Posts Tagged "fan-ownership"

Storify on Spanish Member-Owned Clubs

Posted on August 7th, 2013 in Co-ops, Football (2 comments)

The Independent‘s Sam Wallace has a story today about a threat against Spanish member-owned clubs from the EU, which might be taking action to force them to convert into privately-owned companies. It wouldn’t be a surprise; action via the EU by Olympique Lyonnais forced a change to a French state law preventing clubs being owned by private enterprises. That said, there was a fascinating intervention by FASFE (the Spanish equivalent of Supporters Direct) who cast into doubt many of the core facts in the article. I’ve done a...

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Dyke and the Blazers

Posted on March 28th, 2013 in Football (8 comments)

The appointment of Greg Dyke as new FA Chairman had me pleasantly surprised, not least given his on the record views about FA Councillors and the organisation as a whole. The Sam Wallace’s piece I link to highlights Dyke’s ambivalent role; yes, he was Chairman of a supporters’ trust-owned club, but he also was criticial to the Premier League being formed. I think the importance of his role can be overstated here; why should he – then a broadcaster – have any other concern than what he thought would be good for the...

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10 Things I Know About Football From a Decade at Supporters Direct

Posted on March 25th, 2013 in Football, Published Writing (46 comments)

I've written a piece for Stand: Against Modern Football for their latest edition, themed around ownership. They asked me to write abut 10 things I'd learnt about fans and football in my time at Supporters Direct; some of them I kind of knew already, and my experience confirmed the suspicion, so it;s more 10 things I know for sure about football and fans.

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Swansea Memories

Posted on February 22nd, 2013 in Football (7 comments)

Swansea City’s presence in the League Cup Final has occasioned lots of pieces on their rebirth as a force in football, and the role of the Trust in that. It brings back some fond and strong memories. Swansea City was, with Chesterfield, my first proper case when working at Supporters Direct, and it bookends my time there to some extent. As with all trusts, it starts with a couple of people. Critical was Richard Lillicrap, a former councillor in Kingston and devoted Swan. He got the trust and was one of the first people to contact...

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Not in the Wider Interests of Football

Posted on December 3rd, 2012 in Football, Published Writing

This article was first published in Yellow & Blue (incorporating Fanzines United) on 2 December 2012, a fanzine put together by fans on the occasion of AFC Wimbledon’s 2nd round match in the FA Cup against a town in Buckinghamshire which stole a league place some years earlier, to be sold at a gathering at the club’s ground, Kingsmeadow where fans from other clubs had been invited to show solidarity with them. It was such a weasel phrase in the FA commission report, that fans creating AFC Wimbledon was “not in the wider...

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A funny kind of democracy

Posted on May 17th, 2012 in Co-ops, Football (1 comment)

Back in the day when I was at Supporters Direct, I set up a google RSS feed to feature any mention of ‘supporters trust’, and it brought me this article on Monday, about events down at Exeter. This post isn’t about the League Two salary cost management protocol. It’s about  what is meant by fan democracy. In the piece, current Trust board member Roger Conway is quoted saying: The Trust has made the decision to help the manager build a really good team to push for promotion out of League Two next year,” trustee...

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Would your football club be better run as a co-operative?

Posted on May 9th, 2012 in Co-ops, Football (2 comments)

I’ve done a piece for  The Guardian on football clubs and co-operation, making the case for why it’s the best form for them to take, what progress has been made in the last decade, and what challenges they still face to become a successful part of the landscape. Co-operatives offer a sustainable model for football clubs – just ask Champions League finalists Bayern Munich What’s the point of a football club? If we look at the motives of its owners, we’d get some...

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Football in 2011 – Speaker’s Corner Trust Debate

Posted on February 10th, 2011 in Football, Published Writing

I was asked by the Speaker’s Corner Trust to engage in a debate with Professor Stefan Szymanski of CASS Business School, about whether the state of football in 2011 was a cause for celebration or lament (I’m defending the latter proposition). The debate took the form of an exchange of three emails between us, and the full debate is on the Speakers Corner Trust website.

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Football Fans Do Not Expect to Pick The Team

Posted on January 20th, 2011 in Football, Published Writing

Published in The Guardian’s Right of Reply page following a piece by Louise Taylor which asserted that the fan-ownership movement was misguided in its aims and not the best way forward for clubs. I was given a chance to respond to her piece several days later. Supporters just want clubs to be run democratically, rather than by the dictatorship of chairmen In her column on the role of fans in the ownership and governance of football clubs, Louise Taylor debates whether it’s better to have...

