Making the bid – becoming owners of your club: the case of Stockport County

Making the bid – becoming owners of your club: the case of Stockport County

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre,
Birkbeck College,
Torrington Square,
London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 22nd February 2006 at 6pm

Given by:

Norman Beverley & Dan Levy

Norman Beverley is a well known activist in football supporter circles, including Supporters Direct, the representative body for supporters’ trusts, and the Football Supporters Federation (FSF). He appears regularly on radio and TV making the case for improving the lot of football supporters in the industry. He was founder and Chair of the Stockport County Supporters’ Trust, and is the interim Chairman of Stockport County.

Dan Levy was part of the negotiating team that constructed the Supporters Trust’s deal to acquire the club. He is one of the four Stockport County Supporters’ Trust nominated directors of Stockport County Football Club.

In late 2005, Stockport County Supporters’ Trust entered negotiations with the owner of Stockport County to buy the club. The owner, Brian Kennedy, is one of Britain ‘s richest men, owns Sale Sharks Rugby club who top the Guinness Premiership, and had decided that he didn’t want to own struggling Stockport County and its very noisy supporters. The deal was concluded just before the start of the 2005/2006 season after 6 months of intense negotiation. County became one of the four Football League clubs to be owned by its supporters, with 98% of the shares held by the Stockport County Supporters Trust.

Dan Levy and Norman Beverley will discuss why the Trust bought the club. They will examine the vital factors in the successful takeover, including structuring the business so it could run at a profit, the avoidance of excessive debt and the creation of an option to buy their ground from its current owners.

They will then outline how the need to inform fans and respect their opinions sometimes helped the process and at other times was a hindrance. They will discuss how far can football be run on a democratic basis and with complete openness and why each of the fan owned clubs developed different governance rules? They will outline the role of legal and financial advisers will in the takeover and running of a football club.

Finally they will present some views on how the experience of running a club has met their expectations, and whether Trust ownership has been a help or hindrance in the business of football. Two trust owned clubs, Stockport County and Rushden & Diamonds are close to the bottom of League Division 2; critically Dan and Norman will pose the questions – is their fan ownership structure a factor? Should fans run the club or just own it?


For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street
London WC1E 7HX

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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