Newsletter #1258

The first of Colin’s articles tonight on City finances, which should prove interesting and attempt to answer some of the oft-asked questions.

We have opinion on ticketing, that rarity of a player with brains, and a hatful of requests.

Despite all the possession and a number of attempts (albeit soft ones) on target, we lost 1-0 at Reading tonight. Micah threw a strop as he was subbed, and Dabo was dismissed, our third red in four games! Oh well, Blackburn up next.

Next game: Blackburn Rovers, away, 3pm Saturday 17 September 2006


This is the first of a promised series of articles in the lead up to the publication of the annual report and general meeting. In it, I have attempted to clarify the share-holding position, the structure of the club and who does what on the board.

1. The Club’s Shares, Ownership and Management

Manchester City is a “publicly quoted” company. This doesn’t mean that we’re always in the press but that our shares are traded on a recognised stock exchange and can be easily bought and sold. The market involved is called Plus (formerly Ofex) and specialises in smaller to medium size companies. Their website can be found at The Manchester City page can be found at: Other sporting members of Plus are Arsenal, Glasgow Rangers and Northampton Saints Rugby Club.

Anyone can buy the shares, through a stockbroker, and being a shareholder entitles you to attend the Annual General Meeting, vote on various matters and question the directors. The AGM is a statutory requirement and is usually held in December, following the publication of the annual report and accounts in October. In the past, with the various boardroom upheavals, these have been lively affairs but have been quieter recently. However, the handling of last year’s meeting led to some dissatisfaction and, with increased focus on the finances following the sale of SWP, things could start warming up again!

The more shares anyone has then the more they have the capacity to influence events. On the basis of “one share, one vote” then anyone who owns over 50% of the shares controls the company. In the case of our friends in Salford, the Glazer family (bless them) own virtually all the shares and have made their company “private”. This means they do not have to issue accounts publicly or hold an AGM. Therefore their supporters don’t have a clue. Sorry, that should read “don’t have a clue about the financial affairs of the company.”

We know who the major Manchester City shareholders are as there is a requirement for public companies to declare any shareholding of 3% and over and these are detailed in the annual report. There are just over 54 million City shares in circulation and the current share price is quoted as 28p. This is what is known as a “mid-price” as the price for buying a share is higher than the price for selling. So currently you can buy shares at 29p each but would only get 27p each if you sold them immediately. The difference is the stockbrokers’ profit margin. There is no minimum investment but many brokers will levy a flat dealing charge up to a certain level. So the fewer you buy, the greater the average cost per share.

The share price is a reflection of the financial worth of a company and its perceived prospects. Multiplying the number of shares by the mid-price gives what is known as the market value of the company. Therefore, in theory, MCFC is valued at just over £15 million. Compare that to Aston Villa, which has just been sold for about £64 million (but there are reasons for the higher valuation). MCFC has over 5,000 shareholders but there are four who matter.

The largest group of shares are held between John Wardle, the Chairman, and his former business partner in JD Sports, David Makin. Some are held in John Wardle’s own name and some are held jointly between him and David Makin but the overall holding totals 29.95%. The significance of this level of holding is that anyone who owns 30% of a company’s shares is obliged to make an offer to buy the shares of the other shareholders. Therefore unless they plan a full takeover of MCFC then Messrs Wardle and Makin will keep their maximum shareholding at this level. Although they don’t own over 50% they clearly have a large say in events at Manchester City.

The next largest shareholder is the Boler family. The late Stephen Boler built up a substantial stake in MCFC some years ago and this currently represents 18.75% of the shares. Sadly, he died in 1998 but his family’s interest was represented on the board by Ashley Lewis for a number of years. He stood down last year but Stephen Boler’s son, Mark, joined the board earlier this year. Stephen Boler was a friend of Peter Swales and was believed to be very upset about the way Swales was treated at the time of the Francis Lee takeover.

The third largest shareholder is BSkyB, with 9.88%. Sky has held shares in a number of clubs and was blocked from a takeover of Manchester United a few years ago. It is unclear what their motive is in owning shares in football clubs although it may have something to do with being able to influence negotiations on TV rights. They bought their stake when we were running away with the First Division in 1999 and paid £7.5 million for it. It is currently worth around £1.5 million so they are sitting on a big loss.

