Friday, March 30, 2007

Sign Up For Our Newsletter

Our next newsletter will be going out this Sunday night covering recent progress and a look forward to future activities etc. As regular readers already know we do tend to give bit more of an insight/ a behind the scenes looks 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.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Manchester City Supporters' Trust Officially Registered

We are delighted to announce that the Manchester City Supporters' Trust achieved registration with the Financial Services Authority today (27 March 2007).

Manchester City Supporters' Trust is now legally constituted and officially open for business.

Further details will be released shortly confirming Membership packages (individual and corporate), share pledges, voting rights and donations.

We would like to thank Supporters' Direct for their invaluable assistance and advice in establishing MCST and look forward to driving the Trust forward to the benefit of Manchester City Football Club, the supporters, the shareholders and the wider community.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Team Of Professionals On Call For Takeover Bid

Since the summer of last year, the MCFC Supporters Trust Working Party has spoken to and met many professional people and organisations who are very willing and available to help the trust going forward. We recognise that when we are unable to handle something ourselves, then we must have experience and expertise available to us who can. Wherever possible we have tried to utilise Manchester City supporting people/ organisations.

As the formation of the trust has gathered pace we have continued to evaluate our own capabilities and expand this wherever possible. We want to ensure that the trust is proactive and more than capable of handling any issue that may arise. The working party already has much experience/ expertise but we are always keen to add more. The recent appointment of a commercial lawyer with over 20 years experience is evidence of that. Outside the main group we currently have access to lawyers, accountants, bankers, investment managers, football industry professionals and even a QC and we will continue to expand this list.

If a formal takeover bid is made for Manchester City, shareholders and other fans will want to know what the implications are and whether it is in the club’s best interests. We are confident that the team we have assembled will be able to answer many of the questions that arise.

If you have experience and expertise which you would like to offer the Working Party then please contact us on and we will speak to you. We look forward to hearing from you.

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 23.3.07)

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.

Last week's share activity ended on a high. On Thursday 10,000 shares were sold at 35p and on Friday 10,000 shares were bought at 40p. Even though this is a small about of share activity the shares still ended the week up 5p finishing at 39.5p.

Last week's movement demonstrates further the illiquid nature of the market and how share price movement rarely corresponds with share activity.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 39.5p
Bid price: 37p
Offer price: 42p

Share price movement for the week:-

19/3 0
20/3 0
21/3 0
22/3 10,000
23/3 10,000

Total volume for the week: 20,000

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Juventus Looking For Premiership Partnership

According to reports, Juventus are looking to form a strategic partnership with a Premiership club not only as a way of farming out their young talent to other teams for experience but also as a way of developing commercial interests.

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog or attended the Public Open Meeting will know that we feel that our Club should be developing strategic partnerships with non-UK football clubs.

There is 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 by 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. These additional areas are often overlooked but could be just as important to a Club like ours going forward.

Going back to Juventus, it would appear that they have been in talks with Bolton Wanderers, Middlesbrough and Portsmouth however, they apparently favour linking up with Bolton. As reported in previous articles Bolton have been working hard on this area over the last few years and currently have strategic partnerships in Spain, China, South Africa and Iceland. They have also targeted India, the United States, Norway, Egypt and France as other areas in which to develop partnerships.

Five years ago, Bolton were closing to agreeing a link up with Juventus, perhaps this time they will finalise the deal. Any such deal would have an enormous beneficial impact on both Clubs but perhaps Bolton would have more to gain?

Chelsea, Manchester United, Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield United and Tottenham Hotspur have strategic partnerships with non-UK football clubs, our Club does not have one (as far as we know). Such an important issue is not about "keeping up with Jones's" it is about taking progressive forward thinking decisions to develop our Club today and beyond.

As mentioned in previous articles, when the trust is formed and raises funds perhaps the trust could finance or part-finance the development of these types of strategic partnerships which would be beneficial to our Club in so many positive ways and on so many levels.

Read our last article on developing strategic partnerships here

Blatter Says "Football Is Ill"

A few days ago we ran an article listing comments from Michel Platini and William Gaillard of UEFA with their current views on football. You can read the full article here.

You might have seen that Sepp Blatter, FIFA president, has also been giving his views recently. In particular Blatter said "We have come to a crossroads of football, our football is ill. I see more and more financial interests over-riding people in club football especially."

He then went on to say "Even rich countries they are not capable of providing safe and comfortable stadia and I see that violence is everywhere, including inside the stadia. When you see what happened recently in big stadia, in the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, when highly-paid players got involved in fights, which was nothing compared to what we saw later in Valencia. There are many other examples I could mention. Where is football leading to if players are now at each others' throats. What will people think if they see on TV these pictures of major football matches. We must act, and we will raise this at Fifa's next congress."

It is clear that UEFA have a vision for football and want to do something about it. What FIFA's vision is and what they plan on doing about it we will have to wait and see.

Premiership Supporters Trusts In The News

There are currently eight Premiership football clubs with Supporters Trusts and within the next week or so there will be nine!

During our planning and research stage we looked at all of the Premiership Supporters Trusts and many outside. We continue to continue to keep an eye on them and two in particular were in the news last week for different reasons.

There have been rumours circulating for some time of Arsenal being lined up for a takeover. Their recent partnership with the Colorado Rapids helped the speculation but the activity in Arsenal's shares is the main reason for all the questions being asked. Arsenal, like our Club, is listed on Plus Markets.

Arsenal's share price started the year at £4,900 per share (yes, that's right four thousand nine hundred pounds!) and last Friday closed at £6,450 per share. It would appear that one of the directors has been selling shares and an un-named person/ party have been buying.

With speculation rife, fuelled by the share activity, The Times ran a story last week. As part of their story they spoke to the Arsenal Supporters Trust who commented “It is all very intriguing. We know who is selling, but we don’t know who is buying the shares or why. And the movement in the price has been so rapid that it makes us wonder what is going on. We are not worried, but it is unsettling.” The Times' story is here, not only does it make interesting reading but it again raises the possibility of another Premiership club falling into foreign ownership.

It is conceivable that such a situation (large amounts of share activity) could happen at our Club but at this point in time activity in Manchester City Plc shares is pretty low especially whilst we wait for an update on the takeover/ investment talks. Of course, the price of City shares has increased somewhat of late however, that is not so connected with share activity.

Across London town to Arsenal's rivals a different situation has arisen. The board at Tottenham Hotspur after consultation with the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters Trust had decided to increase season tickets prices! This drew a firm statement from their Supporters Trust confirming that "the Trust Board is totally opposed to any increase in ticket prices." The full statement can be read here. We will have to wait and see what happens there.

Supporters Trusts represent their members and at times must react quickly to situations as they arise. The same will apply to the Manchester City Supporters Trust. Issues will arise that will effect the trust's membership, of that there is no doubt, when that happens we want a trust that can make a quick yet considered response to the situation at hand.

