Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Love City - My Story

We hear from many supporters who given us their feelings, vent their spleen or tell us their story. Today we heard from Simon Cooper rather than say anything else, please read what he has to say, he sums up the feelings of many supporters:-

"I like many other people of my generation came from a broken home. When I say broken, I use that in the phrase of “my mam and dad were divorced when I was very young”. At weekends from the age of 8 years old my father a Salford blue would have the weekend with me and my brother to spend time with us and take us here and there.

The main event would be a trip to Maine Rd to see our beloved Manchester City. My old fella was a bus driver and used to drive one of the match buses from Aytown Street to Lloyd Street every Saturday. He would put me and my brother on the nearest seat to the drivers cabin while city fans packed the bus to go to see the boys in blue. The bus drivers had there own seats at the very back of the Platt Lane, and my old fella would smuggle us both in, and we would get a birds eye view of the match.

When I first started going, I didn’t see what all the fuss was about until city would score. My old fella would lift me and our kid about shaking us like rag dolls, screaming and shouting for joy. If my old fella was happy, then we were happy.
That’s when city became a member of me and my dad and my brothers family. We built up a love for them over the years, and as we both got older we got more passionate.

My mam was from Wythenshawe and was a red, as were all her brothers (5). Seeing the joy on our faces when my dad would drop us off she was more than happy for us to be blues. Now I look back the gap that was formed when they both split up was filled with Manchester City F.C.

City was my family, and through out the years I became very protective of the club. Some times over protective, leading to fights in school to defend something that I loved and whose name I would not have dragged in the gutter by anyone. This was football, but to me is just wasn`t. This was my club, from my town, wearing my colours. It was my family, my dads family and my brothers family, and my other city mates family.

Over the years through the highs and lows, that love has grown and grown, as it does naturally with most of us. When it was announced we would be leaving Maine Rd, I was sad but excited at the chance of 48,000 people roaring our blues on to the max in a world class stadium.

Much to my dismay that vision did not bear fruit for the first part of the season and I along with other passionate blues tried to do something about it. We met with with the club's board to discuss why people could not be seated with their friends who were sat next to each other at Maine Road.

We opposed the heavy handed stewarding that was not used at Maine Rd, asking why were these new methods being installed? We asked the club to create singing areas to which nothing prevailed.

We opposed the membership card as a money making scam to blead fans,(it was £20). We asked the club to move the away fans and many other things to improve the atmosphere. We asked about putting tickets on open sale sooner?

Nothing happened. We gave up (cloth ears).

At the one of the last Fans Committee meetings I attended , I and 3 fans of the Points of Blue panel told the club if they did not address all of the above, attendences would drop. One of the board (who I wont name, but will if I have to) said the club could not forsee that occuring with a season ticket waiting list of 8,000. I just felt sick. We and others on that panel knew the danger signs were in place, but all the club could see were figures and not the complaints we were hearing at work and in the pubs.

The following year the signs were there, Olympiakos 18,000. A friendly you say…..ok. Not to me, it was a sign of things to come. The new £20 membership card we felt would just tell the fans “the clubs taking the piss, we're no mugs”

West Brom gate 42,000, (3,000 Baggies). FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON. Where`s the 6,000 season ticket waiting list??? That means the club have lost 14,000 fans somewhere?? Where have they gone?? This year gates are down to 34,000 as we predicted.

No one can prove where they have gone, I believe they’ve given up on watching football and are simply voting with their feet. "Johnny come latelys" you may say, we don’t think so. I think they're all blues who can see when they're having their pants pulled down and ripped off. The amazing thing is THIS IS HAPPENING AT EVERY PREMIERSHIP CLUB. City as a club are FORCED financially to compete.

Overpriced tickets! Give us your money ! Watch the match and shut up! Then go home and watch the same thing on T.V.,enjoy the Premiership in the millenium.

What we are saying is don’t give up on football, it has survived without money before and it will do it again. You’ve just got to find it. The fans are the club not the landlords.

I would like to you all to appreciate the fans committee (Points of Blue panel). Every one of them has the courage and love to speak their mind to the club and give their own time up to do that. By right all of the supporters club chairmen should be there…because surely they represent the fans?

City fans need to build a structure that protects the Heart and Soul of the club that is slowly dying. Boards come and go, fans don’t.

Atmosphere affects the players Keegan said it and now Pearce has said it. The place is like a morgue!. You know it, I know it but now one cares enough to do anything about it, until now.

But if 48,000 blues don’t speak as one, nobody hears them. WE NEED TO SPEAK AS ONE!

We need to join together for the first time under one flag, that flag I believe is the MCFC Supporters Trust. This is a club representing the City of Manchester, Yet no one on the current board has lived or been brought up in Manchester. Do they really understand what being a Manchester City fan is all about?

For this club to move forward, all of us as fans have to join together as one. We now have the chance for the first time in our history to make a difference. Myself and the members of Bluewatch will be backing the Trust 110%.


Simon Cooper
President of Bluewatchmcfc"

Send us your story to and we will publish a selection. For those of you who have already sent us stories etc don't worry, we haven't forgotten you and plan publishing more like this regularly.

Season Tickets - Deal or No Deal?

In the 2003/4 season, the first in our superb new stadium, we played our games in front of virtually full houses, with just under 900,000 people watching our Premiership games. A few less people per game watched us in the following season but we still attracted over 45,000 per game.

This season, however, crowds have dropped away alarmingly and we now regularly see crowd figures well under 40,000, with an average to date of just less than 39,000. The practice of counting season ticket holders, whether they attend or not, masks even lower figures. So we often have ten thousand unsold seats and this impacts us in a number of ways. Lower ticket revenue is the most obvious, closely followed by lower revenues for ancillary sales of things like programmes, catering and merchandise. Then there is the intangible effect on the match-day atmosphere of having ten thousand less voices in the stadium.

There are a number of possibilities as to why crowds are dropping; quality of football, saturation TV coverage, inconvenient kick-off times, changes to kick-off times at short notice and last but not least, prices. The issue of prices has some into sharp focus this season, largely because of Manchester City fans’ unwillingness to pay ludicrous prices for tickets at Bolton, Wigan & Blackburn. This brought about a sea-change in two of those clubs’ attitude to pricing for subsequent games, with the desire to fill seats taking precedence over squeezing every last penny out of fans’ pockets.

In a normal business this would be a cause for serious concern but football is different because the largest part of a Premiership team’s income comes from people who watch on TV, via Sky. Next season the impact of TV money will be even greater with possibly another £15-20m coming into City’s coffers, via the new Sky deal. However half-empty stadiums are a poor advert for our game and Wigan chairman, David Whelan, has recognised this. He announced on Tuesday night that tickets for all games, regardless of the opposition, will be £15 next season. He has recognised two things. The first is that the increase in TV income will more than cushion the effect of lower ticket prices. The other is that people lost to the game may be lost for good and there is the distinct danger that football stadiums become glorified TV studios. This should guarantee a few thousand visiting Blues next season instead of less than fifteen hundred and will increase Wigan's total revenue. So a good commercial decision as well as some good PR.

