Posts Tagged → manchester united supporters trust
In less than nine days the football authorities (The FA, Premier League and Football League) will have to produce a plan of introducing measures spelled out in Octobers government response to the football government report. I’m sure we’ve all looked at it but some of us like me haven’t looked at it closely enough. Many of us believed it would do nothing and was a halved arsed effort. Firstly consider this… Some of the items in the governments response refer directly back to the the report. For example we all believed the Government had passed over leveraged buyouts but that is not the case. I even said in a past blog they’d completely bottled it. This past blog shows you need to go into more detail… Leveraged Buy Outs To Be Banned
Another area which I haven’t looked at in more detail until now is covered in the governments response under point 41.
41. One option that we have considered is to specify within the new club licensing system a trigger point that would require clubs to make a seat available to one or more supporters’ representatives on the Board. Such a trigger point could be the next time the club changes hands; the point at which the officially recognised supporters organisations reach a certain size; or by a majority vote of eligible supporters. There will be other options as well.
Point 41 means within the club licensing system there will be a trigger point system for the officially recognised supporters trusts to place members on the board of football clubs. The recommendation says these will include a change of ownership, the size of a supporters trust, by a vote and that there will be others options. If this had been in place in the past, clubs over the last few years like Leeds, Plymouth and Portsmouth who have had problems could have placed a member on the board for greater power and transparency.
This trigger point system to get a member on the board for many clubs may only come about at the point when a club changes hands or gets in trouble. I think many people have passed over the other trigger points. The change of ownership has been happening since football clubs were created and for all clubs this will come around but for a club like Manchester United or Chelsea where the owners say they have a ‘long term interest’ or another club which could be anywhere in the leagues which hasn’t changed hands for 20-30 years like Wigan, that system doesn’t and won’t work. A key recommendation here is once an officially recognised supporters organisation reaches a certain size instead of changing hands. Most football clubs even in the Premier League may only have at best a few 1000 members or less, some only have 100s. Norwich City for example a Premier League club have over 600 members but own 1200 shares worth a value of £121,000 in their club. Swansea City fans already have a member on the board due to the fact they own 20% of the club. The Manchester United Supporters Trust back in 2005 had a touch over 30,000 members. They now have over 175,000 and if this trigger point for example requires 1000 or even 10,000 members, surely from day one of the new licensing rules, our supporters trust would meet the requirement triggering that point. A trigger point like this could do two things. One, trigger on the day its introduced for those who meet the criteria and two other supporters trusts would surely have a big inventive to promote themselves and grow to meet that target. If the target was 1,000 which to me seems realistic. Reading, Spurs, Arsenal and others would meet it but many wouldn’t. I believe a target of anything over 10,000 would make it impossible for most clubs to achieve and impossible for smaller clubs.
A licensing system so clubs have to talk to fan groups like IMUSA/MUST, possible members on the board, supporters trusts given first options on future takeovers via administration, leveraged buyouts banned, protection of shares in football clubs, full transparency on the ownership of football clubs and its debts is all very much on the cards. We could have done with all that in 2005 and today the next club in trouble will be Arsenal. Hopefully this will protect them from big debts and American owners. Currently this all feels like a pipe dream but if we then consider that by next Wednesday the footballing authorities have to agree a plan as set out in the response and that the government want most of the recommendations in the response in place by the start of the 2012-2013 season it becomes much more real. Of course for many of us it won’t be real until it happens.
From the share sale news, to scarfs, to brand new sponsorship deals, to old campaigns and more. There are two things I want to discuss first or more of two things you could do. One any twitter followers, follow IMUSA on twitter. Since 1995 they have been a powerful voice of the fans. They campaign for the fans on almost about everything. Currently they have 375 followers when really it should be over 300,000. Forget MUST, these guys know what it’s about and they aren’t scared of letting others know. FOLLOW EM!
The second is linked to IMUSA in the way. They have officially called for all clubs in the Premier League and Football League to be 51% owned by the fans, so if you haven’t sign this link. http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/12412 Had loads of questions about being outside the UK. If you are outside the UK, you just need to say your a UK resident and you can put a none UK address in as normal. That means you type a zip code instead of a postcode for those asking.