Best wishes


Saturday, March 24, 2007

CITC In The News/ Community Based Projects

It is great to see our Club's "City In The Community" get some well deserved praise in today's Telegraph. The full article can be read here

It was suggested to us, not too long ago, that the Trust might put pressure on our Club to divert funding from funds available for players to our Club's Football In The Community schemes. Not long after that comment was made we clarified that this perception would be wrong and far from the truth. Our Mission Statement is clear (in this regard) and just as relevant today as it was last September when we released it "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."

Any "Community based projects" undertaken by the 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 and many supporters 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.

We remain very keen to ensure that the Trust plays an active part in "Community based projects" and we have been doing research in this area for some time and plan much much more. We will of course continue to publish updates on here and welcome input, feedback and questions to

Poor Season Ticket Sales So Far?

With the first deadline for renewals having passed on 9 March 2007, it will be interesting to hear how many fans have taken up the early renewal option.

At this stage last year, the club website (link here) announced that some 20,000 tickets had been renewed. This year, early indications and unconfirmed reports suggest that we are down to possibly anything between 10 and 14,000. This season we are supposed to have 27,000 season ticket holders. So, based on that pattern we may only end up with just over 20,000 season ticket holders in all. The pattern of the last few seasons shows that we have attracted crowds of up to 12,000 more than the number of season tickets. So we would be down to average crowds of around 32,000 on that basis.

With several Premier League clubs (including northwest neighbours Blackburn, Bolton, Everton and Wigan) slashing their season ticket prices for 2007-08, City opted to freeze prices whilst keeping the discounted renewal date as early March, a time when most fans are still counting the cost of the festive season, although did drastically reduce U16 season tickets to £95. It will be interesting to hear how many have taken up this option and whether all these previously had season tickets anyway.

Reductions from other clubs vary, with the most expensive seat at Blackburn now £399 down from £595 (average cut 25%); Bolton reducing by an average 10% making their most expensive seat £449 for early renewal; and Everton an average 10% cut. The majority of other Premier League clubs have their early renewal date as end April, a full 7 weeks after City!

It does beg the question whether MCFC have missed a trick by not cutting prices across the board, which research from fans' groups would suggest. After all, with the new TV money coming into play from next season surely the top flight clubs can afford to see a reduction in ticket prices, with the benefit of a larger crowd, better atmosphere, and fans feeling they are being rewarded for their loyal support.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Keegan Talks Football And Money

In today's Independent Kevin Keegan has given an interview talking about his latest venture, the state of football and a little on our Club. Rather than tell you all about it, you can read his interview here

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Supporters Trust Movement To Roll Into Europe

As announced at the annual Supporters Trust conference and reported on here, UEFA are keen to help spread the Supporters Trust movement into Europe.

Supporters Direct in partnership with UEFA is launching a one-year feasibility study in a select number of European countries, with the objective of examining the potential expansion of the Supporters Trust movement across Europe. UEFA is funding the project and the job of project manager has already been advertised

The study is in accordance with a recommendation contained in the Independent European Sport Review "To examine the feasibility of a European Supporters Direct body" and will target a specifically defined set of countries on which the project will focus. Each country will have its own unique political, cultural and legal challenges to overcome in order to assess the potential for a Supporters Trust movement to take hold. A variety of club/supporter relationships exist throughout Europe, with fans having a considerable say in how clubs are run in some cases, and even owning their clubs in others.

The study will concentrate in the first stage on countries which already have an active supporter base. It will be monitored by both UEFA and Supporters Direct, and will run for an initial contract period of 12 months, based at the offices of Supporters Direct in central London. Research will be carried out into football structures (club and supporter ownership models, football administration), together with the social and cultural conditions of the game in each specific country.

"This is a huge opportunity for the development and expansion of the entire Trust movement," said Supporters Direct CEO Phillip French. "We are grateful to UEFA for helping to drive this project forward. It will be a fascinating challenge to see if a European Supporters Direct body has the potential to take hold and influence the structure of fans organisations across Europe. There will be huge logistical and cultural challenges to map out what can and can't be achieved. Thanks to this funding we can now press ahead with the recruitment of a dedicated individual, with the right experience, to project-manage the study over the coming months."

UEFA communications and public affairs director William Gaillard said: "In some European countries there are problems linked to the way fan groups are organised and their activities. Recent events in Italy have highlighted this. The Supporters Direct movement in the UK has proved that it is possible for the responsible fans - ie the vast majority - to organise themselves in a democratic way and engage in a responsible dialogue with their club. In some cases they have also saved their club from liquidation. It is therefore sensible to see whether the good example of the UK in this area - who experienced big problems of their own in the past - can be extended to the rest of Europe."

The end result will be a report recommending next steps for implementation in the countries analysed, as well as recommended next steps for countries which are not covered. The recommendations should highlight how a Supporters Direct/trust model may be created outside the UK in the specifically identified areas and for additional UEFA member countries.

Supporters Get To Choose Kit

Over the last few months we have written about the opportunity that lies ahead for our Club to engage with supporters when the inevitable change of kit supplier happens.

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.

The opportunity for our Club to take such a progressive move is fading fast and perhaps the ongoing takeover talks has some bearing on this. That aside, we did note that Sheffield United have recently managed to successfully canvass opinion of their supporters with reference to their away kit next season. You might not like their choice of a lime green shirt with black trim (supplied by Le Coq Sportif) but at least their opinions were sought and their final choice accepted.

Our previous articles can be read here and here

Platini & UEFA Protecting Football's Future

Almost six months ago now I was present at the Supporters Direct annual conference when William Gaillard, UEFA's Director of Communications made it very clear that "football fans are a key stakeholder group in football" and "football is the people's game and at UEFA we want to keep it that way". Those key phrases stayed with me ever since.

It's been less than a month since Michel Platini was elected the new President of UEFA however, it is clear that he feels that same way. On election to his new post Platini made the following speech:-

"Although my election as President of UEFA in some ways stirred up the same emotions I experienced when I won major trophies as a player, my new role is more that of a coach, in the true sense of the word.

My aim is to convince the leaders of European football to share my vision of football. It has been said that my vision of football is romantic or idealistic, but I believe that, in the long term, it is the right way to ensure the survival of our game and maintain its extraordinary popularity.

We should not be seeking instant reward and selling our "products" to the highest bidder, but making sure that our competitions have as wide an appeal as possible and doing everything we can to guarantee that they are attractive both in terms of the quality of play and results that are not a foregone conclusion.

Of course, football needs money. It needs it to improve the education of coaches and, through them, the skill of players. It needs money to improve its facilities, to offer players the best possible conditions and spectators a safe and comfortable environment. It also needs money to develop grassroots football and to fulfil its social responsibilities by contributing to youth education.

