all love so dearly and unconditionally.

Tomorrow we will be publishing on here the first in our five draft aims for the trust, please take some time, in between your Christmas festivites, to read it through. As is normal comment, feedback and input is always welcomed, please e-mail us on

Finally, we continue to send out our regular newsletter which gives advance notice of forthcoming articles together with a little bit more insight and information than we publish here. To subscribe please e-mail us.

Wishing you and your families a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year.

Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie

RSS Feed Now Available

We have recently updated this Blog so that you can subscribe to an RSS Feed and get every article sent straight to your PC. Please click on the RSS Feed logo on the right hand side below the Blogtopsites logo and follow the instructions.

If you encounter any problems please let us know by e-mailing us on

Friday, December 22, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 22.12.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't usually 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.

With news that talks are taking place that may lead to new investment into the club now two weeks old and no announcements since then, share activity has returned to pre-announcement levels.

This past week there has been one purchase of 184 shares and three sales totalling 9,728 shares. The interesting statistic is the last sale which was concluded today at 32p being below the official bid price. This could indicate that there is no real interest in the shares at the moment especially whilst news on the progress of the talks is not forthcoming.

If there is no positive news over the coming weeks it is possible that the share price will start to drift slowly back towards pre-announcement levels.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 35.5p
Bid price: 33p
Offer price: 38p

Share price movement for the week:-

18/12 0
19/12 5,184
20/12 0
21/12 2,228
22/12 2,500

Total volume for the week: 9,912

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Other Northern Clubs Are Doing It So Why Aren't We?

Following on from the article yesterday about closer ties with other clubs, I have looked at a number of Northern Clubs who appear to be actively developing this area.

Bolton Wanderers are a club that has overtaken us on the pitch in terms of results in recent years but they still do not have the level of finances or fantastic support that we have. Seeing a club of their ilk usurp us in some ways is upsetting but can we learn from them? After all they must be getting something right!

Most supporters would argue that we do not want to see our Club play in the style of Bolton and I agree but Sam Allardyce does have an irritating knack of getting the most out of players (even the journeymen) and getting results (albeit in a mainly unattractive style). Many football professionals acknowledge that whilst Bolton do not have adequate resources to compete at the higher end of the transfer market they have invested heavily behind the scenes.

Sam Allardyce not only has sophisticated technology at his disposal but also has a plethora of professionals with wide ranging skillsets available to his squad. Of course all of this costs money at the end of the day, money which might not be available to our Club at this present time (if indeed the board and Stuart Pearce deemed that such expenditure is warranted). This article is not meant to look at behind the scenes infrastructure that would cost significant sums of money to expand or develop but is meant to look at other areas that would not necessarily cost a lot of money to set up but could play a positive part in the continued development of our Club in particular closer ties with other clubs and the wider benefits that might be achieved.

Bolton in recent times have forged links with a number of clubs in an attempt to improve commercially and professionally. One of the smaller ones is a link to Northern Ireland’s Ballymena United a relationship which started mid-way through the 2002-03 season. Ballymena United are managed by one of our ex-players Tommy Wright and we played them in August as a result of an outstanding commitment.

In May this year Bolton also formed a partnership with top Chinese side Wuhan Huangelou FC. Wuhan Huangelou had just completed a relatively successful season in the Chinese league and are former Chinese League and Cup champions.

The partnership with Wuhan Huangelou strives to deliver a number of objectives which will see the two sides working together on a number of mutually beneficial opportunities including but not limited to delivering UEFA coaching qualifications to coaches, ex-players and aspiring young people (via a development centre in Wuhan and possibly at Bolton Wanderers in England), numerous academic opportunities to young people in China, the recommendation of foreign players to Chinese football clubs and assisting in recommending Chinese football players to overseas clubs. It is interesting to note that all profits from the development centre will be split equally between the two clubs. The interesting part for me is that they estimate to make a profit which I presume could be used by Bolton for other projects.

In addition, the partnership also covers the Clubs sharing ideas for the commercial exploitation of stadia as well as use the partnership as a platform for North West companies to enter the China market. The partnership is also expected to bear fruit in other ways in particular the town of Bolton is likely to benefit from the Club's respective strategies with economic, education and cultural links all being generated on the back of the profile and relationships built by the clubs.

It may take time for this partnership to bear fruit on a number of fronts but the immediate benefit (to the supporters) was seen in October this year when Chinese duo Yang Changpeng and Zhou Liaota (both from Wuhan Huangelou) underwent three week trials at Bolton. Six foot eight inch Yang was probably the most impressive of the two players being only 17 and already playing for China’s Under 20 side. Even if these players are not signed by Bolton the trials would have contributed to the goodwill being built up between the sides and help develop closer ties between the communities involved.

Bolton added to their partnerships in July this year by entering into an agreement with Elche CF the Spanish Segunda League side. It is believed that the arrangement covers the exchange of tactical methods and player exchanges.

Not to be outdone, Sheffield United have been developing key partnerships with other clubs. Sheffield acquired a controlling stake (90%) in the Chengdu Blades last year who play in the Chinese League. At the time of the acquisition Sheffield’s Chairman stated that “We are taking the Blades global with the acquisition of the Chengdu Club”. Sheffield already had a Chinese presence due to them running the Hainan Soccer Academy in South China.

In the last few days Sheffield have opened exclusive talks with Brazilian club Sao Paulo which may lead to young talent being brought over from Brazil. Sao Paulo is a major Brazilian club and need no introduction, they are probably best known for producing talent like Kaka, Cafu and Denilson.

In addition to their Chinese interests and likely Brazilian partnership Sheffield have also been sending representatives to West Africa on fact finding missions, what may or may not develop from these only time will tell. Ajax who I reported on briefly yesterday are prolific finders of African talent and if you have watched the African Cup of Nations or indeed the recent World Cup you will know that Africa is a hotbed of emerging talent.

