Wednesday, February 28, 2007

A Prominent Supporter's Message Of Support

Many of you will know or heard of Heidi Pickup the editor of MCIVTA. She is also the Chair of her Supporters Club branch. It was great to receive her message of support earlier today:-

"For some time now talking to any number of fans, be it in the pub, at supporters groups or via the web, what we have in common is an increasing disillusionment with the way City are going. Whilst as City fans we’re used to the trials and tribulations on the pitch, the one thing we always had was a sense of identity, community and belonging to “our” club.

Over the last few seasons this is no longer the case, we are no longer supporters but “customers”. This lack of identity may work if you’re a big 4 club, but as City supporters we are not so naïve as to expect top of the table finishes, European football and billionaire owners. Far from it. At the moment the club appears to have no direction and the financial results paint an ever gloomier picture with us continuing to lose money hand over fist. Whilst some areas of the club are well run (and we’re all proud to have probably the best Academy in the country) the focus at times appears to be on corporate hospitality and concerts – City are a football club, football clubs need supporters, they need finance and they need relative success.

Many individual supporters are also shareholders in the club, yet have no say in what is happening. The recently acclaimed advertising campaign “This is OUR City” needs to be applied. The formation of a Supporters Trust should help to address this and work for the benefit of OUR great club.

Best regards


MCFC Supporters Trust Aims (All Five)

Over the last two months we have published the five draft aims of the MCFC Supporters Trust. When publishing them individually we have also given a brief explanation to each aim. Detailed below are all five aims together with the links to each article:-

Aim One


Full Article (Aim One)

Aim Two


Full Article (Aim Two)

Aim Three


Full Article (Aim Three)

Aim Four


Full Article (Aim Four)

Aim Five


Full Article (Aim Five)

Remaining Open Meeting Speakers & MC Announced

We are very pleased to confirm that Jon Keen and Sean Hamil will be speaking at our Open Public Meeting this Sunday.

Jon Keen is the Press & Communications Officer at STAR (Supporters Trust At Reading). Jon is also a member of the Football Supporters Federation National Council who has been responsible in his time there for leading a working party on Corporate Governance.

Jon is a regular speaker on supporter issues and described himself not too long ago as "a passionate evangelist of supporter involvement."

Sean Hamil is a director of Supporters Direct having been re-elected approximately six months ago. Sean was a founder member of the Celtic Trust and currently serves as its secretary. Sean is also the co-founder of Birkbeck College's Birkbeck Sports Business Centre and his research interests include business strategy, corporate community and charitable involvement, and the governance and regulation of professional football. Sean has written and contributed to many books, articles and research on football related matters.

We are also very pleased to confirm that our MC will be James H Reeve who will need little introduction. James is a well known broadcaster and journalist who has hosted many radio programmes over the years. James is also a Prestwich resident and ardent City fan.

Falling Attendances - Myth Or Reality?

We've already highlighted David Conn's article in today's Guardian but there's comments in there that deserve further analysis.

"The issue of falling attendances is clearly a challenge for the whole of football," Mackintosh says, adding that fans have been turned off by inconvenient kick-off times, poor-quality football and the fact that matches can be watched live, for free, in pubs.

Read on a little: They (the club) accept, though, that outside the top few and the excited newly promoted sides, the remaining Premier League clubs are struggling to maintain crowds paying high prices for the commercialised football experience.

So is this true - are the blocks of empty seats we see every game just a symptom of a general malaise across the top-flight division?

We've checked this out and have looked at average attendances for the 17 teams that were in last season's premiership and also in this one. (Figures from ESPNsoccernet). Total average attendances for all those clubs so far this season are up, at over 610,000 against over 590,000 last season. However, both Manchester United and Arsenal have increased their capacity this season so we need to take the 29,000 combined increase out.

This leaves us with 581,535 across the remaining 15 clubs, against 590,799 the previous season. So across 15 clubs that's a fall of just over 9,000, or 600 per club on average. So certainly a fall, on a like-for-like basis.

If you look at individual changes though, there is a wide variation. Some clubs (Aston Villa, Fulham, West Ham & Blackburn - hardly the top few or newly promoted) have actually increased their averages. Some (including Spurs, Chelsea & Liverpool) have suffered average decreases of up to 600 fans.

At the bottom of the list, four clubs have seen significant decreases. Newcastle have lost 1,807, Bolton 1,873, Wigan 2,897 and finally our very own Manchester City, who have lost 3,992 from last season to this. So 43% of these 9,000 lost fans have been lost from CoMS.

To look at it another way, for the first couple of season at CoMS, we had the third highest attendances, after Manchester United & Newcastle. Arsenal have increased their capacity on their move to the Emirates stadium so we would be in fourth place anyway. However, this season Liverpool & Chelsea have overtaken us and next season may see us fall behind Everton, Spurs & Aston Villa. If West Ham stay up then it is possible that they will overtake us as well.

So is this issue a challenge for the whole of football or are some more challenged than others?

Singing The Blues?

We are a keen follower of David Conn at the Guardian. Not only is David a City fan he is also a keen supporter of supporters' trusts. His books have been an inspiration and we have contacted him a few times for advice as part of our research and planning.

David has written an article on our Club in his weekly column entitled "City Blues Show Bankruptcy Of The Premiership Boom" which you can read here

MCFC Supporters Trust Mission Statement

It is some time now since we first published our Mission Statement (on 25 September 2006) and for those of you who have not come across it before or may have forgotten, here it is:-

"The supporters of Manchester City appear to be increasingly disillusioned about their club and generally feel remote from it. Crowds are falling as fans see themselves as less important than other external stakeholders. We see a democratically constituted Supporter's Trust as the ideal vehicle to try to reverse this, being independent from the club management but ideally working with them, to ensure that the paying fans are recognised as key stakeholders in Manchester City's future.

We want to create a mass-membership organisation, covering every element of our fantastic support, where everyone has an equal stake and whose actions are democratic and transparent. We see a trust as a channel that is run by the fans, for the fans and with the club's best interest at its heart. 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. We do not see the trust as simply a pressure group but do see it engaging with and challenging management where we feel their actions are not conducive to the best interests of the club and its supporters.

We see a trust as the appropriate umbrella for existing shareholdings and also as a vehicle for potentially acquiring further shares, wherever possible. However membership will not be limited to existing shareholders of Manchester City plc but all members will become shareholders in the trust for an affordable subscription, thereby ensuring it is accessible to the widest possible constituency."

Thank you for your time and we look forward to working together with you towards a better future.

Best wishes

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

Fifth Aim Of The MCFC Supporters Trust Announced

Quite some time ago now we agreed the draft aims of the proposed trust. There are only five aims and here is the fifth and final one. All five aims will be published on here tonight. 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:-



Years ago, clubs were rooted in the communities they served. Many, including Manchester City, started their life as church-based groups, to give young men a positive outlet for their pent-up energies. Nowadays, the top clubs are, or aspire to be, global brands. But the irony is that as they have increased their media profile, they have increased their power to have a positive impact on the communities on their doorstep.

Sport is a great medium for communicating with people who are difficult to reach in other ways. Manchester City, to their credit, has embraced this concept wholeheartedly and their City in the Community scheme is recognised as one of the leaders in the field.

It is crucial that the power of football as a force for good, is not forgotten in the context of increasing commercialisation of the top level game. Manchester City do a great deal for disadvantaged people in their communities and the work of people like Shaun Goater and the late Marc Vivien-Foe have taken that work beyond these shores, where it is often far more badly needed than it is here. But there are always more things to do and better ways to do them. The Supporters’ Trust at any club should be at the heart of those efforts and we are determined to ensure that Manchester City will continue to set the example and standards for the others to follow.

aS mentioned in previous articles we 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. 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.

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

Best wishes

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

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Fourth Aim Of The MCFC Supporters Trust Announced

Quite some time ago now we agreed the draft aims of the proposed trust. There are only five aims and we will be publishing the fifth and final one tomorrow as well as publishing a summary of all five aims. 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:-



If there is one thing that sums up the disillusionment of Manchester City supporters at the moment it is that they feel distant from the club. Players don’t attend supporters’ club branches anymore. Now, if you want to see a player in the flesh, you have to have your branch meeting at the ground whereas players and officials used to travel far and wide to maintain contact with the fans.

There is also a feeling generally in the Premiership that real fans have lost their game and they are stirring themselves to get it back. The clubs seem more to be businesses that include a football team rather than football teams run in a business-like fashion. It infuriates most fans to be referred to as “customers” or “consumers”. Customers have choices. If they don’t like the offering from one supermarket then they can go to another. But a fan’s bond with his or her club is emotional and historic. They will spend large amounts of money, travel long distances and turn out in all weathers to support their club.

