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:-
TO ACQUIRE ON BEHALF OF THE TRUST A SHAREHOLDING OF OVER 3% AND REPRESENT THE INTERESTS OF OTHER SHAREHOLDERS WHO EITHER HOLD SHARES DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY VIA THE TRUST
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 http://mcfcsupporterstrust.blogspot.com/2006_11_01_archive.html we suggest that it be read in conjunction with this article.
Please send any feedback, comments, suggestions or input to us at email@example.com
Colin, Colin, Miles & Ollie