In early 2004 Blackburn Rovers entered into a partnership with Cercle Bruges from the Belgium Jupiler League. The partnership gives Blackburn first pick of their promising players and in return Cercle Bruges has had many young promising Blackburn players loaned to them. Fairly recently Blackburn have been linked with Cercle Bruges’ promising Belgium Under 21 International forward Stijn De Smet. If he’s any good I’d guess the partnership between the clubs will start bearing fruit for Blackburn.

There is another Northern Club who have had a long partnership with Royal Antwerp who do not need to be named! This partnership has been in place for quite some time and many players have found themselves loaned to Royal Antwerp for experience. In fact, recently Chinese international Dong Fangzhou who has been loaned to Royal Antwerp for the last two and a half years has received a work permit and will be coming to these shores permanently next month.

There is more to football club partnerships then exchanging ideas, exchanging players and hopefully picking up a talented player or two. There can be huge advantages from a commercial aspect to be gained be it developing brands, attracting wider support and additional sponsorship etc. There is also much to be gained from the communities and wider areas in which the Clubs concerned are located/ serve.

The majority of Supporters Trusts have aims that cover strengthening the bonds between Club and community this is something we have researched and continue to research. We will be recommending that this area be considered as one of the aims of the Trust.

Time will tell whether our Club is also looking at the areas other Premiership clubs are looking to develop and to a certain degree exploit. As mentioned yesterday, when the trust is formed and raises money, perhaps the funds raised could be introduced to City and used to fund similar projects like the ones above. Such projects have huge potential and could benefit our Club both on and off the pitch and in doing so also benefit the communities concerned.

As is normal, please send us your comments, feedback and input to we look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes


Established Supporters Trusts Membership Fees

In previous articles we’ve mentioned that the average annual fee for (adult) membership of Premiership Club Supporters Trusts is £10. Since we published those articles we’ve received information from Supporters Direct taken from their 2006 survey of Supporters Trusts. The survey shows that the cost of an adult membership of a Supporters Trust can vary from nothing to £120 per annum!

Detailed below is an overview of 2006 adult membership costs:-

32% of trusts charge £5 per annum or less
57% of trusts charge between £10-12 per annum
8% of trusts charge between £20-30 per annum
3% of trusts charge between £60-120 per annum

As detailed, there is a Supporters Trust which charges £120 per annum for an adult membership fee. All we know is this is a Scottish Supporters Trust and perhaps they have some ambitious aims and plans!

As we have mentioned before the cost and types of membership available for the proposed trust will be decided/ voted on by the membership but we do feel that membership costs should be competitively priced to ensure that it is affordable to as many supporters as possible.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

How Can City Produce More Young Talent?

In The Times yesterday there was an interesting article on Premiership clubs developing ties with other clubs around the world in particular Tottenham Hotspur. It reported that Tottenham Hotspur were looking to develop “a relationship with FC Bruges with a view to using the Belgian club as a breeding ground for African talent, as Arsenal did with Beveren”. It mentioned that Fulham and West Ham United had also held initial talks with FC Bruges but it was understood that talks with Tottenham Hotspur had continued further.

The Times article went on to mention several Premiership clubs who are forming alliances across Europe and looked at Belgium in particular:-

Chelsea tied with KVC Westerlo
Blackburn Rovers tied with Cercle Bruges
Charlton Athletic tied with Germinal Beerschot
Manchester United tied with Royal Antwerp
Tottenham Hotspur tied with FC Bruges?
Arsenal tied with Beveren (ended recently)

It would appear that Belgium’s relatively lax immigration rules mean that it takes only two years to get an EU passport which is undoubtedly a help when clubs’ ever wider reaching scouting networks find a non-EU player with talent and potential. Premiership clubs do not stick just to Belgium and some have ties with clubs from around the world.

Apart from a two year tie (costing £100,000) with Ireland’s Cherry Orchard FC starting six years ago Manchester City do not to my knowledge have any close ties with other clubs. Since that time it is clear that our Club have made a concerted effort to concentrate on our academy with great effect. Our Club’s academy is one of the success stories producing more quality players than most academies in the land and that is a credit to our Club, Jim Cassell and his team.

Has our academy been lucky in striking gold so often or is there more to it than that? I would suggest that it has nothing to do with luck and that we have a real asset in the academy. We hear so much these days of brands, products and consumers but does City have a top quality brand/ product but no consumer? My point is this, can our Club use the knowledge gained and practices used by the academy to further effect? I think they can and I will explain.

At this point in time our Club is at a critical point finance wise and the fact that it has been looking for additional investment/ investors for over three years bears testimony to that. Being able to operate on a tight budget in the transfer market is very difficult and the production of our own players via the academy is as important as ever. The pressure is certainly on and I hope that the academy does not have a fallow year or two, if it does (and there is no indication that it will) then it could cause our Club problems both on and off the pitch. Perhaps then it is time to cast our net further afield and develop links with clubs in other countries?

Here’s the deal, to me it makes perfect sense. We have a proven model which has produced the likes of Shaun Wright-Phillips, Joey Barton and Micah Richards in recent times, could we pass this on to similar clubs in Europe and the wider world in exchange for first call on their emerging talent etc?

If our scouting network was able to find a Non-EU player who was deemed an uncut diamond, perhaps our Club could purchase them and loan them to a club with which we had close ties and employed our academy model. That way the player is trained in our methods whilst he waits for EU qualifications and plays at a decent level during which time he will experience first team action.

Of course linking up with other clubs could work in other ways. Take for example Daniel Sturridge, a supreme talent but untested at Premiership level. Whilst we are in our “one step forward one step back” phase I doubt that Daniel Sturridge or others in our reserves will be tried in a Premiership match. If the club had closer ties with a European club, for example, perhaps Daniel and others like him could be loaned out for a year or six months, test them at another level in another country, experience another culture etc I’m sure they would come back better for it. It wouldn’t just benefit us, we could take players from other clubs on loan for similar reasons. If we liked them maybe we could do a deal!