The last of the big four is Francis Lee, who of course endured a turbulent period as chairman after an acrimonious battle with Peter Swales. He still owns around 7% of the shares and, like the others, is probably sitting on a big loss currently. Lee is not on the board and it is unclear whether he is just hanging on to his shares until the price increases further or whether he has other plans. However, if the share price carries on towards 50p it will be interesting to see what all the four groups do.

Between them, these four own around two-thirds of the total shares. This leaves one third of the shares in the hands of around 5,000, smaller shareholders. There are many people, like me, that have a few hundred shares and about 300 of us turned up to the last AGM.

Many companies pay a dividend on their shares. This is expressed in pence per share and is a share of the profits given to the investors (i.e. the shareholders). It is akin to interest on your savings except that it might be nothing or could be a very good percentage in any given year. This, as well as the fact that shares can increase in value, is the reason that stocks and shares have become a popular and standard form of investment. MCFC shares have not paid a dividend for many years because the financial performance of the company has meant there is insufficient cash to fund this. Even a dividend of a penny per share would cost us over £500,000 and just imagine what SP could do with that!

However, it is interesting to note that the share price has been rising steadily and has doubled over the last 12 months. There is no obvious reason for this but it may reflect a feeling that the finances are improving, there is a potential investor waiting in the wings or simply a view in the markets that, in view of the takeovers of Manchester United and Aston Villa among others, football club shares could be a worthwhile investment again. They still have some way to go to reach their highest price over the last five years, which is just over 50p. There are a number of clubs where groups of supporters known as Supporters’ Trusts, own some or all of the shares in their club and there was an article on this in MCIVTA 1251. If we (the supporters) could somehow combine these small holdings into a more significant bloc (say of 10% or more) then we could wield far more clout than we do now.

The club is run by a Board of Directors, who have a number of legal responsibilities (such as preparing accounts). The board at MCFC, in common with many other companies, has a Chairman and a Chief Executive, plus a number of other directors. In our case there are three more directors and this is on the low side as other clubs can have seven or eight.

Directors can either be “Executive” or “Non-executive”. The former are full-time employees of the company and are paid a salary. Typically, there would be a chief executive and a finance director, and maybe some others (Marketing, Sales, Operations, etc.). Non-executives are not full-time employees, although they are usually paid a fee and expenses. Their rôle is to guide the executive directors and also act as a check and balance, to ensure that the executives act in the best interests of the shareholders. They may well be executive directors of other companies. The question is often asked “What do these people do for Manchester City?”

The chairman has overall responsibility for setting the direction of the club and, as I have already detailed, our chairman is also the major shareholder. The chief executive has overall responsibility for running the business side of things and most, if not all of you, will already know that our chief executive is Alistair Mackintosh. He is a chartered accountant who was originally our finance director. He is not a major shareholder (although he has a few thousand shares) but he is the only executive director. It is only relatively recently that full-time, paid directors were allowed at football clubs. Martin Edwards and Doug Ellis were among the first to take advantage of this change.

The other directors are Brian Bodek, Dennis Tueart and Mark Boler. All of these, as well as John Wardle, are non-executive. Bodek is an executive director of a couple of other companies and is a qualified solicitor. Tueart needs no introduction as he was one of our finest players of the last 30 years but he has also built up a very successful sports promotion business. At the last AGM, it was stated that Brian Bodek provides valuable (and free) legal advice to the club and Tueart has responsibility for playing affairs. Neither Tueart nor Bodek are significant shareholders although, like Mackintosh, they have a few thousand shares. Mark Boler represents the interests of the Boler family. They have a near 20% stake in the company and it is usual for anyone with this level of shareholding to have a seat on the board if they want one. In that way they can keep a close eye on their investment. It is generally believed that Brian Bodek performs this rôle for BSkyB.

Therefore, not all of the directors are major shareholders. Bernard Halford, as Company Secretary, will also attend Board meetings.

At the beginning I said that MCFC was a publicly quoted company. In fact MCFC consists of a number of companies. The most important of these (and the one in which the shares are publicly traded) is Manchester City PLC (standing for Public Limited Company). You might think the word “limited” refers to our footballing ability but in fact it means that the shareholders are protected against having to pay any outstanding debts of the company if it fails. So their liability, if this were to happen, is limited to the amount they have paid for their shares. Manchester City PLC actually owns three other companies that make up the group.