Our club have said on many occasions that falling attendances are a football-wide problem but this simply isn’t correct. Many Premiership clubs are maintaining numbers pretty well but a few (us, Wigan and Blackburn among them) are not. This is particularly noticeable among season ticket holders, down about 25% from 2003/4 to this season. Next season could be even worse and as season ticket income is very important to the club’s cash flow this could be a significant problem.

Another issue is that season tickets have to be paid for in advance but give a small discount on paying on a game-by-game basis if you attend every home game. The advantage is that you are guaranteed a seat but people are now looking at the empty seats, even for the most attractive games (e.g. Arsenal) and thinking that it’s not worth paying up front when you can pick and choose games. We are on TV so often that you could save money by not renewing your season ticket. What’s the incentive for coming out on a wet cold Monday night to watch Watford, when you could watch in the comfort of your own home or go to the pub?

So with renewal time looming, what are City going to do? There are a number of possibilities:

1) An increase in prices. This would certainly be commercial suicide and would probably half the number of season tickets at best. The financial equivalent of two fingers to us fans.

2) Another price freeze. This will not help the situation and is surely indefensible with the huge rise in TV income due to come in. Season ticket renewals would probably drop to around 20,000 if they do this.

3) A fall in prices. If we followed the Wigan example then a season ticket would cost around £250. Of course this is a gamble but at least offers a tangible incentive to fans to renew and will be cushioned by the increase in TV revenue.

4) Some other incentives.

a. I remember that we used to get most Cup games with a season ticket in the 70’s. Why not give the first two rounds free to season ticket holders? We believe Arsenal offer a number of cup games free.

b. Offer interest free payments over 3, 4 or even 6 months. They operate direct debit for the Cup Tickets Direct scheme so presumably the infrastructure exists.

c. Ask people to pay something up front (e.g. £100) for the right to a period of exclusivity for purchasing reduced price match tickets on a game-by-game basis.

d. When we played Reading, they advertised tickets for games against Manchester United & Chelsea. However you could only buy these if you also bought one for their game against Sheffield United. So this would make paying on a game-by-game basis less attractive.

People are deserting our club and we may not get them back. If we don’t get them back then we don’t get their kids. The simple question for our board is this. Do they want to fill seats or not? If the genuine answer is yes then neither (1) or (2) is an option. So come on City, when you send out those renewal notices then give us an excuse to renew. Or get used to thousands of empty seats.

So will it be Deal or No Deal?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Dave Whelan Confirms Low Ticket Prices At Wigan

Dave Whelan, Wigan Athletic's Chairman, was interviewed by Ian Cheeseman earlier this evening on BBC Radio Manchester and gave a refreshing view on the subject of ticket prices.

Not too long ago Wigan dropped their ticket prices for the rest of the season and Whelan confirmed tonight that this would continue with all Wigan matches, irrespective of opponent, priced at £15 per game next season. Wigan and Blackburn's recent announcements will encourage other Premiership clubs to follow suit and Whelan in his interview hoped that appropriate action would permeate through out the Premiership. Manchester City have not made any announcements yet.

This season, Blackburn and Wigan's average gate as a percentage of capacity is 69% & 71% respectively with Middlesbrough next on 79% and our Club after that on 81%. To see the full list please take a look here

Open Meeting Announced - All City Fans Invited

We are pleased to announced that we will be holding an open public meeting for all City fans and shareholders on Sunday March the 4th at the University of Manchester’s Renold Building, Sackville Street Campus, Altrincham Street, Manchester, M1 3BB.

In response to growing concern about the future direction of the club, we will ask fans to back the formation of a Manchester City Supporters Trust. All City supporters are welcome and the meeting will be used to present the principles and philosophy behind the Supporters Trust movement and the national body representing it, Supporters Direct.

Working party spokesman, Ollie Goddard, commented: "City fans have a reputation for being both passionate and fiercely loyal, yet the fans are becoming increasingly marginalised. Our aim is to readdress the balance by putting supporters back at the heart of our club. We hope to provide fans with a collective voice, a means of communicating with club management and a way for individuals to affect the future success of Manchester City.”

We will also outline our aims and proposals and have invited a number of special guest speakers to voice their opinion on a variety of football and City related issues.

The open public meeting begins at 2.00pm and a map for the venue can be found here. Please e-mail us on for a detailed map.

We look forward to seeing you there, if you have any queries, input or feedback please contact us using

Best wishes

Colin Howell, Colin Savage, Gavin Cooper, Ian Barton, Mickey Horan, Miles Webber, Ollie Goddard
MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Links Updated – Get Active, Take A Look

Over the last few weeks we have updated our links to City websites/ forums/ blogs etc. If you don’t already use the sites listed, please take the time to visit them, you may find a site you haven’t visited before, you may find a site you never knew existed, you may find a forum that suits you, you may find out something you never knew!

If you love all things City there are plenty of sites out there that will cater for your tastes or thirst for knowledge! Many City supporters put alot of time and effort running sites for us supporters, please take the time to look and support them.

We have also updated our links to non-City sites and those listed are more to do with the wider issues affecting football. We used these sites in our research and planning stage and continue to use them! If you are interested in the wider picture and not just City, take a look when you have some time.

We will continue to update the links on this blog on an “ad hoc” basis and there is another section to add in the next week or so. If we have omitted a City link or an interesting football link please send us an e-mail to your input and feedback is always welcomed.

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 26.1.07)

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.

Looking at last week, there is not much to say. Still no update on the talks that may lead to a takeover or investment and until an official announcement is made we can only assume that talks are ongoing. No shares were traded and from that we can only deduce that there is no real interest.

Looking back over the last couple of weeks we are now seeing the same sort of share activity as before the takeover/ investment announcement was made.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 29.5p
Bid price: 27p
Offer price: 32p

Share price movement for the week:-

22/1 0
23/1 0
24/1 0
25/1 0
26/1 0

Total volume for the week: Nil

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Richard Caborn Calls For Lower Ticket Prices

Richard Caborn, Minister for Sport, yesterday called for Premiership clubs to reduce their ticket prices. In particular he commented "I urge other clubs to follow Blackburn's lead and put fans and the community at the heart of the club".

He went on to say "The new TV deal is a great opportunity to address ticket prices with billions of pounds being pumped into football. The money shouldn't shouldn't just go into the pockets of players and agents. That is why I applaud Blackburn's decision to use money from TV income to slash their ticket prices".

Meanwhile, yesterday the Manchester Evening News' campaign for lower ticket prices continued apace with Bolton's Captain Kevin Nolan saying that he would rather see prices come down and play in a packed stadium. The MEN's full article can be read here

Our Club are yet to comment publicly on this debate but to a certain degree that is understandable with reports suggesting our Club are actively pursuing the signing of one or two players as well as discussing the possibility of Stuart Pearce becoming the next England U-21 Manager with the FA and all concerned.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ticket Price Debate Gains National Coverage

Following on from our previous articles and the "Make It Fair For Fans: MEN Sport Campaign", the Daily Mail gave the ticket price debate some coverage mentioning our Club and Blackburn Rovers in the process, their article can be read here

Reebok Contract Ending Gives Club Golden Opportunity

Under normal circumstances, home shirts are changed every two years and away shirts every year. It has been noted recently by many supporters that our Club shop has discounted the current home and away shirt (which were brought out this season) to £25 and all other merchandise bearing the Reebok slogan is also on sale at reduced prices. Such action has helped support the rumours circulating that our Club's relationship with Reebok is to finish at the end of this season.

