EPL Premier League

Is Fan Ownership the Model Answer to Club Management?

Football is known globally as ‘The Beautiful Game’, although it can often be an ugly industry.

Football is known globally as ‘The Beautiful Game’, although it can often be an ugly industry.


Football has its unfortunate history of corruption and mismanagement when even the most powerful individuals and organisations have fallen foul of the laws of governance.


In order to negate such nefarious individuals or groups from purchasing and thus controlling clubs, the English Premier League, English Football League and Scottish Football League instigated a ‘Fit and Proper Persons Test’ in 2004. In the case of the EFL, they administer a 3-point ‘Acquisition of Control & Owners’ & Directors’ Test.


Despite these tests, clubs have fallen into the hands of persons who have not had the best interests of the football club, nor its supporters, at heart. Indeed, due to sheer mismanagement of these owners, some clubs have been penalised by points deductions and subsequently forced into relegation and or administration.


At club level, the outcomes often far exceed the mere financial punishments afforded to the offending institution. And the individuals who often pay the greatest price are not the club owners nor the shareholders, but the die-hard fan for whom the club means everything. These fans have typically supported their respective club since being introduced to the game, often by parents or other family members, and as such, the club has a rich heritage not only in the town or city in which it is situated, but throughout the family’s history. Each supporter is not only invested traditionally and emotionally, but also financially by the regular and expected purchasing of tickets, replica kits, merchandise, etc., all of which help the club to gain revenue.


The effect of a poorly performing team on the pitch is disappointing enough to most fans, but to see their club potentially demise as an entity and go out of business completely is unthinkable.


Certain clubs incorporate a representative body of their supporters on the board of directors and others offer or incorporate a certain lower percentage of shares to their Supporters’ Trust as a way of showing belonging and loyalty to the club’s fan base whilst also giving fans a voice to be heard on certain club decisions.


Other models exist in Europe where the supporters’ membership body own the minimum of the controlling 50 plus 1% of shares as well as, and despite, external investment. These clubs are often shown as ‘best-practice’ in that they manage to keep costs to fans to a minimum (tickets, refreshments, memorabilia) whilst still enjoying profit in the boardroom and success on the pitch.


Some other clubs are family owned and have been traditionally passed from generation to generation to ensure that the club is looked after in the best interests of owner and supporter alike.


The models of ownership vary from club to club and country to country and the most effective method is always debatable. Would you prefer your club to adopt a 50 plus 1% fan membership-owned model or are you happy with it being owned and run by an external concern?


This key issue affecting football, and many more like it, could be taken to the millions of spectators and fans who enjoy the game to seek their personal opinions. Directors Box, the exciting new football go-to application, offers fans the opportunity to create their own polls and petitions relating to their specific club or country, or more generic football matters, to gather and measure supporter opinion. In addition, Directors Box offers a one-stop tool for all football fans by facilitating immediate club-specific news, game updates, competitions and much more