THE NEWCASTLE United Supporters’ Trust are set to announce the backing of several high-profile businesses next week as their campaign to buy the club gathers momentum.
The Journal understands more than 6,000 people have already pledged money to the campaign, which aims to give supporters overall control of Newcastle United, or at least ensure fan representation on the board.
Of those, around 4,000 have offered to contribute a minimum of £1500 with another 2,000 offering £25,000 of pension funds, which means NUST have already received pledges totalling more than £50m.
Organisers admit that as much as 50% of that money could fail to materialise, following advice from independent financial advisors, although the figure pledged so far does not include investments from local businesses or wealthy individuals.
A series of local business have given their support to the bold attempt to achieve a democratically elected, supporter-run football club and some are due be named next week. United officials are yet to be convinced by the viability of the buy-out attempt and had a request to meet members of NUST rejected last year, which has not helped relations.
The main concern is that, while NUST might be able to generate enough money to meet the £100m asking price, they will not have the necessary funding to provide money for transfers and to cover the everyday running costs which come with a business the size of Newcastle United. Newcastle’s owner, Mike Ashley, has pumped in more than £20m of his own money to help balance the books following relegation, although NUST are confident they will have the financial backing to match these demands should they takeover.
A NUST source said: “The take-up has been astounding and demonstrates fans have the appetite to back the Yes We Can campaign. It also shows that fans are still sceptical about the intentions of the present owners and see an alternative as preferable to the uncertainty that surrounds investment plans for the future.”