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Fan Ownership

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Grove
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« on: January 21, 2019, 20:00:49 pm »

So many questions not least , where does the money come from to A) buy the club B) maintain the club C) move forward
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GrangeParkCobbler
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2019, 20:10:36 pm »

So many questions not least , where does the money come from to A) buy the club B) maintain the club C) move forward
Simple answers?

A) you hope to pick the club up for a pound as the current incumbents cut their losses

B) you maintain the club to break even, that may involve a vastly reduced playing budget to begin with...no point in hiding from that

C) you build on what you have, some of that will come naturally ala Lincoln, the way they have almost trebled their gates by getting fans more involved, being more transparent in their dealings, and making it an attractive proposition for local business to advertise and sponsor. That could affect B) above and may reduce the need for massive cuts.

Cloth is cut accordingly! Solidarity payments and TV revenue are a known figure, but pretty much everything else is variable. Income affects expenditure.....

In the short term the club becomes more attractive to the fans and local business, in the long term it becomes more attractive to possible outside investment. At that time the fans can then decide whether their ambitions have been realised and theyíve taken the club as far as they can.

Very simplistic I know......but why make things difficult?
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Boot and shoe
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« Reply #2 on: January 21, 2019, 20:59:15 pm »

If we go down this road , we are confined to mediocrity forever .
I donít support it . We are not big enough to carry it off .
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« Reply #3 on: January 21, 2019, 21:14:24 pm »

Simple answers?

A) you hope to pick the club up for a pound as the current incumbents cut their losses

B) you maintain the club to break even, that may involve a vastly reduced playing budget to begin with...no point in hiding from that

C) you build on what you have, some of that will come naturally ala Lincoln, the way they have almost trebled their gates by getting fans more involved, being more transparent in their dealings, and making it an attractive proposition for local business to advertise and sponsor. That could affect B) above and may reduce the need for massive cuts.

Cloth is cut accordingly! Solidarity payments and TV revenue are a known figure, but pretty much everything else is variable. Income affects expenditure.....

In the short term the club becomes more attractive to the fans and local business, in the long term it becomes more attractive to possible outside investment. At that time the fans can then decide whether their ambitions have been realised and theyíve taken the club as far as they can.

Very simplistic I know......but why make things difficult?
just go from A to B to start. Why would they surrender it for a £1. Write off nearly £2million in loans if they are breaking even.  You cannot cut your cloth by cancelling contracts.significant cash required.
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tcobb
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« Reply #4 on: January 21, 2019, 21:17:34 pm »

I'm with Boot and Shoe, it's not for me, people think it will be so easy, Conference Football is a certainty if the fans were to take over now.
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2019, 21:32:06 pm »

I'm with Boot and Shoe, it's not for me, people think it will be so easy, Conference Football is a certainty if the fans were to take over now.

I agree with this
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« Reply #6 on: January 21, 2019, 21:34:44 pm »

I'm with Boots and the others with this, it's not the way to go. I don't beleive enough money could be raised to buy let alone run this club. The budgets would be very tight and any potential we have would not be realised. I can only see no leauge football going down this route.
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« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2019, 21:39:02 pm »

Same here - I know that meccanoís heart is in the right place but it is a romantic, utopian vision with little to no basis in reality. Donít get me wrong I havenít a clue what the alternative is or how this is going to play out but the prospect of a fans owned or even phoenix club doesnít fill me with joy.
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GrangeParkCobbler
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« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2019, 21:49:06 pm »

just go from A to B to start. Why would they surrender it for a £1. Write off nearly £2million in loans if they are breaking even.  You cannot cut your cloth by cancelling contracts.significant cash required.

I didnít say anything about cancelling contract, obviously thatís an expensive road to go down.

Why would they surrender it for a £1.....erm, isnít that what DC did in the end? And we are nowhere near breaking even, Iím pretty sure of that! The maths do not add up.

Let me just say Iím not actually advocating 100% fan ownership, indeed it would be full of pitfalls along the way, however I would advocate a Ďcommunity run clubí.....with a potential local suitor sitting above keeping an eye on things.

What I certainly donít advocate are property developers hiding behind various shell companies, some of which are offshore and little communication about anything whatsoever. Undisclosed transfer fees would be a thing of the past!
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2019, 21:58:25 pm »

I stand by what I said a few months ago when this started to be bandied about; under fan ownership we'd go into administration within three seasons.

Fan ownership is a lovely, idealistic daydream but it's not something I want to see happen as it would swiftly turn sour in the real world.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2019, 22:27:30 pm »

I stand by what I said a few months ago when this started to be bandied about; under fan ownership we'd go into administration within three seasons.

Fan ownership is a lovely, idealistic daydream but it's not something I want to see happen as it would swiftly turn sour in the real world.