Ajax are proven producers of talented players via their academy and have done so consistently over many many years. They have an extensive scouting network mainly concentrated on Africa and use Ajax Cape Town (which they 51% own) as part of their breeding ground for young talent.

Ajax do not hide what they are about. In their 2004-2005 annual accounts they make their position clear, when they cannot produce their own talent they buy in players to fill the spots their academy cannot. City are way off of this but perhaps with a little bit more effort in the right areas, spreading our model, strengthening the scouting network, working with other clubs around the world this could be achievable. Not only could a constant production line of quality players be achieved cost effectively but large sums of money could be saved on having to buy in players or pay large salaries to Bosman players to strengthen the squad. At the moment, we have to sell off our young players to balance the books wouldn’t it be great if we got to the stage where we sold off young players when we didn’t need to balance the books?

About three years ago I wrote to Alistair Mackintosh about the Ofex market and credit where credit is due, he replied within a few days and agreed about the liquidity problems etc. Having opened a line of communication I thought I'd ask him about the club developing closer ties with other clubs. In particular I mentioned a club (as an example) similar to ours in France, Stade Rennais in Ligue 1. They are consistent performers and have produced much talent over the years and I thought that by entering into close ties with clubs, maybe exchange ideas, maybe nick a player or two (!) would be a great and cost effective way forward for the club; I did not receive a reply (despite the Club charter!) but I would bet that our Club has thought of this. Perhaps the finance isn’t available at this time or our Club are concentrating on other areas.

So how does this relate to the proposed trust? Well when the trust is formed and raises money, perhaps the funds raised could be introduced to City and used to fund projects our Club doesn’t currently have finance available for. There would be nothing better than feeling that we as supporters have collectively contributed in a positive way towards the future of our great club and perhaps, just perhaps, we could see some of the funds we raised used on projects that bear fruit in the form of emerging young talent that we can support from the stands for the many years to come.

As is normal, please send us your comments, feedback and input to we look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes


Are Falling Attendances A North West Issue?

I'm a regular reader of and love the investigative nature of Andrew's articles. Today there is an interesting article on attendances, please take the time to have a read if you haven't done so already. You'll find it here

Best wishes


Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Shareholders Takeover Announcement Questions

We've been contacted by a number of shareholders following receipt of the official announcement from Manchester City Plc ("the Club") with reference to "preliminary discussions with a third party regarding a possible offer being made for the Company". Those shareholders wanted to know what the document actually means and raised a couple of questions worthy of sharing here.

For good measure the announcement in it's full glory can be found here

The official announcement is a fairly standard document and in simple terms it confirms that the Club is in very early talks that may or may not lead to an offer being made for the Club. Due to the Club being listed on Plus Markets it has to adhere to their listing rules and the Club has drawn attention to certain rules that apply at the time of the announcement.

If anyone is interested and has some spare time you can find the full details of the various applicable rules here All we need to remember is that in situations like these the Takeover Code applies which sets out how business should be transacted during a period where a takeover may be forthcoming.

Next to the questions raised. One shareholder asked "Is Stefan Borson (as named in the announcement) the potential new investor?". Stefan Borson isn't the new investor but would appear to act as the facilitator of potential new investment and/ or a takeover of Manchester City Plc. Stefan Borson works for Investec Investment Banking ("Investec") and I understand that Investec were appointed by Manchester City Plc to attract a potential investor and/ or investors to the Club. This is the reason why Stefan Borson’s contact details were listed in the announcement.

Another shareholder asks "Will the takeover be completed in time for the January transfer window?". Assuming that it is a takeover that is being considered, in my personal opinion, a takeover of the Club could not be completed in such a short period of time. There is a lot of due diligence to be undertaken by both parties including the potential investor looking at the Company's books in detail and this will need to be completed before any offer is made to the board of the Club. Whether an offer will lead to a takeover, new investment or something else remains to be seen but at this point in time it is far too early to speculate about what may or may not happen. As frustrating as it may be, we will have to wait for the facts to emerge in due course.

If you have any further questions to raise please send them our way, if we can answer them we will, if we can’t we will find someone who can! Please e-mail us at

Best wishes


24 Supporters Trusts In The Premiership & Championship

There is a misconception that Supporters Trusts do not belong in the higher echelons of football however, that has not stopped a lot of Supporters Trusts being formed and playing a positive part in the future of their respective clubs.

Not many people would know how many Supporters Trusts exist in the higher echelons of UK football so after doing some research and checking my findings with Supporters Direct yesterday, I thought I would list the clubs in the Premiership and Championship who have active Supporters Trusts:-

Premiership (7)

Aston Villa
Manchester United
Tottenham Hotspur

Championship (17)

Coventry City
Crystal Palace
Derby County
Hull City
Ipswich Town
Leeds United
Leicester City
Luton Town
Norwich City
Plymouth Argyle
Queens Park Rangers
Sheffield Wednesday
Southend United
Stoke City

As well as the 24 Supporters Trusts from the top two English leagues (listed above), every Scottish Premier League club has a Supporters Trust and I've listed them below for your additional information:-

Scottish Premier League (12)

Dundee United
Dunferminline Athletic
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
St Mirren

In addition to the Supporters Trusts listed who have already formed and are active there are more planned to follow in their footsteps. I am lead to believe that over the course of the last year or so supporters at least two Premiership clubs and one Championship club have either been planning to launch a Supporters Trust or are already some way down the path.

Clubs in the top two leagues of English football without Supporters Trusts working with them are already in the minority and it is only a matter of time for this to be the case in the Premiership. Next time someone asks you about active Supporters Trusts you can now tell them how common they are especially "higher up the tree".

During next year we plan to launch a Manchester City Supporters Trust which we want to become a beacon to others whilst playing a positive part in the future of our great club. Perhaps more important than that the proposed trust will have a democratically elected board to represent the aims and expectations of its members (the greatest supporters in the land).

