Fans bid to buy a stake in Blackpool FC
The first foundation stones are being put in place to ensure Blackpool supporters have a stake in their football club under a potential new owner.
Now the club is up for sale, its largest supporters’ group has launched a fundraising initiative to look at the possibility of purchasing shares should a buyer emerge.
Blackpool Supporters’ Trust (BST) says it is taking advice and planning for a community share offer that could see the organisation hold a 10 per cent stake in the club.
If established, BST says it will open up possible grant funding and a chance to go into partnership with “like-minded investors”.
Chairman Christine Seddon said: “We’ve said all along that fans need to be at the heart of the club. We want to be involved.
“We’re not being pie in the sky and saying we’re going to come in and buy the club because that’s not realistic.
“But even if we’ve only got five per cent or even 10 per cent, that would be fantastic.
“There have been discussions for some time about people pledging money to BST to create a war chest, if you like, so we are in a position to acquire some shares in the football club if possible.
“We are very conscious that, especially for the last two seasons, a lot of people who would normally have spent £200 or £300 on a season ticket haven’t done so.
“We’ve been approached by a number of people saying they would be willing to pledge that money to BST instead.
“We’re hopeful that whoever comes in, having seen the history of our problems, won’t turn their back on a group that represents the fans.
“Getting your customers on side is fundamental to a successful business, so it makes sense. But we need to be ready when that opportunity presents itself.”
Alternatively, the Trust says any cash raised could be used for community projects.
Supporters are likely to be allowed to donate as much as they want, although a minimum price is likely to be set.
Ms Seddon added: “We feel it is very important that people are able to invest what they want and what they can afford, because not everybody has lots of money.
“Whether we had a minimum is something we’ll have to look at.
“However much money you put in, your proportion of any shares we buy would be a ratio of how much you’ve put in.
“It certainly won’t be a ridiculous amount of money you’ll need to put in. That’s quite important I think.
“We haven’t got a target in mind as we need to put some more meat on the bones before we start quoting figures.”
The initiative won’t be set in stone until BST members formally vote in support of it.
If successful, the Trust hopes to be in a position to release a detailed proposal early in the New Year.