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:-
TO FACILITATE AND PROMOTE WIDER SUPPORTER OWNERSHIP OF THE CLUB EITHER DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY VIA THE TRUST
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.
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 http://mcfcsupporterstrust.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html and “How Do I Buy Shares In Manchester City Plc?” on 22 October 2006 which can be found here http://mcfcsupporterstrust.blogspot.com/2006_10_01_archive.html
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin, Colin, Mickey, Miles & Ollie