On the other hand, football has no use for profiteers, for people who, seeing how successful football is as a business, get involved for their own personal gain. Football has to encourage ideas and knowledge to be shared. It must insist on respect - for opponents and for the referee first and foremost. If it cannot rid society of its ills single-handed, it can at least set an example by promoting solidarity, fair play and fun.

Naturally, you have to be an idealist to believe that the common interest will prevail over personal gain, that the laws of sport will silence the rule of money, that players, clubs, leagues and associations will speak with the same voice. But being idealistic does not mean dreaming; it means wanting to improve things.

By electing me as UEFA President, the majority of UEFA's member associations indicated that they were ready for a change. Now it is up to me to be a good coach and to convey my ideas to the rest of the team."

Last week Platini told Austrian and Swiss media representatives at UEFA headquarters that one of the cornerstones of his philosophy at the helm of European football will be to protect the game's essential values.

Platini said to those present "Football changed enormously (around) 15 years ago because there was the colossal arrival of money through private television. Private TV channels were created and expanded, and they rushed to football matches to acquire the rights. From that moment, people wanted to buy clubs. A new world arrived within football's existing world.

The second aspect was the Bosman verdict - football took off in all directions, and we were missing a 'regulator'. What I want - in a collective manner - is, together with the football family, that we reintroduce a set of rules into the sport in an economic sense.

Football has taken on a different, mercantile dimension, I don't want people to take football hostage. Because such people will sell football like they sell yoghurt - not to make it popular, but to do business.

For 100 years, football was presided over by experienced people with a long career in clubs or associations. In the last 15 years, however, young businessmen have come into football who profit from the game, to make money and a name, and to be known. Football is a product (to them) like any other.

In the middle are people like me, many of whom are sporting people who want to defend certain sporting values and protect the values that we knew. I'm not against business at all, but if business takes football hostage then we (risk) losing everything."

I like what I hear coming from Platini, Gaillard and UEFA, I just hope they have the power to come good on their promises as clearly their vision for the future of football and fans alike are full of common sense and good moral ideals.

Best wishes


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Professional Training For Directors Of Football Clubs

In all walks of life individuals can continue their training whether it be for their own personal development or for job progression or something else. The same applies to company directors and indeed directors/ executives of football clubs.

You wouldn't probably know that the Institute Of Directors ("IoD") is currently running "The IoD Football Direction Programme" which is aimed at directors of football clubs but you might find interesting the areas that the programme covers (this is taken directly from IoD's website):-

"Development of the team is vital both on and off the pitch…

To be the best in the ever-changing competitive global football industry, you need to be fully aware of your duties, responsibilities and potential liabilities. You also need to be prepared to lead at all times.

Just like players and managers, even the best-informed directors need to continually review and improve their own performance as well as that of their team. No matter how well prepared you are initially for your position on the board, investing in personal and professional development is now essential for your future success.

You appreciate the specific issues affecting the global football industry, but do you fully understand what is expected of you in your role as a director? Are you confident that you understand the full impact of corporate governance and how it affects your role? This is where The IoD Football Direction Programme comes in.

Continuous individual development is essential

The IoD Football Direction Programme has been created to help those responsible for the future of the game to fully understand their role and responsibilities, whether in the capacity of running a club or working for an association. The programme aims to help you continue to develop your personal business skills and to ensure that you are fully contributing to the challenge of creating competitive advantage for your organisation.

This programme of development will ensure that you:

- Achieve competitive advantage as the board and as a team
- Have goals in mind for you and the organisation
- Develop personal and business skills
- Are fully aware of your role and responsibilities to stakeholders ranging from fans to shareholders
- Take part in a programme of development that will put you at the top of your league

Here's how.

Achieving competitive advantage as a team

Boards need to operate at full strength and to lead. Reviewing and challenging the way the board operates is an essential component in sustaining growth and improvement. Yet performing under intense scrutiny, coupled with the pressure to succeed, can make it difficult for boards to stand back and look objectively at their performance.

To achieve success and profitability, the board needs to work as a balanced team that takes collective responsibility for key decisions.

Keeping ahead of the game

There is constant pressure on you as a director to stay ahead and The IoD Football Direction Programme will keep you at the forefront of Football Direction policy and practice. This programme comprises a world-leading portfolio of courses developed by directors for directors.

Working with industry experts, we have taken our far reaching knowledge and experience and tailored it for the football industry to create another world leading programme of training and development.

Designed to fit your needs

The topics covered under the The IoD Football Direction Programme are ones are that will be relevant to you and your organisation.

Over a total of five days the programme will investigate issues surrounding:

- The Effective Director
- Finance
- Strategy and Marketing
- Leadership and change

We understand that each part of the football industry deals with different issues and has their own responsibilities, therefore, we will ensure that your programme is tailored to your own particular circumstances.

Once you have been through the programme, you may even consider taking the next logical step which is to study for the IoD's Certificate in Company Direction, a qualification that will demonstrate your professionalism as a senior player."

What Happens In A Modern Day Back-Room?

Way back on 21 December 2006 I commented that "Bolton Wanderers are a club that has overtaken us on the pitch in terms of results in recent years but they still do not have the level of finances or fantastic support that we have. Seeing a club of their ilk usurp us in some ways is upsetting but can we learn from them? After all they must be getting something right!

Most supporters would argue that we do not want to see our Club play in the style of Bolton and I agree but Sam Allardyce does have an irritating knack of getting the most out of players (even the journeymen) and getting results (albeit in a mainly unattractive style). Many football professionals acknowledge that whilst Bolton do not have adequate resources to compete at the higher end of the transfer market they have invested heavily behind the scenes.

Sam Allardyce not only has sophisticated technology at his disposal but also has a plethora of professionals with wide ranging skillsets available to his squad. Of course all of this costs money at the end of the day, money which might not be available to our Club at this present time (if indeed the board and Stuart Pearce deemed that such expenditure is warranted)."

Last weekend the Guardian ran an article on Bolton's modern and forward thinking back-room and whilst it has nothing to do with City (unless you believe the "Big Sam" rumours) I still found it to be a good insightful read. You can read the article in full here

Best wishes


Monday, March 19, 2007

Formation And Registration Of Trust Imminent

Further to our previous posts, we thought you might like to know that we have completed all the documentation required to complete the formation of the trust and register it with the Financial Services Authority ("FSA").

The documentation will be delivered to the FSA (in London) in the next day or so and we expect confirmation of the registration by the end of the month.

We will continue to keep you up to date with all progress via the blog and our newsletter. As normal, if you have any questions, feedback or input please send them to us at

Sunday, March 18, 2007

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 16.3.07)

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.

Last week's share activity was flat and despite more shares being sold than bought the price ended the week as they began at 34.5p.