On from that MUST have a new campaign or should we say the recycled Green and Gold campaign much like Ashley Youngs new chant. I find the email they sent out a little simple, I don’t believe it was the ‘Green and Gold’ scarfs or the ‘Green and Gold’ Campaign, it was a whole movement and feeling. Put it this way you’ve got a movement against you, one step from possibly going all out, are you going to make it worse or try and dampen the situation down? I think even the Glazers knew taking that £95m out of the club, at that stage would have caused an almighty uproar. With the IPO coming am not saying it’s time to move away, I still wear mine but the latest email from MUST is limited at best. They have this million member project? I’ve never seen this start. There should a plan to push this. If this IPO comes about, wheres the plan for taking a stake? There needs to be a recommended value set which MUST members will buy shares at? Initial or not. I don’t think a pretty poster with George Best on will gain members or buy shares. If one of you reads this, it isn’t me moaning, it’s a feeling we all have.
This DHL deal has really taken to the press… £40m for the training kit. Theres a reason this is doing the rounds. That means for the 1st team kit and training kit sponsorship value is £120m every four years. Considering Arsenals last deal was a £48m for the shirts over 8 years, is valued at £6m a year, this is £10m a year just for training kits. That means Manchester United’s shirt/training deals are 5 times more valuable than Arsenals. Over 10 years that’s comparable with City’s £400m deal but this doesn’t include any naming rights of stadiums and I believe this deal doesn’t include sponsorship on the training gear before Champions League matches. If that’s to do with rules or something else I don’t currently know. You have to ask some questions. If the shirt deal went to market now, what would that fetch? Will there be a deal for the naming of the training ground? Will there be another deal for Champions League matches? Did this deal just make Manchester City’s deal more viable? If other clubs deals like Arsenal’s were up for renewal, what would they fetch? There are likely three more deals in those questions which are already being lined up and that doesn’t include another £3m a year deal with a Vietnamese mobile company that has also just been signed. Another odd one is Mister Potato a Malaysian snack company which is apparently being lined up. United have many of these lower level partners have targeted telecoms firms hard by signing many deals and they are likely to sign more.
The IPO has been raising a few questions and my main current question is to do with the buyers of the shares. We know already you need a broker in Singapore but theres rumour this is just open to financial institutions. That to me would say it’s limiting the value by cutting certain people out, such as this Peter Lim and of course the fans. I don’t really see why other than gaining possible interest or dividend payments why a financial investment company would want to invest in a football club which hasn’t for the last two years made a profit and plans to spend it’s 30% value on reducing debt. The bonds given out have a different purpose than shares. The bonds have an interest rate of between 8-9% and I’d very much doubt the shares would have anything similar unless theres some odd Glazer plan that only makes sense to them and David Gill.
Over the last few weeks there have been a number of meetings between the select committee and those invited to give their evidence. Our Supporters Trust has put much faith into this but the question is what happens once its all over? What happens if nothing happens or something happens but it not what any of us wanted? Lets say the rules change but this makes no difference to ourselves? The Red Knights totally failed, followed by a failure by the government to take action. At that point its pretty clear we can’t rely on anyone but ourselves. The inaction by ourselves to do something on our own accord over god knows how many years will hit hard. The Redknights was luck of the draw, caused by Glazers actions. It wasn’t MUST who decided we’re going to raise money, it was someone else. Now again they are relying on an outside party such as Qatar to make a chance. It should have never happened like that. There are 1,000s of us last year thinking ‘phoenix fund’. They had a fantastic chance to start raising big money. If the fans want to buy into the club, they have to raise money, that’s a stone wall fact. What have we raised? 100,000 email addresses and the on rest I’ve not got a clue. They won’t tell anyone or talk about. As an example theres a club called FC United. They have around 2,000 members and they’ve managed to raise between £1.3m in community shares alone. That doesn’t include any donations towards the ground or money used to keep the club going. How many paid members? They won’t say. How much in the phoenix fund? They won’t say. The site says 167,000 members but that means nothing if action doesn’t follow it. It should read the figure in the Phoenix Fund. Money talks more than words. Ask Malcolm Glazer. The trust and the people who run it will see this as criticism but a lot of us will say, this is the truth. Inaction and lack of information. They have Obamas advertising company promoting them, use it correctly, raise some bloody money and cause some damage.