Our Club has not commented publicly on the situation and we have no wish to add to what is already being discussed on forums and websites, however, we will share with you our idea for what we see as a Golden Opportunity for our Club when Reebok's contract does end. When that time comes and a new kit supplier has been appointed it is our opinion that the supporter's views and opinions should be sought by our Club and the new kit supplier. In particular, we would like to see supporters consulted in the shirt design process.

Our suggestion is this, that supporters should be actively asked to put forward their designs for the next home shirt with the winning three designs chosen by an independent panel and put forward for inclusion in the choice of home shirts available which would then be voted on by the supporters. Not only would this process ensure that our Club are keen to include the supporters in important decisions that affect them but it may also ensure that the first home shirt manufactured by the new kit supplier is a sell-out/ commercial success.

Please add your thoughts and views in the comment section of this article or send us an e-mail to

Sky Wants Your Opinion On Ticket Prices

In addition to our published views on season ticket prices and the Manchester Evening News' campaign for lower ticket prices, we have recently become aware that Sky are asking for supporters views. If you have an opinion on this very important topic please send Sky an e-mail on

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Blackburn Confirm Lower Ticket Prices Next Season

Blackburn Rovers are the first Premiership football club to confirm that they will be utilising some of the extra TV revenue from next season to lower ticket prices for their supporters. Blackburn Rovers Chairman John Williams said "The new television deal offers the opportunity for us to ease some of the financial burden on fans and show that we recognise their concerns on this issue." Williams added that "Our view is that some of this new money must be returned to our supporters in admission prices.".

Williams went on to confirm that Blackburn Rovers are "analysing the information gleaned from a number of ticket promotions and will announce next season's pricing structure in due course." and "The Premiership is becoming predictable with most people able to name the top four clubs at the start of the season so we need to try and remain competitive but this has not stopped us addressing fans' concerns.".

When commenting on specific price reduction initiatives this season Williams said "Already this season we have introduced The Card which rewards loyal fans with discounts on the price of tickets the more matches they go to" and added "For the Bolton match in October we reduced prices for home and away fans to just £15 and the response was fantastic with an extra 10,000 people on the gate. This increase in attendance made sure we balanced the books and the same applied to the Middlesbrough match where we did a similar price offer.".

It is known that our Club have been discussing the pricing structure for next season and have of course implemented ticket initiatives so far this season. We look forward to them announcing their pricing for next season shortly when it is widely hoped that our Club will also do its bit for the supporters.

Lower Season Ticket Prices Campaign Gains Pace

The Manchester Evening News have followed up yesterday's article about lower season ticket prices on a wider scale (not just City) and the article written by Mike Whalley and Peter Spencer can be found here

As mentioned yesterday we wholeheartedly support the "Make It Fair For Fans: MEN Sport Campaign" and hope you do to. We, like many others, wait with anticipation for the reaction of our Club.

30,000 Onwards And Upwards

The counter for this blog went past the 30,000 mark this morning, only last month it went through the 15,000 mark.

We 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. As at today, we have just over 12,000 unique visitors to the site located in over 60 countries world wide please keep coming back and please keep sending us your e-mails on anything City related.

Your input is very important, very welcome and encouraged. Please continue to contact us and subscribe to our newsletter via

Thank You and Best Wishes

Colin, Colin, Gavin, Ian, Mickey, Miles & Ollie
MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

It Is Time To Lower Season Ticket Prices

As average crowds at our Club continue to fall for the third season running, many supporters have called for season ticket price reductions. Our Club have arranged the occasional one off reduction like the recent Sheffield Wednesday FA Cup replay game and this weekends FA Cup game but have fallen short of taking the bold step of reducing season ticket prices.

Season ticket prices are one of the reasons why fans are deserting our Club, other reasons include the standard of football, games moving to suit TV schedules, lack of atmosphere and the lack of a real hero to cheer on. As mentioned season ticket prices are just one issue but with the money through the turnstiles not as important as in previous years and the new TV money due from next season, we have felt for a long time that our Club should take the lead and reduce season ticket prices for all.

We first published an article on this on 7 January 2007 which you can read here We strongly believe that a club as great as ours should do all that it can to encourage supporters to come to games and season ticket prices is a start. At the moment our average gate is 38,881, last season it was 42,856 and the season before that 45,192.

Dropping season ticket prices may have many positive knock on effects. Not only might it encourage supporters to renew for next season, it might also encourage lapsed season ticket holders to come back. The lapsed season ticket holder is undoubtedly a problem, many long term season ticket holders have given up or are currently deciding whether or not to renew. We have received many e-mails from supporters who are in this position and it is disheartening to hear from a season ticket holder who after many many years has decided to walk away from the Club they love unconditionally, we want and need those supporters back at the games.

Any supporters who come back to the games or indeed any new season ticket holders that a lower season ticket price might attract would bring with them additional revenue to spend in the stadium or the club shop. With a higher gate it might also help the atmosphere which is in need of a boost.

A higher gate might also help our manager, not necessarily from a finance perspective but from a "selling the club" perspective. If season ticket prices dropped to such a level whereby the stadium was full for most matches, it would make Stuart Pearce's chances of selling the club that much easier. It could just swing a signing in our favour. A young up and coming striker has the option of coming to City or going elsewhere, the wages and other perks are the same which does he choose? The team playing to a packed house or the team playing in front of a three quarter full stadium?

Today, we were delighted to read Chris Bailey's article in the Manchester Evening News which continues on this theme, you can read it here

In addition to Chris Bailey's article, there is also mention made of a campaign called "Make It Fair For Fans: MEN Sport Campaign" if this is a bona fides campaign set up to tackle this important issue, then we wholeheartedly support it, we hope you do to.

Please send us your feedback, comments or input to

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Commercialism Of Football Under The Spotlight

Last week Richard Caborn, the Minister for Sport, gave a speech to the European Professional Football Leagues meeting in Brussels. Caborn has for a long time been saying that he felt that the commercialisation of football was harming the game and one of the consequences being that it is losing touch with its grassroots.

Caborn spoke at the Supporters Direct annual conference last October which I attended. He struck me as a very passionate man and commented in particular that sport had "a value above and beyond business" and that "commercialisation has over taken governance". He went on to say that he was concerned that the main stakeholders (the supporters) had been overlooked.

In the Football Governance Research Centre's "The State Of The Game: The Corporate Governance Of Football Clubs 2006" published last December he spelt out his concerns again stating that "the increasing commercialisation of football poses a threat to its long term stability and success, and that action is needed to reconcile the business side of football with its sporting nature".