If you haven't already checked out Supporters Direct's website please take a look here

Best wishes


Monday, December 18, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 15.12.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't usually 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.

Following on from the previous week's news that talks are taking place that may lead to new investment into the club, there was little share activity last week. Keen followers of the shares will know that the share price movement seldom moves in line with activity and this is probably due to the illiquid nature of this market.

Last week there were two large trades (compared to normal activity) one being a purchase of 50,000 shares at 37p and a sale of 40,000 shares at 35p.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 35.5p
Bid price: 33p
Offer price: 38p

Share price movement for the week:-

11/12 1,050
12/12 90,000
13/12 2,000
14/12 0
15/12 0

Total volume for the week: 93,050

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Friday, December 15, 2006

Our AGM Questions Answered By Alistair Mackintosh

Last week we mentioned the three questions we would like to ask at the AGM. We attended the AGM and Colin Savage has written his report which we published here. As Bobster kindly pointed out re Colin's report we didn't mention if we had asked our questions or not so here's the lowdown.

Colin S asked our first question during the time available to consider the year end accounts. The full question was "Can the board confirm what exactly compromises our Freehold Land & Buildings and also confirm the details of the sale of the Reebok City property? In particular when it was sold, who to, for how much and why this was done? Are there any other plans to sell off further assets in this way?"

Alistair Mackintosh confirmed that the Reebok City shop had been sold to "City investors" and went on to say that whilst these investors were not Manchester City fans they were now. Alistair Mackintosh did also add that the reason why the asset was sold was to get rid of the Council's interest. He did not elaborate what that interest was so we can only presume what it could be. Perhaps it was some sort of revenue sharing situation (like the stadium deal) or maybe the Council were owed monies secured against Reebok City or maybe something else.

Alistair Mackintosh did not give away the names of the new owners of Reebok City or the terms of the deal or indeed if there are plans to sell off further assets in this way.

I asked our second question during the open question session. The full question was "If it wasn't for the sale of Shaun Wight-Phillips the club would have made a significant loss from normal activities and we note that the loan interest due to John Wardle & David Makin continues to be added to their loan balances on an annual basis. What plans have the club put in place to ensure that the club does not have to continue to rely on selling off its best young players to avoid significant losses in the future and start to reduce the loans owing to the club's major shareholders or at least pay the annual loan interest due?"

Alistair Mackintosh said that John Wardle & David Makin had not requested payments of their loans or interest and intimated that if they did it may take away funds from other areas. He praised John Wardle & David Makin's current stance as I am sure we all do. Personally (and I've said this many times before) I feel that John Wardle and David Makin should be applauded for being saviours of our club who have not only risked large sums of money providing finance to the club but in doing so have also brought stability to our club. According to Alistair Mackintosh they do not want payments at the moment as they may affect others areas of the club, that in itself is commendable but it would be nice if the club could afford to at least pay these gentlemen the loan interest due each year.

Alistair Mackintosh did not comment if there were plans in place to start making loan repayments or paying the loan interest in the future. He also did not make any comment about selling off our best young players to avoid significant losses in the future and that was the main thrust of the question. I suppose only time will tell what action the club may take in this regard.

We didn't ask our third question "The current board have overseen a continued decrease in attendances at the ground that not only contributes to a loss of atmosphere but has an affect on matchday income and may affect the marketability of the club when trying to attract new players and/ or new investors. What does the club think is the cause of this alarming slide and what plans has it put in place to deal with this?". There were many questions being asked and some had already been asked touching on areas raised by this question.

All in all, the answers we received weren't satisfactory and would make some politicians envious but that is not to say that there was anything untoward in that. Alistair Mackintosh answered the questions honestly and to the best of his ability appearing to give as much insight and information as he could at that time.

From a personal point of view, I thoroughly enjoyed the AGM. Colin mentioned the comedic fella near the end of the questioning, he stood up and started by saying "I used to be a Manchester United fan" immediately I felt the whole room was against him as numerous comments and noises were made, he then proceeded with what I can only describe as a number of incoherent unplanned personal observations. I don't actually think he was making any point or indeed raising a question and I don't think anyone answered anyway!

I met a lot of shareholders at the AGM many of whom have subscribed to our newsletter or I had exchanged e-mails with or spoken to on the phone. It's always great to meet people face to face and I look forward to meeting and talking with more of you.

Best wishes


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Open Meeting Coming Soon

We are planning on holding our public Open Meeting in Manchester in February 2007 and are currently finalising the date and which venue we will be using. We expect to confirm this during the course of next week.

All supporters whether they are shareholders, season ticket holders or not will be invited to attend. The Open Meeting will be used to introduce Supporters Direct and the principles and philosophy behind the Supporters Trust movement.

It will also be used to provide examples of other Suppporters Trusts in existence. A guest speaker or two will also be present.

At the Open Meeting, we will present our aims and proposals for the trust as well as allow time for a "question and answer" session to ensure that supporters have their say and can raise points that are important. This part of the meeting is crucial and will ensure that the views and concerns of the supporters are known which can then be used/ addressed in the next phase.

At the end of the Open Meeting the supporters present will vote on the proposal to establish a working group to go ahead and register the Trust. If the vote is successful that working group will work towards the formal launch of the trust and will work on areas include the drafting of the constitution of the trust, registering it with the appropriate authorities, open bank accounts, draft membership forms, dealing with the media (we've already had some grounding here!) etc.

If the vote is successful the numbers in the current trust working group will need to be increased probably to about 12 maybe 15. There will be a chance at the Open Meeting for supporters to sign up as additional members to the working group and those supporters will be asked to confirm their availability and the skills they have to offer.

We have been e-mailed with offers already and have kept these on file to be added to the list compiled at the Open Meeting. We understand that it may not be possible for all interested supporters to make the meeting and with that in mind we will accept at that time offers by post & e-mail.