I’ll bring up another issue. The blog run on their site has gone from the story of the Red Knights to quickly advertising BetFred deals. To be honest, this is the type of thing that made many people give up back when the club house was the biggest thing on the MUST agenda. The idea did exist back in 2007, lets not say it didn’t. The idea to offer reds deals to put in the phoenix fund wasn’t a bad idea but it was poorly thought out. The biggest issue MUST are involved with currently is the football governance committee. That is the Be and End All. Not Bedfred, if they wanted a tiny amount of credibility they’d blog every tuesday and provide links to the live feed. Have they done any of this? No. If they want to use Betfred, it should be to promote the trust, not using the blog once every three weeks to advising a company. If Fred doesn’t want to promote MUST on his site or in his shops, tell him to do one. It no loss to me or anyone else. I don’t really understand what the people at the top of MUST are thinking but I think, its time for a big change.
We’ve all seen David Gills comments during the Football Governance Inquiry and for me they are a disgrace. According to him if you are one of the 167,000 members of MUST your view does not matter or if you are part of IMUSA you view does not matter. Anyone according to him calling for the owners to leave is someone who they will not talk with and to be honest I believe everyone wants them to go, no matter how extreme the view is. Some might want Qatar or they might want the fans to take over but everyone on the planet knows, United would be better without the Glazer. I believe that is a view shared by all, by those who protest or not. Its likely a view even shared by David Gill but due to his massive pay cheque, he refuses to believe it. To me that means its only his and a few Americans view that matters. David Gill thinks YOUR VIEW DOES NOT MATTER. The rest of the information he put out was also mostly lies and bullshit. Andersred has looked at some of the figures he gave out and those were wrong. Gill basically lied to Parliament and told a group of people voted for in a democratic system, their constitutes views don’t matter and they weren’t going to be listened too. That could back fire big time. Gill also said the International support didn’t really care about the issues or didn’t know about them. I don’t agree with that view as some of the followers on twitter hate the glazers more than many of the domestic fans.
MUST today called for International growth in their membership and many people may think, why would you want to do that? The Trust and the movement needs as much support as possible. In its current state everyone needs to step it up a gear and the Trust need to plan to promote its self on a massive scale. I can only do so much so if you haven’t joined The Manchester United Supporters trust do it now. It doesn’t matter if you from Salford or Mexico.
I’d also call not just for people to join for free but to put into the Withdrawal Share Capital fund. This is the Phoenix fund which would part fund the fans taking a stake in the club if it ever got to that stage. This goes for existing free members or existing paid members.
They’ll also be calling on fans to contact their local MP in the coming weeks and push the Football Governance Inquiry to make the change. MUST might not be calling for a boycott or a protest but they’ve got the Government questioning David Gill, who then made abit of fool of himself and the rest of football. This could by May force through the bigger changes, we’ve all been waiting for. Who caused this debate? Our Supporters Trust highlighting the problems.
#LUHG you can follow and question me @wewantglazerout
I’ll make this very clear, the Evidence from the Football Inquiry so far is mostly saying yes, you could even judge the Premiers League Evidence as open to debate, they didn’t say no like the FA, which is very interesting. Here are just a few examples where intervention would be justified by those who submitted evidence.
Supporters Direct – “We suggest a time-limited Act which provides powers for the Minister to take all necessary action to introduce a thorough licensing regime should such not be introduced by football”
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust – “Establish a Licensing system to address club debt, financial instability and to ensure the clubs increase supporter influence.”
Football Supporters’ Federation – “Government to intervene as a facilitator to ensure that essential governance reforms are introduced by the FA”
The Fulham Supporters Trust – “We believe that, due to poor governance of a domestic game that is still riddled with money and credibility problems, government intervention in football is very much justified.”
Supporters’ Trust at Reading – “Government intervention is justified but it should be restricted to imposing a powerful, independent regulatory regime with two key objectives:”
Southend United Supporters’ Club Trust – “Football clubs should be run as businesses and the Sjrimpers Trust believe that government intervention is only justified when there is a clear case of mismanagement and a risk of bankruptcy.”