Look, it isnít going to be for everyone, and who knows how it would turn out. You may be correct, you may not! Itís the fear of the unknown.
But.....plan A isnít working....does that mean we just accept the status quo because thatís the easy option?
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2019, 22:36:12 pm »

http://ntfctrust.co.uk/news/article/statement-public-meeting-to-discuss-community-ownership

The Trust statement.

Iím a bit confused, firstly it says hybrid public/fan ownership, but later it says hybrid private/fan ownership.

Arenít these two different things?
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2019, 23:29:59 pm »

Heart says great idea, reality says otherwise...

KT said in response to @NQNTFC questions on Twitter last week that funding is still in place to complete the East Stand, he's finally got Council back on board after the mess DC left us/them in. I know it's been a painful process but surely we need to see how this pans out...

Have the trust got a backer who will have the funds to actually complete East Stand as I like everyone else am sick to death of looking at that current monstrosity?
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FezNTFC
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2019, 23:53:19 pm »

Apologies for the incoming essay, but here goes.

The reality is that no ownership model, either fan owned or privately owned, guarantees success or failure. For the rose tinted who think that everything would be hunky dory with a Trust run club, you donít know. For those who say we would be guaranteed to go down to the Conference, you donít know.

So hereís a bit more context around this whole issue.

At the NTFC Trust AGM last year, James Mathie from Supportersí Direct, and Don Woodward - the former Wycombe chairman who oversaw the transition to fan ownership at Adams Park - attended the meeting.

James Mathie quoted a Deloitte report that the average loss in League Two in 2015/16 was £500k before player trading. In League One that jumped up to £1.6m. He also mentioned a BDO report that focussed on how reliant clubs are on their owners to fund losses. The most recent stats show that a third of clubs in Leagues One and Two were totally reliant on their owners to make up for losses.
 
This, James Mathie said, leads to short termism. Although in a fan owned model you obviously donít get the level of short term cash injection you would with a private owner chasing success, thereís a long term strategy in place for incremental growth.

Wrexham fans took over their club eight years ago and since then they have grown the turnover each year without relying on player sales and posted a profit this year.

A community share is a popular method that was used by Portsmouth. They raised £2.5m from it, and this is a mechanism that the Trust here in Northampton could look at. Admittedly, the Trust at Pompey felt they had taken the club as far as they could and sold onto private owners. How it works out I guess weíll see, but theyíre doing well this year.

Don Woodward then spoke about his time at Wycombe. He said they had one owner who was supporting two sides (Wycombe and Wasps) at the same time. Don said that Wanderers were losing £1.5m - £2m per year.

The Trust at Wycombe stepped up from being a critical friend to running the club. It would have been easier had they prepared for such an eventuality years before, which is what NTFC Trust is currently doing. But they avoided relegation to the Conference, and have subsequently had a promotion to League One.

Don estimated that NTFC Trust would need to raise £1-2m over the next two years to run the club on a break even level. It sounds incredibly difficult, but if everyone gets behind a goal itís achievable he thinks.

Portsmouth had ten local business owners getting involved. Don is very confident that local businesses in Northampton will get on board if itís a community ownership model - he reckons they could contribute as much as £100k each.

Of course, there are examples too of when fan ownership hasnít gone so well. Notts County supporters for example sold the club to Munto Finance without any due diligence on their new owners, and things didnít go as planned there.

So we have some success stories, and we have some failures as well.

Another important thing to remember is that the current Trust board would not be running the show. They would bring in professionals to run the football club. No supporters owned club is run by the people who used to run the car boot sales or make the coffees on matchdays.

We would also be able to call on the help of Supporters Direct, which was formed by Brian Lomax and knows what to do in ensuring that Trusts can take on the running of a football club.

So my summary from all this information is that I guess in the end it comes down to what you would prefer. Do you prefer a privately run club with the potential for greater success but much higher risks, or the club that tries to make gradual changes, albeit still with some risk attached to it but with those risks being balanced against the best interests of the club rather than the best interests of a private owner?

I can understand why some people would choose the former, we all want to see the Cobblers challenging at the highest level. But the caveat to that is that more than 50 years of private ownership has secured NTFC the grand sum of two seasons in the second tier of the football league, and a solitary season in the first. Compare that to the three times weíve nearly gone out of business altogether. That too should be taken into consideration.

Also, is making the Championship a fair yardstick to measure a fan owned club against given the facts Iíve just mentioned and clubís history of bouncing between Leagues One and Two? How about measuring it against whether we could ever become a stable League One club that competes to go up to the second tier? Is that not an achievable goal which we could aspire to, and then hopefully build on if the club grows?

Meanwhile, Exeter, Newport County, AFC Wimbledon and Wycombe, all Trust run, are all currently above us in the Football League pyramid and with none of them staring at to the trapdoor to the Conference.

So yes, letís have a debate. There are pros and cons on both sides, and none of us actually know how it would work out.

So come along to that public meeting when itís held, absorb some actual facts and be open to the idea of hearing both sides of the argument.