As normal, all queries, input and feedback are welcomed please e-mail us on

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The State Of The Game Report

This morning the annual State Of The Game report by The Football Governance Research Centre (a recognised centre of Birkbeck, University of London) was published at a meeting this morning. The report includes an analysis of the Independent European Sports Review ("IESR") and ownership models/ the development of the Supporters Trust movement in Britain and Europe both interesting topics which we have reported on here previously.

The keynote speakers at the meeting this morning were Jose Luis Arnaut (IESR), Rt Hon Richard Caborn MP (Minister for Sports), Lars Christer Olson (UEFA), Gordon Taylor (Professional Footballers Association), Joe Mclean (Grant Thornton) and Peter Hunt (MUTUO). For those who haven't heard of MUTUO or Communicate Mutuality Limited it is a not for profit society which amongst many things campaigns for a better understanding of the benefits of mutual businesses.

Richard Caborn was quoted earlier today as saying that growing commercialism is threatening football's future. He also went on to mention that football governance arrangements needed to be looked at to ensure that they were "fit for purpose". These comments are in the same vein as the ones he previously made at the Supporters Direct conference two months ago which we published here on 21 October 2006. The article can be found in our October archive here

Finally, Brian Barwick of the FA has been quoted with reference to the State Of The Game report "The FA recognises the importance of the State Of The Game survey and its contribution to monitoring governance standards and helping to spread best practice. Keeping the subject at the top of the game's agenda is crucial".

No doubt there will be some media coverage of the State Of The Game report tomorrow. When we have read through the report and coverage we will publish our findings here.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Manchester City Plc 2006 AGM

This took place on Thursday December 7th at 10:00am but the really big news happened before the meeting with the news on BBC Radio Manchester (I really do listen, Ian) that City were in talks with a potential investor. The cynic in me (and there’s more cynic in me than there is water) thought that the timing was a little suspicious but who wouldn’t be delighted with the right sort of investment.

After tea and coffee at Asda we wandered over to CoMS. There was a very good crowd at the meeting, probably around 400 which, like last year was held in a tent on the concourse. I have to compliment the club on the way they do the logistics; you can see and hear and there are plenty of people with microphones for people to ask questions.

The board, including new signing Mark Boler, plus Bernard Halford and Stuart Pearce were sat at the top table. The AGM is a formal meeting where there are a number of resolutions to be voted on including formal adoption of the accounts (and it’s amazing how many accounts don’t have parents) and re-election of the directors.

The first thing was a statement by John Wardle that went over much the same ground as the one in the AGM. He said that just surviving in the Premiership was not classed as success at Manchester City. He also mentioned the possible investor but, as expected, said that things were not yet at a stage where they could name names. He praised the Academy and the City in the Community programme and no-one could argue with that.

Then it was into the first resolution, namely the adoption of the accounts. I had a number of questions on the figures but didn’t really get any answers that I was happy with. As an example, I asked how much of the £5m fall in deferred income was attributable to lower season ticket sales. The answer was a long discourse on falling attendances in the Premiership and what we are doing about it, when all I wanted was a simple figure.

The next item was the re-election of two of the directors; Mark Boler & Dennis Tueart and this was duly done. KPMG were re-appointed as auditors and the resolution about the ability of the directors to issue share capital that no one understands was also passed. Given that the directors have very close to 50% of the shares then it would be very surprising if the resolutions didn’t go the way they wanted.

With the formal business out of the way, we moved onto the general Q&A. I’m not going to go through all the questions but some of the highlights were:

What were the board doing about Distin? The response was that they didn’t want him to leave and were still talking but would talk about any offers.

What was the name of the stadium, someone asked? AM said that this was dictated by the council and we had been given a few choices but that City of Manchester stadium was the one they felt was best. There was a question about naming rights and it was revealed that we could name the stands under the terms of the lease but not the stadium itself. The situation was under review.

Someone asked whether SP’s attitude to referees encourages them to fail to give us key decisions and that it would be nice to hear him say sometimes that the ref got it wrong. SP laughed and said he called it as he saw it and wasn’t going to change.

There was a question about the sale of SWP and the fact that we would have made a loss if we hadn’t sold him. AM said that we had made an operating profit and that some of the largest expenses in the accounts were accounting transactions, which made things look worse than they were. You should have read my articles Alistair.

An interesting question was asked about any provisions in place for repayment of the loans if the worst were to happen to John Wardle. This caused some chuckles from the top table but the answer was that it had been considered.

Our non-ownership of the ground was the subject of another question and whether this affected our ability to attract investment. AM replied that possibly it did but the upside was that we wouldn’t be attractive to property speculators.

The question of how the club could encourage share ownership was raised. AM rightly replied that it was impossible for the club to manage what brokers did. It would be easier in many ways if there was only one main shareholder but as there wasn’t they would publicise a number of web-sites that had identified suitable brokers. We have already done this on the Supporters Trust blog so if you want to buy shares then please look here.

The question of the Supporters’ Trust was raised and AM said the club were open-minded and were in dialogue with Supporters Direct.

The UEFA Cup final was mentioned, with a plea that it would be nice to take part in it at our own stadium. “Message received & understood” replied SP.

However the best question came when the MC, Paul McDowell said “This is going to be the last question” after a relatively short time. The questioner asked “Why is this going to be the last question?” and John Wardle, to his great credit, allowed the session to go on. I was critical last year over the cutting short of the Q&A session but have to say well done to the board for not doing so this year. There were also some excellent questions but the bloke who clearly thought it was “open mike” night at the Comedy Club was probably the most memorable, even if no one could work out what his question was!

We trooped out to have tea and coffee and I met some great people, many of whom I previously knew only by name but finally got the chance to put a face to the name. We continued over at the City Social (and a jolly nice place it is too if you’ve never been there) and that was that. The big question is will we still see the same faces on the top table next year? Time will tell.