The business model of the modern Premiership club usually means that the revenue that is directly derived from fans, via tickets, is often a poor third to TV income and commercial activities (sponsorship, merchandise, conferences, etc.). However fans also contribute to these income streams and should be treated like key stakeholders in any business.

But if the business model in the Premiership has changed, the relationship between a club and its supporters is also changing. We are more willing to question what goes on both on and off the field at our clubs. We are not willing to be treated as “cash cows” and to demonstrate our loyalty at any price. Therefore it is vitally important that the clubs communicate honestly and effectively with their fans so that the fans understand the decisions that have been taken and the direction their club is heading in.

The rise of supporters’ trusts has taken the concept of supporter involvement even further. A small but increasing number of clubs are owned or controlled by their supporters and we’ve talked about this in one of our other aims.

In any walk of life, people respect honesty and have become more aware of spin and misinformation. Someone who says “I was wrong” is more likely to win our trust than someone who can’t. As fans, we can recognise that a decision taken with a short term view is not always the best way forward in the long term. And long term decisions that benefit our club may well not be beneficial in the short term.

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

Best wishes

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

City's Finances - An Independent Accountant's View

Some of you may know OB1 from his postings on Manchester Evening News online. Some of you won't know that he is a qualified accountant with many year's experience. Rather than hear us and our concerns about City's finances, please read OB1's article below. OB1 is not part of the MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party and he is not working for us on the periphery, here's his views:-

"I am a season ticket holder and shareholder who happens to hold a recognised accounting qualification and have over twenty years of post qualification experience working as a senior financial manager in various service industries. However, these are my own views based on a review of published financial information and are not to be relied on in anyway as professional advice.

The just released half year financial results for MCFC match recent results on the field: they are bad. The club made a loss of £7.1 million for the six months ended 30 November 2006 thus demonstrating that the club remains persistently unprofitable; yet the accountants Deloitte report in an article published with their latest Football Money League that the majority of Premiership clubs generate annual operating profits.

City once again occupied 17th place in the Football Money League, which is often referred to as the rich list; but rich means that you have an abundance of wealth i.e. more than enough money. Rich hardly sounds like the a suitable adjective for a club that cannot afford to buy new players without first selling - a situation that has prevailed at MCFC in the last few transfer windows. Deloitte use income as an indicator of a club’s financial wealth because it is the most easily available and comparable measure for that purpose. Also, as Deloitte point out, it might not be the ultimate measure of wealth but it is generally better to have more rather than less income and the choice of how to spend it. So why is a club that has been amongst the top 20 earners in European football for the past three seasons so impecunious or as some might say: where’s the money gone?

I trust that it is rather obvious to say that accountants do not tag each individual pound that comes into a business so that they can say precisely what they spent that pound on. Accountants of course aggregate similar sorts of items of income and expenditure together and summarise them in periodic reports such as profit and loss accounts and cash flow statements. Consequently one cannot say for sure whether part of the money received for Shaun Wright Phillips entirely paid for Georgios Samaras or whether part of Big Sam’s fee was covered by gate receipts; we just know that both events occurred in the same financial year and without the former sale, the latter purchase would not have been possible.

A quick peep at City’s published accounts for the past five seasons reveals that despite gross revenue of £261.6m over that period City’s aggregate loss was £51.6m, even after taking the benefit of the £21m profit on the sale of Shaun Wright Phillips; in other words, five year losses might have reached £73m but for Chelsea’s generosity. Therefore, if you exclude profits or losses on the sale of players, City have lost an average of £13.5m a year for the past five years. A figure not dissimilar to the £13.8m they lost in their last season in Division 1.

City’s first season back in the top flight saw turnover increase by £21m (75%). However, despite this substantial boost to income, City’s annual loss increased by £1.5m. Where did it all go wrong? Much of this new income was swallowed by staff costs, which shot up by £11m from £24.4m to £35.4m, and an extra £6m of transfer fees being written off or amortised. Transfer fees are charged against profit over the period of a player’s contract and that process is referred to as amortisation.

Staff costs have averaged £36.3m a year since promotion and amortisation of transfer fees has averaged £11.6m (excluding any losses on disposal of players). So broadly speaking one could argue that the financial benefits of promotion were eaten up by the cost of hiring and paying new players. Could City have spent less in this respect and achieved more? Well, you be the judge.

City’s top line received further significant assistance from the move to the City of Manchester Stadium: turnover last season was £12.8m higher than in the final season at Maine Road and only £0.3m of that increase represented additional television money. Unfortunately, by the same comparison, City’s annual operating expenses (excluding staff costs) have grown by £10.3m. Furthermore, City incurred finance costs of £2.6m in respect of the stadium lease and will have incurred interest on the money spent on refitting the COMS of, I would estimate, at least £1m last season. That little lot represents the best part of £14m. Now just how much of the additional operating costs have arisen as a direct result of heading east I cannot say. However, since the relocation a step change in operating expenses (excluding staff costs) of between £8m - £10m has occurred. Where this additional cost is directly related to the running of the stadium, does it represent expenditure essential to the successful operation of the new stadium or is money being wasted? Based on the club’s published accounts, I cannot definitively say whether or not the new stadium is actually improving or worsening the club’s current profitability but the available information suggests that it is borderline; however, only those running the club know the answers to such questions.

I must point out that I am not suggesting that City should not have relocated but I would love to know if the move is living up to the club’s expectations. I also wonder if with hindsight the club wishes that they had negotiated the lease terms differently?

So although last season’s turnover being £33.8m higher than in City’s last season in a lower division, the bottom line showed only a £2.9m improvement if you strip out the profit made from selling SWP; consequently, the underlying performance of the business remains unprofitable. This continuing unprofitability combined with high debt levels means that City cannot afford to compete in the transfer market. The question has to be asked, how has performance over the last few years stacked up against the club’s long and short range financial plans? Did the club plan to go through several transfer windows with little or no money to spend? Did it set targets for transfer spending on its return to the top flight then break them and spend opportunistically (Anelka) or reactively (David James)? Plans change but where is the evidence of a coherent long range financial and strategic masterplan at Manchester City?

If City retain their Premier League status they will enjoy their third major boost to turnover in the space of five years with the advent of the new TV deals, which should increase turnover by at least £15 million per season. Unless City have deals in place with players that relate specifically to the amount of TV money the club receives, most of this new money should feed straight through to the bottom line. This means that going forward City have it within their own hands to actually make a trading profit without resorting to selling their best homegrown talent. Nevertheless, the need to cover this season’s losses, which I am guessing will be in the region of £10 - 12 million, may require the sacrifice of a player or two.

I hope, I think, I know that if City were taken over by an investor who could afford to pay off their debts, invest a reasonable amount in the team, improve the commercial activities further and generate a bit of success on the field, City could easily generate annual turnover in excess of £80 million and make profits of up to £10 million available for reinvestment in the team. I just hope that there is someone out there with a rather larger bank balance than my own who views things the same way.

Best wishes


An Exiled Manc's View On City

We receive many e-mails and it is great to hear from so many supporters with so many diverse views. The trust will have many members all with differing opinions and it will be they who vote in the aims of the trust and it will be they who vote in the trust board.

We will continue to publish e-mails we receive from time to time, here's one received at the weekend from Greg Donovan:-

"I have been a little puzzled by the Supporters Trust aims and objectives - not the written ones which seem perfectly reasonable - but the implicit ones that appear as a result of many of the postings, many if not most of which are negative towards the club. The air of negativity and the lack of humour are both depressing and I do not feel reflect the MCFC I know and love and have supported since 1965 through the good and the bad. Like many, I am saddened by the 'money god' that has taken over the Premiership but it appears to be a fact of life. That being said, in my conversations with many friends and colleagues who support other clubs, I believe that the City board, for all its failings, is one of the better ones and that seems to be becoming lost in the discussions.

For the Trust to be effective, it needs to try to work with the Board and that means recognising and acknowledging the good points as well as criticising- we have a fantastic ground (if not atmosphere always - and that is not really the Board's fault but ours) and we have some of the lowest ticket prices in the Premiership - but Premiership clubs cannot be run on thin air and players' wages and transfer fees (and hence ticket prices) are not governed by our Board but by all Boards, Agents and players.

