A turning point?

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  • #13049
    johno
    • Posts: 11
    • Kemik’s Assistant
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    Is the club at a turning point?

    Everyone on this site would probably agree that, as a club, we’ve been under-performing for years. It’s not all of our own doing, we were royally humped when Super League was set up, but we’ve stumbled on since then through a variety of owners, from the honest, but not mega-rich, through alleged money launderers and spivs (just my opinion) to where we are today. Today, from what I read on this site and others, we have, as owners, three loyal supporters with enough savings to keep us in existence but no great war chest to drive us forward.

    From the supporters point of view little has changed through all of those times, we hear less than we’d like to from the club, we boost about why we can’t afford to recruit this or that player and we blame the owners. In the future, the rumour is that Super League will be going to two divisions of ten and if we’re not in that we might as well give up. We need something to change, and soon.

    The current owners intentions were to ensure that the club was owned by supporters and I think the time is right to see that through to it’s logical conclusion.

    When the European Super League was touted in football not a single club from Germany was interested, because they are mostly owned by supporters organisations as a prerequisite of entry into the league. Their normal model is that a supporters body is formed which has 50% + 1 share of the club. Supporters can join that association for an annual fee (in addition to any season ticket etc) and get to decide how the association will cast its votes at board level. It’s a model that, I think, would work well for us. We would obviously need the current owner’s willingness to sell either all of the club or, at least the 50% + 1 share, but we already invest a substantial amount to the club through VIQI and so we do have some leverage. I don’t know how many people would be willing to throw more money into the pot but, then again, we don’t know how much they paid, or would want for it.

    If we could take the club into our own hands at least we’d know how much/little we had in the bank to change things and the only people we could blame for underperformance is ourselves.

    #13051
    James
    • Posts: 471
    • First Teamer
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    Nice in theory, until we lose a few games and people cancel their VIQI memberships and the money runs dry!

    The only real difference would be that the supporters would be able to elect a board to run the club.

    I’ve copped some flak on here in the past for raising this as an issue with the way VIQI is set up – no slight to the people involved, as clearly its mission was to raise funds for players; but that’s a very different model to “fan ownership”. Ultimately, for all the money VIQI members put in, they don’t have any say on what is done with it; an unelected VIQI board ultimately decides what happens with that money.

    #13227
    johno
    • Posts: 11
    • Kemik’s Assistant
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    Not sure I’m following your argument James. The main advantage of buying the club, while the owners are fans who might be willing to sell, is that it prevents it being sold in the future to clowns. The sort who might, for instance, claim to be spending megabucks and employing, friends and relations on good salaries, while the money is all in fact loaned and could be called back at a moments notice.

    The money for annual membership would payable before the season (and not dependent on the VIQI monies in any way, nor would the supporters group be) and couldn’t be withdrawn on the back of a few poor results. As has been pointed out this next season could be do or die so any extra money we could attract should be welcome.

    Another big plus would fans would know the ins and outs of what was going on and could make decisions on that basis. For instance, suppose we were in negotiation for a big name and were short by say £10,000. That amount might be beyond what the current owners could afford, but, say the supporters club had 500 members, that would amount to an average of £20 each and a quick whip round might get you there.

     

    #13228
    Sinbad
    • Posts: 570
    • Captain
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    I would disagree that we were ‘royally humped’ when SL came about in the mid 90s.The team finished too low down the table to qualify but then the club complained they didn’t know what they were aiming for during that season.Nobody did.

    #13229
    CJ91
    • Posts: 815
    • Captain
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    Little bit before my time, but until the early 90s wasn’t the club a Members Club which elected a committee?

    Did the people on the committee put their own money in or were they the executive who spent the money from Season Tickets/Sponsors etc?

    I do think that it is a shame that after the engagement and rallying round in admin that there has not really been a massive level of fan involvement in the club really.

    #13394
    James
    • Posts: 471
    • First Teamer
    • ☆☆☆☆☆☆

    Not sure I’m following your argument James. The main advantage of buying the club, while the owners are fans who might be willing to sell, is that it prevents it being sold in the future to clowns. The sort who might, for instance, claim to be spending megabucks and employing, friends and relations on good salaries, while the money is all in fact loaned and could be called back at a moments notice. The money for annual membership would payable before the season (and not dependent on the VIQI monies in any way, nor would the supporters group be) and couldn’t be withdrawn on the back of a few poor results. As has been pointed out this next season could be do or die so any extra money we could attract should be welcome. Another big plus would fans would know the ins and outs of what was going on and could make decisions on that basis. For instance, suppose we were in negotiation for a big name and were short by say £10,000. That amount might be beyond what the current owners could afford, but, say the supporters club had 500 members, that would amount to an average of £20 each and a quick whip round might get you there.

    Fine for one season – but what about the following season when people pull out their annual membership?

    You simply cannot run a club in the modern age by having a fans vote on every decision. Just won’t happen. At best, you’d get to a point where a board is elected by the fans on maybe a 3 year basis; but even then, that doesn’t lend itself well to long-term planning.

    There’s no reason why now if the club needs £10k for a player, that they couldn’t have a whip round. After all, that’s exactly what VIQI is.

    There are very few examples of clubs at a decent level who are now supporter controlled – indeed many of the RL examples have now retracted and gone back to being owned by directors.

    #13403
    tonyvikinggee
    • Posts: 72
    • Time to get a VIQI
    • ☆☆☆☆

    Ultimately you need one of two things to succeed, either to be a well run club or be a well funded club. We are Neither and  fan ownership will not help at all, if anything it would weaken us as decisions would take longer, funding would be far more variable and to put it bluntly, Supporters make decisions based on emotions and that would lead to disaster.

     

    The club is at rock bottom now, what 1200 fans turning up to games, an underperforming squad. There is absolutely nothing positive coming from the club and we are lucky Swinton and Oldham are absolutely shocking or we could be facing a relegation battle.

     

    What we need is Funding, from a sensible, wealthy person with a plan, what we dont have as an option is funding from a sensible wealthy person with a plan.

    We have fan ownership, there just are not enough of them and they dont have the funding to make a real difference to the team. Its all central funding and season ticket sales, and both of them could well be devastated next season.

     

    Its a real concern.

     

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