Rovers fans could be rewarded with ‘free’ season ticket for helping buy club
Leaders of the supporter-led takeover bid for Blackburn Rovers have revealed what could be on offer to fans who sign up to be shareholders if their ambitious plans to bring the club into community ownership succeed.
The Blackburn Rovers Supporters Investment Trust’s (‘BRSIT’ or the ‘Trust’) aim is to take control of Rovers for the sole benefit of the club, the supporters and the community – now and for the future.
The trust has revealed it is working on a unique shareholder return scheme it calls the Rovers Club Cash incentive that could give fans investing in the Trust’s plan an effectively ‘free’ season ticket for the next 20 years.
This and more details of its proposals on a potential takeover bid for the club have been made known in a comprehensive question and answer document for fellow fans’ comments published on the website.
Rovers Club Cash incentive proposal
Should the trust be successful in buying the club, it seems any fan that buys shares would be offered a fixed 5% dividend for 20 years.
With the shares proposed to be priced at £1,000 each when the offer is launched, this would mean fans would effectively receive 100 per cent of their investment back and still retain an ownership interest in the club.
At the proposed rate of return and using current season ticket prices, ownership of five shares would give shareholder fans enough dividends to redeem the full cost of a season ticket each season for 20 years – with some left over to spend at any official Blackburn Rovers retail outlet.
The Trust says that it is targeting a community and supporter-based ownership model that should work like a co-operative society or mutual company, and that the view of the fans is absolutely key in developing this.
However, it does highlight that the final structure can only be decided once there is an agreement in place to purchase the club and all of the relevant regulatory hurdles are cleared.
Fans are also being asked to comment online on other proposals laid out in the Q&A document published on the Trust’s website, such as a maximum shareholding of 1% for any single registered shareholder, whether as an individual or a group.
The Trust says how many £1,000 shares will prove to be the maximum will depend on the valuation of the club and the associated costs of buying it, but the aim is to offer a one-to-one voting right for each share owned with no one person, or group, having de-facto control.
BRSIT will recruit a board of directors to run the club on a day-to-day basis, with shareholders being able to influence key decisions in the Annual General Meeting and online forums.
Wayne Wild, speaking on behalf of the Trust said:
“We believe the best ownership model for Blackburn Rovers is to be entirely owned by the supporters through a Trust.
“We have now set out how that will intend to operate and what fans who invest in the future of Blackburn Rovers could stand to get on top of the knowledge the future of the club they love is in their hands.
“It is a model of ownership that ensures a football club will be run with the best interests of the club, the supporters and the surrounding community at heart.
“Income and profits can be used solely for the benefit of the club and football teams rather than owners, investors or shareholders.
“At this stage we are asking Blackburn Rovers supporters if they would be willing to buy one or more shares in their club. The more fans who pledge to buy shares, the stronger and more credible our bid will be.”
For more information, to comment on the Q&A document, and to make a pledge of financial support for the Blackburn Rovers Supporters Investment Trust please visit: www.brsit.co.uk
The Trust is the brainchild of two loyal supporters, Wayne Wild, director of Darwen-based WEC Limited, a commercial partner and sponsor of Blackburn Rovers since 2008, and Sweden-based finance expert Daniel Grabko.
It has enlisted the support of prominent fans to help bring the plan to fruition and provide expert support where needed. BRSIT is being run by a working party of Rovers supporters with expertise in relevant business sectors.
The key target is to get as many supporters – individual fans, families, the business community – as possible to pledge to buy shares. The more cash is pledged the more credible the Trust will be.
Wayne Wild said:
“We need to show we can raise sufficient funds to meet a realistic valuation of the club at the time of purchase.
“We strongly believe Blackburn Rovers will be best run by as many shareholders as possible having an equal say in the ownership of the club. The feedback we have had from fellow supporters has been overwhelmingly positive and supportive.
“In particular we have had a very encouraging response from the business community which can see there will be benefits for them in the form of reciprocal marketing and association rights.
Mr Wild stressed that no money is required from fans at this stage and any offer of financial support is in no way legally or financially binding.
“We are not asking for money now, but if fans are willing to make a pledge we ask that they follow it through if and when we are ready to proceed. We understand supporters want to know how much investment will be required to purchase the club.
“It is clear that any fair and realistic valuation will be based on the position of the club within the league structure at the time of purchase together with a true assessment of the club’s assets and liabilities.
“It is not, therefore, possible at this stage to put an exact figure on the amount of capital we will need to raise to be successful.
“However, as we have said, the more supporters who pledge to buy shares, the stronger our position will be when negotiating the purchase of the club.”