Our present Board is paying the price for the strange ('typical City') behaviour of many Chairmen and managers over the years (remember the return of Malcolm Allison?) and while of course I don't agree with everything they have done or will do, Wardle has put money into the Club and I believe cares passionately about the club. I for one will be renewing my season ticket - again at the frozen price - even tho' it represents a lot of money for me and (now I am exiled down south) a lot of time and money travelling. My kids are now above the cheap season ticket age but I applaud the decision to offer these reduced tickets, even tho' cheaper adult ones would have benefited me personally.

I applaud the investment that has gone into the Academy - if we can keep these lads together that is the way we will progress as a club - and we have some fantastic youngsters. I applaud the honesty of Pearce and within reason I am prepared for him to learn lessons as he goes along (what price all of the rapid turnover managers I have lived through) - and I believe he is learning although I know many do not. Of course, I hang my head at some of the inept displays (not the first time I have seen that at City) but I also stand in amazement at some of the great stuff we have played; the highs and lows are part of football, and certainly part of being a City fan, aren't they? Even in the days of the blessed Trinity (Bell, Lee, Summerbee) it was the same. The difference was that standing on the Kippax we pretty much always stayed behind the team and the criticisms were full of (often dark) humour not just abuse. I'm not one of these 'why can't it be like the old days' supporters (though I would love to be allowed to stand again) - I am a passionate City fan for now - but I do believe that we as fans have our part to play if we want a great team - by making a noise, not leaving 10 minutes before the end, supporting the players when things are not going well (I've yet to see the team or an individual play better with abuse and moaning - save that for the pub afterwards) and, yes, by parting with our hard earned cash. There seems to be a feeling nowadays that everything can be blamed on someone else - manager, board, players - if there is anything to blame it is the culture that has been brought about by Sky TV, UEFA (the outrageous sums of money going to the Champion's League thereby causing and enhancing the few rich clubs at the expense of the rest), the general attitudes fostered by some agents and players and an unrealistic expectation of success NOW.

Yes, there are problems at City just like anywhere else - but if we care about the club we should accept our responsibilities for putting things right and not simply just blame others. The Trust has the potential to be a positive force (and that includes constructive criticism). I hope it fulfils that promise and does not simply become another outlet for whinging or demands that City give away tickets, spend non-existent money on the plethora of proven goalscorers whose clubs are desperate to let them go and get into the Champion's league THIS season playing football like Brazil. I used to believe we were the best fans in the land - I'm not sure we are anymore but I hope am wrong. I love this club and that means through the dark days as well as the good.


Greg Donovan"

Open Meeting Speaker Announced

We are very pleased to confirm that Dave Boyle, Supporters Direct's Deputy Chief Executive, will be one of our speakers at our Open Public Meeting this Sunday.

Dave joined Supporters Direct as a Development Officer in 2000 and has helped set up over a third of the Trusts in existence. He is a former local government press officer and has also worked in the voluntary sector.

Dave has represented Supporters Direct on Newsnight, News 24, Channel 5 News, Sky News, ITN and Radio 1, 4 and 5 as well as on regional media, and has also spoken at meetings at the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Co-operative Party Conferences. He has also written for 442 Magazine, When Saturday Comes and Tribune. He has given papers at International Academic Conferences and given guest lectures at Birkbeck College, Bath University and on Liverpool University's prestigious Football MBA.

We will confirm the other speakers over the next two days.

Have City Fans Ever Felt More Isolated From The Club We Love?

We're regular readers of Purely Man City and from time to time draw attention to their insightful articles. As you might know Andrew is an ex-business journalist and it is clear he spends much time thoroughly researching his articles. We were pleased to receive a message of support from him yesterday:-

"Every morning I read through all the City talkboards. Many of the comments have a consistent theme: that the club is going backwards and run by people who have little regard for the views of its supporters.

It's not just the lack of success, the poor quality of football and the disappointment we now endure each transfer window.

It's the prices and quality of service on the concourses, the stewarding, the fact we have to dial a national rate number to call a local ticket office, the excessive booking fees and the TVs that pump out adverts at full-blast. It all suggests we're being viewed as passive consumers, rather than fans who have an active role to play in making this club successful again.

At no point in our history have we handed over so much of our income to the club and received so little in return.

This situation has got to change. For this reason I fully support the efforts of the MCFC Supporters Trust in its attempts to establish a dialogue with the club, and to make the fans' voices heard in the boardroom."

Best regards


Monday, February 26, 2007

Open Meeting Details And More

As you will probably know by now, we are holding an Open Public Meeting for all City fans and shareholders at 2pm this 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.

We have a number of guest speakers with a wide range of experience and knowledge; we will confirm who is speaking over the course of the next few days. In the meantime, what will actually happen on the day?

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

At the end of the Open Public Meeting the supporters present will be asked to vote on the proposal to establish a working party to go ahead and register the Trust. If the vote is successful, the working party will work towards the formal launch of the trust and deal with areas including the drafting of the constitution of the trust, registering it with the Financial Services Authority, open bank accounts, draft membership forms etc.

Assuming the vote is successful the numbers in the current trust working party will need to be increased from 7 to 12. There will be a chance at the meeting for supporters to sign up as additional members and in so doing will be asked to confirm their availability and the skills they have to offer the working party.

A map for the venue can be found here.

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

King Of The Kippax Blog

It is great to see that the one and only King Of The Kippax fanzine has recently joined the blogging ranks. We've added a link on the right hand side and you can also access it here

Newsflash - MCFC Supporters Trust Goes National Tonight!

We have been contacted by Radio 5 Live and asked to appear on their Monday Night Club show tonight.

We understand that Colin Savage will be going on between 8:30 & 9:00pm to talk about the trust, why the supporters need a voice and the open meeting.

The subject of investment in the club will no doubt come up and there will be one bit of news, which we've not been able to reveal up to now, that people will find very interesting indeed!

So tune in to 5 Live tonight.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

How Much Have Ticket Prices Gone Up Since 1990?

The Observer has a good article today on ticket prices. The article mentions alot of news we have already reported on here like Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan dropping prices and the Football Supporters Federation being active on the subject but there is some other interesting statistics mentioned.

It was interesting to read that the average price per (seated) ticket was £6 in 1990 and if adjusted for inflation since then should be £9.60 today! What was also interesting to read is that during the same period the cost of rail tickets has gone up 1%!

The Observer's article also mentioned Utd fans boycotting the Fulham game due to the high away ticket prices but like most of the media they seem to have missed that it was City fans boycotting the Bolton game earlier this season that started the ball rolling.

To read the Observer's full article take a look here

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 23.2.07)

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.

The takeover/ investment announcement we were all waiting for came last week. This would appear to have come after press speculation forced our Club to clarify the situation. It was originally expected that our Club would make an announcement when publishing their six month figures next week.

Under the Takeover Code there is no requirement to make an announcement when announcing results however, it is common practice for companies in such positions (in discussions that might lead to an offer or investment being made) to do just that.

All of the share activity last week happened after the announcement was made and resulted in the shares going back up to previous levels. The share price movement does not reflect activity though. When you look at the trades it would appear that more shares have been sold then purchased. The move upwards, therefore, is probably more due to stockbrokers upping their bid and offer prices as opposed to real interest in the shares. With approximately 55m shares in issue, the amount of shares traded last week is relatively small but more admittedly than normal!

Next week might prove an interesting time with rumours circulating Manchester that our Club has a board meeting on Monday to discuss two bids. Of course, this is just a rumour and we'll have to sit back and wait to see what happens.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 33p
Bid price: 31p
Offer price: 35p

Share price movement for the week:-

19/2 0
20/2 0
21/2 0
22/2 13,771
23/2 22,200

Total volume for the week: 35,971

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Man City Vital Football Supports The Trust

It was nice to see Johnny Baguette at Manchester City Vital Football publishing some kind words of support earlier:-

"This is a message to all Blues to please back the movement which aims to get your views heard at Manchester City Football Club.

These are as uncertain times as they come for Manchester City Supporters the world over. Whether it's tactics (or lack of them) on the pitch, deep concerns over the direction the club is taking and how it is run, what the board's intentions are or more destabilising rumours of our club being bought by somebody somewhere every Blue has his/her opinion.

It is more important than ever in the Murdoch ruled football era of falling attendances, circling foreign investors and relentless tidal waves of money falling into players and agents pockets for the fan's voices to be heard."

Thank you Johnny and colleagues, as the regular readers of this blog will know a link to Manchester City Vital Football has been on the right hand side of the blog for a while now. Please take some time to read their articles.