Last week Caborn continued on the same theme calling for "a better balance between the commercial side of the modern game and its sporting nature". During his speech he asked that UEFA initiate an "open and inclusive debate" on how the game should be run and involve all football's stakeholders in the process.

If you did not know, Richard Caborn was instrumental in setting up the Independent European Sports Review ("IESR") which was published in October 2006. The IESR is an independent review set up to evaluate various issues affecting modern-day European football including; the central role of the football authorities; the ownership, control and management of clubs; the level of expenditure in respect of players; activities of agents; the system of player registration and movement; the distribution of revenues within European football; the provision of funding to generate opportunities for all people to participate in football; and investment in football stadia with a focus on safety and security. For more information please go to there is also a link on the right hand side of this blog.

Only time will tell what UEFA and other footballing authorities do but it is clear to many that although commercialisation of the game has brought much to the game it has also effected other areas in particular the main stakeholders, the supporters.

I received the Football Governance Research Centre's ("the FGRC") latest report recently and am currently giving it some time before publishing an article on its findings here and in particular it's views on the Supporters Trust movement. The latest report (2006) is not available for downloading yet however, you can find out more about the FGRC and their reports here there is also a link on the right hand side of this blog.

Best wishes


Saturday, January 20, 2007

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 19.1.07)

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.

Early last week there was speculation that the talks that may lead to a takeover offer or investment had stopped however, this did not impact on activity in the shares and there continues to be little interest or activity in them. Until an official announcement is made we can only assume that talks are ongoing.

This week:-
Finishing price (mid): 29.5p
Bid price: 27p
Offer price: 32p

Share price movement for the week:-

15/1 0
16/1 0
17/1 1,000
18/1 0
19/1 500

Total volume for the week: 1,500

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Third 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, 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:-



You may have heard the phrase “Corporate Governance” bandied about. This is simply the rules, systems and checks that are, or should be, in place in organisations. A Supporters’ Trust, among other things, should be democratic, accountable and transparent. But what do these things mean in practice and how do they translate into Corporate Governance?

Democracy means that each member of the trust has one share and one vote. They can’t sell or otherwise transfer that share. Therefore unlike a normal company, no one individual can build up a controlling shareholding. This means that any decisions made by the members of a trust are based on a pure majority and truly democratic. This will include decisions on policy, the level of subscriptions and elections to the board of directors. The people running the trust will be subject to regular re-election and anyone can stand for office, assuming they have met any criteria decided on by the members.

Having decided on the policy it is up to the directors to carry it out and they have to be able to demonstrate that they have done so to the membership. If they do something that is contrary to trust policy or the will of the membership then they have to justify it to their members or face the consequences. These consequences can include personal legal action. In addition, when a trust is formed as an Industrial & Provident society it is also regulated by the Financial Services Authority.

Transparency means, among other things, that members should be able to see how the board have arrived at decisions and where their subscriptions have been spent. The trust will, for example, publish minutes of board meetings and annual accounts (which will also be externally audited, if the trust income is over a certain limit).

This is in contrast to the situation in many football clubs. Manchester City is far from the worst but whilst they do employ high standards of Corporate Governance they do not fully employ the Combined Code of Corporate Governance ("the Combined Code") which other Premiership clubs do. The Combined Code was first published in July 2003 and sets out details high standards of Corporate Governance which, for example, have to be fully adopted by all companies listed on the London Stock Exchange.

As supporters, we should be running our organisations to the highest standards. As an excellent example, the Official Supporters Club has a robust constitution, an audit and publishes minutes of its board meetings on its web-site. We want the trust to meet at least the same standards and seek to ensure that the club is at the leading edge of best practice in this area, as it is in many other areas. We also want the trust to work within the wider supporters movement to ensure all our clubs are run to the same high standards.

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

Best wishes

Colin, Colin, Gavin, Ian, Mickey, Miles & Ollie

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Buying City Shares - You Still Can

We have been contacted by supporters on how to buy shares in Manchester City Plc cost effectively. Even though our Club is currently in talks that may or may not lead to a takeover or investment, you can still buy shares in our Club.

Almost all 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 helped many supporters over the last few months who wanted to become shareholders in Manchester City Plc. This is an updated version of our article first published on 3 December 2006.

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 our first 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.

Over the last month or so subscribers to our mailing list/ readers of this blog became shareholders in Manchester City Plc by 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 our Club. If you would like to acquire shares in City, we suggest that your bank or existing stockbroker should be your first port of call. Finally, we are unable to give investment advice and so the decision to purchase or sell City shares is entirely your own.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 12.1.07)

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 a small amount of activity in City shares but the majority of those trades have been shareholders selling shares. In particular, a sale of 27,929 shares was completed at 25p on 11 January. That is not a large amount of shares to sell but the price at which they were sold was a full 5p below the bid offer at the time, which would confirm the lack of interest in the shares at this present time.

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): 30p
Bid price: 28p
Offer price: 32p

Share price movement for the week:-

08/1 5,411
09/1 0
10/1 3,000
11/1 29,929
12/1 0

Total volume for the week: 38,340

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Friday, January 12, 2007

Away Ticket Pricing & An Idea

This season has brought the above issue into focus, with Blackburn originally trying to charge us £36 a ticket before dropping it to £32, Wigan charging £35 (a whopping 40% increase on last season) and Bolton asking for £36 (a least an improvement on last season’s £39!) The numbers of City fans attending the Blackburn & Wigan games told its own story, with numbers well down. Interestingly, there was a reaction from both clubs afterwards, with Blackburn charging fans £15 to watch their game against Bolton and getting a near full house, and Wigan chairman Dave Whelan saying he’d made a mistake. Isn’t 20/20 hindsight a wonderful thing, Dave?

We all know why they do this of course. Despite the fact that they can’t fill their own areas of the ground, they knew (or thought they knew) that thousands of us would pay up whatever they charged to support our team. Well, they were wrong!

The rule is that a club is not allowed to charge away fans more than home fans for the equivalent facilities. The interpretation of “equivalent facilities” has been tested a few times, with one club claiming that a couple of TV screens on the away concourse entitled it to charge more. So this essentially means that City (or any other club) can’t charge different prices for seats behind the goals just because one end is occupied by away fans.

By the time tickets went on sale for the Bolton game, City fans decided they’d had enough of predatory pricing and a boycott was mooted on web-sites and a story printed in the Manchester Evening News on December 22nd. We would normally hope to fill both the upper and lower tier at the Reebok but this season will barely fill the upper (and more expensive) tier. I will not be attending, despite the fact that it’s the easiest away game for me to get to. It hurts like hell but many of us feel that enough is enough and that greedy people only understand one language – money!

Paul Tyrrell made the point very well in the MEN article that some clubs were prepared to raise prices for away fans to capitalise on their support but this also impacted their own fans and City were not prepared to do that. While I’m personally not particularly happy about differential pricing generally, at least City charge us more for watching the better visiting teams, regardless of the level of their travelling support.

