Cambridge United fans bid to Buy Back the Abbey
Mon 8th Mar 2010 | Clubs Ownership
The Cambridge United Supporters’ Trust, Cambridge Fans United (CFU) has unveiled a bold plan to buy back the Abbey Stadium – for the whole community, and they’re asking for the whole town to pull together to achieve it in record breaking time!
The plan, which has been some time in the planning stages, would see the ground owned by a coalition of CFU, the Club, with the wider community also represented, all enabled through a more secure form of ownership called a ‘Community Interest Company’ (CIC). The proposal involves selling shares in the CIC and giving those buying shares a return for their investment through the Club’s rental payment. Even better, the Club would save up to a six figure sum every year on its current rent.
The Club lost control of the ground in 2004 to then Club director John Howard in exchange for the settlement of debts that at the time threatened to tip the Club into liquidation. In the event the Club was still only saved at the last minute by an intervention from then Sports Minister Richard Caborn.
Since then the Trust and other shareholders at the Club have battled to ensure United has stayed competitive, even registering two Conference play-off final defeats to Exeter in 2008 and Torquay the year after. But the difficulties created by the loss of the Abbey Stadium and the annual rent have proved too much, and this season the Club has struggled following another budget cut.
CFU Chair Dave Matthews Jones outlined the plan saying, “Since 2004 Cambridge United has never had the chance to be a proper football club; the cost of not having control of our own ground isn’t just a financial one; it means the whole community loses out as we can’t provide the sporting hub that our town so desperately deserves.”
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