Until a formal takeover bid is made, considered by the board and recommended by the board interest/ activity in the shares will probably continue as normal. If no announcements or updates are given over the comming weeks the share price will probably drop off in much the same vein as it did after the initial "takeover" announcement made on 7 December 2006 pushed the price up only to fall gradually until the more recent announcement on 22 February 2007.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 34.5p
Bid price: 32p
Offer price: 37p

Share price movement for the week:-

12/3 4,000
13/3 0
14/3 10
15/3 0
16/3 2,000

Total volume for the week: 6,010

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Friday, March 16, 2007

Trust Formation Moves To Next Phase

The MCFC Supporters' Trust is closing in on being up and running before the end of the season.

As with all things involved in formalisation, there is some red tape to cut through before it exists in its own right. However, we are extremely pleased and grateful with the level of support we have been given from the ordinary fan right up to Supporters Direct in helping us get to that point.

The Working Party will be meeting with a number of people who have offered their help in the next phase of the formation, on Sunday 25th March. We will naturally keep you all up to date with the outcome of that meeting and all other developments.

Please keep reading this blog and sending your input, feedback and queries to

How To Sign Talented Youngsters At No Cost

At our recent Public Open Meeting we raised an idea that our Club should hold open days to give trials to young players. As far as we know, no other Premiership club does this.

We thought we'd expand on this idea here; if after reading it you have any comments to make please leave them on this article or send them to us at we always welcome feedback, questions and input.

During our research and planning stage we looked at a few football clubs here and abroad. There was one in particular that jumped out at us and that was Ajax.

Ajax are well known for developing much of their own talent and Johan Cruyff, Marco van Basten, Franck Rijkaard, Dennis Berkamp and Patrick Kluivert are a few of the international players to have come through their ranks. At City we have one of the best academies in the Premiership of that there is no doubt. Many Premiership clubs would pay a small fortune to find out Jim Cassell and his team's secrets to producing so much talent on a regular basis. But could something else be done on top of all the great work they already do?

At Ajax each year they hold a three day "Talent Week" where 1,400 youngsters are able to showcase their abilities in a series of tests and skills. Usually they pick up a player or two for their academy this way. When thinking about this we thought that our Club could do something similar. Before you jump to conclusions or think that every potential young talent has been picked up by Clubs already, please keep reading, there is more to this than meets the eye!

If City were to run a "Talent Week" then they could cover a wider age range than Ajax, perhaps run it for 10 - 18 year olds. This would not only give youngsters unattached to Clubs a chance but those older youngsters released from Clubs would also have a chance. Don't forget, Joey Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips were both released by clubs before being picked up by our Club.

Of course there is more to this than picking up a potential talented player. Such an event would raise the Club's profile locally, nationally and perhaps internationally. Such an event would also benefit Manchester and the community at large.

And of course like most things involved with football there is a commercial aspect. Major sponsors would be attracted to such an event, meaning that our Club would be able to run such an event at no cost (it may even make a profit, which could be donated to charity or given to the Academy).

In short, and without going into too much detail, this would appear to be a "win win" situation for all concerned. We hope that our Club gives our idea serious consideration.

To finish we must take you back to the City of Amsterdam and tell a story of a ten year old boy who took part in Ajax's "Talent Week" in 1993. He was good enough to be picked for a further trial which he passed and then he joined the Ajax academy.

Seven years later he made his debut for Ajax and became a first team regular a season later. For three seasons running he was voted Ajax's most promising youngster. On 6 October 2001 he made his debut for Holland and played in Euro 2004.

In 2005 Ajax sold him for €7.5m to Hamburg where he is now the Captain of their team and recently he has been linked to a "big money" move to Bayern Munich this summer. He was 24 last month and has already played for Holland over 40 times. His name is Rafael Van Der Vaart.

Could there be a "Rafael" in the UK waiting to be signed?

MCFC Supporters Trust Logo Voted In

At the recent Public Open Meeting we asked those who attended to vote for your favourite logo (out of four) for the MCFC Supporters Trust. All logos were designed by a professional designer and the overwhelming favourite with just over 50% is below.

After the meeting several supporters asked if we could have "Manchester City" as opposed to "Man City". We have therefore asked the designer to see what can be done to re-design the logo. We'll report on progress as soon as possible.

Here's the logo in it's original state!

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

How Will A Bid For City Be Structured And Financed?

How will a bid for City be structured and financed? That is a question only a few people would know the answer to and that is assuming that there are suitors out there still interested in buying our Club.

Until a formal bid is made and accepted by the board, City's 6,500 shareholders will not know the details of any bid. Down the road, it is well known that the Glazers funded their bid with a lot of debt. The most recent club to accept a bid is Liverpool and whilst it was assumed that a lot of cash would be used it now transpires that this is not the case. David Conn's article in the Guardian today looks at how the Liverpool takeover has been structured and financed, you can read it here

What lies in store for our great Club? Who knows, we will have to wait and see what develops.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Supporters Club Branch Chairlady Joins Working Party

We are extremely pleased to announce that Heidi Pickup the editor of MCIVTA and Chairlady of her local Supporters Club branch has joined us on the Working Party. Heidi shares our vision for the proposed trust and brings with her much experience. We welcome Heidi on board.

It is our intention to continue to expand the numbers of the Working Party over time and we are currently talking to interested individuals in this regard. We will also be expanding the numbers of the supporters working on the periphery for "ad hoc" and individual projects etc.

There is still alot more work to do towards finalising the formation and launch of the trust. We remain committed to doing this in the shortest time possible.

We continue to speak to fellow supporters, shareholders, potential providers of finance/ donations, interested parties, various industry professionals and most importantly continue to have the full support and regular input of Supporters Direct, the organisation that assists and supports the establishment and operation of Supporters' Trusts.

Although we publish everything that we are doing on this blog we will not comment publicly about the people, organisations and companies we have been dealing with unless they are happy that we do so.

PR & Media Man Joins Working Party

We are extremely pleased to announce that Simon Guest has joined us on the Working Party. Simon runs his own marketing/ multi-media company and has been working with us on the periphery for over six months. During his time helping us Simon's advice and input with reference to marketing, PR and dealing with the media has been crucial. We welcome Simon "officially" on board and look forward to exciting times ahead.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 9.3.07)

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.

Last week's share activity was relatively flat apart from a trade of 25,000 on Friday (9 March). From the information available it is unclear if this trade was a purchase or a sale, nontheless the shares ended the week as they began at 34.5p.

According to reports in Manchester and London the various parties interested in taking over the Club have now done their presentations. It was also widely reported in the press that potential American investors were being shown around the ground last week. None of this activity has been reflected in the share price or activity. In some ways we should also be thankful that the share price does not reflect the performances on the pitch!

Until a formal takeover bid is made, considered by the board and recommended by the board interest/ activity in the shares will probably continue as normal.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 34.5p
Bid price: 32p
Offer price: 37p

Share price movement for the week:-

05/3 2,000
06/3 5,000
07/3 5,265
08/3 1,433
09/3 25,000

Total volume for the week: 38,698

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

Your Trust Questions Answered

At our meeting last week we answered a few questions and since then we received a few more from various messageboards. The full list of questions and our answers are detailed below, if we have missed any out or you have any additionaal ones, please send them to us at and we will do a follow up.

