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'Supporter owned' and ‘community club’ are phrases that have become popular when talking about clubs. Lots of clubs do lots of great things in their community, and many supporters feel like they 'morally own' their club, but when Supporters Direct talks about ‘supporter ownership’ (or similar phrases like 'community ownership') we mean that;

  • A minimum of 50% +1 of the voting rights of the Club to be controlled collectively by a democratic entity which has an open and inclusive membership.
  • The clubs are 'Democratic’ and the membership of the entity work on a one member one vote principle
  • The clubs are ‘Inclusive’ and that there are no substantial barriers to participation as a voting member, with membership open to all that are sympathetic to the aims of the Club.
  • Any profits are reinvested back into the Club as opposed to being distributed to shareholders.
  • The Club is committed to running as a sustainable business.

It’s not to say that other forms of ownership don’t work and should be ignored, but our research suggests that Supporter Ownership opens up a number of benefits to a Club that are much harder to achieve or not possible to achieve in a privately owned Club.

There are many different forms of member ownership around the world.

Part Supporter (or Community) ownership
Some clubs are "Part Supporter Owned" and we define this as a shareholding with a protected position in the legal entity that owns the Club or assets, such as

  • A shareholders agreement setting out rights of supporters, or
  • Embedded rights in the articles of association, such as a golden share, or
  • 25%+1 of ‘investor shares’ in a Private Company Limited by Shares which is committed to operating sustainably (if not a viable business in reality shares become much less influential and power rests with those willing to subsidise losses)

Example: United Trust (Carlisle United), Dunfermline Athletic

Supporter Owned clubs in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Aberdeen Roughnecks (American Football), AFC Rushden and Diamonds, AFC Wimbledon, Altrincham Kersal RFC, Annan Athletic FC, Bamber Bridge FC, Banbury United, Bath City FC, Bradford Park Avenue, Bramley Buffaloes RLFC, Chester FC, City of Liverpool FC, Clyde FC, Clydebank FC, Congleton Town, Crusaders FC (Northern Ireland), Darlington FC, Dorchester Town FC, East Stirlingshire FC, Enfield Town FC, Exeter City FC, FC United of Manchester, Fisher FC, Grays Athletic, Gretna 2008 FC, Hemel Stags RL, Hendon FC, Hinckley AFC, Hunslet Hawks, Hyde United, Lewes FC, Litherland REMYCA, Mancunians RL, Merthyr Town FC, Newark Town FC, Newport (IOW) FC, Newport County, 1874 Northwich FC, Peacehaven & Telscombe FC, Prescot Cables FC, Rochdale Hornets RL, Runcorn Linnets FC, Saffron Walden Town FC, Scarborough Athletic FC, Seaton Rangers RLFC, Stirling Albion FC, Tonbridge Angels FC, Wrexham FC, Wycombe Wanderers FC, Wythenshawe Amateurs FC.