So, aside from dropping differential pricing and setting prices at a more attractive level generally, is there an answer to this? I think there is. At the moment, the away club agrees (or is told) its allocation from the home club and this will depend on capacity of the areas available to and demand. The rules changed a while ago so that the home club gets the all ticket revenue, which of course encourages them to set prices at ridiculous levels.

So let’s take the Bolton game as an example. Estimates are that 1,500 City fans will be attending and let’s assume that these are all at full price. So Bolton will get £54,000 (1,500 x £36). Let’s also assume an average spend per City fan of £2.50 at the ground, adding another £3,750. That makes total revenue of £57,750 to Bolton and nothing to City.

My solution is for the away club to buy the tickets from the home club on a wholesale basis. City would presumably be fairly confident of selling far more tickets at the right price (we’ve taken nearly 4,000 in previous seasons, filling two tiers) and, having paid for the tickets will be keen to maximise their return. So if City were to say to Bolton “We’ll buy all 3,800 tickets you can allocate but we’ll only pay £20 per ticket”. This would give Bolton a guaranteed £76,000. City could then sell those at £27 and might well sell 3,600. This would net us over £25,000. If the City fans spend the same at the ground on average, Bolton would make an extra £9,000 or so.

So when all the cash is counted up, Bolton have got £85,000 instead of £57,750 and City £25,000 instead of nothing. Plus the intangible benefit that we’ve been better supported. I believe that’s what is known as a “Win-Win” situation.

As is normal with us, please send us your comments and input to or leave a comment on this article.

Colin Savage

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Misconceptions Cleared Up!

Over the last five months we have come across a few popular misconceptions about us and our aims. We are therefore happy to clear up the following:-

1) It’s just another supporters’ club

A trust is not just another supporters' club. City supporters' clubs do an absolutely fantastic job and among other activities arrange match tickets, travel, social events for their members and raise much money for their local communities, the club, the academy and other local and national charities. The trust does not intend to get involved with tickets and travel etc but will look to support it's own charitable projects. The trust will also look at different issues that may affect the club and take a view on the wider impact of football in its community and the future of the game itself. The trust will also focus on representing those shareholders that currently have no representation.

So while the two sets of organisations both have the interests of the club at their heart, they work on entirely different levels. We will actively support the work of the supporters' clubs and will also encourage as many people as possible to join their local supporters' branch.

2) The trust is just “Forward with Franny, Mark II” isn’t it?

Many trusts have been formed in response to financial or boardroom problems at their clubs. Whatever any individual City fan’s opinion on these issues at our club we would stress that we are fans of Manchester City and support our club and its best interests. We are not going forward on a platform of regime change, safe standing, the price of pies or any other single issue.

We are not a front for any individual or organisation although we have spoken to many individuals and hope to bring together many of those people for the good of the club. We are simply a group of ordinary fans, who feel that football has become more remote from people like us and want to re-establish our claim to the game we love.

Any attempt to paint us as a “stalking horse” or “fifth column” are simply a smokescreen and wholly inaccurate.

3) Yes, but you are anti-board aren’t you?

Emphatically not. We hope to work with the board to ensure that supporters’ views are heard and that Manchester City continue and enhance the good work it does in the community. We anticipate meeting with representatives of the board once the trust is formed.

That doesn’t mean that we won’t challenge the board where we feel that is necessary but we will also support it when we feel it has got something right. So the sensible pricing of tickets for the cup replay has our complete support.

4) It’s only relevant to shareholders

We don’t apologise for the fact that we have talked a lot about shareholders. Manchester City is a publicly quoted company and many thousands of fans own shares. We have no direct representation on the board and a trust, if certain criteria were met, could change that.

One of our aims is to encourage more fans to become shareholders. We are almost unique among clubs in that you can become a Manchester City shareholder relatively easily and for relatively little outlay and we will be actively seeking ways for fans to take advantage of that, either individually or collectively through the trust.

However, not being a Manchester City shareholder will not be a bar or disadvantage to being a member of the proposed trust. You will be a shareholder of the trust in any case but the difference is that one individual can only have one share and therefore one vote, regardless of the number of Manchester City shares you might hold.

5) A potential investor might be scared off by the trust’s emergence.

John Wardle has publicly declared that one of the criteria for any investment is that it is in the best interest of the fans. We accept this statement at face value and also believe that if any investor has nothing to hide they will welcome dialogue with the fans and be able to explain their plans for the club. In fact, a mass membership organisation, representing the shareholders and fans, must represent a great opportunity for an investor to do that.

Another factor, given that the shareholding at Manchester City is so fragmented, is that anyone wanting to take-over the club would potentially find it difficult if large numbers of shareholders didn’t want to sell their shares. Even if they bought the shares belonging to John Wardle, David Makin and the Boler family in one fell swoop, they would still need something like another 40% of the remaining shares to take the company private. However, if the trust, as an independent group of fans with the club’s interest at their heart could stand up and say “We wholeheartedly recommend this investment” then this could actually make things easier for an investor.

We simply don’t believe that someone who wanted the best for our club would be put off by a group of committed fans who wanted exactly the same.

6) It's just about the egos of those involved

Most trusts strive to secure representation on the Board, and we are no different, and have declared our interest in securing a trust representative on the Board. However, the decision as to who this may be is that of the trust's membership, as will be the election of all Trust officers. All of us currently involved in the Working Party have declared that we have no desire to fill this role, as we believe a candidate of exceptional quality with Board level experience is required.

To date, the members of the Working Party have committed their own funds and considerable time into the project and have no personal agenda beyond securing a successful and influential Supporters Trust at Manchester City.

Best wishes

Colin, Colin, Gavin, Ian, Mickey, Miles & Ollie
MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rumours, Whispers and Reality - Part II

Well, we're 10 days into the transfer window and so far, young Kelvin Etuhu has gone on loan to Rochdale. So called insider info is being bandied about still regarding Micah, Joey and Sylvain - some of it good, some of it not so good.

There are also the rumours about who is coming in - Alves, Smolarek, Jones, etc and worse still the talk of the size of the transfer kitty.

So why this follow up? Well it's certainly not to fuel anymore fires that's for sure! Having read the Manchester Evening News' website this morning, I was really heartened to read Stuart Pearce's comments that Micah, Joey and Sylvain are going nowhere. I think this is fantastic news from the manager on two counts.

Firstly he is sending a clear message that we are not going to let anyone treat us as a selling club. Secondly, it sends another message. I am not naive to think for one minute that if a substantial bid for any of our players were to come in, City wouldn't give it consideration. What the message Stuart is sending here is that it IS going to take a substantial bid to get one of our players - and I like that stance!

Keep the vultures away and make sure if it is we get an offer we can't refuse, it genuinely is an offer we can't refuse.

Well done City!


Monday, January 08, 2007

New Man Joins The Working Party

We are extremely pleased to announce that Gavin Cooper has joined us on the Working Party. Gavin shares our vision for the proposed trust and brings with him much experience including his time with the Small Shareholders Association. In addition, Gavin is an ardent follower of the Academy and Reserves running his own blog on the subject We welcome Gavin on board.

