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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 May 2007, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Takeover website brings in Fiddy
By John Sinnott

Boardroom
MyFootballClub aims to take control of a club
Former managing director of Fulham Michael Fiddy is to provide legal help to a website that has been set up with the aim of taking over a football club.

MyFootballClub wants 50,000 people to pay 35 each to buy a club, with each member an equal partner.

Fiddy, who was at Fulham from January 2000 to September 2001, is a partner in the global law firm DLA Piper.

"There's no reason why this scheme isn't 100% viable," Fiddy told BBC Sport. "The model isn't complicated."

Managers take jobs knowing the restrictions and the opportunities they might have to work under

Michael Fiddy

MyFootballClub members will have a vote on transfers, player selection and all major decisions affecting the club.

Since its launch in April, the website - created by former journalist Will Brooks - has attracted over 29,000 members as it looks to secure a 1.4m takeover fund.

"The idea is pretty similar to any ordinary share offering when you would go to the stock market and ask people to commit money," said Fiddy.

"The excitement and genius behind this scheme is that it gives fans real involvement in a club."

As to the idea of members picking the team, Fiddy is confident that part of the project would not prove to be a stumbling block to its possible success.

"In all football clubs managers take jobs knowing the restrictions and the opportunities they might have to work under.

"Managers have more autonomy in some clubs that others, while in Europe managers tend to coach rather than being responsible for buying players."

Creator Brooks added: "It's crucial to get people on board with real football experience.

"The global law firm we have retained on behalf of the MyFootballClub members will analyse the complete workings of the football club, from top to bottom, to ensure there are no skeletons.

"Knowing the club's slate is clean will give members the best chance possible to propel the team up the leagues.

"Once the club is purchased, it will be down to the members' passion, knowledge and funding to drive the team on."

Tony Kleanthous
Barnet chairman Kleanthous has backed the scheme

Brook has also been approached by a number of companies wanting to sponsor MyFootballClub.

"We have had enquiries from several global brands all of whom have associations with football," stated Brooks.

"We hope to cherry pick the most suitable ones - with 100% of their money going into buying the club and funding new players. "

Over the last few years a number of Premiership clubs - Manchester United, Aston Villa and Liverpool - have been the subject of corporate takeovers and Brooks hopes his scheme will give fans greater participation in the running of a club.

And Barnet owner and chairman Tony Kleanthous has also given his backing to the scheme.

"I think this is an unusual proposal and one that could generate a lot of interest among supporters," said Kleanthous.

"The idea will need to be developed, with a lot more detail regarding how the management and structure of the club would operate.

"But this could be a very exciting opportunity for a non-League club in need of finance to pursue as an alternative to traditional funding."

The website has a list of 15 clubs that supporters want to buy, with Leeds United, who have been relegated to League One, currently top of the list.

SEE ALSO
Fans given club takeover chance
01 May 07 |  Football
Ex-Thai PM steps up Man City bid
01 May 07 |  Man City
Lerner set to complete Villa deal
27 Sep 06 |  Aston Villa
US duo complete Anfield takeover
09 Mar 07 |  Liverpool
Kroenke increases Arsenal stake
20 Apr 07 |  Arsenal
Glazer gets 98% of Man Utd shares
28 Jun 05 |  Business


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