Colin Savage

Sunday, December 10, 2006

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 8.12.06)

This is the weekly article charting Manchester City Plc's share price movements during the last week. The price doesn't usually 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.

The biggest story this week is that talks are taking place that may lead to new investment into the club. Despite this story there hasn't been much turnover of shares and that is probably a reflection of the relative illiquid nature of the market. We understand over the last few weeks or so there has never much more than 15,000 shares available to buy at a time which is further reflection of this.

What we have seen this week is the fact that the market makers have increased the spread (the difference between the bid and offer price) which reflects the discussions that are taking place which may come to fruition in due course. We would guess that the majority of the share price movement has probably come from market makers (marking up the price) due to this.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 35.5p
Bid price: 33p
Offer price: 38p

Share price movement for the week:-
+13p (57.7%)

04/12 0
05/12 0
06/12 100
07/12 0
08/12 20,957

Total volume for the week: 21,057

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Supporters Trust Questions And Answers

Quite some time ago now we published a very brief question and answer article. With there being so much interest we thought we'd do an updated one:-

1. What is a Supporters Trust?

The basic definition of a Trust is a democratic, not-for-profit organisation of supporters, committed to strengthening the voice for supporters in the decision making process at a club, and strengthening the links between the club and the community it serves.

2. Why do we need one?

Manchester City supporters have traditionally had a reputation of tremendous loyalty and the club has always had the reputation of being friendly and supporter-oriented. However these reputations seem to be under threat as crowds diminish and the club appears to be more remote to the majority of its supporters. The fact that we only took half the numbers to Blackburn that we took two seasons ago and that we only just had 40,000 for the home match against Arsenal tells its own story. Ticket income now represents just one-quarter of our total income and many fans feel that the club is prepared to sacrifice its loyalty to them, when compared to other stakeholders.

We feel that a supporters trust can help to address these issues, as supporters trusts can do things that supporters club branches can’t (see below)

3. That’s all very well but aren’t these really for small clubs in financial trouble?

Many trusts have come about because the clubs have experienced difficulties and these have tended to be smaller clubs. The trust provides an excellent vehicle for fans to put their efforts into saving their club. However probably the best known example of a supporter-owned club (though not a trust) is Barcelona, the current European Champions and they are hardly small or in financial trouble. Nor are supporter owned Real Madrid. In the Premiership there are a number of trusts including those at Arsenal, Spurs, Aston Villa, Reading and Watford. Rangers and Celtic also have them.

4. How do you go about setting one up?

The first formal stage in the 3 stage model will be to hold an open meeting for all those interested. At that stage a democratic vote will be taken of those present to decide if the supporters of Manchester City want to see a trust formed. Then an interim committee will draft a constitution and start the activities leading up to the next major milestone, the launch, when people can start to join the trust. The third major milestone is the first Annual General Meeting.

Supporters Direct, the government funded umbrella organisation for supporters trusts, recommend setting up the trust as an Industrial & Provident Society (similar to a co-operative) and all this has to be done before the AGM. It can take more than 12 months to get all this in place.

5. How is it different from a Supporters Club?

A supporters’ trust is not an attempt to by-pass or replace the network of Supporters Clubs that City is lucky enough to have. They perform a valuable role in allowing supporters in a particular location to meet together, organise activities, tickets and travel.

Trusts are formal bodies usually incorporated under the Industrial & Provident Societies Act and regulated by the Financial Services Authority. An incorporated trust can hold property on a corporate basis whereas a branch’s assets are effectively held by the committee or trustees. This means that trusts can hold shares in the club as well as any held by individual members (although the OSC holds some shares, we understand).

A trust that holds enough shares can exercise influence with the club that small shareholders couldn’t. This can extend from regular meetings with the club officials, to a seat (or seats) on the board right through to outright ownership. At least 4 league clubs, and many non-league clubs, are owned or controlled by their trusts.

6. What about membership?

Open to anyone to wants to join. The level of subscriptions is set by the trust itself and should be affordable by as many people as possible. Membership is slightly different to membership of a branch as each member is a shareholder in the trust. However, they hold one £1 share and one share only. No-one can acquire a majority holding. So it’s one member, one share, one vote as opposed to a plc, which is usually one shareholder, many shares and many votes.

7. Can someone be a member of both a trust and supporters club branch?

Yes - there is no conflict. Two of the people behind the trust are members of their local supporters club. Many members of the trust will be people who have no intention of belonging to a supporters club. Likewise not all members of the supporters clubs will want to be members of the trust. It will be down to individuals.

8. How will the Trust work with the Supporters Clubs?

The extent and process of working together is open to discussion but we would foresee that the OSC & CSA, as well as the Disabled Supporter Clubs and the International Supporters Club, could have representation on the Trust Board if they and the trust members wanted that. Similarly the Trust could interact with the supporters clubs in an agreed way.

9. What about Points of Blue?

“Points of Blue” is the current name for the old Fans Committee. There is an open meeting about every four months and this agrees a range of topics to discuss with club officials. A delegation then meets with the club and discusses the issues raised. Sometimes the club is willing and able to do something to rectify a problem and sometimes not. The topics tend to be items of concern to the fans, such as ticket pricing, stadium catering and the match day experience.

It is undoubtedly a useful forum but it only exists due to the goodwill of the club. If that was to be withdrawn then Points of Blue could not operate. In addition Points of Blue has no legal or other formal foundation and the delegates are not accountable to anyone. No one doubts they do their best however and they have achieved some successes.

The Trust is an independent body and does not need the goodwill of the club to operate although we would prefer it. If the trust can wield enough power, via a significant shareholding then it has the option of getting someone onto the board to represent the views of the fans directly.

10. Do you have to be a club shareholder to belong to the trust?

No. You will be a shareholder of the trust with each member holding a single £1 share. The trust may be a shareholder of the club and you may wish to use any shares you hold in the club for the benefit of the trust in some way. However, no matter how many Manchester City shares you have you will still only have one share and one vote as a member of the trust.

