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Since my last blog on this subject in April much has happened with many clubs mentioned and much has happened with many others not mentioned. The most high profile clubs with plans and takeovers in the English leagues come from leagues One and Two and there are many more in the Scottish Premier League. Wycombe Wanderers are the latest club to have their takeover confirmed by their supporters trust. League Two has increasing numbers of teams owned by the fans. Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon and Wycombe are now completely fan owned but the highest profile bid comes from the Pompey Supporters trust who are now in League One. The amount needed to takeover Portsmouth is believed to be around £8 million. The Tranmere Rovers Supporters Trust another club with takeover plans are working towards a £500,000 target of which £200,000 was raised by March but there hasn’t been much news since.
In the Scottish Premier League, Dundee United and Motherwell are already owned by the fans and its been reported St. Mirren fans are near to a deal for the fans to buy up 52% of the shares which would give them overall control.
I’d say the reasons why the Scottish Premier League and League Two are the main areas we are seeing takeovers is, one down to the lower cost to form a bid than other leagues and two down certain regulations. The amount of money needed to launch a bid in League Two is likely to be in the £100,000s rather than the £Millions need above which is much more achievable. League Two also includes a percentage wage cap which I believe puts off certain types of owners aiming to buy their way to success. This season the football league will see its own style of FFP introduced throughout the 3 leagues, aiming for sustainable running of clubs in football. If FFP puts off certain types of owners in all three leagues time may allow more clubs to be owned by the fans. A key area put forward by the government asked for supporters trusts to have the first right to buy their clubs if they went into administration. Cost will always come first but the other areas could allow for supporters clubs to expand into their clubs much faster than in the last few years. There could be by the end of the summer around 31 clubs owned by the fans up from the 26 from the start of 2012 and I hope that increases year by year. Tranmere Rovers, Porthmouth, Darlington 1883(formally Darlington FC), St. Mirren and Wycombe could all included in that with two already confirmed. I see that as very positive progress.