Sunday Mirror

Time to own up at Toon...


FANS should be given the chance to own a stake in their club.

Whether it be £10, £100 or a £1,000, any self-respecting owner SHOULD sell supporters a shareholdi­ng, so they are invested in the team they love.

This week Newcastle United fans were given the chance to put hard cash into a fund that the club’s 15,000 strong Supporters Trust (NUST) hope will grow to £3million – which at current values would be enough for a one per cent slice.

The NUST want to be able to go to the next owners with cash to buy a stake, get a seat on the board, or simply be heard.

It’s a bold move, that has been three years in the planning by the likes of leading fans including the NUST’s chairman Greg Tomlinson and Alex Hurst.

The practicali­ties may not be to everyone’s liking. You’ll not get your money back if any bid is unsuccessf­ul, with unnamed charities benefiting instead.

And you’ll not get a personal shareholdi­ng, no matter how much you give. That would be held by the Trust with decisions made by members’ vote.

But these campaigner­s have kicked off the debate. They say meaningful fan engagement with the current regime has been “hopeless”.

So it would be an open-goal win for someone to buy out Mike Ashley (above) and hand back a significan­t stake to United fans, with an elected seat on the board from the terraces.

Newcastle are nothing without these fans’ loyalty, through thin and thinner.

I’m not comfortabl­e seeing fans parting with any hard-earned cash that they won’t get back, and won’t earn them a personal stake. Call it practical reality over emotional pull.

But I would be interested in the Trust setting up a virtual pledge register, where fans could vow to invest a sum of their choice, big or small, should new owners see a future which puts fans at the centre of rebuilding the club.

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