The run up to our public Open Meeting will continue to be a very busy one and we will be appointing additional members to the Working Party as appropriate. All appointments will be announced on here.

As mentioned previously, 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 firmly in the next stage.

During the last four months or so, 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.

City Take A Stance

Following on from a weekend where Steve Bruce, the Birmingham City manager, made a plea for football clubs to reassess their pricing structures following an attendance of just over 16,000; it's good to read that our Club are setting prices for the Cup Replay at just £15 for adults and £5 for kids.

Our Club deserve praise for this initiative and if I remember rightly prices were at a similar level for the Scunthorpe and Wigan home cup games last season. What people must realise is that in effect the club is subsidising our tickets as, if I’m correct, they will have to pay Sheff Weds more than half the actual gate receipts as the away club is entitled to half the gate money at the normal ticket prices!

Keep up the good work City!

Colin H

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Rumours, Whispers and Reality

At this time of year every newspaper is crammed with speculation linking just about every player to every other club imaginable, and City are no different. Couple that with the announcement of ongoing talks with a mystery investor and City is an absolute hot bed for rumour, gossip and whispers.

The club have come out and furiously denied a deal has already been struck with Chelsea for Micah Richards. However, rumours still persist he is on his way out of COMS. Joey Barton has been linked with almost every mid table club in the Premier League. As for Sylvain Distin, we are all painfully aware of the on going contract saga.

The most upsetting part of all this is the club (the Richard's done deal claim aside) rarely come out and deny outright any of the spurious claims in the press. Nor do they play hard ball to scare anyone off - eg "Yes Micah is available, however anyone must pay our asking price of £30 million and any potential players they have we feel would improve our team". Ok, so that statement is a little unrealistic, but I don't want us to roll over and have our tummies tickled in any dealings. Remember how supply and demand works - I have something you want, so you pay my asking price.

What we (the supporters) are asking then, is City demonstrate the kind of tenacity and hard nosed, business acumen that sets the top sides apart from the others dining off the scraps of those at the top end of the Premier League.

So much of the media focus on unsubstantiated rumours and gossip for the want of a good story. Very rarely do we get the response we would like from inside the club. Add to that the section on the club's website "What the Papers Say" and it is clear there is currency in speculation. Whilst a media watch element to any business is sensible to say the least, publishing appropriate rebuttals alongside these articles would go a long way toward appeasing fans and allaying fears.

The current perception among the fans is we are turning into a selling club. This is probably a million miles form the truth, however what are the club doing to set this perception straight amongst their biggest and most important stakeholder?


City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 5.1.07)

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 no real activity or interest in City shares as news of the potential takeover/ investment is awaited. As mentioned before, if there continues to be no positive news over the coming weeks it is possible that the share price will 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:-

01/1 Market closed
02/1 0
03/1 3,000
04/1 0
05/1 4,000

Total volume for the week: 7,000

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Open Up Your Pockets It's That Time Of Year

In the next few weeks next season’s season ticket renewal forms should be dropping through the post and wouldn’t it be a nice surprise if prices were reduced? Absurd I hear you say but why shouldn’t they?!

Next season every club in the Premiership will receive the biggest ever payment from a television deal struck with Sky but who actually reaps this benefit? Why are Sky paying the huge amount of money they do to acquire the rights to show Premiership football? Well the reason that Sky pay these huge amounts is simple – the Premiership brand is the biggest in the world. They do a brilliant job covering it and in the process they reap their rewards through advertising revenue and knock on sponsorship.

That leads us onto the next question, why is the Premiership such a sought after brand? Well, obviously the standard of football and footballers that play in the league is the main reason and with the likes of Henry, Rooney, Terry, Ballack, Drogba, Gerrard and Barton (!!) then we have some of the best footballers in the world gracing our league. However, don’t Spain and Italy also have players of this standard! For me the main reason that makes the Premiership stand out above all other leagues is the atmosphere created at the majority of the grounds and this is down to us the supporters, we play an integral part in making the Premiership what it is.

But when these huge TV and Sponsorship deals get signed do we the supporters see tangible benefits? Yes, we get to see some of the best players in the world because most of our teams can afford to compete for there signatures but as the players are reaping their rewards through higher pay packets no benefit in terms of lower admission prices are passed onto the fans, in fact in a lot of cases prices still seem to go up way above inflation.

If we use the Bundersliga as an example, their TV deal pales into insignificance when compared to the Premiership yet tickets prices in Germany are almost a third of the amount we currently pay in the Premiership, even at the top teams like Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. As a result most stadiums are sold out every week - something of a rarity in todays Premiership!

On the down side, German clubs can’t often compete for the signatures of players like Ronaldiniho and Henry but it hasn't done their club or national teams prospects any harm as they’ve won the Champions League twice and made the World Cup final once in the time since the Premiership has been in operation.

Now getting back to our beloved club; although they can be commended, as the majority of us have not seen a rise in prices for a number of years, the downside is that last year you had to cough up by the end of February and unless you paid in cash there was a mysterious £10 booking fee – even travel agents don’t charge you that much for using your credit card!

If (or should I say when) we retain our Premiership status our Club's income next season will be significantly larger than it was this season due to the new TV deal. As supporters we all want our club to procure the better players and to retain our better players, to do this the extra TV money will be required but wouldn’t it be nice if some of the extra money coming into our Club was passed on in the form of reduced ticket prices?

We, the supporters, are the lifeblood of our Club. Our tremendous and continuing support is one of the reasons why the club exists. On a wider scale we also play our part in ensuring that the Premiership is a world leading brand and commands the sort of TV revenue it does.

We have played our part, wouldn't it be great if some of the additional TV revenue received was passed on to us? Lower season ticket prices would have a very positive effect on our Club's image with the supporters and would acknowledge publicly that our continued support is appreciated. It may also encourage some of the former season ticket holders back and tempt "first timers" to apply.

Keep the Faith

Colin Howell

A View On UK Youth Development

The Times has run a three part series this week looking at the development of stars of the future. Earlier this week we publicised that Jim Cassell & our Club's academy were praised in the first part of the Times' series. There is no mention of City in the next two parts but it is still worth a read. Please take a took, all of the series can be found here:-

Part one,,27-2528714,00.html

Part two,,27-2530219,00.html

Part three,,27-2532163,00.html

Manchester City Has Worldwide Appeal

Our blog is currently accessed and regularly read by readers in 62 different countries.

Here's the top ten countries (in order of hits):-
United Kingdom
United States

There are readers in many "exotic" and "far flung" including Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Macau to name a few. If you're a non-UK supporter why not drop us a line and tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to support our great Club. All e-mails to

City Links Updated

Over the last few days we have been updating a few things on the blog. In particular we have updated the links section. We have another section or two to go in over the next week or two however, if you think we've missed a link or interesting City site please send us an e-mail to

Slack Procedures At Premiership Clubs?

Until about six months ago, I had never heard of David Conn the football journalist, author and broadcaster. I also didn't know that he is one of the UK's best investigative sports journalists and a City fan as well!

His book The Beautiful Game? Searching For The Soul Of Football has been an inspiration to me and others in the Working Party. Since reading it last summer I have followed his columns in the Guardian with interest.