Q. Is it true that you've got financial backing that allows you to potentially purchase 10 - 15% of City's shares?

A. We have been talking to many shareholders and non-shareholders who are willing to back the Supporters’ Trust and our initial talks suggest that we have the backing to potentially purchase/own 10 – 15% of City shares, if and when they are available to purchase.

Q. If so how much would that actually cost?

A. The price obviously depends on the market at the time of purchasing but we have had an offer of financial backing which is a seven figure sum and several shareholders have indicated their willingness to back the trust with their existing shares, which doesn’t involve any monetary amount.

Q. Where have you got the backing from; whose money is it?

A. We have been asked to keep the identity of these people confidential and we must respect that request. However, they are City fans and we would stress that the Trust is not a front or “stalking horse”.

Q. Is the club aware that you have this level of financial backing?

A. As yet we have not met with the club but we are aware that they are following our developments closely and should therefore be aware of this fact.

Q. To what end are you considering buying shares?

A. One of the aims of the Trust is to provide the fans with a voice and a stake in their club, via ownership of a percentage of the shares. The Trust’s ultimate aim is to gain representation for the fans on the board. However, this would have to be agreed by our membership, who would have the final say.

Q. Is it true that there are approximately 33% of City shares with no board level representation?

A. The figure is actually around 50% as Francis Lee & Sky together have 17% and they do not appear to be represented on the board. The rest of the unrepresented shares (the 33%) are owned by shareholders with an individual stake of less than 3%. These include thousands of ordinary fans who hold the shares, not for financial gain, but to own a small piece of the club.

Q. Do you intend to represent them? Have you actually spoken to these people/got their backing?

A. We have not spoken to ALL shareholders as yet, but we have spoken to some that do not have any board representation. We intend contacting as many as we can in the near future. We can only represent those that want us to do so.

Q. Is Chris Bird and/or Bernstein involved in any greater capacity other than providing the media with ambiguous quotes?

A. Bird and Bernstein are both shareholders in their own right and have supported the Trust vocally, but are just two of the many shareholders we speak to regularly. Neither have any informal or formal role in the Trust.

Q. Is there a concern that a Supporters Trust that owns (potentially) 15% of the club and represents a further 33% (so virtually half the club in total) would be seen as a block to any potential takeover bid/investment?

A. It’s unlikely we would ever get to that overall level. A good figure would be around the 17-20% mark as that should guarantee a Director on the Board (for example Mark Boler currently sits on the Board with around 18.75%) and a holding of this size could block any potential investor from achieving the 90% level of ownership that would enable them to take the company under total control, like the Glazer family have done at United.

Clearly the club needs investment at the moment but we also need the right investment to move in the right direction. If someone wanted to invest in City but didn't want any involvement from the fans, then you might have to question their motives but if someone wanted to invest and was comfortable with the fans owning a slice of the club then obviously we would welcome this person with open arms as long as the investment was sustainable and didn't saddle the club with more debt.

There is another angle to this however. Most deals have a condition that they will only go ahead once they are guaranteed to have 75% of the shares. With the fragmented nature of the Manchester City share ownership, although an investor could get 50% of the shares quite easily, they might struggle to achieve the 75% level. A group that could influence a significant block of shares would actually be very useful to a potential investor.

Again, this is an issue that would ultimately be decided by our membership as it’s a one-member, one-vote organisation where no one member has a greater say than any other member.

Q. Is it only possible for a club to have one Supporters Trust? If not then what would happen if a second was created? Would this dilute your 'power'?

A. Across the football leagues and Premiership there are currently no examples of a club having two Supporters Trusts.

Q. Following on from Colin Savage’s publishing of some financial information via GMR it is rumoured that GMR were put under pressure by the club to never have him (or anyone Trust related) on again. Is this true?

A. BBC Radio Manchester, the Manchester Evening News and other media outlets all have strong relationships with the Club. We understand that these are important relationships, and appreciate the airtime and column inches we have received to date.

In fact BBC Radio Manchester have had both Colin Howell and Colin Savage on their station in recent weeks and the MEN has reported several articles on the trust and we hope to build on the relationship we have with all media outlets.

Q. Is it also true that there was an attempt to ban Ian Cheeseman from the AGM following on from said interview?

A. We are not privy to any discussions that the club may have had with Ian nor can we comment on the arrangements for the AGM. However Ian Cheeseman is a shareholder in his own right and is therefore free to attend the AGM and in fact did so.

Q. Another rumour is that the club has undertaken background checks on all people involved in the Trust, true or conjecture?

A. We understand the Club has been looking closely at those involved with the Trust. While we would have preferred to have direct relations with the club, we welcome any discussion or focus on those involved with the Trust. Any investigation they might do will simply reveal that we are all dyed-in-the-wool Manchester City fans with no ulterior motive other than our passion for our club.

Q. Why doesn't the club like the Trust? What are their concerns/fears?

A. The club has made a commitment to meet with us once we are formally constituted. Again, whilst we would have liked to have had a dialogue as we developed the Trust, we look forward to our first formal meeting in the weeks following March 4th.

Also, we understand that Alistair Mackintosh has an excellent relationship with Phil French, the Chief Executive of Supporters’ Direct.

Q. Will you try and turn us into Barcelona where we vote for the directors and all have a say?

A. Who wouldn’t want to be Barcelona! Seriously, they are a model example of a supporter run club but we're not aiming for a 100% owned fans club but one where we can have a significant shareholding in the fans’ name that gives the Trust the right to vote in a Director to represent their interests and give them a voice at Boardroom level.

Q. If the trust was successful who would represent us on the board?

A. It is up to the membership to vote on who they want to represent them and although we would want someone with the rights skills to put our case at Boardroom level, the final decision would be put to a democratic vote.

Anyone in that position would be there by right, not just as a token presence and we feel it is important that whoever it is has the ability to contribute something concrete at that level.

Q. Would the shares have to be pooled so that the people with them would 'lose’ them to the pool and therefore the rights to attend the AGM?

A. At the moment someone with say £100 worth of shares doesn't have any real say in how the club is run but if the Trust brought together 1,000 shareholders with £100 worth of shares then they have a greater say as a group. People don't have to gift their shares to the trust; they can keep the ownership of them and just proxy the vote to the Trust.

There may also be other ways of achieving the pooling but we will not force anyone to hand over the ownership of their shares unless they genuinely want to do that. Even if you proxy your vote to the Trust, you are still the legal owner of the shares and still have the right to attend the AGM.

Q. Would the trust consider selling any shareholding they build up to facilitate a takeover by someone that was insistent on buying up 100% of the club? Or alternatively, would they use their shares to effectively block such a takeover?

A. As mentioned previously, this would have to be put to the membership to vote.

Q. Would a takeover have a detrimental effect?

A. We would hope for the right sort of investment package, one without massive debts attached but until there is a firm proposal we cannot say.