One is Manchester City Football Club, which is self-explanatory. There are various reasons why the football club is owned by another company and one is that there were various restrictions placed on football clubs by the FA that can be got round by having a so-called holding company (not to be confused with a holding midfield player). This is a company that is set up for the purpose of owning a majority or all the shares in another associated company. Tottenham Hotspur was the first to go down this path in 1983.

The two other subsidiary companies are Manchester City Investments Limited and Manchester City Property Limited. The former “owns” the long term, £44 million debt issued a few years ago and the other, I believe, “owns” the lease on the stadium (more of these in a subsequent article). The establishment of these companies may well have been a requirement for these transactions.

I hope this has given you some idea of the structure and ownership of MCFC. If anyone has anything to add to this or I have made any howlers then please feel free to tell me or preferably publish your views in MCIVTA. I would also be grateful for any feedback as to whether the level is right or not. In the next instalment I plan to look at the contents of the Annual Report and talk about the Annual General Meeting.

Colin Savage <colin(at)>


Well ladies and gentlemen, that was a complete load of rubbish! Why did I get up at quarter to seven to watch a team that couldn’t find their way out of a paper bag?

If that’s Premiership footie then the Hyundai A league in Australia looks pretty damn good. The sending off was pathetic and we were pathetic. My mate Dave Lamb brought me back the latest City shirt; I wonder if he wants it back?

And Micah Richards, gee I thought that was me thirty years ago. Hope you grow up quicker than I did!

Well it’s going to be a long, hard season. Where we are going to get a decent striker from I don’t know; one goal in four games, that’s relegation material. Feel really sorry for Nicky Weaver, playing behind that lot, betcha the other ‘keeper’s glad he’s injured.

Stay Blue, matches my mood!

Kevin Williamson <scribbs(at)>


I took some accountancy studies last year and Nedum Onuoha was in my class. This month he made the trade journal for an interview, which can be found by clicking on the link below:

Jeff Roycroft <jeff.roycroft(at)>


Fantastic new Manchester City FC blue neon signs, great to see. Unfortunately though they are never switched on! Is there a technical problem? Can’t afford the leccy bill? Or is it the Council?

When you go to the Lowry centre you see the Rags’ sign in huge red neon. Why can’t we have ours proudly boasting who and where we are?

No ambition says Cole. Pompey more ambitious than MCFC? Makes me shudder.

Went to Maine Road yesterday; there is a lake where the pitch used to be (called “Paul” I hope) and a hill, looks weird.

Mark Redgrave <Leaguecup1976(at)>


Picking up on some of the comments in previous issues, I’d like to throw my ha’peth in. My brother, his wife and their four year old fancied going to the Arsenal game. However, a cost of £95 for the three of them plus travel from Birmingham soon persuaded them that Radio 5 perhaps had some merit. In particular, £25 for a four year old suggests that someone in the ticketing department may come from the same planet as Moonchester. I have a season ticket in the Colin Bell stand, yet when I want to bring my six year old I’m told there are no concessions in the West Stand and have to go through the palaver of transferring elsewhere in the ground. Why, when the seats near us in the top tier are never filled?

Next season it will be even better, as the new TV deal means more televised matches. I suppose we may even have a 3.00 kick off on a Saturday at some point. Never mind, no doubt with the greater riches coming in from TV they’ll drop prices to ensure a full ground and a healthy atmosphere, won’t they? Nurse? Nurse!

A Hayes <ahayes(at)>


Ticketing for those of us who are not able to justify a season ticket is so hopelessly opaque a process that I am resigned to Prem Pus. I hope I am not alone in being unable to understand the Citycard cascade and the gods of tickets cannot grasp that there are plenty of folk who are like me.

What I want to be able to do is:

Have someone I can call, plenty of time in advance, because I have to book leave, return air or ferry and transport, somewhere to stay. There is sod all point in arranging a trip unless I know I can see a match.

Without having the mither of applying for a card that I may or may not have to pay for or indulge in a hospitality package. Which I have had to do in the past because it seemed easier than owt else.

Or have empty seats.

Surely someone at the club grasps this?

Garry Higgins <balrog(at)>


After various ticketing e-mails I have to speak out. Every fan of a football team has their tale of the nightmare ticket office. I happen to think our folks do a fairly good job under the circumstances.

