Football writer Graham Ruthven has written a thought provoking piece for Yahoo Sport today, suggesting that fan ownership could be the way forward at Newcastle United if we do truly want to see the back of Mike Ashley.
This comes just a few days on from some barmy claims that Boxing legend Floyd Mayweather could be interested in taking on the Toon as his latest business enterprise – however we all know this is both unrealistic and totally unwanted.
Our club has become a laughing stock at times over the Ashley era and Ruthven believes that fan ownership – a model that has worked well at several clubs in the past – is the best options for NUFC given the lack of credible candidates that have come forward to date.
Here’s what he’s had to say:
“The club has become a circus over the past decade and with Mayweather in charge that circus would only continue. Newcastle, after over a decade of turbulence, needs stability. More so, they need an owner who understands the club and its fanbase.
“With no obvious candidate, the time has come for the fans to back control themselves. Newcastle United’s supporters must mobilise to put together a collective offer for the club they love. Fan ownership models have been successfully adopted at clubs up and down the country and now the same must be attempted at St James’ Park.
“Newcastle United boasts one of the largest fanbases in English football, demonstrated by the size of their home crowds, even in times of trouble. Under Ashley’s charge, that fanbase has grown detached, disenfranchised, but the fervour has remainder.
“It’s time for that to be harnessed in order to secure the future of the club.”
Floyd Mayweather takeover talk shows that it's time for fan ownership at @NUFC.
— Graham Ruthven (@grahamruthven) March 21, 2018
“Of course, there would be a number of obstacles to such a takeover. While fan ownership has given smaller clubs, like Portsmouth, AFC Wimbledon, FC United of Manchester and Motherwell in Scotland, a stable footing, it hasn’t yet been attempted in the Premier League. It would be extremely difficult to raise the £350 million required to buy the club from Ashley without some sort of benefactor.
“But the size of the club might provide Newcastle with an even greater foundation for a fan ownership model. They could set a precedent for the future of club ownership in a wider sense. They could provide the litmus test, and theoretically there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t succeed. It works for Barcelona, so why couldn’t it work for Newcastle United?
“The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is already one of the most active fan groups in the country, and so the infrastructure is in place for a mobilisation. Newcastle and their long suffering fans deserve better than what they have been served up for the past 11 years. They deserve to be in control of their own fate for once. Newcastle United is the club of the city and now it should be the club of its fans too.”
What do you make of this folks? Do you think this a realistic route to finally see the back of Mike Ashley?