There is speculation in some quarters that there may be a creeping takeover of Premiership clubs by US sports franchise owners, in order to introduce a similar structure to the one that exists in the NFL, for example. Opinion is sharply divided on whether this would be a good thing or not.

Q. What about the cost involved of becoming a founder member?

A. The average cost of membership throughout the country is around £10 per adult, which seems reasonable. There would also be discounts for Senior Citizens and juniors and possibly a Family package. However, this would all have to be decided upon formation and voted on by our membership.

Q. What about the existing supporters groups?

A. We have tried to make it clear that our aims are totally different from, but do not conflict with, the two main existing supporters’ groups, the OSC & the CSA.

A number of us are members of our local branches and three are very heavily involved with the OSC & CSA via those branches. However, as individuals they also see that the Supporters’ Trust offers something that complements the work that the existing groups do.

The Supporters Groups do a great job on the social side and of course organise tickets and travel for matches but we would like to deal with the club at a different level and would not tread on any areas the existing Supporters Groups deal with.

There may areas where there is some overlap on occasions and we may agree to co-operate or agree to differ. That will be subject to the wishes of our respective members. However we are all City fans and we would certainly resist any attempt to freeze out or favour any one group over another. All the groups are different in character but all offer us a way to get more involved with our club and we encourage fans to do that, in whatever way they feel comfortable.

Q. Can the Trust function without the co-operation of the club?

A. We would hope to co-operate with the club but our existence is totally independent. Those of you who were at the open meeting will have heard Jon Keen, the Reading Trust board member, say that the club were initially sceptical. However, even though they can’t gain influence via shareholdings, they now attend the monthly senior management meeting.

We have heard a similar story from the Arsenal trust. These clubs (and others) have realised that their supporters’ trusts are credible, constructive and serious groups. As we intend to be.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

City Left Behind When Developing Strategic Partnerships

Those of you who are regular readers of this blog or attended the Public Open Meeting will know that we feel that our Club is missing out on golden opportunities that lie outside of the UK, in particular the development of strategic partnerships with non-UK football clubs.

This week Bolton Wanderers announced that they were expanding their international interests by entering into a five year agreement with Mandela Bay Football Academy, based in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. The agreement will see Bolton helping develop their football academy which currently focuses on seventy five 16 - 19 year olds however, it is anticipated that this will be expanded. The agreement will see the sharing of information on pitch preparation and coaching methods as well as see local coaches trained to Premiership standards.

Bolton also hopes to develop links with an African Premier League team which will be located in Port Elizabeth after the World Cup is held in South Africa in 2010. The new team would utilise the 50,000 seater stadium being built there and no doubt Bolton would be able to lend their expertise in running such a stadium and the commercial opportunities that exist.

Bolton have been quick in developing strategic partnerships which we have previously reported on and this latest one comes on the back of partnerships with top Chinese side Wuhan Huangelou FC and Spanish Segunda League Side Elche CF. Bolton have also reportedly entered into an agreement in Iceland and have also targeted India, the United States, Norway, Egypt and France as other areas in which to develop partnerships.

Bolton's latest partnership follows an already successfully tried and tested route by non other than Ajax. Ajax are proven producers of talented players via their academy and have done so consistently over many many years. They have an extensive scouting network mainly concentrated on Africa and use Ajax Cape Town (which they 51% own) as part of their breeding ground for young talent.

Ajax do not hide what they are about. In their 2004-2005 annual accounts they make their position clear, when they cannot produce their own talent they buy in players to fill the spots their academy cannot. City are way off of this but perhaps with a little bit more effort in the right areas, spreading our model, strengthening the scouting network, working with other clubs around the world this could be achievable. Not only could a constant production line of quality players be achieved cost effectively but large sums of money could be saved on having to buy in players or pay large salaries to Bosman players to strengthen the squad.

This week also saw Charlton Athletic signing Martin Christensen, a 19 year old current Danish Under 21 International, and for good measure Charlton entered into a three year partnership with his Danish Divison One club Herfolge Boldklub which takes their non-UK football club partnerships to two. Blackburn Rovers, Sheffield United, Bolton Wanderers, Arsenal, Chelsea and Charlton have all developed strategic partnerships (there are possibly more) and it is almost a certainty that there are many more set to follow.

What must be remembered is that there is 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 by 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. These additional areas are often overlooked but could be just as important to a Club like ours going forward.

Other Premiership clubs are developing relationships in Europe, the United States and further afield but our Club does not appear to be looking at this important area. We strongly believe that this is a missed opportunity.

As mentioned in previous articles, when the trust is formed and raises funds perhaps the trust could finance or part-finance the development of these types of strategic partnerships which would be beneficial to our Club in so many positive ways and on so many levels.

To read our previous articles, please take a look at these:-

How Can City Produce More Young Talent? (20.12.06)

Other Northern Clubs Are Doing It So Why Aren't We? (21.12.06)

Is City Missing Out On Golden US Opportunities (10.2.07)

Another US Opportunity Bites The Dust? (12.2.07)

As is normal, if you have any input, feedback or queries please e-mail us on

Friday, March 09, 2007

Formation Of MCFC Supporters Trust To Be Fast-Tracked

After the unanimous vote in favour of forming the MCFC Supporters Trust we have spoken and met with various professionals, advisors and supporters. Following this we have decided to push forward with the trust's formation as soon as possible. We have already started the process and hope to have it formed and registered with the Financial Services Authority within six weeks. We will, of course, keep you up to date with all progress on here.

The MCFC Supporters Trust will be an IPS (an Industrial and Provident Society). The definition of an IPS by the Financial Services Authority ("FSA") is an organisation conducting an industry, business or trade, either as a co-operative or for the benefit of the community, and is registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.

When an IPS is formed it must be registered with the FSA and dependent on the size of the turnover of the Trust it will have to be audited by an independent auditor each year.

Supporters Direct will oversee the trust's registration with the FSA and will also cover the costs of the registration. The vast majority of existing Supporters Trusts have opted for this form of structure because of its community orientation, democratic ethos and robust regulatory framework.

The attributes of an IPS are:-

1) Community Orientation - intrinsically part of the framework of the Trust

2) External Regulation - the FSA will not register rule changes that conflict with the requirement to operate for the benefit of the community

3) Robust Constitution - crucial rules such as the Objects, Powers and Application of Profits, may only be altered if there is a 75% majority in favour

4) Effective And Versatile - experience has shown IPSs to be adaptable and powerful in varied circumstances

5) Not For Profit Motive - safeguards against "carpet bagging"

6) Growing Supporters Trusts Movements - offers additional "political" weight and influence in the wider world of football

7) Community Of Mutuals - offers opportunities for additional funding and partnerships with other co-operatives. Provides affinity with other organisations committed to benefiting the local community; and offers reassurance to the supporters and the club of the community orientation and not-for-profit objectives of the Trust

8) Start-Up Grant Funding - as already mentioned Supporters Direct pay for legal costs and expenses subject to eligibility

9) Limited Liability For Members - no need to put your financial security on the line; members are protected

10) Financially Responsible - effective in circumstances where significant sums of money have to be raised by public offer

Please continue to send us your queries, feedback and input to and keep up to date with all progress by reading this blog.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

MCFC Supporters Trust Newsletter (No 18)

Our latest newsletter has just been sent out. When supporters left their e-mail details at the recent Open Meeting there were some that we couldn't quite read. If you haven't received the newsletter or if you want to subscribe, please send us an e-mail to

Monday, March 05, 2007

MCFC Supporters' Trust Is On The Way!