UTC.
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« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2019, 07:29:17 am »

I think that's a very helpful explanation of the Trusts thinking by Fez..

The statement by the Trust is careful and welcome (at least by me) at another critical time in the cobblers history.

The successful asset of community value registration does give the Trust some opportunity to make it's voice heard more loudly than at any stage. This perhaps has not been as fully discussed on here or elsewhere (or perhaps even on the Trust's own website) as it should be. This is probably because it might seem to be both somewhat boring(!), complicated and unrelated to the future of the club but it will probably be a critical part of any supporters involvement in the club.

I think in the next few months the outcome of the discussions/negotiations between NBC and the club will be made public and the picture will become much clearer regarding the future of the club and the East Stand.

Ultimately, whether the supporters can become involved will be down to resources, competence and the strength of support by cobblers fans to pursue this. Scepticism is good - the best option will only develop when it has been tested by supporter questioning. As Fez says, the typical club in Div 2 loses £500,000 every year before player trading and therefore any supporter led club couldn't operate on this basis.

At the same time, there are many clubs, especially in the championship, who have very wealthy owners who have invested huge amounts of money into clubs and failed to get either promoted or even stay in the championship so money alone is not the answer to a successful club.

I would urge everybody not to dismiss this until you have heard what the Trust have to say and their ideas for the future. Lots, maybe most, supporters are only interested in how well the team plays and where we are in the league. At the same time, for other people the club is more than just what happens on the pitch. It should be possible with wise leadership for both sets of objectives to run in parallel!


Supporters of the cobblers, us very long suffering folk, should be grateful that the Trust exists and is trying hard.
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« Reply #15 on: January 22, 2019, 07:38:48 am »

Look, it isnít going to be for everyone, and who knows how it would turn out. You may be correct, you may not! Itís the fear of the unknown.
But.....plan A isnít working....does that mean we just accept the status quo because thatís the easy option?

Look at it this way. Imagine you are struggling to make your mortgage repayments, have missed a few and the bank have got you on a final warning but this month you've scraped together the cash to cover it. Do you a) make the payment or b) think "**** it" and spunk the lot on lottery tickets?

If plan B comes off you are laughing and will never have to worry about the mortgage again. If it doesn't, you and your family will likely be without a home.

I don't think there are many people who'd risk option b. Personally, I'd rather plod along, ekeing enough together each month to survive and sticking with the status quo.

It's not about fear of the unknown, it's about mitigation of risk.

If someone wants to risk their house on plan B then that's up to them and ultimately only affects them. If they want to roll the dice on something that risks the future of MY team then it's not something I appreciate.
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« Reply #16 on: January 22, 2019, 07:54:36 am »

One element of caution I'd add to Fez's reasoned post is that Wrexham keep getting cited as a great success story, but I looked into it a bit the last time they were mentioned.

Yes, they might be growing turnover year on year without relying on player sales, but they only made a profit this year BECAUSE of a player sale (actually, from a sell on fee but the principle is the same). Without that they'd have posted another significant loss.

Growing turnover is easy if you sell at a loss; turning a regular profit to make that growth sustainable is the tricky part (especially without a wealthy backer to bail you out) and I see no evidence that they've got an answer to that!
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« Reply #17 on: January 22, 2019, 07:56:25 am »




Portsmouth had ten local business owners getting involved. Don is very confident that local businesses in Northampton will get on board if itís a community ownership model - he reckons they could contribute as much as £100k each.

50 years of private ownership has secured NTFC the grand sum of two seasons in the second tier of the football league, and a solitary season in the first. Compare that to the three times weíve nearly gone out of business altogether. That too should be taken into consideration.


This for me is the crucial factor and GPC is also on point again. A succession of investors masquerading as owners have poisoned the relationship between not only the town and the club but many long term supporters too. The club is being treated like a ****.

Confidence in the club from local businesses is shattered, very few will go anywhere near us. My close friend was the clubs main sponsor back in the 90's and agrees.

Until some "body" or consortium with local connections or genuine intentions for the club and it's future are in place it will remain the same. There is probably more financial help, investment or sponsorship out there than possibly some here may imagine, but only if good will and confidence can return.

I started going in 1981, we were mid table in the fourth division......
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2019, 08:02:51 am »

Excellent post by Fez which should be carefully considered by all. 

Whichever side of the debate you are on one thing must be clear to everyone and this is that the present ownership model for NTFC is broken.  McRichie, Cardozas, DB/KT have all succeeded in severely disappointing us.  We have to change direction and now is the time to consider other possibilities and at the very least keep an open mind until we know exactly what is on the table.  The rush by some to hasty negative judgment is unwise and unhelpful.
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2019, 08:20:29 am »

If we go down this road , we are confined to mediocrity forever .
I donít support it . We are not big enough to carry it off .

Oh, and private ownership has done us so well in over a hundred years to avoid mediocrity has it?
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