I Love My Club But Can't Watch Any Longer

We have received many e-mails, views, opinions, stories and messages of support and will continue to publish them on here. Fairly recently we heard from a fellow supporter who is upset at the way our Club is being run and despite clearly loving the Club has decided, like many, to stay away from games. It is supporters like David Williams that we want to encourage back to games, his views follow:-

"I'd like to wish you all the luck in the world in trying to bring back the club to the fans. Being a life long fan City have always been a club for the supporters but since the move to COMS we have become purely customers. At the moment I choose NOT to watch City as a protest against what is happening at the club I love. This is not an easy decision!!

Being a City supporter I do not expect us to win trophies but I do expect the Board and the management to steer the club in the right direction whilst offering me some entertainment along the way. None of this is happening.

Up until now my voice couldn't be heard (although I am certainly not alone). I feel sure the Trust can be "our voice" and make our feelings.

Please keep up the good work and the best of luck.

David Williams"

Please continue to send you input, feedback, stories, questions and messages to us at we reply to each one individually and publish as many as possible.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Ticket Price Campaigns Continue Apace

The Sun's "Cut The Cost Of Footie" campaign continues apace as does the MEN's "Make It Fair For Fans" campaign. Both papers carry stories today on their campaigns which can be read here (Sun) and here (MEN)

Of course as reported earlier this week the Football Supporters Federation are also getting in on the act by running their campaign/ petition.

All organisations should be congratulated for standing up for the supporter; at worst stimulating debate, at best forcing change.

We ran our first story on this topic some time ago on 6 January 2007 when we discussed the extra TV revenue to be received and suggested it was time to give some back. Our article can be read here and our statement issued after our Club confirmed ticket prices for next season can be read here

Please add your comments to this article. Tell us what you think about ticket prices.

This Is OUR City - Don Price

Don Price is a well known and respected City fan. When Don says something we (the supporters) listen. We have heard from Don and are pleased to publish his message here:-

"Many of you like myself, are not 100% sure what a Supporters Trust is all about or if it will do any good. My way of thinking is this, over the last few years we have entrusted our club with people who we all knew & thought they would do a good job, how wrong were we?

The family spirit within the club has all but been destroyed, fans are treated with utter contempt, they pay lip service to fans concerns about ticket prices without doing much to increase the attendances, the service & prices in the ground are shocking, they seem happy when we are embarrassed about the thousands of empty seats for each game. Things need to change & to change fast, the fans need a voice.

The Supporters Trust can't turn things round overnight, if at all, but I for one will be happy knowing that there is someone on our wavelength trying to do what is right for the club we all support & love, give them a chance & you never know, doing nothing is not an option.

All the best


City Season Ticket Sales

It is great to read that our Club's initiative to attract younger supporters to games is paying off. According to our Club's statement yesterday the "recently launched Under-16 Seasoncard has proved to be the fastest-selling tickets of its kind." & "Applications for the card have more than tripled when compared to the same selling period last season".

Continuing the theme, our Club proudly announced that "Sales of the Under 21s Seasoncard are also on the increase". It is clear that our Club is excelling in attracting tomorrow's supporter today. Credit where credit is due, our Club's strategy and hard work in this area is certainly bearing fruit and should be praised.

Surprisingly, there was no update on the sale of adult season tickets but there is still much time to renew or apply. Whilst Blackburn, Bolton and Wigan have all committed to season ticket price reductions across the board our Club's strategy was to freeze adult season ticket prices for the fourth year running. That in itself is a positive move but is it enough to keep existing season ticker holders and entice new or ex-season ticket holders to apply?

We felt that our Club could have offered a gesture of goodwill to our magnificent supporters however, the Club following consultation has chosen it's season ticket strategy. How successful that strategy is, time will tell.

We have heard stories that adult season tickets sales are two hundred and forty up on this time last season, we have also heard that they are thousands down on the this time last season. Whatever the situation may be, it is too early to accurately assess if our Club's strategy has worked or not. We look forward to our Club's next announcement on this very important and topical subject.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

David Bernstein Supports The Trust

David Bernstein is a City fan and needs no introduction to City supporters. He spent almost five years as Chairman of our Club during what was an interesting and important time in our history.

We are pleased that David supports the trust, his statement follows:-

"I would like to wish you every success for the exciting development in launching the MCFC Supporters Trust. This is a progressive move which should give shareholders and supporters a stronger and more focused voice and which should benefit the club.

King regards


City Takeover Update

There has been much speculation in the media over the last twenty four hours with reference to a takeover of our Club. Our Club have released the following statement:-

"The Board of Manchester City notes the recent press speculation regarding thepossibility of an offer being made for the Company. Further to the Company's announcement on 7 December 2006, the Board of Manchester City confirms that it remains in preliminary discussions with third parties that may or may not lead to an offer being made for the Company.

A further announcement will be made in due course as appropriate."

We have had many supporters and shareholders ask us to confirm our position. It is too early to assess what may or may not happen and we still stand by our statement of 15 February 2007:-

"We strongly believe that success on and off the pitch requires our Club, the shareholders, the community and most importantly the supporters to pull together as one.

The imminent formation of the Supporters Trust can play a part in delivering this by representing shareholders and supporters who have no representation or voice on the board of our Club. We continue to strongly believe and encourage shareholders and supporters, who want to play an active and positive part in the future of our Club, to stand up and be counted. Participating does not have to be via the Supporters Trust, it can be via the magnificent supporters clubs or other worthy supporters groups. The most important thing to remember, is that the key to future success lies in the hands of the supporters and shareholders and their active/ positive participation.

Action does speak louder than words, the time for apathy and disillusionment is over, it is time to contribute and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

We will actively support any investor who shares those views and wants to play their part in a successful all inclusive long term partnership. We are ready to play our part."

If you are an investor, a supporter, a shareholder or a member of the community please contact us at we will treat all communication in the strictest confidence. Alternatively, come to our Open Meeting at 2pm on Sunday 4th March at the University of Manchester’s Renold Building, Sackville Street Complex, Altrincham Street, Manchester.

Further details and a map for the venue can be found on this blog here

Best wishes

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

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Season Ticket Prices And A Refreshing View

Bolton Wanderers have today joined Wigan Athletic and Blackburn Rovers in dropping season ticket prices right across the board (barring corporate hospitality prices). There is much coverage of this decision in the national press today and The Sun reported it as part of their Cut The Price Of Footie Campaign; the Sun's article can be read here

Bolton's news brought a cautious statement from the Football Supporters Federation who have been campaigning for lower ticket prices. Their latest press release and details of their petition can be found on their website here A link to the FSF's website has also been added on the right hand side of this blog.

Our statement on our Club's pricing for next season can be read here

Earlier this week Chelsea confirmed that they would fbe reezing their season ticket prices for next season but perhaps the most refreshing view was from David Gold, the Chairman and co-owner, of Championship promotion hopefuls Birmingham City.

Gold said "If we rewind the tape 14 years, every club spent their television money on players' wages, agents and transfer fees. Not a penny went to the clubs themselves or, more importantly, the supporters. Clubs who got the money immediately increased their prices and, as television money went up, the prices went up in tandem. They have sucked money out of the fans relentlessly for 14 years - I'm talking about all football, I'm talking about ourselves - and it's got to stop." Gold went on to warn against ignoring the fans and finished "It's time football gave something back to them."

The debates, campaigns, pricing policies etc will continue to be a topic of conversation for some time to come. We'll continue to keep an eye on it and bring attention to it on here.

Technology In Use At City

One of the websites we love reading is Purely Man City. Andrew, who owns and runs the site, must spend a significant amount of time doing his research and today he has excelled himself when doing an article on some of the technology being employed on the playing side at our Club. His article has nothing to do with the Supporters Trust but nonetheless it is a great read. Please take some time to read it here

Monday, February 19, 2007

Blue Is The Colour - Spread The Word

If you didn't already know of Bluewatch MCFC maybe you should take a look. Bluewatch is run by a group of dedicated City fans whose main aim is to improve the atmosphere and matchday experience. They have come up with many ideas and are in the process of meeting with our Club to look at ways to meet their aims/ work together.

Today, they've come up with an idea for the FA Cup Quarter Final. If you are going, please consider giving this your support. Simon Cooper of Bluewatch says:-

"So we now know the Draw. Arsenal or Blackburn. If its Arsenal they will put a dampener on what we are going to organise. If its Blackburn they will be a bit more easy going about it.Whoever it is we will have 7 thousand tickets.

