"Stakeholder" football clubs...this is how it begins...

Discussion in 'Politics & Current Events' started by Mel Brennan, Jun 30, 2005.

  1. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    ...another model of ownership of sports endavours.

    Yes, it's been "outlawed" by league ownership rules in the NFL (the Packers are the only team like this, AFAIK, in the NFL)...

    But AFC Wimbledon...FC United of Manchester...can we list other examples?

    It's exciting to see communities taking community ownership of clubs, thus ensuring that STAKEHOLDERS - not just "shareholders," not just one man's profit motive, but all of the community's interests in relationship to the club - are leading these initiatives. Are they fully there yet? They're getting there, no doubt. On AFC Wimbledon's site:

    "By the fans, for the fans." You’ll hear people connected with AFC Wimbledon say this often – but what does it actually mean?

    For those of you who don’t know, AFC Wimbledon's ultimate parent is The Dons Trust. The Trust was set up in February 2002 and is an Industrial and Provident Society – effectively a co-op. This means that no member can hold more than one share and that any surpluses earned can only be used to further the Trust’s objectives and cannot be distributed as profits...


    Prices will stay reasonably related to the local economy, the teams develop local talent, and the clubs, almost by definition, will reflect the community no matter how big or small they get.

    This alternative model to the monarchical/oligarchical model produces so many benefits, I'm not sure why it's not the prevailing model.

    Let's hear the arguments against it. I'm trying to figure out why folks who work for their money would be against it. I remember wanting to take my wife and kids to a Nets game (the year before they made any run, WHEN they sucked) towards the ned of a bad season - no playoffs - and the price would have been $230. For crap seats!

    That's madness. Why should communities feel the need to make these thing multi-million dollar enterprises at their own expense when they will get the same level of commitment, intensity and MORE sense of relationship to these clubs with a stakeholder ownership model?

    I look forward to the rationale for any other approach.
     
  2. 96Squig

    96Squig Member

    Feb 4, 2004
    Hanover
    Club:
    Hannover 96
    Nat'l Team:
    Netherlands
    Lok Leibzig has a similair system, I believe...
     
  3. IntheNet

    IntheNet New Member

    Nov 5, 2002
    Northern Virginia
    Club:
    Blackburn Rovers FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I heard a rumor that George Soros (the anti-Christ and the Patron Saint of Liberals) is going to purchase the Washington Nationals!

    That would actually be good in my mind; that way when I don't patronize them I have two reasons, not just one (because they screwed RFK stadium)!
     
  4. jackistheman

    jackistheman New Member

    Jul 21, 2002
    You do realize that Soros owned your beloved DC United for a time, right?
     
  5. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    FC United prepare to play first game


    History will be made at Hilton Park tomorrow when FC United of Manchester play their first game against Leigh RMI, with club officials still unsure of how much support they will attract. With over 4,000 members and £100,000 pledged in donations since the club was formed in May as a direct result of Malcolm Glazer's £790million Manchester United takeover, the new venture is certainly not lacking backers.

    But the first test of whether that sympathy will extend to actually supporting the team on the pitch is yet to come, although chairman Tony Pritchard admits crowds are unlikely to test the 11,000-capacity of their confirmed home stadium, Bury's Gigg Lane.

    'We are still largely unsure of the following we are going to get,' he said. 'The talk has been anywhere between 2,000 and 5,000 but until we start playing, we won't really know.

    'I wouldn't pretend we are going to fill Gigg Lane but even if the crowds levelled off at 2,000, we have found a stadium which suits us perfectly.'

    Curiously, Gigg Lane does not have any terracing and is not in Manchester either, not exactly in line with the founders' ethos about reclaiming their club for the fans.

    But when a proposed ground-share deal with Droylsden fell through, the one-year deal, based on a fixed payment per game, proved to be the best available alternative.

    FC United will make their debut at the stadium in a North West Counties Division Two clash with Padiham on August 20, a match that will kick off half an hour after Manchester United are due to complete their opening Premiership home game against Aston Villa.

    Before that, FC United have a symbolic trip to AFC Wimbledon, whose own officials have done so much to help the new club through their initial teething troubles, by which time manager Karl Marginson will know whether he has a squad capable of pushing for promotion at the first attempt.

    Marginson's first squad includes a link with the past in former Altrincham striker Jonathan Mitten, great-nephew of Red Devils legend Charlie Mitten, plus goalkeeper Phil Priestley, who has UEFA Cup experience from his time at Bangor City.

    'I will be unbelievably proud when the team runs out tomorrow,' said Pritchard. 'Personally, I have been drifting away from the game at the top end for a number of seasons.

    'It is not just about Malcolm Glazer, it is about the players and agents stripping cash from the game.

    'I think a lot of people, who support a lot of different clubs, have been in agreement for quite a while that football is reaching the stage where something has to give.

    'I wouldn't be surprised if this is the start of it.'
     
  6. SgtSchultz

    SgtSchultz Member

    Jul 11, 2001
    Parts Unknown
    Thanks Mel. Good read.

    It is time the fans take back the game.
     
