Those are the toilets area in which one is supposed to dispose of bodily waste of Ebbsfleet
United, the club which became famous as part of that fan-ownership experiment some years back,
leading to the theory that the common man doesn't care much about the loo. They're taking part in
and currently leading a competition to find the worst restrooms in English football, the "winner"
of which will get £100k in order to spruce up the facilities with a nice TOTO setup, one would
Well, no-one saw this coming: Ebbsfleet United, the "world's first web community owned club",
has lost most of its community in its second year of operation and the club is spiralling towards
disaster on and off the field.
We like to paint the world in perfectly ordered opposites. On the one hand, as an American, I
have grown up with the cold familiarity of the franchise sports model. Here's how the cookie
crumbles in the States. Basically, a businessman (or woman) who has made billions in selling
chemicals or prescription drugs hits middle age, gets bored, doesn't want to start a foundation,
and picks a small Midwestern city to inject with happiness and PR via a sports team.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) has launched its 'Yes We Can' campaign, which aims to
raise enough funds to finance a fan buy out of the club. The NUST's plan, which has been dubbed
'Barcelona on the Tyne' by the financial community, aims to democratise the club and ensure that
the 'current situation at Newcastle [.
In recent years the model of fan ownership exercised through supporters' trusts has been
increasingly high-profile in British football, not least thanks to the sterling work of the
national body Supporters Direct (SD). Meanwhile, very different yet nonetheless successful models
of fan ownership exist across the continent, as seen throughout the Bundesliga or alternatively
with the ‘socio' model as at Real Madrid or Barcelona.
First, the Arsenal Supporters Trust met last night and voted unanimously to reject chairman of
the board Peter Hill-Wood's suggestion that Arsenal shareholders sell their shares to Kroenke. The
AST, which I believe holds 3 shares in its own name and manages dozens more under the fanshare
scheme, is not a major shareholder in terms of percentage of the club owned, but has been a very
active and passionate voice for Arsenal fans.
Remember Graham Roberts and his plan to put Newcastle United in the hands of the fans? I thought
that had faded into oblivion. In fact I thought it was a complete non-starter and imposed a
reporting embargo on myself about it, but I've lifted it in the interests of amusement. It seems
this bid is still simmering [.
Our latest guest post comes from John McGee, gaffer of Carlisle United website, Bring Me the Head
of Keith Mincher. The topic of fan ownership has been hotly debated on blogs and twitter in recent
weeks. Here, John attempts to make sense of the strident opinion swapping. The topic of fan
ownership has become something of a footballing hot potato recently with first The Guardian's North
I'm a bit late reporting the news, but Clyde last month became the latest Scottish club to go
into fan ownership. They've chosen a different model to it from the usual one although there is a
Supporters Trust, that hasn't been used for the ownership. Instead, they've returned to the
old-fashioned way, the club is no longer a limited company and from hereon will be run on a simple
membership scheme of one member, one vote, with periodic elections to the committee to run the club
on an operational basis.
The Israeli supporters' trust movement (yes, there is such a thing!) is part of a growing
network promoting sustainable clubs through community and fan ownership across Europe. As many will
know, Supporters Direct the body responsible for growing much of this network began a decade ago in
Yesterday, we looked at an attack on the idea of fan ownership from the right of the political
spectrum, by Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail. Samuel's condemnation of the idea was confused, and
woefully misinformed (or deliberately misleading).
Interestingly, from the other end of the political spectrum, the Guardian published a piece by
Andrew Martin last Friday that also raised concern about the movement for fans to become more
involved in running their football clubs, recently encouraged by reports of the Labour Government's
plans to give supporters a share in their clubs.
The board of Liverpool fans' group ShareLiverpool FC has announced plans to launch a share issue
which would enable supporters to purchase a stake in the club, further turning up the heat on
unpopular Reds owners George Gillett and Tom Hicks.
The move comes hot on the heels of news that the ‘Spirit of Shankly' supporters' union intends to
launch a fan-ownership scheme of their own this summer, after talks of a merger between the two
groups proved fruitless.
On 27 May, the first ever Supporters' Trust in Serie A was formally established in Rome, with a
‘Constitutional Assembly' convened to agree the structures and purpose of the new association
whose ultimate objective is fan ownership at AS Roma. After the morning meeting, where 83
supporters symbolically assembled to approve the Statute, the paperwork for the "MyRoma"
association was registered with the notary and the organisation was finally operational.
Ever since Mike Ashley first put Newcastle United up for sale there have been rumours of various
fan buy-out schemes for the club. The latest of them was probably that Graham Roberts nonsense,
which I took a particular dislike to and refused to waste electrons on. However, it seems that the
results of the Keegan [.