Bluewatch (or any other fans group that wants to) through MCFC will contact either club and confirm if we will be allowed in with flags and fancy dress. The theme will be the "Blue is the Colour Brothers" We are asking everyone to wear as much Sky Blue in their clothing as possible to show the boys our support.

If this consists of Fancy Dress or even normal clothing. BLUE SHIRT, BLUE PANTS, BLUE HAT, BLUE FACE PAINT, BLUE SOCKS, UNDERPANTS.... Blue Everything. It will be so easy for every city fan attending to take part in.

We are also encouraging everyone to take as many scarfs as possible and flags (if given the ok). Please paste this and send it to every blue you can.

We will be asking other websites and City fans groups to join in.Together we can all make a difference. MCFC TRUST, KING OF THE KIPPAX, BLUEMOONMCFC, CITY TILL I CRY, can you all help by just basically spreading the word.

MARCH THE 10th 2007

The MCFC Supporters Trust will be formed to pull shareholders and supporters together to play a positive part in the future of our Club. We support individuals and groups who share those ideals. Please take a look at Bluewatch MCFC's website here There is also a link to their website on the right hand side of this blog.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Reebok Out Le Coq Sportif In?

Rumours have been circulating for some months now that Reebok are to be replaced as kit supplier when their contract runs out at the end of this season.

In today's Mail on Sunday, their reporter Bob Cass says "Following my revelation that Nike will be the kit suppliers at Aston Villa, another major change is on the cards at a top club. Manchester City are to end their association with Reebok and will switch from next season to French company Le Coq Sportif, who beat off a £2m bid from Puma."

The minutes from the Points of Blue meeting on 7 February 2007 with Alistair Mackintosh, Sara Billington and Paul Tyrell in attendance would indicate that a change is afoot. When asked about the kit situation the Club responded that the new deal was commercially sensitive.

We first wrote our views on the situation on 25 January 2007 and our article can be read in full here

We still feel that when the change of kit supplier comes it will give our Club a great opportunity to canvass supporter's views and opinions. In particular, supporters could be 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. This process would ensure that our Club are keen to include the supporters in important decisions that affect them but perhaps even more important the first home shirt manufactured by the new kit supplier may become a sell-out/ commercial success. What a great way to start a new relationship.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Danny Pugsley & Malcolm Shaw's Messages Of Support

If you are a keen follower of all things City, it's "odds on" that you read Danny Pugsley's "Bitter & Blue" blog and/ or Malcolm Shaw's "Man City FC: A Bluesology" blog; we do!

It was great to receive their messages of support recently:-

Danny says "Currently we are at a point in the clubs history where there is a growing sense of disillusionment at the direction in which the club is heading. Concerns from fans cover topics as far and wide as atmosphere, pricing, on pitch performances and the future role of the club in the Premier League.

There are many of us who feel that the detachment between the fan and those in power has never been bigger, and that the voice of the fan is as less influential as it has ever been.

This is why there is a need for a collective group to come together to represent the views, interests and hopes of all fans.

Yes, there have been campaigns and initiatives previously but having met and spoken to members of the group I feel that they are well placed to achieve the aims they have set out.

I am happy to offer my full support to the group and wish them the best in their endeavours to improve things at Manchester City".

Malcolm says "City fans are well used to living a roller-coaster football life, but always give their club the most loyal and passionate support, whether it be in successful times or in adversity; sadly it has been more of the latter recently, but that's another story.

The gulf between the ordinary City fan like you and I and the Club has become so wide in recent times, that fans who have supported their Club through thick and thin over the years feel increasingly alienated and disenfranchised, wondering if it really is all worth it. The answer to that question is really down to the Board to answer; they must show a respect to, and engage meaningfully with the people who have helped make our great club what it is today and more importantly what it should be in the future, namely a club with the interest of the fans (their most important asset) at the core.

The MCFC Supporters Trust is the best opportunity we have today to influence what happens in our Club, but they can only be successful from a position of strength. City fans therefore need to get behind the Trust and support the good work being done by Colin, Ollie and the rest of the team.

I'm more than happy to put my full support behind the Trust and hopefully all you Blues out there in Cyberland will do the same!"

Thank you Danny and Malcolm. Links to their blogs are here, Bitter & Blue & Bluesology

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 16.2.07)

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 the week just gone, there is not much to report. Just like last week and the week before that there is still no update on the talks that may lead to a takeover or investment and still no real interest in the shares.

There were only two trades of 100 shares yesterday and that's it! Just over two months after the announcement we really have returned to pre-announcement levels! Until there is an update on progress I do not expect to see much activity although, there may be on the last day of February when traditionally the Club releases it's half year results.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 26.5p
Bid price: 25p
Offer price: 28p

Share price movement for the week:-

12/2 0
13/2 0
14/2 0
15/2 0
16/2 200

Total volume for the week: 200

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Investment/ Takeover Statement

On 7 December 2006, Manchester City Plc announced that they were in talks that may lead to a takeover of/ or investment being made in our Club. Since that date no official announcement has been made and so we assume that talks are ongoing.

Although we have made statements with reference to this issue in December 2006 & last month we feel it appropriate to confirm our current position:-

"We strongly believe that success on and off the pitch requires our Club, the shareholders, the community and most importantly the supporters to pull together as one.

The imminent formation of the Supporters Trust can play a part in delivering this by representing shareholders and supporters who have no representation or voice on the board of our Club. We continue to strongly believe and encourage shareholders and supporters, who want to play an active and positive part in the future of our Club, to stand up and be counted. Participating does not have to be via the Supporters Trust, it can be via the magnificent supporters clubs or other worthy supporters groups. The most important thing to remember, is that the key to future success lies in the hands of the supporters and shareholders and their active/ positive participation.

Action does speak louder than words, the time for apathy and disillusionment is over, it is time to contribute and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

We will actively support any investor who shares those views and wants to play their part in a successful all inclusive long term partnership. We are ready to play our part."

If you are an investor, a supporter, a shareholder or a member of the community please contact us at we will treat all communication in the strictest confidence. Alternatively, come to our Open Meeting on Sunday 4th March at the University of Manchester’s Renold Building, Sackville Street Complex, Altrincham Street, Manchester.
Further details and a map for the venue can be found on this blog here

Best wishes

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

A Message From Arsenal Supporters Trust

When businesses or organisations form, they look at and learn from their competitors. During our research and planning stage we were no different and looked at many Supporters Trusts, how they operate, what their aims are, how active they are and how they co-exist with their Clubs, supporters clubs etc.

One trust we have looked at is the Arsenal Supporters' Trust. They appear to be very active and co-exist/ work with their football Club and supporters clubs. As a model, there is much to take from Arsenal Supporters' Trust's set up and we, like them, want the MCFC Supporters Trust to co-exist with our Club, the supporters clubs and other supporters groups/ initiatives working towards a common goal being a successful club on and off the pitch.

There is one significant difference between Arsenal Supporters' Trust and the trust we are proposing. Arsenal's trust holds a small amount of shares in Arsenal Football Club however, there is a real chance with the MCFC Supporters Trust that it can acquire a significant shareholding directly and indirectly (via pledges) within a relatively short period of time.

Arsenal Supporters' Trust was created to:-

1) Promote the interests of supporters who own shares in Arsenal Football Club
2) Facilitate wider supporter involvement in the club
3) Facilitate and promote mutual supporter ownership of Arsenal

These are common aims through the Supporter Trust movement and our draft aims (we will be publishing the last two shortly) reflect closely those above.

It was great to hear from Arsenal Supporters Trust recently, here's their message of support:-

"The board of the Arsenal Supporters' Trust notes with pleasure moves to establish a supporters' trust at Manchester City. We look forward to co-operating with our fellow supporters at the Blue Camp once your trust has been established on matters of mutual interest.

Best wishes for a successful meeting. Another step on the road to building supporter ownership and influence in the boardrooms of every club in the land.

Steven Powell
Board Member
Arsenal Supporters' Trust"

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Will Football Continue To Evolve For Good?

We have reported on the Independent European Sport Review, how UEFA backs grass roots football and the Supporters Trust movement amongst other wider issues affecting football in the past.

Today David Conn, via his weekly column for the Guardian, has written an excellent article on Richard Caborn's recent meeting with the Premier League and the push for change in football. Rather than go into detail, please take the time to read it here

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Chris Bird, Ex-City Executive, Supports The Trust

Chris Bird is a City fan and known to most, if not all, Manchester City fans. He spent four years at our Club as Chief Operating Officer and Board Director. Chris is the managing director of his own public relations company and has a wide range of other commitments within Manchester and the community.