Earlier this week, he ran an article on the Lord Stevens' enquiry. Now there is nothing to suggest that our Club is involved in any wrongdoing pinpointed by Lord Stevens and his team but it is interesting to note that Lord Steven's report says that 16 Premiership Clubs "failed to document financial arrangements connected to their transfers properly".

How serious this is, I don't know, but does it show that the majority of Premiership clubs have slack procedures? I'd guess over time we may find out the Premiership clubs who have fallen foul of the Report and certain practices exposed, in the meantime please take the time to read David's article,,1981495,00.html

Best wishes


Friday, January 05, 2007

CSA Man Joins Working Party

We are very pleased to announce that Ian Barton has joined us on the Working Party. Ian is the Chairman of the West Yorkshire branch of the CSA (Manchester City Centenary Supporters Association) and shares our vision for the proposed trust. He is a lifelong fan who first visited Maine Road in 1959, who brings with him much Supporters Association experience and a lot of passion. We welcome Ian on board.

The run up to our public Open Meeting will continue to be a very busy one and we will be appointing additional members to the Working Party over the next week or two. All appointments will be announced on here.

As mentioned previously, 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 firmly in the next stage.

During the last four months or so, 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.

Research & Organisations Back Supporters Trusts

We first ran an article on Substance's recommendations re Supporters Trusts on 7 October 2006. Since then much progress has been made and so we thought we'd run an updated article.

Substance is a social research company with particular expertise in sport, young people, urban and popular culture. A few months ago they published their report for the Football Foundation entitled Football And Its Communities which was funded by the Football Foundation and their Community and Education Panel.

The Football Foundation is the UK’s largest sports charity, to find out more about them and their aims (one of which is to strengthen the links between football and the community and to harness its potential as a force for good in society) please take a look at their website We have also added a link to their website for future use.

During the course of our research and planning we have spoken to many industry professionals and it would appear that Supporters Direct, the Football Supporters Federation, the FA and the Football Foundation have endorsed Substance's report. It is unclear if Manchester City Football Club or the Premier League has endorsed it.

We must pre-warn you that Substance's report is substantial, so for the purposes of this article we are concentrating on the Supporters section of the report in particular comments and recommendations made with reference to Supporters Trusts.

In Substance’s preamble of the Supporters section they mention something which appears to be a reoccurring theme amongst many City supporters these days, especially those who have contacted us over the last five months or so. Substance says that “football supporters are rarely seen by clubs as ‘communities’, and are now, in fact, more often identified as individual customers”. The report goes on to say that “our research suggests that one of the principal strengths of football clubs lies in match attendees’ collective definition of themselves as fans, supporters and followers who develop long-standing attachments to their clubs through neighbourhood and family connections, rather than their status as ‘customers’ attracted to a superior ‘product’”.

We know there is a significant number of City fans that no longer feel close to the club anymore instead feeling that they are required more for their money and not much else. You only have to look at the home and away crowds so far this season and compare it to previous seasons to get a flavour for the problem. In addition, you only have to go back one month to the AGM when the Chief Executive of our Club, Alistair Mackintosh, referred to the supporters as "consumers".

Substance's research lead them to follow our Club for three years. When commenting directly about the clubs they researched they said “currently, none of the clubs considered by our research has a policy orientation which relates to their supporters directly as ‘communities’”. A little later on their report says “it is also surprising and unacceptable that where fans themselves formerly organise around specific interests (for instance, to organise travel to matches, as independent campaigning organisations, or as trusts with mutual shareholdings), some clubs still refuse to recognise or engage with them. For example, involving supporters’ trusts in owning and running clubs, in the development of independent community organisations, or in creating new partnerships to enable clubs to be more outward facing, can only benefit clubs’ engagements with their communities and the fans involved”.

Substance does make an interesting point to the Football Foundation Community and Education Panel when it says “…in line with government support elsewhere, the Football Foundation C&E Panel could do more to encourage the inclusion of fan communities in the running of clubs by working in partnership with Supporters Direct to promote fan ownership and representation at board level and prioritising funding for clubs who demonstrate that they are building relationships which enhance the shared community of clubs and fans”.

Substance ends the report by making a number of recommendations to Central Government, the Football Foundation C&E Panel, FA Premier League and Football League and Football Clubs. The nine recommendations they make to football clubs are:-

1) Work with Supporters Direct to encourage supporter investment, ownership and representation
2) Understand, consult on and acknowledge the role of supporters beyond their status as "customers"
3) Conduct digital and qualitative "supporter community" mapping exercises to understand better their supporter communities and develop new ways of working with them around community issues
4) Include fans in preparations for match days, allowing them the freedom to create the "spectacle"
5) Ensure greater communication and access between directors and supporters in informal and open access environments
6) Increase player commitments to attend supporters' meetings, social functions and other informal space on match days and non-match days
7) Provide organisational and material support for fan-led volunteering and community development programmes
8) Support fan ambassador/ mentor programmes
9) Develop more inclusive ticketing, atmosphere and match-day access policies

We have summarised Substance’s report with reference to Supporters so please take the time to go to their website and read it for yourself we strongly feel that you will find Substance's views of supporters trusts to be a positive step forward for the future of clubs, their supporters, shareholders and communities. We have also added a link to their website on our blog.

Ollie briefly met Dr Adam Brown of Substance in London a few months ago when we discussed the formation of the Supporters Trust and possible Community based projects open to it when formed. We continue to research the "Community based projects" area and will be publishing articles in this respect in due course. We have kept in contact with Substance and will be meeting with them again soon to discuss our progress and the opportunities that lie ahead.

Finally, ahead of us running future articles on "Community based projects" we must make it clear that we will not be proposing that the Supporters Trust pressure our Club to provide or divert additional funding from other areas to it's Football In The Community schemes, that perception would be wrong and far from the truth. Our Mission Statement is clear "We also recognise the excellent work that Manchester City already does in the community and wish to support that and spread it further, wherever possible."

What we will be proposing is that any "Community based projects" undertaken by the Supporters Trust will be self-financed whether it be from its own resources and/ or with grants available from appropriate sources. Of course one area that does not need finance is time. We must thank the many supporters who have contacted us to offer their time to the trust. We look forward to the day when the Trust sets up and runs it's first "Community based project" run by the trust members/ supporters.

If you are involved with Manchester Community Projects, please do not hesitate to contact us or draw attention to causes that may be of interest to the proposed trust.

As is normal, we welcome feedback, comments, suggestions or input to us at

Best wishes

Colin, Colin, Mickey, Miles & Ollie

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Second 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, 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:-



Recent research shows that Manchester City, with an estimated 886,000 supporters, is the tenth best supported team in Britain. Worldwide there are probably more than 1,000,000 supporters. At present there are approximately 6,500 individuals and corporate shareholders in Manchester City Plc and we presume that the majority of these are supporters.

All people who invest in shares do so to make money in some form, be it for capital gain, dividends, shareholder benefits etc. However, supporters who invest in their football clubs seldom do so to make money. Owning part of your club, wanting to find out more about the finances and attending the annual general meeting, as well as other emotional reasons, are some of the reasons why supporters acquire shares in their club.

