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Page last updated at 13:36 GMT, Wednesday, 7 October 2009 14:36 UK

Fans bid to buy Newcastle share

Newcastle United

The Newcastle United Supporters Trust is leading a bid by a group of Magpies fans to buy a share of the club.

Organisers say £20m has already been pledged and backers include a number of high-profile figures.

The announcement comes amid reports that owner Mike Ashley is set to sell to Tyneside businessman Barry Moat.

Trust spokesman Steve Hastie said: "We want to show that a supporters trust can be a truly representative supporters organisation."

He said a "proper management structure" was needed at the club to make it a success, with the "right manager", board of directors and financial structure working in unison.

It is about putting Newcastle back into the heart of the city and putting the city back into the heart of the fans

Trust spokesman Steve Hastie

The aim of the group is to initially purchase a share in the club, that will allow them to have a say in the running of the club, with the potential of eventually establishing themselves as the major shareholders and purchase the club outright.

One of the figures involved in promoting the trust's aims and proposals is Mark Jensen, editor of the long-running Newcastle fanzine The Mag.

He believes the group has strong foundations and has genuine and realistic long-term ambitions to give supporters a say in how the club is run.

"I've been involved over 20 years with supporter groups and fanzines, but this is the one with the most legs," he told BBC Newcastle.

To strengthen the bonds and dialogue between the club and the supporters
To encourage the club to take proper account of the interests of its supporters and the community it serves in its decisions and to honour the contribution made by the community in the past to the life of the club
Ultimately, to promote the full, accountable democratic and constructive involvement of supporters in the running and direction of the club, including the principle of supporter representation on the board of the club

"We want to do a lot of good things to link the community back with the club like allocating season tickets on a match-by-match basis to local achievers, and other ways we can help fans with issues they might have with the football club.

"Then of course there's the bigger picture of hopefully buying a stake or indeed the whole club, and whether that's achievable you never know until you try.

"We've made a start, we've got the financial community in Newcastle involved checking out the proposals and we can take it onto a wider audience if everything looks like a goer."

Details about some of the businesses and individuals who had pledged to buy a part of the club will be revealed at a launch on Wednesday.

Hastie said the "slice" of ownership the supporters held could range dramatically depending on the amount of money invested.

He added: "It is about putting Newcastle back into the heart of the city and putting the city back into the heart of the fans."

Newcastle United are believed to be in talks with five consortia all with a view to purchasing the club from Ashley, who took over the club in June 2007 and acquired 100% ownership of the club just a month later.

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