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.