It is perfect timing really – a week before the AGM cup Aldershot is taken over by their fans. Whilst this will, sadly, confirm Stockport County are relegated it is certainly good news for fans of the London based club. Aldershot will start next season with a 10 point deduction meaning a relegation battle is on the cards (with seating prices at a fairly hefty £19) but at least they can now get on with the business of running the club properly.
But this isn’t the only Conference club to change their structure and become more involved in the community. Macclesfield Town have announced they will become a Community Interest Company (CIC).
What this basically means is they are one step further along the route of becoming a charity – a kind of mix between a limited company (because they can still pay dividends to shareholders) and a charity because they have to serve the community. Handily the football club themselves have written a guide on their new structure – transparency is a pretty decent start!
As part of this they have agreed a deal with their local council (Cheshire East) to sell the ground as a freehold site for £285k. This will consolidate their debts and ensure the short term future of the club, and, it is hoped, the new structure of the club will ensure the long term future. Macclesfield will now join the exclusive club of CIC football clubs alongside Eastbourne Borough and Stenhousemuir.
Macclesfield’s change is certainly an interesting one and whilst I wouldn’t call it fan ownership is certainly an attractive model for football clubs proud of their place within their communities. It will be interesting to keep an eye on to see what the fans think of the change and how it might affect them going forward.
Regular readers of my blog (all four of you) will have noticed that one high profile club going through the process of becoming a fan owned club has remained off topic. This isn’t for any I-hate-this-club-because-of-x reasons nor is it because I haven’t followed their plight fairly closely. No it is because I didn’t have the foggiest idea what on earth was going on half the time with their various legal battles and I didn’t want to get myself into any trouble over it (as someone who actually knows something has). Thankfully, today, the deal has finally gone through and the newest club to enter into the family of fan ownership is Portsmouth FC.
One of the more controversial issues of the past year or so has been the rebranding of Cardiff City FC from blue to red.
Around about this time last year a Darlington FC fan wrote something about his club which summed up how it feels to be a club slowly moving towards administration/liquidation. What followed was a desperate attempt to save the club which was achieved thanks to a last minute (literally) payment of debts and survival until the end of the season.
On a previous blog post I tried to look at the reasons why many fans choose not to join a supporters’ trust (ST) at large clubs. The main conclusions drawn from this are that fans don’t know what STs are for or they can’t see what difference they can make to a club unwilling to engage with an ST (or fans in general) in the short term. When looking back on the history of STs it is clear that this is widely true – fans only really begin to get involved with STs and the running of their club when things start to turn sour.
Both Northwich Victoria and the new 1874 Northwich have had fairly important weeks but for completely different reasons.
Just as a bit of post-festive fun I thought I would do a fan owned accumulator. Here are my picks for the games on December 29 for Conference Premier leagues and above. All the odds are from Williams Hill on December 27. Feel free to put your picks in the comments box, facebook or twitter!