There can be difficulties in acquiring your club’s shares. Some are prohibitively expensive (e.g. Arsenal) whereas others are privately held and are rarely publicly available. Manchester City shares do not fall into either of these categories but acquiring them can still be difficult.

Our club is quoted on Plus Markets (formerly OFEX) and many banks and brokers do not deal in these shares. Some financial institutions who do deal in Manchester City plc shares require a minimum numbers of shares to be bought and this in itself can be costly,when you factor in buying and other charges. Non-United Kingdom supporters can find the process even more costly.

On 23 December 2006, we published the first draft aim “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” if you haven’t already read it please do. This our second draft aim takes a slightly different angle as we want the trust to be the catalyst for facilitating and promoting wider supporter ownership directly and indirectly via the trust.

The majority of supporters’ trusts have similar aims and some go as far as to say that they ultimately want the club to be totally supporter owned. Although this may be a utopian ideal and perhaps a very long term aim for the trust, we recognise that this is not likely to happen in the short or medium term.

There are a number of avenues available to meet this second draft aim and once we have held the Open Meeting it will be up to the Working Party to look at them all in detail. For the purposes of this article we will list a few simply as examples but they are by no means the only options available.

1. Sharesave Schemes

Many supporters’ trusts facilitate wider supporter ownership of their club by operating a Sharesave scheme for its members. Sharesave schemes enable individual members to contribute regular sums of money which are then pooled together with other members’ funds and used together to acquire shares in the club thereby sharing the cost. The shares bought are spread amongst the contributors in relation to the level of their contributions and held in the scheme in their individual names. The shares are held for the individuals and can be taken out at any time. During the period that the shares are held in the scheme the voting rights are ceded to the trust, in return the member/ supporter will have managed to invest regular sums at levels they can afford in a cost effective way.

2. Loans

Some supporters trusts have worked closely with banks to provide loans at competitive interest rates to their members who have in turn invested the sums raised in club shares. Much in the same way as the sharesave scheme, the funds raised have been pooled together to purchase the shares “in bulk” to provide savings to the members. The shares are then owned by the members and they repay their loans to the bank involved.

3. Identifying Cost-Effective Ways To Buy

Many subscribers to our newsletter contacted us to say that they had struggled to become shareholders of the club. Most of them mentioned cost or minimum share buying restrictions so we set about finding cost effective ways to deliver this. This resulted in us finding a friendly Bury stockbroker willing to deal in any amount of shares as well as find an online broker. We published the article “Buy City Shares Online” on 3 December 2006 which can be found here and “How Do I Buy Shares In Manchester City Plc?” on 22 October 2006 which can be found here

Moving forward we will be looking to deliver easy and cost effective ways for supporters to become shareholders in our Club, so that as many as possible will take advantage, either via the trust or on their own account.

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

Best wishes

Colin, Colin, Mickey, Miles & Ollie

Jim Cassell & Our Club's Academy Praised

In the Times today they carry a story about talent in English football "drying up". The article also repeats other recent reports that because of the perceived lack of talent coming through the ranks many clubs are "considering whether or not to keep investing in academies and some have discussed closing them".

In a previous article we commented that "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." This is echoed in the Times' article where they comment on the astonishing record our academy has of producing local home-grown talent.

The Times pinpoints four areas of concern that may be contributing to the loss of English talent but concludes that it "highlights the odds over which Cassell has had such success at City". Great praise indeed and an article that reconfirms how brilliant our Club's academy is.

Rather than precis the Times article why not take a look at it here,,27-2528714,00.html

Our article entitled "How Can City Produce More Young Talent" first published on 20 December 2006 can be found here

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

Best wishes


Monday, January 01, 2007

Please Don't Sell Micah Richards (or Barton)

Almost two years ago and days after Nicolas Anelka had been sold Alistair Mackintosh was quoted by the People as saying “It is nonsense to suggest that we are on the verge of financial meltdown – our debt is under control and manageable”. He went on to say “Fans do not want another Leeds and I can assure them that will not happen here”. In July that year Shaun Wright-Phillips was sold; in the space of six months two of the most talented players to ever wear a City shirt had departed in quick succession.

Despite Macktintosh’s public pronouncements most City supporters knew deep down that the club was in a perilous financial situation however, losing our top players is still hard to take especially when you see the performances of some (not all) of the players brought in since then.

Fast forward eighteen months since Shaun Wright-Phillips’ transfer and Stuart Pearce was quoted on our Club’s website recently as saying “We are not in a situation at the moment that we maybe were two years ago with Shaun that we had to sell.” Stuart Pearce is not the Chief Executive/ Financial Director so you will have to take his comments with a pinch of salt but even taking that into consideration you might still find yourself asking the question; was Mackintosh’s comments at the time correct or has Pearce let the proverbial cat out of the bag? Only the right people in the right places know the answer to that question.

Last summer Oldham confirmed that they had been approached by our Club to buy out their “sell-on clause” should Micah Richards be sold. At the time there had been much speculation about where the player’s future lay but credit where credit is due our Club managed to tie him down to a longer contract. Now some six months later, speculation has surfaced again and that was inevitable. Richards has continued to progress at an alarming rate, has made the England team and perhaps he is the one beacon of light for us long suffering City supporters.

Not too long ago we had Nicolas Anelka and Shaun Wright-Phillips to idolise; two players who we egged the team to pass the ball to knowing that they could create something out of nothing, give us the flair and skill we craved, give us the heart stopping excitement we wanted and give us a good reason to come week in week out. Those players are City players no more and it is the likes of Richards and Joey Barton we have turned to in their absence. It is no coincidence that we feel much closer to “our own”, the players that have come up through the ranks of the academy whose progression we have followed closely and encouraged as opposed to the Anelka/ Wright-Phillips replacements that were brought in.

Many City supporters have been there, seen it, got the t-shirt when it comes to seeing directors, managers, teams and players come and go over the years. The board are the current custodians (which is one of their phrases they quote publicly) and the playing side are passing ships in the night but the City faithful will be here forever and a day much like the Supporters Trust will be. We’ve all got that powerful drug “City” coursing through our veins for which there is no cure, love or loathe it we are going to watch our Club through good times and bad (and we half expect it).

Following City is never easy and no wonder when we’ve seen so much, almost soap opera like, debacles happen consistently over the years. It is therefore no surprise, that when our Club come out to deny the current speculation over Richards' future in the current January transfer window that there is a little doubt eating away at the back of our mind.

In these current times, players and their agents have a lot more say then they did years ago but if we could have one wish this year it would be a wish in the shape of a direct plea to the board “Please, please, please do all that you can to prevent “our own” leaving our Club, Richards and others like him are the future and their sale will have a deep and long lasting negative effect on our Club and the supporters in many shapes and forms. We have one of the best academies in the land to provide us with our players of the future. In the current climate where “cash is King” please do your best to stop our academy providing other clubs with their future and leaving us without our dreams”.

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