A big thank you to all those that attended yesterday's open meeting.

We will be posting at more length during the coming few days but over 150 people attended the meeting which, given the fact it was Sunday afternoon and the weather wasn't conducive to going out, we were happy with.

The meeting involved presentations from Dave Boyle, Deputy Chief Executive of Supporters' Direct, who talked about what trusts were and what their role was. Sean Hamill, a board member of Supporters Direct, lecturer at Birkbeck College and member of the Celtic Trust, talked on a wide range of issues affecting football fans at the moment and the intriguing possibility that we face an American-style, franchise-based future. Jon Keen, a board member of STAR (Supporters' Trust at Reading) spoke about how they had worked their way to a position where they had regular meetings with the Reading senior management team, even though the chairman owns the overwhelming majority of the shares.

Colin Howell and Colin Savage talked about why we needed a trust at City, our draft aims and how we felt these could be achieved.

The fact the people like Sean Hamill and Dave Boyle turned up shows the importance that Supporters' Direct attaches to a trust at Manchester City. They also felt that the attendance was excellent for a meeting of this type, although we would have liked standing room only! However it was interesting to see Paul Tyrrell sat at the back of the meeting together with another of the communications team from the club. They took plenty of notes so now have no excuse for not knowing what we are about or why a supporters' trust is not just another supporters' club.

After a very in-depth Q&A the motion was put that there should be a supporters' trust formed at Manchester City, with the draft aims as set out. The meeting was virtually unanimous in approving this. We will be publishing a response to the questions raised in the meeting and to other questions we have been asked in the near future.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill "It's not the end. It's not even the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning." There's still an awful lot of work to do and we will be shortly announcing of how people can help in carrying out the next stage, which is the formal setting up of the trust.

But once again, thanks to all those who attended, participated and have helped us in the background. We are confident that the supporters of Manchester City will soon get the voice they deserve.

Friday, March 02, 2007

This Sunday 4 March At 2pm - Open Meeting

This Sunday 4 March at 2pm we are holding an Open Public Meeting for all City fans and shareholders 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.

Our MC for the event will be James H Reeve. In addition to our very own Colin Howell & Colin Savage talking, we also have guest speakers Dave Boyle (Deputy Chief Executive of Supporters Direct), Sean Hamil (Secretary of the Celtic Trust) and Jon Keen (Press Officer of Reading's Trust) speaking.

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.

City Share Price Movements (Week Ending 2.3.07)

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 share price movement upwards this week has more to do with brokers marking up the price and widening the difference between the bid and offer prices than share activity. To illustrate that, the share price increased by 1p today on the back of no shares being traded.

Half year figures were released on Tuesday after the close of business and had no real effect on share activity or price.

Much speculation is doing the rounds that presentations by potential investors and board meetings have taken place this week; until positive news or an update is issued by the Club the shar price is unlikely to move too much.

Last week:-
Finishing price (mid): 34.5p
Bid price: 32p
Offer price: 37p

Share price movement for the week:-

26/2 5,886
27/2 168
28/2 1,000
01/3 0
02/3 0

Total volume for the week: 7,054

All information taken from Plus Markets Group

North West Ticket Prices Are Coming Down

Some time ago now Blackburn Rovers' Chairman, John Williams, promised to use part of next season's increased TV income to bring down ticket prices. Today he has been as good as his word when announcing significant ticket price cuts right across the board.

Williams commented ""We believe that the best way to enjoy Premiership football is watching it live in the stadium. We hope these prices will not only retain existing supporters but also attract those who have not been for some time through the turnstiles next season to offer the team even greater vocal backing."

Williams also added "In setting this price structure we have recognised the concerns of supporters who feel that the cost of watching live football has become too expensive. We have addressed this issue and at the same time made sure we remain competitive on the pitch. Fans want to see the best players in action at Ewood Park and for the club to continue to be a force in the Premiership. We will continue to look at different ways to add extra value for season ticket holders as they are the lifeblood of the club."

Mark Hughes also commented on the initiative "The players all want to play in front of full stadiums and it makes a huge difference to them. The supporters really can act as the 12th man and lift the players. I've been lucky enough to play in front of packed stadiums across Europe and I know the positive effect it can have, so it would be great to see Ewood packed every week next season."

Under Blackburn Rovers' new pricing scheme, 5,500 season tickets will be available at £249, while the average for the Blackburn End will fall by 30% from £425 to £299. Blackburn Rovers' most expensive ticket will come down from £595 to £399.

Blackburn Rovers' initiative follows in the footsteps of Everton's announcement this week that 10% season ticket price reductions will be applied if bought before 28 April 2007. Everton confirmed that tickets renewed or bought after that date would remain frozen at 2006/07 prices.

This week has also seen Tony Blair come out in support of reduced ticket prices, gaining much press coverage/ support for the various lower ticket price campaigns currently being run by MEN, the Sun and FSF.

Wigan Match Is Massive - Let's Do Our Part

This weekend marks a watershed for our Club; on Saturday we host Wigan in what is now a vital game which should see us pull clear of the relegation scrappers. The alternative does not bear thinking about. Looking on the bright side, the right result could set us on the road to a fantastic season's finale.

Whilst the Cup is an exciting prospect it is absolutely essential that we focus on winning our League games so that we can enjoy the prospects of Cup success. We urge all City Fans to get to the game and give the team maximum support and cheer our boys on to victory.

If you know any fellow City fans that are not planning on attending on Saturday then encourage them to turn up and show their support. Match day tickets can be bought on the day so there’s no excuses.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Supporters Trusts In The Premiership And Beyond

What have Premiership clubs Arsenal, Aston Villa, Fulham, Manchester United, Reading, Tottenham Hotspur, Watford & West Ham all got in common? Answer: All of them currently have a Supporters Trust.

Supporters Trusts in the higher echelons of English football are on the increase. Eight already exist in the Premiership and more are in the pipeline. Seventeen Championship clubs currently have one and all twelve Scottish Premier League Clubs have one.

The Supporters Trust movement is also set to move into Europe. As you may know, Supporters Direct in partnership with UEFA are launching a one year feasibility study across a select number of countries in Europe. The aim of the study is to examine the potential expansion of the Trust movement across Europe.