David Hodges (former semi-pro footballer, Leicester City Fan) – “Yes, The Government is investing £57.6m over the next three years of football. The Government has lost over £28m in unpaid tax from football clubs practicing poor governance procedures ”
Bradford City Supporters’ Trust – “Government Intervention should establish the core governance principles for the sport and provide powers that are sufficient to protect the new arrangements from eternal pressures, especially those arising from the excessive commercial weight of the Premier League”
Fisher FC – “Government Intervention is justified because football clubs are so important to communities, and to the supporters.”
Wimbledon Independent Supporters Association – “We believe that the path to a proper framework ensuring that football is run much more in the interests of the people who tic with it through thick and thin, whose only desire is the joy and the of having a club to support and to see it do well, lies in active government intervention tonsure that out game is suitably regulated.”
Paul Baggaley, Chairmen of Newark Town FC – “Yes”
Yorkshire Division Of Football Supporters’ Federation – “Football is our national game. As such Government has a duty to protect the game at levels for future generations.”
The Professional Players Federation – “Nevertheless government and its agencies do have a number of financial and regulatory mechanisms to exert considerable influence upon the governance of football”
Darlington Supporters Trust – “governance should be taken as sine qua non and we firmly believe that intervention of government and parliament would be welcomed in pursuit of these objectives”
Pompey Supporters’ Trust – “The justification for government intervention is clear”
I haven’t even added The Manchester United Supporters’ Trust or the Liverpool Supporters’ Union yet but they both say the same thing. The Government should allow Supporters’ Trust take hold of clubs holdings and The Liverpool Supporters’ Union makes it clearer than The Manchester United Supporters Trust and this is one of the most important paragraphs in the whole document – “As a starting point, we propose that the Government Legislates to introduce a “transfer window” policy whereby clubs that are in the process of changing ownership or ownership stake in excess of 20% are legally bound to offer a properly constituted Supporters’ Trust the opportunity to purchase a shareholding in the club”
Here is the Premier Leagues, The FAs and Football Leagues View On Government Intervention -
The Football League – “However, it does not believe that government intervention is appropriate at this time.”
The FA – “However, The FA believes that there is no justification for direct intervention by the Government into the running of English Football.”
The Premier League – “The failure of the market to deliver desirable public outcomes may also lead to intervention and in such circumstances the government or its agencies might do a better job. It is far proven that these conditions exist in the case of football”
From what I have seen so far I see no reason why in the summer the Government can’t give The FA a certain amount of time to clean its self up or introduce changes into the way football is run with a set time limit. This should be followed by possible intervention by Football to involve Supporters’ Trusts to take part control of clubs, this can either be done by the rules or if Football does not carry this through by a certain date, Legislation can be introduced by the Government. This Legislation could even be introduced before that date comes around meaning a fall back. This way in all areas of Football can be warned and given one chance, if they ignore this, any negative affects as The FA pointed as Fifa getting involved or The England team being banned, will not have been done the fault of the Government, the clubs, the owners or the fans. It will have been Football failing to compile and the only people to point at we’ll be the people on the boards of the Premier League, The FA and Football League. I believe the Premier League and FA knew it either happens with them or happens without them, rules changes would happen in a flash and I don’t think the Football League would argue against any new measures.
My next blog will on some of the shocking facts that are in the evidence.
Love United Hate Glazer
This week I’ve seen three things which have caught my eye, all have seen my eyebrows raised in a different manner. This blog is only about one! Now its great to see United have 9 Million fans on facebook but as fans we have bigger and more important fish to fry. The Manchesters United Supporters Trust “and now your thinking oh here we go” are as I type this working behind the scenes meeting with MPs and other big fish within football. Some of the Premier League big wigs for example. Most pricks to you and I. The reason is they have been working since the mid 1990s in some form or another, campaigning in government and one time they did win. They helped and stopped Sky taking control. They made it clear after that win we need to band to together and buy a stake in the club. Shareholders United is a famous old name. As ever, nothing goes to plan and Glazer took over. While the football governance inquiry is on and the Trust have said this themselfs in the past a realistic figure is one million members. There are currently 166,805 members signed up, so if that facebook group as 9 million likes, we as fans have issues. Every email address related to a United fan signed up to MUST is far more important than 1 million of those likes on myface. This football governance inquiry could and I am not saying it will (there is the smallest possibility, its tiny currently) allow us as fans to buy into the club. I’ve seen many fans say ’lets get one million fans and all put £10 in a pot’. We are already 10 steps ahead of you. Its called ‘withdrawnable share capital’ and in 2006 it had over £2m in it and MUST has increased its membership by over 100,000 in well under one year. I’ve got a sizeable amount of cash in the fund, alot more than just £10. Sign Up To MUST, stick £10 in and get every United fan you know to do the same or just sign up free and wait for that email to do so. If it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come but atleast you knew you weren’t one of the 8.9 Million who wasn’t ready.