  7. RichardL

    RichardL BigSoccer Supporter

    May 2, 2001
    Berkshire
    Club:
    Reading FC
    Nat'l Team:
    England
    Bohemians Prague reformed in the spring after being run down by (literally) criminal owners, along similar lines. They have less members than FC United (1500) but have raised nearly £75,000 through contributions. They'll play their first match in their traditional home of "The Dimple" in three weeks time in the Czech 3rd division.
     
  8. M

    M Member+

    Feb 18, 2000
    Via Ventisette
    AFC Bournemouth, AFC Telford and, just recently Max Griggs gave Rushden & Diamonds to a stakeholder organization that will run the club.
     
  9. CosmosKramer

    CosmosKramer Member

    Sep 24, 2000
    Yokohama
    Club:
    Yokohama F Marinos
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
  10. Claus KJ

    Claus KJ New Member

    Oct 1, 2003
    Aarhus, Denmark
    The idea seems to be spreading slowly throughout football. The Guardian ran an article about it a while back. Click here to read it.

    KJ
     
  11. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From the article:

    ...Perez's socialist view of football will strike a chord with millions of supporters here. Not necessarily because they hold left-of-centre views: it's more that people of all political colours are united in regarding their football club as a club, not a business. It does not exist to make money: money is made to further the interests of the club...

    Indeed; now, the question that I pose when I speak is this: how might that frame on organization apply to sport governance, and life outside sport? That is, what other "things community" are simply not business, simply should not be subject to the vagaries of "the market," simply comprised of interests that money may serve, but that money cannot be made prime over?
     
  12. amerifolklegend

    amerifolklegend New Member

    Jul 21, 1999
    Oakley, America
    Okay, I'll bite...

    Per your post...

    ...Let's hear the arguments against it. I'm trying to figure out why folks who work for their money would be against it. I remember wanting to take my wife and kids to a Nets game (the year before they made any run, WHEN they sucked) towards the ned of a bad season - no playoffs - and the price would have been $230. For crap seats!

    Explain to me how the Nets, who by your own admission sucked at the time, could have afforded to pay a competitive basketball team had that price been $50.00.

    And don't give me any crap about well if the league did this and the league did that, cause the league ain't gonna change. How exactly do you put an American sports team out there in the NFL, NBA, or MLB using a system of cheap seats and completely breeding the players from within. To do that in Baseball, you'd have to have a team like Pittsburgh but with lower trickets and higher attendance. They can't fill the smallest stadium in Baseball as it is and they have one of the best minor league systems year in and year out. They can't do it. People want to see their team win. Sure, it's great to dream of a day when we can all afford to go to games on a regular basis, but the fact of the matter is, if you could do that with your team in this country, your team won't be able to compete with the other teams that put winning first.
     
  13. Chewmylegoff

    Chewmylegoff Member

    Jan 26, 2004
    London
    Stockport County are also owned by a supporters trust which took the club over earlier this month.
     
  14. JPhurst

    JPhurst New Member

    Jul 30, 2001
    Jersey City, NJ
    I believe that of the "community clubs" AFC Bournemouth is at the highest level of the pyramid.

    The Packers are "grandfathered" in to the NFL. The current by-laws require that a team be owned by a profit making entity.

    My guess is that any team that gets really successful will be bought out by private interests, although inertia will keep some teams in the community ownership fold.

    Overall, I think it's a great idea, but don't get delusions of grandeuer like winning the Champions League. A well run community club can provide compeititive football at a middle level of the table, but the chances of it reaching the top level are slim. I do admit having a week spot for Bournemouth, though, just because of the ownership.
     
  15. amerifolklegend

    amerifolklegend New Member

    Jul 21, 1999
    Oakley, America
    Exactly.

    And mel's comparing these lower tiered teams operating this way with the New Jersey Nets is really decieving to the overseas people who don't know better.

    Essentially, we don't have minor league basketball at all. We do, but nobody watches it - let alone goes to it.

    (College basketball is an entirely different entity.)

    So really, this would be like mel wondering why AA baseball teams aren't run by the people with players home grown and beers are only a dollar and tickets are three dollars.

    And to answer that...well, that's is how AA teams are run.

    Except that they are run by a corporation. But all the benefits of a team being run by the people are there in full force.

    Minor league baseball is one of the greatest things in sports this country has to offer.
     
  16. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    community-centered clubs will always be the exception while governing bodies are corporate-modeled (the ambiguous "not for profit" sensibility that submits "we're not OUT to make money, but...if somehow, through our structure, we end up making billions, well that's just by happenstance..."), instead of democratically structured and service-oriented. That will change when elite competitive sport finds itself placed into the context of all the things sport does with regard to community, and defines nothing.

    This will take time. But understand that efforts like the clubs named above have nthing to do with concern about the Champions' League...as the Champions' League in and of itself means nothing. They have to do with acknowledging that the club represents community, and, thus, the stakeholders in those communities get representation. The Green Bay Packers, Super Bowl winners, represent the beginning of interogating that model in the U.S., but, of course, that ownership model was outlawed by the other owners recently. Wonder why that was...?