We are pleased that Chris supports the trust, his statement follows:-

"Dear All

Taking an interest in your football club at whatever level is important. Through good times and bad there is always a consistent factor, THE FANS.

During my time at City I championed the 2 campaigns that reflected the relationship a club should have with its fans. 'Supporting our supporters' and 'Putting the fans first' were not just marketing themes, the whole board were as one in ensuring there was a tangible delivery. This was driven I feel by the spirit of the 98/99 season.

The supporters trust could now have an ideal opportunity to play an important role in bringing back the feeling of togetherness to the club. We have witnessed what can be done when we are as one. And we have suffered when we have been at odds.

The supporters trust may not yet have an official role to play at the club but their voice, together with those of supporters clubs and fans alike must be heard and never ignored.

Our Chairman must be supported, our team encouraged and our fans respected. We all have a duty to deliver.

Chris Bird"

Cut The Cost Of Footie Campaign & Survey Results

Following on from yesterday's article about the Sun's "Cut The Cost Of Footie" campaign and The Football Fans Census becoming involved, today TFFC have announced the results of their "Cost Of Footie" survey. The results highlights include:-

1) Only 12% of fans think match tickets are good value for money
2) 96% think Premiership clubs should use increased TV revenue to cut ticket prices
3) 86% would go to more games if tickets were cheaper and available
4) 74% would prefer to stand and pay less
5) 70% of Manchester City fans polled reported a worsening atmosphere

Interestingly, Tessa Jowell, Culture Secretary has become the first cabinet minister to back the "Cut The Cost Of Footie" campaign and is urging her fellow MPs to join suit.

The full results of the survey, the Sun's article today and Tessa Jowell's words of support can be accessed here

Your Trust, Your Voice, Your Opportunity

City are a club with a great history and a great tradition. That sums it all up for me. Glory, glory days that evoke images filled with pride and passion. Wistful visions of Neil Young spanking the ball in the back of the net at Wembley in ’69. Goalkeepers diving out of the way of one of Franny’s penalties. Buzzer charging down the wing. Dennis Tueart’s overhead kick, Peter Barnes causing mayhem amongst opposition defences and Big Dave Watson having stitches put into a gash above his eye whilst giving an interview to Brian Moore at the same time!

Ultimately, what leaps out here is just like the words history and tradition, all this is firmly in the past.

Reading the message boards, talking to fans at the game and in the various pubs around the ground, the vox populi is the club is clearly in some difficulty. Off the field we have very well publicised debts along with the club being hawked around at every available opportunity in order to secure investment or a takeover. On the field the team have yet to realise their full potential. I’ll spare you some of the language I’ve been treated to when discussing City – this is a family show after all!

So what can we do about all this?

Well, it’s clear that change has not always been the catalyst for success at City – you’ve only got to look back at how many managers we went through in the 90’s to see that. Even changes at chairman level have not always born fruit.

What we are proposing is definitely change; however the Trust is all about EVOLUTION not revolution.

Forming a Supporters Trust at City will be, in my opinion, the single biggest change in the history of the club as it will put you back at the heart of Manchester City where you rightfully belong. For once it will actually be a change for the better.

How often have you had a fellow Blue claim the club just doesn’t care about the fans anymore or that the supporters are being ignored? Wouldn’t it have been nice for the club to have really heard what you thought about the season ticket renewals, fair ticket pricing, lack of activity in the transfer windows, concerns about the size and scale of the debt, the stadium itself, consultation on a singing section amongst many, many other things.

Wouldn’t it have been even better if the club had heard you and done something about it?

The Trust by its nature will be democratic, transparent, audited and accountable to its members. By coming together en bloc as shareholders and fans alike, we will be able to exert the necessary influence to ensure your concerns are heard and more importantly appropriate action is taken.

I am absolutely devastated when I speak to fans considering turning their back on the club they love after years of loyalty and unconditional support. Action must be taken to halt this.

No one is foolish enough to make promises like a Trust will ensure the double for City, or we will win the Champions League by 2010. What it will do though is give YOU the opportunity to have YOUR voice heard.

The Trust is here to ensure you are not forgotten or taken for granted.


Another Supporter Supports The Trust

We would like to thank all the supporters who have sent us messages of support. We will publish a selection of them, in full, on here from time to time. They will also be used as part of our presentation at our Open Meeting, details here

Our e-mail address is and we actively encourage feedback, input and questions.

Similarly, if you are a supporter and would like to contribute by way of writing an article which is related to the trust, City or the wider issues affecting football please send us an e-mail. We would love to hear from you and currently have a few supporters writing articles.

Finally, back to the title of this article. We recently received a message of support from Mark Todd, the Chairman of the Manchester City Disabled Supporters Branch:-

"In the past, when City lurched from disaster to disaster and then slid into the 3rd tier of English football it was the fans that kept our Club alive. We refused to let it die.

I believe the time has now come to secure the future. City fans must join the proposed Supporters Trust and so take a stake in OUR Club, giving City fans a voice on the Board which is our by right.

Mark Todd
Manchester City Disabled Supporters Branch"

Subscribe To The MCFC Supporters Trust Newsletter

Issue 17 of our newsletter will be sent out tomorrow evening. The newsletter covers up and coming articles and gives a bit more of an insight then we publish here on the blog. If you want to receive a copy, please e-mail us at and we will add you to the list.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Ticket Price Debate Continues In National Press & Beyond

You may have noticed that the Sun recently started a campaign entitled "Cut The Cost Of Footie" which continues to gain pace, coverage and backers. One of their latest articles can be accessed here

In addition to the Sun's campaign, The Football Fans Census, has also become involved saying "Ticket pricing recently came top of our recent survey "One Change In Football" as the one thing that fans would most change about the game. The cost of going to football matches is something that effects most of our members and is something that many in the game feel is out of control."

The Football Fans Census' Mission Statement says all you need to know about them, that they are set up "To provide an independent and neutral forum for football fans that is both an information resource and a platform enabling them to communicate opinion on issues related to the game."

We have put a link to The Football Fans Census on the right hand side of this blog, you can also access their website here

Thomas Cook Sponsorship Under The Microscope

Thomas Cook, our Club's shirt sponsor, has today announced that they will merge with My Travel to create Europe's second largest tour operator. The enlarged company will be known as Thomas Cook Group and be based in London.

Thomas Cook was founded in 1841 and currently employs 20,000. Earlier this month they announced pre-tax profits of €205m on turnover of €7.8bn. The merger is expected to bring a pre-tax cost saving of approximately £75m per annum once the full benefits of the merger is realised. Much of the savings are thought to come from the reduction of staff.

Thomas Cook became our Club's shirt sponsor and official travel partner in the Summer of 2003 initially for three years however, this deal was extended until 2008. According to reports, Thomas Cook currently pay £1.5m a year to be our Club's shirt sponsor and the deal expires on 30 June 2008.

The current deal is one of the lowest in the Premiership and in recent times has been surpassed by Bolton, Spurs and Newcastle's kit deals. There is no indication, at present, that Thomas Cook's merger will have an effect on the current deal or them continuing as kit sponsor however, perhaps when negotiations start on extending their deal our Board can squeeze a higher amount out of what will be Europe's second largest tour operator!

Another US Opportunity Bites The Dust?

Following on from our article "Is City Missing Out On Golden (US) Opportunities" published on Saturday 10 February (you can read it again here) it is reported today that Chelsea are set to become the next Premiership Club to enter into partnership with a Major League Soccer club.

Chelsea, according to reports, are close to entering into a partnership with DC United which would help them attract huge commercial spin-offs (merchandising, wider fanbase, additional sponsors etc) as well as give them the opportunity to send promising youngsters to play in the MLS to gain experience. Presumably, such an arrangement would also include the exchange of technical expertise and perhaps give Chelsea first option on any promising US players that come through the ranks at DC United. Such an arrangement may also give Chelsea the edge when looking at players coming through the burgeoning US college football system.

17th Biggest Club In The World Still Loses Money

Last week Deloitte published their tenth annual Deloitte Football Money League List (“the List”). There are a number of different methods of defining a club be it the size of the fanbase, attendances, TV audiences or success on the pitch. The List however, rates the clubs by looking at “financial muscle” in terms of income from day to day football business operations. The List does not look at outgoings or the potential value of a club and only details the top 20 Clubs worldwide.

City were first included in the 2005 List which analysed the 2003/04 season. City had moved to CoMS and the additional revenue had catapulted our Club into the top 20 at 16th place. At that time 41% (£25.5m) of our Club’s income came from TV Revenue, 31% (£19.3m) came from Commercial Activities and 28% (£17.1m) from Matchday Activities. In the 2003/04 season City had finished 16th in the Premier League which had a bearing on the level of TV Revenue but City still managed to be the 7th highest Premiership club ranked in the 2005 List.