11. You’ve said a trust is democratic – does that mean they vote on every decision?

No. Like any other organisation, the trust will appoint a board of directors who will make all the day-to-day decisions. They have to abide by the constitution of the trust and any other applicable rules and policies. They will also clearly have to abide by the wishes of the members. There will be an annual general meeting at which all board members will have to stand for election and then re-election.

Some decisions at general meetings will be agreed by a simple majority but more fundamental changes may require a larger majority in favour, depending on the rules and legislation.

12. What if a large minority of trust members disagree with the direction of the majority?

It would be foolish to suppose that, with a sport that arouses as much passion as football that everyone will always agree on everything. However, like all other organisations, compromise is a fact of life and conflict can often lead to a stronger position evolving as all sides of the argument are fully taken into account. The democratic and accountable nature of a trust means that people have to justify their decisions.

As normal we welcome feedback and questions please send them to We look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

MCFC Supporters Trust Newsletter

Our next e-mail newsletter will be sent out next week. If you want to receive it and future newsletters please send an e-mail to

Friday, December 08, 2006

Smashing Through The 15,000 Barrier

For the regular readers of this blog you would have noticed that the counter has just gone through the 15,000 mark. It took 39 days to pass 5,000 and another 26 days to pass 10,000. To get the next 5,000 took 9 days!

Last but not least, following the addition of our statistic counters almost three weeks ago we have collected reams of statistical data about our readers. We have had readers from 50 countries. The most popular coming from the United Kingdom followed by Norway and then the USA. Readers from across the world are checking in regularly and we appreciate your continued support/ interest.

By the way, the statistic counters enable us to track much individual information. We are mindful of the fact that there are certain data protection laws in place so we will not divulge or pass on data but do note that several employees of Manchester City Football Club check in on a regular basis throughout the working day and beyond, thank you for your continued interest and support.

Finally, 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

New Investor(s) At City

We were all at the AGM yesterday and noted with great interest that the club were “currently in talks with an investor that may lead to potential investment”. It is unclear if this will lead to additional investment or a takeover or something else but nevertheless we were encouraged by the announcement.

We wish to confirm that we welcome new investment into the club especially if the new investor(s) have a long term plan that fully involves the supporters.

We remain fully committed to playing a positive part in the future of our great club irrespective of whether the club is able to attract the required investment from appropriate investors or not. We want to reaffirm that we want to work with the current and/ or future board/ new investors in this respect.

The formation of the trust will still take place and we expect to confirm the venue and date of our public Open Meeting shortly.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Our Questions For The AGM

As you may know Manchester City Plc's AGM is being held at 10am this Thursday 7 December 2006 at the CoMS. All four of us are shareholders and are looking forward to being there. We realise that the meeting is likely to be very busy and that many shareholders will be scrambling to ask questions, so getting the chance to raise any ourselves may prove difficult. We have therefore narrowed our favoured questions to three areas:-

1) Can the board confirm what exactly compromises our Freehold Land & Buildings and also confirm the details of the sale of the Reebok City property? In particular when it was sold, who to, for how much and why this was done? Are there any other plans to sell off further assets in this way?

2) If it wasn't for the sale of Shaun Wight-Phillips the club would have made a significant loss from normal activities and we note that the loan interest due to John Wardle & David Makin continues to be added to their loan balances on an annual basis. What plans have the club put in place to ensure that the club does not have to continue to rely on selling off its best young players to avoid significant losses in the future and start to reduce the loans owing to the club's major shareholders or at least pay the annual loan interest due?

3) The current board have overseen a continued decrease in attendances at the ground that not only contributes to a loss of atmosphere but has an affect on matchday income and may affect the marketability of the club when trying to attract new players and/ or new investors. What does the club think is the cause of this alarming slide and what plans has it put in place to deal with this?

If you were or are a shareholder what sort of questions would you be asking? What concerns you most about the club at the moment?

We'll publish a report of the meeting on here later this week.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Who Owns Manchester City Plc?

It is some time since we started our planning and research. Our research lead us to many areas of interest including looking at the shareholdings in Manchester City Plc. We have now finished our review and we’ll share with you our findings here.

The information we are about to provide was taken from an old share register and having taken a look at the trades since it is unlikely that the share register has changed materially so for the purposes of this article we feel that the information we have is adequate.

The first four shareholders are well known to most Manchester City supporters and they own (together) 65.71% of the shares. Those four are John Wardle & David Makin who own 29.95%, the Trustees of the S E Boler Settlement (a trust set up by Stephen Boler) who own 18.75%, BSkyB which owns 9.88% and Francis Lee who owns 7.13%.

The next ten shareholders (held in individual and nominee names) own 13.38%. In that list includes the late Peter Swales' wife Brenda together with ex-directors David Holt, John Dunkerley and David Bernstein.

The remaining shareholders number over 5,000 (we are lead to believe that this figure may be over 6,000 now) and they hold the remaining 20.9% of the issued shares.

So who represents BSkyB and/ or Francis Lee? That’s a good question it would appear from the information available that nobody on the board represents these shareholdings. What about the remaining 34.29% of the shares? Well they too appear not to be represented on the board.

So in summary, it would appear from our research that only 48.7% of the shareholders are represented on the board of Manchester City Plc with the majority of shareholders not represented.

We must make it clear that for the purpose of this article we did not include Alistair Mackintosh, Dennis Tueart or Bryan Bodek’s shareholdings as being represented on the board and their total shareholding of 55,358 shares represents only 0.1% of the issued shares.

During our research we did come across some interesting information taken from the accounts. As at 31 May 1998 Dennis Tueart owned 9,800 shares and as at 31 May 2006 he owned 36,258 shares. As at 31 May 2000 Alistair Mackintosh owned 9,100 shares and as at 31 May 2006 he still owned 9,100 shares. As at 31 May 2002 Bryan Bodek owned 10,000 shares and as at 31 May 2006 he still owned 10,000 shares.