    This discourse, this...deconstruction of the current model is predicated upon being able to step outside the "shareholder/capital" paradigm, and valuing all kinds of things that cannot be valued without placing value within such. Once you've done that, and understand that there are all kinds of other, just as powerful, motivations for the manifestation and maintenance and enjoyment of a good club, you can begin to interrogate not only the club structure, but the governance model that shapes it, and, finally, the narrow conception of "sport" that locates it within our societies.

    This is being done all the time; not only at the academic level, but at the policy level, the makers of such drawing upon such work all the time. I admit that I have a bias, but that bias toward change comes from actually knowing what I'm talking about; from having worked at the highest levels of football and asa result understanding the intimacies that, in sum, produce governance that is the diametric opposite of sport "by, of and for the people."

    In that sense, club alternatives - from AFC Wimbledon to Real Madrid - are just one part of the entire picture that is changing around us, at least in the beautiful game.
     
  17. amerifolklegend

    amerifolklegend New Member

    Jul 21, 1999
    Oakley, America
    Okay, this is the second time you've brought up the Green Bay Packers as your model team in the US because it is community owned. Great. Sounds awesome when you consider that places like Wimbledon are also community owned so that prices could be kept down and the fans are put first.

    But you don't bother to mention that tickets to Packers games are impossible to get if you don't own season tickets. In fact, there's a thirty year+ waiting list to get them. And once you do get them, you are still paying premium level for those tickets. They're nowhere near the cheapest in the league and their beer and food prices are the same as anywhere else.

    In the one case you mention as the prime example in the US as why we should have community owned teams, you picked the worst example possible, as it goes against everything you name as the great benefits of this type of ownership.
     
  18. Coach_McGuirk

    Coach_McGuirk New Member

    Apr 30, 2002
    Between the Pipes
    American sports are about DOLLARS, plain and simple. TV dollars, to be exact. The only thing the Packers ownership is doing is keeping the team in Green Bay. They're not saving the Packers fans a whole lot of money, and the salary cap in the NFL (along with the revenue sharing which they've been doing for decades) keeps them competitive.

    Actually, with the new TV contract the club could break even without selling a seat. Why not petition Rangers and Celtic to share their TV money with the rest of the SPL?

    Why is it that when ideas from American sports are floated for European leagues (salary cap, playoffs) they are generally shot down, but when some collective starts a soccer team people get all teary eyed?

    I have no problems with the owner of any sports team in the US making as much money as they can, when they can, because it is a business, plain and simple. If I can't afford seats, I watch at home, simple as that.
     
  19. skipshady

    skipshady New Member

    Apr 26, 2001
    Orchard St, NYC
    Yokohama FC was started by the supporters of Yokohama Flugels, whose ownership decided to merge with a crosstown club.

    You can read the history here, and not surprisingly, the club is facing difficulties after losing its initial momentum: http://www.wldcup.com/Asia/j2/fulie.html
     
  20. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Actually, I mention the Packers as the beginning of thinking about/engaging alternative models of club status in relationship to community, but don't let that stand in the way of a good refutative rant.
     
  21. amerifolklegend

    amerifolklegend New Member

    Jul 21, 1999
    Oakley, America

    Of course being the ONLY club like that, they are the begining AND the end of your line of thinking. There are no other top level sports teams that can do it like that here. None. Not one. And the one that you do come up with is horrible for the fans. When the fans can't actually go to the games, I'd say that maybe it's not the best option for the fans, wouldn't you? Your argument that the Nets game would put you out some three hundred buck or whatever for your family to go to a game? Yeah, try taking just you and your wife to a Packer's game for that. Unless you know someone that's willing to give up their seats to you personally, it ain't gonna happen, man.

    But don't let that stand in the way of your ridiculously illogical and idealistic utopian professional sporting society.
     
  22. Mel Brennan

    Mel Brennan PLANITARCHIS' BANE

    Paris Saint Germain
    United States
    Apr 8, 2002
    Baltimore
    Club:
    Paris Saint Germain FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    You know what? You're right. You go ahead and apply Francis Fukuyama to sport. The only remaining question is 'why are you still in this thread?' Sport is the way it is, for you. This thread, then, is an utter waste of time, for you.

    Why are you still here?
     
  23. Sine Pari

    Sine Pari Member

    Oct 10, 2000
    NUNYA, BIZ
    I started my own team - Brokea$$ United


    We have no players, or field

    No league either

    But damnit we are owned by the people !
     
  24. Craig the Aussie

    Craig the Aussie New Member

    May 21, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    It's interesting - in this country private ownership of sports clubs is by far the exception (and when it has been tried has been a great way to lose money).

    Most clubs are just that, "clubs" - owned by members who pay membership dues (which may or may not entitle them to a seat). This, plus corporate sponsorship, plus TV rights sharing, plus in most cases the revenue from licenced premises with large liquor and gaming revenues, pays the bills.
     
  25. DoyleG

    DoyleG Moderator
    Staff Member

    FC Edmonton
    Canada
    Jan 11, 2002
    Winnipeg, MB
    Club:
    FC Edmonton
    Nat'l Team:
    Canada
    The CFL still has three community-owned teams: Edmonton, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg.
     

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