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