Whilst Supporters Trusts do not exist in Europe as we know them, there are many European Football Clubs wholly or majority owned by their members via democratic/ mutual organisations.

Most German clubs, where football is currently thriving, are structured as members' clubs with a supervisory board elected by members, who are match-going fans. That board generally selects the make-up of the management board that runs the club on a day-to-day basis and is responsible for the football and non-football sides of club activities.

German clubs that are not wholly owned by their members generally have two entities, a company and an association, and even the private limited companies are minimum 51% owned by the members' association. The German FA requires that a minimum 51% of a football club be held by the members' club thereby keeping the control with fans.

Deloitte's recently published Football Money League 2007 list details the top twenty clubs in the world (ranked by revenue). You might be surprised to know that half of those clubs either have an active Supporters Trust or are owned by their supporters (thereby giving the fans a large degree of influence). All ten are listed here with their Deloitte ranking in brackets:-

Real Madrid (1) - supporter owned
Barcelona (2) - supporter owned
Manchester United (4) - supporters trust
Bayern Munich (8) - 90% supporter owned
Arsenal (9) - supporters trust
Schalke (14) - supporter owned
Tottenham (15) - supporters trust
Hamburg (16) - supporter owned
Rangers (18) - supporters trust
West Ham (19) - supporters trust

Next time someone tells you that Supporters Trusts or clubs owned by their supporters is for the lower leagues, ask them where they get their information from. Ten of the biggest clubs in the world have proven that their models for success fully involves their supporters.

We are fully committed to forming the MCFC Supporters Trust to play a positive part in the future of our Club and in so doing give supporters a voice at the highest level. We are just the catalysts in its formation however, it will be up to the supporters/ members to decide the trust's aims and vote in who they want to represent them on the trust board.

One Last Message Of Support!

It is very fitting that the last message of support that we are going to publicise on here comes from one of the first supporters to sign up to the Supporters Trust idea/ newsletter all the way back on 15 August 2006:-

"Dear all at the Trust

In the light of the way football has gone in recent years with expensive ticket prices, constant kick-off time changes, and a lack of communication and engagement with the fans by the Manchester City board, there has never been a more important time to have a Trust to represent the City fans. Whoever the owner of the club is, and wherever we are in the league, the fans need an organisation that can represent our interests in the short, medium and long term, working towards a fair deal for all and a brighter future for Manchester City. I look forward to being a member of the Trust.

Very best wishes to all associated with the Trust and a big thank you to those of you working to establish it.

Yours sincerely

Phil Banerjee

Manchester City Supporter"

Blue Is The Colour - Keep Spreading 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.

About ten days ago, they come up with an idea for the FA Cup Quarter Final against Blackburn which we were happy to publicise on here at the time. If you are going, please consider giving this your support. Simon Cooper of Bluewatch letter to the Club sums it up:-

"So we now know the Draw. Blackburn.

Please could you help us as a club, by announcing that the club is backing the fans campaign (Blue Is The Colour Brother) for everyone to wear blue as much as possible in their clothing for the game.

King of the Kippax, City Til I Cry, Prestwich and Whitefield are all on board and we would appreciate if the club could back us with press coverage. Even if you could produce a leaflet to be given out with every ticket, acting as an invite to the biggest all blue party on earth.

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....i.e. BLUE SHIRT, BLUE PANTS, BLUE HAT, BLUE FACE PAINT, BLUE SOCKS, BLUE WIGS, UNDERPANTS....Blue Everything, oh and loadsa blue and white balloons that we will hand out for free.

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 from Blackburn Rovers F.C.)

Sara please could you ask Peter Fletcher if he could ask Blackburns safety officer would City fans be allowed in the ground with flags?

We know this would create a fantastic atmosphere and give the team a magnificent boost when they come out. It would be a bit like what the Holland fans do in internatonal games.

This would be a massive step by both club and fans to work together on improving the atmosphere and could snowball.

MARCH THE 11th 2007

Yours Sincerley
Bluewatch, King of the Kippax, City Til I Cry, Prestwich and Whitefield"

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.

How It All Started/ A Huge Thank You

It all started back on 2 August 2006, when Ollie sent this e-mail to our Club:-

"From my own investigations I have noticed that there isn’t a Manchester City Supporters Trust although when looking at Supporters Direct’s website they detail that MCFC has approached them with reference to forming a trust. I would be interested to know what progress has been made and in particular if a supporters trust is still going to be formed.

If I can be of any assistance I would love to become involved. You may be interested to know that I have worked in the offshore finance industry for twenty years with the last seventeen of which within the trust industry where I am actively involved in administering all types of trust. I would be more than happy to provide my services free of charge if help is required to get such a worthwhile cause up and running.

I look forward to hearing from you."

After a reminder our Club did respond on 15 August 2006 confirming that there were "no current plans to be involved in setting up such a trust.". The following question was sent back "Do you think that MCFC would ever entertain dealing with a properly constituted Supporter’s Trust formed by the supporters for the good of MCFC?"

Two days later and wanting to allay any fears our Club may have, clarification was given "Can I just say how this has come about as I want to assure the board that there is nothing untoward in the offing, quite the contrary and I will explain...I thought that the fans could get organised via a trust or something similar and maybe have a voice. Taking that forward I thought that it could not only foster a very good working relationship with the fans but could also raise additional finance for the club....if the supporter's organisation raised say £1m could that then be introduced to the Club? Perhaps (and I am thinking out loud) the club has some ambitious plans that finance isn't available for maybe the fans could contribute or finance it?"

The e-mail finished "As I said earlier me gauging how many people are truly interested in the club etc is merely that and I see it as a positive move for the best of the club. If there was enough interest then I think it would be a good step forward, I must also stress that all those that I have talked about so far would prefer to move forwad with the club's involvement and approval.

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you. By the way I am more than happy to speak to you or others (even the board) by phone or in person. I find in business today that e-mails can often be misinterpreted and am happy to expand or explain anything I have mentioned."

And that is how it all began! Last September 2006 we started this blog and have documented literally everything on the road to forming the MCFC Supporters Trust.

We have done a lot of planning and research but it is fair to say that we have been overwhelmed with the level of support and interest so far. A couple of days ago the blog reached 50,000 hits and as we write this figure is close to 55,000. Of course hits is not an indication of individual readers so we installed "Blogtopsites" on the right hand side of this blog which independently monitors the activity on here. For the last few weeks or so we have been averaging 3,000 individuals a week reading this blog and another piece of independent monitoring software tells us that the blog is currently read by readers from 89 countries around the world.

We have our Public Open Meeting coming up this Sunday but want to put on record now our sincerest thanks for all of your input, feedback, questions and help so far. Our role is simply to set this up but it will be the supporters, like you, who want to play a positive part in the future of our Club that will make it work.

A huge thank you from all of us!

Best wishes

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

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