In the 2006 List (which analysed the 2004/05 season), City had fallen one spot to 17th place. At that time 43% (£26.1m) of our Club’s income came from TV Revenue, 32% (£19.7m) came from Commercial Activities and 25% (£15.1m) from Matchday Activities. In the 2004/05 season City had finished 8th in the Premier League which had lead to a slight rise in TV Revenue (despite poor Cup runs) and City still managed to stay the 7th highest Premiership club ranked in the 2006 List. Crowds had fallen but were still averaging around 45,000 per match.

Last week, in the 2007 List (which analysed the 2005/06 season), City had managed to stay in 17th place. At that time 39% (£24.2m) of our Club’s income from TV Revenue, 36% (£21.9m) came from Commercial Activities and 25% (£15.7m) from Matchday Activities. In the 2005/06 season City had finished 15th in the Premier League which had lead to a drop in TV Revenue (despite a good Cup run) and City still managed to stay the 7th highest Premiership club ranked in the 2007 List. Crowds had continued to fall but were still averaging around 43,000 per match.

Of course, being listed as the 17th ranked club in the world when looking at income from day to day football business operations can be misleading. What the figures do not tell you is that our Club still cannot trade profitably from normal day to day business. The Shaun Wright-Phillips sale, almost two years ago now, balanced the books but our Club is still expected to make a large loss in this current financial year.

Almost one year ago Alistair Mackintosh, our Club’s current Chief Executive, gave an interview to Accountancy Age where he was quoted as saying “where you finish in the Premiership should be reflected in the wage budgets”. Accountancy Age's article can be found here

Fast forward a few months to October 2006 and Mackintosh commented on our Club’s website that our Club currently have the seventh highest wage bill in the Premiership and also said “we’ve invested heavily in our wage bill. And whilst the players may have come here on Bosman transfers, they generally have a high wage attached." He also confirmed "It's a strategic choice to have a high wage bill. But then you want performance that is commensurate to that as possible".

The Board have clearly gone for a strategy of paying big wages hoping that by doing this performances on the field will be reflected in equal measure. At the time of writing this article our Club lie 16th in the Premiership. Having spoken to an independent accountant (who is not part of our Working Party), he feels that our Club whilst paying the higher wages could lose as much as £10-11m before player trading in this current year. Hopefully, the additional TV Revenue due from the new deal will ease the pressure to sell players to balance the books.

Later this month our Club will announce their half year results which will enable all City supporters and shareholders to look at the progress being made off the pitch and to evaluate the effectiveness of the Board’s current strategy. The results will more than likely be announced in the week before our Open Meeting and the club’s financial situation is one area of concern but there are of course several others.

We will be presenting our concerns and aims for the proposed trust at our Open Meeting on Sunday 4th March at the University of Manchester’s Renold Building, Sackville Street Complex, Altrincham Street, Manchester.

Further details and a map for the venue can be found on this blog here or alternatively e-mail us at

Best wishes

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

Sunday, February 11, 2007

King Of The Kippax Supports The Trust

In King Of The Kippax's January/ February 07 issue Dave & Sue Wallace published the following article:-

"Supporters' Trusts

We attended a meeting with the West Yorks supporters branch when the guest speaker was Colin Savage - the guy who, along with a small group of colleagues (and now including Ian Barton, Chairman of W. Yorks) - is leading the way towards the forming of a Supporters' Trust for MCFC. We were a little wary at first, as we've been down this path before, some years ago, when, after building an enthusiastic groundswell of favourable opinion from City fans, we were suddenly left high and dry when no-one was able/ prepared to take on the task of actually establishing a Trust. It was a massive disappointment. But this current group have already taken things to another level and we applaud their actions wholeheartedly.

Officials at MCFC have rubbished the idea as "of no more significance than supporters clubs'. But they are wrong. We hope the club change their attitude when they see just how professional and well-organised and well-intentioned Colin and his colleagues are - and how much work, time and finance they have already committed to the cause.

This time, we believe the Trust can succeed.

The time is right."

Thank you to Dave & Sue and King Of The Kippax for their kind words of support, it is very much appreciated. We have an article coming with reference to City fanzines which we expect to publish next week.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Calling All City Fans In The United States/ Americas

This Blog currently has readers from over 70 countries worldwide. As mentioned in previous articles, the latest independent research puts the number of UK based Manchester City fans at 886,000. According to other sources the worldwide figure is estimated to be in excess of 2,000,000.

The vast majority of readers of this Blog are based in the United Kingdom with the second highest number of readers from the United States and the third highest from Norway.

We have been contacted by Chrissy Rockwell who is originally from Manchester but is now based in the United States. She and other Manchester City fans are in the process of forming a fans group for all City fans based in North and South America, irrespective of whether they are an ex-pat or not.

As mentioned in previous articles, we are very strongly in favour of supporters organisations and will actively support them. If you are a City supporter from North or South America or an ex-pat currently working in the Americas, please contact Chrissy about joining and helping spread the (City) word throughout the Americas and beyond. Chrissy is waiting to hear from you, please send all e-mails to

Please stay in contact Chrissy, we look forward to hearing more on progress and are happy to put updates on here.

If you do not currently subscribe to our newsletter and want to subscribe please send us an e-mail. If you want to drop us a line on anything City related, have an issue to raise, have an idea, have a question, want to write an article, want to tell us your story or give us a message of support please send all e-mails to we welcome all input and feedback and look forward to receiving your e-mails.

Is City Missing Out On Golden (US) Opportunities?

Earlier this week Arsenal Football Club announced that they had entered into an exclusive agreement with Kroenke Sports Enterprises (a leading live sports and entertainment group based in Denver) with the primary aim of building the Arsenal brand in the US, helping to improve the quality of football at MLS team Colorado Rapids (which is owned by Kroenke Sports Enterprises) and supporting grassroots football in the US.

Arsenal announced that the strategic relationship would combine an exchange of best practices together with commercial and marketing efforts which included the inception of a Centre of Excellence and the transfer of coaching ‘know how’. Arsenal Football Club's Managing Director Keith Edelman said "We are delighted to be able to announce our partnership with Kroenke Sports Enterprises and the Colorado Rapids. This is a very important step for Arsenal Football Club as this becomes our first venture into the United States marketplace. We are approaching this as a long term development partnership that will benefit both clubs significantly."

Few would question that Arsène Wenger has had a significant and successful influence on Arsenal behind the scenes during his tenure as manager. Only recently I was reading about how he goes about picking/ nurturing his stars of the future and changed comprehensively the training regime when he took over as manager. It is clear that he knows more than a thing or two when looking at on and off field activities.

Wenger described the new relationship as “technical co-operation” and denied it is the prelude to a takeover similar to the acquisition of Liverpool earlier this week, commenting that “We have developed a few partnerships, sometimes with football schools, sometimes with clubs. We just try to extend our brand. We are trying to extend our technical co-operation as well because the Americans might produce some players at some stage. That's why we have done it.”

So why mention this on the MCFC Supporters Trust blog? Well two months ago, we published two articles on how Premiership Clubs were developing ties with other clubs for numerous on and off field reasons, raising the question why City aren’t doing the same. In those articles we also mentioned that in the Academy we had a very successful model which could be used by other “non-UK” clubs for mutual benefit and talked about the "Northern" Premiership clubs and their current partnerships with other football clubs worldwide. You can read both articles here and here

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

Arsenal’s move into the US market is undoubtedly a strategic one which they would not enter into unless they saw it bearing fruit either on or off the field at some stage in the future. The majority of experts feel that Major League Soccer is due to grow and grow over the coming years especially now that David Beckham has signed for LA Galaxy.

In the 2006 annual accounts our Club did mention that “we have developed an International Television Programming Block for the overseas TV market as well as a web-based video lounge for the USA”. It proves that our Club are thinking further afield however, with the exception of an apparently failed foray into China our Club has not ventured outside of the United Kingdom in any great shape or form.

Despite our current on field frailities, there is much that our Club does do right like the Academy and our off field activities; perhaps our "know how" in these areas may help a team in the MLS and with it we might gain from the US market in the form of additional major sponsors, a wider fanbase, increased income and maybe an emerging American talent or two! And with football (or should I say soccer) due for a boom in the US, perhaps our Club is in real danger of missing out on these golden opportunities?