We’ve known for a long time there have been problems in football. To do with debt, ownership and on the first day of the inquest from a man who was the boss of The FA, we now know why. The Premier League works for the interests of its chairmen. It aims to keep them all happy so if David Gill says ‘the glazers own this club you keep it that way’ they’ll do there best to see The FA or anyone else can’t do anything. The FA tried once before and they got scared. Now they do as the EPL tell them. The only action they’ll take is against the odd player, to make it look like they are in charge. In reality if The FA says we want to remove all debt. The EPL will say no you won’t. The FA then goes off and crys in the corner. The FA run English Football, they are the governing body. If they put rules in place for the good of the game, all leagues should accept them. The FA is only worried about England getting banned why because that’s how its board make their cash. Shirts sales, ticket sales. Lets get one thing very very clear. The England Football Team is the last place on Earth that should be treated like Tescos. Its the national team and if takes England getting banned for the board to work this out, that will be good for football. You cannot have a governing body, which works more like a business, than a governing body. The same can be said for Fifa in areas. The FA is their to govern football. It has in the past found out many of the issues the government is discussing but has not been allowed to carry them out. UFEA and Fifa have power, The FA has none. Its why on many an issue the FA doesn’t do anything, that’s also true for matters on the pitch. They should find issues, find the solutions and put in new rules. That is The FA’s job, if it cannot do that, huge changes need to happen. Forced Changes.
Tomorrow night they’ll likely be stories floating about what Lord Triesman said to the Select Committee but I am very interesting in hearing what everyone has to say. Currently I’d say its a two sided affair but the interesting thing is none of the six to be currently to be interviewed have a strong link to football. That means its not someone from within the EPL, FA or say Manchester United. First at 10:45 am we’ll be hearing from Stefan Szymanski, Sean Hamil and Patrick Collins. At 11:45am we’ll hear from Lord Triesman, Graham Kelly and Lord Burns. The first three should be the most interesting as they are likely to give straight answers or explain in simple terms what is going on. Patrick Collins from the Daily Mail wrote this about the FA and EPL when Liverpool were in court trying to get rid of their owners.
“Now, who could argue with a word of that? And who can remember the Premier League making a remotely useful contribution to the entire debate? Who can recall them offering a frank and articulate condemnation of the appalling way in which Liverpool Football Club has been run for these past three years?
Not their style, I’m afraid. In their view, owners may do pretty much as they choose; be they Tom or George, the dearly departed Shinawatra or the geekish Glazers, who have saddled Manchester United with the kind of debt which is beyond shame or comprehension. Fill your boots, chaps, but please try not to harm the ‘brand’. As for the FA, the people who used to accept responsibility for the way in which English football conducts itself: nothing.”
So we know Patricks view already. He knows like do Liverpool and United could be took over by Kim Jong Ill and the FA would let them take them over. If more people like Patrick are interviewed, the FA could get destroyed. Not stepping in when Portsmouth were in trouble, not stepping during the Glazer takeover and not stepping in when Liverpool had issues. To be honest the only thing the FA would have do is likely fine all the clubs and dock them points for asking for help. The ‘its not our problem’ needs to end and with people like Patrick being interviewed we have a good chance. Its likely 3 more of the people being interviewed could say similar things. Triesman we’ll likely be one of these people. He told the EPL there was too much debt and now hes gone, the new guy says its not that much of a problem. Quiet worrying that the former head of The FA said there was too much debt in football and now The FA says there isn’t. So I am betting on atleast 2 people on the side of the fans, with no one yet insight from the Glazer, Hicks or the EPLs camp. Day One Could Be 1:0 To The People. For more updates follow me on twitter @wewantglazerout , I’ll be trying to pick out the key parts tomorrow after everything has been said.
