Manchester United Supporters’ Trust (MUST) believe the club could hugely benefit from fans’ funding as Sir Jim Ratcliffe bids to make their facilities world-class standard.
Old Trafford is in dire need of an upgrade, while the Carrington Training Centre could also do with one.
Man United co-owner Ratcliffe may ask the United Kingdom’s Government for financial assistance and help to build a new home ground for the club.
However, MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo believes raising funds by selling stakes to supporters would be a better idea.
“Lobbying for public money is certainly an interesting idea and speaks to the potential for the stadium development to be a local and regional catalyst for economic development and community benefit,” Drasdo told the Daily Telegraph.
“However, you’d expect opposition to public money being used for essentially a private asset, even with regional economic and community benefits.
“An ownership stake for the community could help and there is potential for a source of funding from fans and the community, co-investing, and having a real stake. The latter is something we’d clearly be strong advocates for if there was such an opportunity.
“Clearly with the huge global fanbase it is conceivable that fans could contribute a significant sum collectively but perhaps of greater value than the cash sum is the concept of fans and the community working in partnership with the club and other investors all aligned towards a shared goal and owning a real stake in our club and our stadium.”
Ratcliffe is edging closer to completing the acquisition of 28.9% of the club, and whether he will be open to selling part of his shares to the fans is unclear..
Even though the initiative could come in handy in helping to finance the renovation of the stadium and training base, no club in the English top flight have fan groups with shares, and it is hard to see supporters getting to own part of Man United.
Redeveloping Old Trafford could run into around £800 million, while a new stadium could cost around £1.5-2 billion.
The Glazers have no plans to finance such a project, and Ratcliffe needs help to realise his huge vision.
Tapping into Man United’s global fanbase for funds in return for fans having a meaningful say in the running of the club could be a feasible option to look into, but it is unlikely to be a route the current owners will head down.
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