Manchester United legend Eric Cantona is encouraging fans to register to buy shares in the club as part of a new campaign working with the Manchester United Supporters Trust (MUST).
The campaign, which launches on Friday, wants United’s global supporters to sign up for a fan share ownership scheme and register their commitment.
United's Joel Glazer recently said that they will make shares available to fans – shares which have equal voting rights to those owned by the Glazer family. He did this in response to demands from MUST.
Cantona is the first signatory in the campaign and he said “Yes, my friends, I have signed for United again.” Other former Manchester United players are also believed to be in support.
The online campaign at www.SignForUnited.org will reach out to United’s huge global fanbase to ensure the Glazers make good on their promise to “create the biggest fans ownership scheme in world sport”, as Joel declared earlier this month.
Glazer stated: "The club has initiated a direct dialogue with MUST with the aim of identifying a mutually beneficial Fan Share Scheme involving a new class of shares which will each carry the same voting rights as the shares owned by the Glazer family. This would establish a foundation for supporters to build a meaningful ownership stake and create a new spirit of partnership with the club.”
MUST have insisted supporter-owned shares should come with the same voting rights as the shares owned by the Glazer family and be issued in sufficient numbers that United supporters can develop a meaningful ownership stake in the club.
Commenting on the launch of the campaign, MUST chief executive Duncan Drasdo said: “Once again Eric Cantona is leading the attack for United and we as United fans need to follow his example and join the Sign for United campaign. No-one loves the club more than we do, so fans should be at the heart of ownership. This is our chance to take the first step towards that change.”
“Joel Glazer promised to create the biggest supporters share scheme in sport – now is the time to make good on that promise.”
MUST also called for the UK government to allow fans to buy shares in their clubs in the forthcoming football review. MUST also revealed that in a meeting with the government’s fan-led review of football last week, led by Tracey Crouch MP, it made the case for the government to require football club owners to allow fans to buy shares in their clubs as part of a “Football Right to Buy” scheme.
Under the proposals made, club owners would be required to create new shares each year, to be offered to club supporters, allowing fans to grow a meaningful shareholding over time.
Speaking about the right to buy scheme, Drasdo added: “A football club is a cultural and community asset, and the best people to protect these assets for the long-term are the supporters. Under our ‘Football Right to Buy’ scheme, fans would have an opportunity to grow a meaningful ownership stake over time, allowing them to invest in the clubs they love.”