Room 101 for Fanbase 410’s bid for Newcastle?

Posted on August 21st, 2009 | 7 Comments |

Bid too good to be true?
Bid too good to be true?
You couldn’t make it up could you? Well actually, you probably could judging by the recent Mahjoob and Parkinsons pranks and judging by the tosh written in the media. So which prospective buyers are legitimate and which ones are realistically anywhere near to buying our football club?

Latest to take a bow in the spotlight of the media are Fanbase 410, headed up by ex-Tottenham, Chelsea, Rangers and England man Graham Roberts. Following speculation in the press, Sky Sports are reporting that the outcome of today’s meeting which involved Roberts, the front man for the consortium, and other 410 members as well as club directors and “prominent members” of the NUSC was encouraging. Presumably they didn’t get laughed out of the meeting room because frankly even the most optimistic Mag is sceptical at both the concept and timing of this bid.

However, before we look into the whys and wherefores of the situation this is what Roberts had to say –

“It was a positive meeting. Now we will sit down with the supporters. They want to run their own football club, and why not?

“I just work for the company that is putting this together. Newcastle supporters will pick their own president and the manager.

“It’s the same at Barcelona and Real Madrid. You never know, they could end up buying £60 million or £70 million players. It works for Barcelona, why not Newcastle United?”

A spokesperson for NUSC then claimed further talks with Fanbase 410 will take place.

“The principle of the Trust is to give the fans an active and real say in the running of their club,” the spokesperson said.

“We have met with Fanbase and we are in initial discussions about how their model works and discussions will continue.”

So how will this all work then?
Unfortunately, it’s not the best start for credibililty amongst fans because unless it was mooted behind closed doors, Roberts seems either reluctant (or ignorant) to discuss how this would actually work in theory or practice. That in itself is what makes people sceptical because the ‘fan-owned’ utopia seems to good to be true. Is it going to cost in terms of continued membership for a voice on the board? Do we really get to call the shots at the club?

Would we have any say in the matter and how exactly would you get the input from the fans? It could make decision-making very protracted when it comes to time-critical decision-making. Presumably, there will be board representatives who will ultimately make decisions on behalf of the supporters as and when necessary. But that in itself seems like it could easily go pear-shaped and fundamentally it’s still someone else calling the shots on our behalf at various junctures.

However, surely having some say in proceedings is exactly what many fans would love and there would be no need to force the issue as it would all be part of the organisation. By the same token, as much as I love my fellow Geordies, we’re quite judgemental and quick to react (as are most supporters) and maybe we’re not the best decision-makers? Perhaps that should be left to the experts and we get on with supporting?

There’s also the small matter of the timing. The problem being that relatively quick progress wouldn’t leave much time for due diligence, were we to assume that this consortium is looking for a quick win. Maybe that is a moot point and they’re prepared to take things at face-value, much like Ashley did just over two years ago. Or is it a coincidence that the timing is just around the ‘hard ball’ stage of negotiations between Ashley and Moat and with Roberts and his ex-Spurs connections? Some have gone as far to suggest Moat and Ashley are in cahoots (not me though). Either way, at the moment the sceptics see this bid as a ploy either by some unscrupulous businessmen or by Ashley (sorry I know that will sound confusing). So major publicity stunt or genuine bid and either way, how far can this realistically go? Seriously though, without sounding like a broken record, who the hell knows?

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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7 Responses

  1. “They want to run their own football club, and why not?”

    That’s a bit like saying children want to perform neurosurgery, and why not?

    “I just work for the company that is putting this together. Newcastle supporters will pick their own president and the manager.

    “It’s the same at Barcelona and Real Madrid. You never know, they could end up buying £60 million or £70 million players. It works for Barcelona, why not Newcastle United?”

    No it isn’t. They don’t pick their own manager. They elect a chairman every four years or so and let him get on with it. This gadgie’s another idiot. Or he thinks that the fans are idiots.

  2. I refuse to treat this bid with any credibility.

    Which probably means it’ll be the successful one!

  3. I for one would welcome this approach but, and it is a very large but, an approach such as this must be properly organised and approach this in a professional way.

    What would be needed is a “cornerstone” of investors who are ideally local or orignally from Newcastle who have gone on to build careers away from the area but have the initial available “risk capital” to be taken seriously by Mike Ashley and his advisors and very importantly Barclays if there is even the faintest glimmer of hope in getting them to consider rolling even part of the banking facility to NEWCO.

    For what it’s worth I met Mike Ashley in late 2007 in “Club 50” in St James (that’l be be St James St London not the Park!) and joked that a number of misguided folk from the area would be prepared to put cah in but ……

    If there are other folks who read this and think there is sense to spend time on this then please drop a line.

    Best regards


  4. I think this sounds alot like ebsfleet untied, which does work quite well having bought a share in them previously.

    At such a high level, with the stakes so high, i really cant see it working. Im a toon fan through and through but it just wont work. We are too judgemental and very short-term us nufc fans!

    I retrospect, if it does happen, ill be the first to stump up some cash. Why not, its not like we have a choice to be honest ;-)

  5. I remember such a scheme once before, I paid in aprox £500 to some guys I think one of them was called Dicks, I came out with nowt and the club ended up in the ownership of Sir John…… come? is this the same over again???

    If this is the way forward then why dont the supporters Trust put a group together, I dont mind chucking a grand in to start the ball rolling.

  6. Or what about the Trust approaching M.A. with a view to buying 49% of the club, and having an equal proportion of voting members on the board, reporting back to the supporters via a colum in the program.

  7. I would support such a move as it’s about time the fans had a proper say in the way the club is run rather have to put up with the likes of F. Shepherd and M. Ashley. This works in Barcelona – why not in the Geordie nation? It’s worth exploring.