by Devon Rowcliffe
An enticing concept has been quietly incubating within English football in recent years: supporter ownership of clubs. While it may be the norm in places such as Germany and Argentina for football fans to own their club, it’s still a fairly alien idea in the United Kingdom and most of the Commonwealth.
The allure is obvious: football fans and club owners often disagree about how clubs should operate. Wealthy owners – often with minimal connection to the club’s community – tend to prioritise the pursuit of profit, and take financial risks that can destabilise or endanger clubs. Football fans, however, view their club as a community asset rather than as a business, and desire to be treated loyally as valued club members instead of as replaceable customers.
As English football becomes increasingly expensive – and stadium atmosphere inevitably dwindles – some fans are turning to supporter ownership as the antidote to the corporatisation and sanitisation of the game.