Why the board, with the exception of John Wardle and David Makin, haven't added to their share holdings over the last few years or so can only be answered by those board members themselves. However, what message that puts out to the current shareholders, the supporters and perhaps critically potential investors is another matter.

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 1.12.06)

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:-

27/11 0
28/11 0
29/11 177
30/11 0
01/12 0

Total volume for the week: 177

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Buy City Shares Online

Most Supporters Trusts aim to promote and facilitate direct and indirect supporter ownership of their club either directly or indirectly via the trust. We believe in this too and have tried to help a few supporters over the last month or two who wanted to become shareholders in Manchester City Plc.

As you may know Manchester City Plc is quoted on Plus Markets (previously known as OFEX). Plus Markets is the third UK stockmarket coming after the London Stock Exchange and AIM. It can be a little harder to purchase shares on Plus Markets with some banks/ brokers unable to provide the service at all and when they can the cost can be prohibitive and the minimum number of shares they stipulate must be bought prove costly.

On 22 October 2006 we published an article about buying shares in Manchester City Plc. Since then many readers have tried buying shares with varying degrees of success. At the time we ran the article we didn't recommend any online brokers but did pass on information (on a few) to a few readers who contacted us.

Last week one of the subscribers to our mailing list/ reader of this blog became a shareholder in Manchester City Plc using the Share Centre whose website can be found here It proved an easy and cost effective process during which time it was confirmed that there were no set minimum amount of shares that could be bought.

For those of you who are still trying to find a cost effective way to become a shareholder in Manchester City Plc this may be one for you to try.

PLEASE NOTE that we do not receive any commission or inducements with reference to the information provided, we have simply tried to find a cost effective way for City supporters to become shareholders in City. If you would like to acquire shares in City, we suggest that your bank or existing stockbroker should be your first port of call.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Manchester City Representatives In Dubai

Over three days earlier this week 3,000 delegates attended the latest gathering of the world’s biggest football business event the Soccerex 2006 Conference. Soccerex ran this event and to find out more please visit their website here From the delegate list available it would appear that Manchester City Football Club were represented at this prestigious event hosted at the seven star Burj al Arab hotel in Dubai.

Many new initiatives were being launched including an international qualification for football directors in conjunction with the Institute of Directors (“IOD”). The IOD were quoted as saying (about the qualification) “the programme has been created to help those responsible for the future of the game to fully understand their role and responsibilities, whether in the capacity of running a club or working for an association”.

In addition to much business being done a number of serious issues were debated in particular, club directors discussing selling, buying and valuing naming rights, commercial pressures facing the world’s professional clubs, how to develop club brands and attract sponsorship. There were also various workshops including the development of academy players as valuable assets.

The convention wasn't just about the business side and did look at the supporters in particular how clubs can enhance the matchday experience and take a more active role in promoting social development.

What the board of Manchester City Plc learnt from this conference and any changes they deem necessary to our football club remains to be seen.

What Actually Is A Supporters Trust?

As mentioned at the head of this blog, Supporters Trusts are set up to promote and support the concept of democratic supporter ownership and representation through mutual not for profit structures. They are also set up, to promote football clubs as civic and community institutions and work to preserve the competitive values of league football in the United Kingdom and promoting the health of the game.

A Supporters Trust is in effect a "one man (or woman) one vote" democratic entity set up with an elected board, rules and aims.

When we set out our proposals for a Supporters Trust at the public Open Meeting early next year we will be recommending that the trust be set up as an IPS. An IPS is an Industrial and Provident Society. The definition of an IPS by the Financial Services Authority ("FSA") is an organisation conducting an industry, business or trade, either as a co-operative or for the benefit of the community, and is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.

When an IPS is formed it must be registered with the FSA although IPSs are not regulated by the FSA unless they are undertaking an financial services business. Another point to know is that dependent on the size of the turnover of the Supporters Trust it will have to be audited by an independent auditor each year.

Once the IPS has been chosen as the way forward and a suitable constitution agreed upon Supporters Direct will oversee its registration with the FSA and will also cover the costs of the registration. The vast majority of existing Supporters Trusts have opted for this form of structure because of its community orientation, democratic ethos and robust regulatory framework.

The attributes of an IPS are:-

1) Community Orientation - intrinsically part of the framework of the Trust

2) External Regulation - the FSA will not register rule changes that conflict with the requirement to operate for the benefit of the community

3) Robust Constitution - crucial rules such as the Objects, Powers and Application of Profits, may only be altered if there is a 75% majority in favour

4) Effective And Versatile - experience has shown IPSs to be adaptable and powerful in varied circumstances

5) Not For Profit Motive - safeguards against "carpet bagging"

6) Growing Supporters Trusts Movements - offers additional "political" weight and influence in the wider world of football

7) Community Of Mutuals - offers opportunities for additional funding and partnerships with other co-operatives. Provides affinity with other organisations committed to benefiting the local community; and offers reassurance to the supporters and the club of the community orientation and not-for-profit objectives of the Trust

8) Start-Up Grant Funding - as already mentioned Supporters Direct pay for legal costs and expenses subject to eligibility

9) Limited Liability For Members - no need to put your financial security on the line; members are protected

10) Financially Responsible - effective in circumstances where significant sums of money have to be raised by public offer

The keener eyed amongst you would have noticed that we ran an earlier article about this however, at that stage we were still planning and researching the best legal entity to be used. Since that article we have agreed upon an IPS as the best way forward and since the amount of interest has risen dramatically over the last month or so we thought it would be worthwhile ensuring that those later readers could find some of the important information easily.

Please continue to send us your queries, feedback and input to By the way, our latest newsletter will go out in the next twenty four hours if you have not subscribed please e-mail us.

Web Counters (Since 24.9.06)