Best wishes


Friday, February 09, 2007

UEFA To Look At Club Takeovers Closely

Michel Platini was recently voted in as President of UEFA. It is too early to know how he will try to change UEFA in the future but what is clear is that he, like UEFA, has the football supporters interests at heart. Platini recently made a very interesting comment about football saying "It is a game before a product, a sport before a trade, a show before a business".

Last year we attended Supporters Direct's annual conference where one of the main speakers was William Gaillard, the Director of Communications of UEFA. He was an impressive and passionate speaker underlining the importance of the Supporters Trust movement in the United Kingdom and Europe. A movement which UEFA proudly backs.

During his speech Gaillard confirmed UEFA's position that "football fans are a key stakeholder group in football" and also saying that "football is the people's game and at UEFA we want to keep it that way". Gaillard also made some interesting comments saying that "UEFA deeply believes in bringing football closer to the grass roots (the rank and file)" as well as "the principles of subsidiarity". He echoed these two points throughout his speech. And in his closing words he said that he hoped that "the IESR would go a long way to protect sport from commercialism".

Gaillard's comments last year and more recently Platini's reaffirms that UEFA has the supporters interests at heart. This week Gaillard spoke on behalf of Platini/ UEFA on the recent spate of takeovers of Premiership clubs by foreigners. Bearing in mind that our Club are still in talks that may lead to a takeover or investment being made it was interesting to read what Gaillard had to say. Rather than regurgitate it word for word Teamtalk's article summarises the position nicely here

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 9.2.07)

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 the week just gone, there is not much to report. Just like last week there is still no update on the talks that may lead to a takeover or investment and still no real interest in the shares.

The shares did drift further towards the price prior to the AGM announcement on little real turnover of shares. There are some interesting points to note. On Monday (5 February) only 3,500 shares were traded (all sold) and the shares fell 3p (or just over 10%). On Tuesday (6 February) another 11,500 shares were traded (all sold) and the share price did not move. On Wednesday (7 February) no shares were traded but the share price went up 1p! What does this say? Well it probably just reconfirms how illiquid the market is and that you cannot read too much into the movements.

I did a comment on a messageboard that the 11,500 shares traded on Tuesday was probably an indication of something about to be announced. There are approximately 55,000,000 shares in issue until we see movement in the hundreds of thousands I would not get carried away.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 26.5p
Bid price: 25p
Offer price: 28p

Share price movement for the week:-

05/2 3,500
06/2 11,500
07/2 0
08/2 1,719
09/2 10

Total volume for the week: 16,729

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Thursday, February 08, 2007

BBC Article On Jim Cassell & The Academy

In our article of 20 December 2006, we talked about Clubs develping closer ties with other Clubs and in particular praised our Academy saying "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." We also talked about the possibilities of the MCFC Supporters Trust raising funds to further strengthen the academy or scouting network as two examples of what funds raised by the Trust could be used for.

In January 2007, The Times ran a series of articles about the development of young players in the UK and backed up what everyone already knows, namely that our Club, Jim Cassell and his team are doing a fantastic job. It is widely known that there is a dearth of young talent in the UK right now which further confirms what a fantastic job our Academy are doing. We published links to the The Times articles at the time (in early January 2007).

In today's BBC Sport Online there is an article on Jim Cassell and his work which you can read here

Richard Caborn Continues Call For Lower Ticket Prices

Richard Caborn, Minister for Sports, continued his call for lower ticket prices yesterday. His statement in full is below:-

"When I first watched Sheffield United with my dad more than 50 years ago, I was instantly hooked. But back then the cost of a lifetime of loyalty was only a fraction of what you pay today.

Of course things have moved on, and football today is very different. Mainly for the better I have to say. As a fan, it’s great to see the best players in the world come to Bramall Lane. As Sports Minister I want the Premiership to grow and grow, cementing its place as the world’s top league. But not at any cost.

Excesses have crept into the game which need to be kept in check. Sky-high ticket prices are just one example of that. I am meeting with all the Premier League chairmen today to discuss how I believe football needs to change to meet the challenges it faces from growing commercialism. I do it because I believe football is more than just a business.

You can’t just bring in the principles of industry and apply them in the same way to sport. Sport is special and fans who spend their hard-earned cash on travelling the country with their team will always be the beating heart of football. Clubs must never forget that.

The Premier League and its clubs are where they are today because of you, the fans. As the game grows it must not leave its roots behind. The new money coming into the game is a fantastic opportunity for football. It shouldn’t just go into the pockets of players and agents.

The Premier League is to be congratulated for making nearly £40m of this new money available every year for investment into the grassroots. But the price of tickets is becoming a barrier for some fans. That is why I applaud Blackburn’s decision to use the new TV money to cut ticket prices.

Other clubs, even those who sell out week in week out, should consider following Blackburn’s lead and provide at least some tickets at an affordable price for local fans and their families.

Politicians like me shouldn’t be running football, but I do have the responsibility to tell them when I think they need to change. Today I will do that because, while players and chairmen come and go, you the fans will always be there."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Message Of Support From Ex-High Flyer

Retired Manchester banker David Dickman has contacted us and given us a message of support. David is a lifelong City fan and through his job was involved closely with Supporters Trusts in the UK. David says:-

"Manchester City Football Club is recognised as the leading Premier Club in community and supporters links with a very broad shareholder base. It is therefore inconceivable that this great club should not have a democratic sustainable Supporters Trust working in partnership with the Board and Club. Thus further enhancing brand and profile in partnership with its tremendous supporters, shareholders and the communities it serves."

We agree wholeheartedly with David's statement and couldn't come up with a better way of summarising the reason why a Supporters Trust is required.

We have also heard from many City fans offering us kind messages of support as well as finance. We are not seeking financial support but do like reading your e-mails. We will publish a few more of them over the coming weeks.

As you all know by now, our e-mail address is Your input and feedback is encouraged, we look forward to hearing from you.

Monday, February 05, 2007

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 2.2.07)

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 still no real interest in the shares.

The big news happened today (5 February), only 3,500 shares traded (sold) and the shares fell 3p (or just over 10%). More of that in next week's report.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 28.5p
Bid price: 26p
Offer price: 31p

Share price movement for the week:-

29/1 600
30/1 0
31/1 1,100
01/2 0
02/2 200

Total volume for the week: 1,900

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

MCFC Supporters Trust Statement On Season Ticket Prices

In response to the recent release of the 2007/08 Season Ticket prices, the MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party would like to acknowledge the gesture our Club is making in, following Wigan Athletics and Blackburn Rovers lead and dropping the prices for children under the age of 16 to £5 a game but fear that this will have very little impact on the uptake of season tickets overall. We have been contacted by a number of fans who feel that the club could have given something back to the wider spectrum of fans as a gesture that their support is appreciated.

Historically, season tickets have been used to guarantee a seat in the stadium, with a small discount for paying in advance. as opposed to paying on a game by game basis for every home game. Supporters are looking at the many empty seats, even for the most attractive games, and feel that it is not worth paying for a season ticket when you can pick and choose individual games.

No one is naïve enough to think that the price of tickets is the sole reason for falling attendances at our Club. Season ticket prices are one of the reasons why fans are stopping attending but other reasons include the standard of football, games moving to suit TV schedules, lack of atmosphere and no real investment in the team for a number of years.

Dropping the price of season tickets isn’t the only way to generate interest or induce renewal. We suggest that there are other alternatives such as allowing free entry to a certain number of home cup games (which Arsenal implemented this season) or the offering of an interest free payment scheme over a three, six or twelve month basis. Our Club currently operates a Cup Tickets Direct Scheme so we presume the facility already exists to cope with multiple payments.

It is very disheartening to hear about a season ticket holder who after twenty or thirty years has decided to walk away from the Club they love. We want and need those supporters back at the games.

Higher gates mean additional revenue in the stadium or the club shop and might also help the atmosphere, which is in need of a boost. In this regard, we must also applaud the singing section initiative for next season and encourage the club to engage more with its supporters in finding ways to improve the match day experience.

The subject of ticket prices is one area of concern but there are of course several others. We will be presenting our concerns and aims for the proposed trust at our Open Meeting on Sunday 4th March at the University of Manchester’s Renold Building, Sackville Street Complex, Altrincham Street, Manchester. Further details and a map for the venue can be found on our blog at or alternatively e-mail us at

Best wishes

Colin Howell, Colin Savage, Gavin Cooper, Ian Barton, Mickey Horan, Miles Webber, Ollie Goddard.

MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party

Web Counters (Since 24.9.06)