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Barca – Co-operation & the Future of Football

Posted on June 14th, 2010 in Co-ops, Published Writing

Commissioned by Co-operatives UK for publication during Co-operatives Fortnight in 2010 alongside the first publication in the UK of the English translation of the club’s statutes. You can download a PDF of the pamphlet here, and a PDF of the statutes here. What is a football club? Before you can decide what a club should do, you really need to have a clear picture of what it is for. Such questions are rarely, if ever, asked in English football; such a failure may explain the fact that if we...

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That Sinking Feeling, or How Not To Waste a Crisis

Posted on May 14th, 2009 in Football, Published Writing

Originally published in football’s business-to-business magazine, FC Business in May 2009 as the UK entered recession and, for the first time since the creation of the Premier League, English football would not be buoyed by the wider economic climate. In the last two months of the season, four Football League clubs entered administration, and in the space of one week, three non-league clubs were wound-up. Nobody believes that’s anything but the start. Football Conference Chairman Brian Lee...

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Should Football Allow Leveraged Buyouts?

Posted on January 23rd, 2008 in Football, Published Writing

Published in The Guardian’s Sporting debate column where I went head-to-head with Joe McLean of Grant Thornton’s football unit. Joe was in favour of a relaxed attitude to the leveraged takeovers of football clubs, whilst I took the contrary view. The idea of a leveraged takeover is that an asset is undervalued and somebody thinks they can make more money out of it so they use debt to acquire the club and then try to make the money back. It’s based on speculation, so the only...

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The Case for Salary Caps

Posted on August 20th, 2006 in Football, Published Writing

Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2006, making the case for cost-control in football to bring an end to seemingly continual inflationary pressures; the policy ideas behind this were part of a wider debate which influenced UEFA’s Financial Fair Play initiative. In a recent article in the magazine, I mentioned the idea of wage constraints on clubs. It’s an issue that’s increased in profile recently, a sure sign that the debate is shifting. The issue is particularly...

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Fool Me Once, Shame On You. Fool Me Twice, Shame On Me

Posted on July 20th, 2006 in Football, Published Writing

Written for the match day programme for the Supporters Direct Cup, played between AFC Wimbledon and FC United of Manchester in 2006. The Cup is an annual match played between two fan-owned clubs, for a trophy purchased by donations by members of the Supporters Direct mailing list. We’re delighted to be involved in the fourth hosting of the Supporters Direct Cup. On a personal level, I’m especially delighted that for the first time, the match is taking place outside the M25, at the ground where...

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Oh, FC United!

Posted on June 13th, 2006 in Football, Published Writing

Written for Supporters Direct’s quarterly magazine in 2006, reviewing life at fan-owned football co-operative FC United of Manchester, one year after their formation in May 2005 soon after the Glazer family’s takeover at Manchester United. When it was first reported that disgruntled fans of Manchester United were thinking of starting their own team, many in the football world scoffed. Some couldn’t see the point, whilst others couldn’t see that it would work. There was certainly...

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Trust in Football

Posted on May 29th, 2004 in Football, Published Writing

A chapter of a pamphlet published by the IPPR at the time of the 2004 European Championships, surveying the development of the supporters’ trust movement over the previous four years. Other chapter authors included David Conn and Andy Burnham MP. Since Supporters Direct was launched four years ago, the response has been phenomenal, with 102 supporters’ trusts formed at every level of the game, forty-five of these have a shareholding in their clubs and 30 have a supporter-director. The...

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Wimbledon Football Club is Dead; Long Live Wimbledon

Posted on August 13th, 2002 in Football, Published Writing

Originally published in FourFourTwo at the start of the season in which AFC Wimbledon played their first game in the Combined Counties Leagues, two months after the FA Tribunal gave permission for the Milton Keynes move which the old Wimbledon FC’s owners had been agitating for in the face of fierce opposition from fans. It’s agony for the 30 Wimbledon fans gathered outside the FA headquarters as part of a vigil whilst an FA’s Commission meets to decide whether the club can move...

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All Just a Little Bit of History Repeating…

Posted on July 24th, 2002 in Football

The first division are getting ready to blackmail their smaller brethren for a greater share of the cash and the power. The rest are fearful of the consequences of caving in, and of standing up. This was 1985, and the Premiership was just around the corner. They caved in and got rid of gate sharing, so ending the historic revenue redistributing mechanism and it was a hop, skip and a jump to the Premiership in 1992. Fast forward to 2002 and the same events are being played out. Like Marx said, history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy,...

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