Changing ownership comes in many shapes and sizes

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For those who follow the work of Supporters Direct and our member Trusts and Clubs you’ll be pretty familiar with the story of how a supporter takeover historically evolved – club is mismanaged, assets put at risk, owners depart, supporters left to salvage the club. A combination of improved regulatory powers for the FA and leagues, and the bottom up scrutiny from supporters, means thankfully these crisis cases are getting rarer. Actually supporter ownership is appearing from different, healthier circumstances, encapsulated no better than in English non-league football. Without looking too hard you’ll find…

Majority shareholders who want to stay involved but realise that they need to open up the ownership if the club is to become better connected to its community, as we are witnessing at Bradford Park Avenue, and have seen at the likes of Dorchester Town.

Fresh ideas and impetuous from communities who have been given the opportunity to bid for the club by Directors and Owners interested in securing its long term future, and giving someone else a go, at the likes of Bath City and Banbury United.

Clubs realising that with a more open structure, which better protects personal liabilities of its officers and club assets they’ll have something more suitable to build from and secure the finance they need to grow. See Wythenshawe Amateurs and Congleton Town.

Even property developers keen to work in partnership with supporters; yes to make money but also to set up the opportunity for supporters to own the club and provide a facility better suited to their needs – a situation playing out at Dulwich Hamlet.

Call it supporter, community, member or co-operative ownership, it doesn’t matter; it’s a model we think can help non-league clubs and the volunteers that are its lifeblood.

If this resonates with you and you’d like a chat about how to achieve it at your club please drop me a line james@clubdevelopment.coop

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