Newcastle United fans launch bid to buy stake in the club
"We've boycotted, protested, not bought things in the ground... We think this is a positive way to try and enact change in the future."
Newcastle United supporters have launched an attempt to buy a stake in the club when it is eventually sold by current owner, Mike Ashley.
The Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST) called on fans to pledge what they could towards the initiative, known as the 1892 Pledge Scheme.
— NUFC Supporters Trust (NUST) (@nufctrust) April 8, 2021
NUST hopes the funds raised will allow them to purchase a small share of the club on behalf of the fans if it remains in the Premier League - or to help supporters "step in to help save the club in the event of relegation and the financial consequences that could see a change of ownership".
"Every terrible decision made by the people who currently run the club, we think fan input has been missing," Alex Hurst of NUST told reporters in a press conference on Thursday afternoon.
"We want work with new owners as and when they appear. We're realistic here. We know if the club remains in the Premier League we can only hopefully own a small part of the club.
"We're not going to be calling the shots but we want to have that relationship with new owners that puts fans at the heart of the club.
"We'd much rather come to the table as part owners of the club than we have these past 14 years."
Hurst later said the launch of the scheme was a positive move, but added that any money raised from the scheme would be donated to charities based in the Newcastle area if it proved unsuccessful.
"We're not selling anything here apart from hope," he said. "We've all been there and done it. We've boycotted, protested, not bought things in the ground... We think this is a positive way to try and enact change in the future.
"We're not promising anything here, that's why, if we fail in this endeavour we're committed to donate all of the money to charities based in the north east of England.
"We just want tens of thousands of fans across the north east and across the world to give what they can, what they wouldn't miss. We've tried everything else, let's see what we can do."
"For decades, fans have been told they are the lifeblood of the club, but when major decisions are made, they are always left out," Greg Tomlinson, NUST chair added in a statement.
"It is an unfortunate fact that in football, as in life, money talks. Therefore, we feel that if we as fans really want to be an active part of conversations that will dictate the future of Newcastle United, we have to put our money where our mouth is.
"Raising funds will give us the financial backing to make our voices properly heard as and when the club is eventually sold."