I asked Duncan Drasdo the Chief Executive of The Trust to answer afew questions this afternoon via twitter and got afew answers back. You should be able to find the real replies on my twitter page. So while we all wonder what is going publicly which may not seen like much, behind the scenes there is much more. Much more than Duncan can say publicly for good reason. For the Trust the governments action so far must seem like a small victory, after all the years of campaigning. Considering this time last year there was nothing from the Government on these issues being planned, what’s happening currently successful or not, is a very big step. So behind the scenes there are meetings, hard work and other issues being put forward to certain groups of people. Yesterday MUST sent its submission for the Select Committee Football Governance inquiry. The Trusts aims are set high and they’ll be made known to the committee. Instead of the Club or David Gill shooting it down, this time people will be there to listen. So who do the Trust talk to? They currently have lined up meetings with a number of MPs and more interestingly Richard Scudamore the Chief Executive of the F.A. Premier League. What his views are on The Manchester United Supporters Trusts aims would be quiet interesting but that’s another blog.
So in the background the Trust are very involved in the political issues surrounding the game and for me currently that’s the most important thing. What comes of the Trusts efforts in May and many other peoples efforts is very important. My view is a takeover of Manchester United won’t save football. The only way is rule changes and government action. Hoping someone from the middle east with their own agenda buys the club and does everything we want them to do when they don’t have to is a risky game to play. This story will only get bigger over the next 3 months, so watch this space. I expect this could be a new catalysis for change. Don your Green and Gold scarf, make it known we still want Glazer out and we want changes made in football.
On Wednesday which is Wednesday the 26th, the written evidence which will be viewed and used to put forward changes for football needs to be submitted. This includes FA figures, Premier League figures, MPs, Football Owners(will the Glazers put a submission in?) from many different leagues, The Football Supporters’ Federation (confirmed to me), Supporters Direct (also confirmed to me) and other areas of football. Anyone can put evidence in but it needs to be good and relevant. It needs to be 3,000 words in length about six sides, have an abstract with bullet points and have numbers paragraphs. It can be sent can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org send another email with your details and address. This is one of the most important dates I’ve seen in many years and while there isn’t alot of time, there is still enough time to get a submission in. If you have strong views on the subject get yours in. It might just change the cause. There will also be verbal sessions during February were certain people will be called up over 7 or so sessions. These might be the ones that get in the media and the paper. Lets hope mouth David Gill doesn’t get called up but I’d love to see Malcolm Glazer up there.
Interms of an outcome when you read those figures being reviewed it doesn’t look that promising but this is relevant to football ownership and governance. Not why we didn’t get the world cup or why England didn’t perform, as one BBC Jouno has already tried to twist it into. That is another story. I can already see certain owners in the Premier League having their own agenda, they won’t want anything to do with introducing governance or fan ownership. They’ll want something that suits themselves. Outside of that it depends what peoples views inside the FA and EPL are. They might also want nothing to do with it or they’ll again want only a certain stage of ruling put in. The EPL will say, ‘the owners are good, blah blah blah.’ As one did the other week. The richest and most powerful old crap. Tell that to Portsmouth, United and Liverpool fans. Its not the bee and end all. Where will some of the evidence for support for change come from? Surprise surprise the government for starters and also alot of MPs and other government figures. There could be some football clubs themselves such as FC United, Exeter City, AFC Wimbledon who have a say, the leaders of supporters direct and many supporters trusts. There are over 160 of these in the UK who have a great deal of knowledge. The Manchester United Supporters Trust will likely be the pick of the bunch but Portsmouth/Newcastle/Liverpool trusts will also be important. One surprise could be the Arsenal Supporters Trust. Its only very small but they are in the same position MUST were many many years ago. Currently buying small numbers of shares with support of the club. They can give their view and hopefully it will show just how weak they are. If their was a change, they wouldn’t stand much of a chance. One of the most important submissions for me could be the IMUSA document. They have faced years of abuse from the current owners and the club. They show how real owners act again their fans on match day. There is alot to go on and if you want to get your view on the subject, get it in! There is still time!