I’ve managed to achieve 3 seat moves, 2 of which were outside the seat move period, and have found that once you get to the right people they are very helpful. Far too much doom and gloom being reported here.

In my new seat in the upper tier I watched the Arsenal game and felt the happiest I’ve been at the new stadium. The vibe upstairs in the bars was great, my new view is brilliant, and the atmosphere in my block was also just what I was after. I have to travel 8 hours for every home game so it means a lot for things to go right at the stadium on match day. Personally I think a fair amount of effort is going in to make things better and I appreciate that.

Struan Malcolm <Struan_Malcolm(at)>


Two tickets needed please for Blackburn away this Sunday.

Will be flying into Manchester this weekend and would like to take in the Blackburn game on Sunday. If anyone has a couple of spare tickets or who can’t make the game please get in touch.

Ian Hawthorne <mad_ferret(at)>


Desperately seeking two tickets for the home game against Sheffield United!

Don’t often manage to get upto Manchester anymore – and this would be my first visit to the CoMS. Can anyone be kind enough?

Many, many, many thanks in advance.

Gareth Foster <FosterG(at)>


Denton Blues are delighted to announce that Shaun Goater will be attending a special meeting on Wednesday 27th September at Denton Cricket Club.

The evening will commence at 7.30pm, with Shaun doing a Q&A session plus book signing and photos as his biography “Feed the Goat” is published, which will be available on the night at a discounted price.

The event is by ticket only and is open free of charge to MCIVTA subscribers or OSC members with a valid membership card. Please contact myself for further details and confirmation of tickets.

Heidi <editor(at)>


A night not to be missed for all City fans.

The next meeting of the Reddish branch of the Centenary Supporters’ Association is on Thursday 28th September at The Ash Hotel, Manchester Road, Stockport at 8.00pm.

Our confirmed guest for the evening is the one and only Shaun Goater.

Shaun will be holding a book signing session for his new book “Feed the Goat” plus a photo call followed by the usual Q&A’s.

Admission, which includes a free raffle, is free to all branch members on production of their current membership card. For non-members, adults are £2 and juniors £1.

Doors open at 7.00pm and you are advised to get there as early as possible as we may well have to close the doors.

Howard Burr <reddishblues(at)>


10 September 2006

West Ham United 1 – 1 Aston Villa 34,576

9 September 2006

Everton               3 - 0  Liverpool             40,004
Arsenal               1 - 1  Middlesbrough         60,007
Bolton Wanderers      1 - 0  Watford               21,140
Chelsea               2 - 1  Charlton Athletic     41,194
Newcastle United      1 - 2  Fulham                50,365
Portsmouth            1 - 0  Wigan Athletic        19,508
Sheffield United      0 - 0  Blackburn Rovers      29,876
Manchester United     1 - 0  Tottenham Hotspur     75,453

League table to 10 September 2006 inclusive

                             HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Manchester Utd   4  2  0  0  6  1  2  0  0  5  1  4  0  0  11   2   9 12
 2 Portsmouth       4  2  0  0  4  0  1  1  0  4  0  3  1  0   8   0   8 10
 3 Everton          4  2  0  0  5  1  1  1  0  3  1  3  1  0   8   2   6 10
 4 Chelsea          4  2  0  0  5  1  1  0  1  3  2  3  0  1   8   3   5 9
 5 Aston Villa      4  2  0  0  4  1  0  2  0  2  2  2  2  0   6   3   3 8
 6 Bolton Wndrs     4  2  0  0  3  0  0  1  1  1  3  2  1  1   4   3   1 7
 7 Fulham           4  1  1  0  2  1  1  0  1  3  6  2  1  1   5   7  -2 7
 8 West Ham United  4  1  1  0  4  2  0  1  1  2  3  1  2  1   6   5   1 5
 9 Liverpool        3  1  0  0  2  1  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  1   3   5  -2 4
10 Manchester City  3  1  1  0  1  0  0  0  1  0  3  1  1  1   1   3  -2 4
11 Middlesbrough    4  1  0  1  2  5  0  1  1  3  4  1  1  2   5   9  -4 4
12 Reading          3  1  0  0  3  2  0  0  2  1  3  1  0  2   4   5  -1 3
13 Wigan Athletic   3  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  2  1  3  1  0  2   2   3  -1 3
14 Newcastle Utd    3  1  0  1  3  3  0  0  1  0  2  1  0  2   3   5  -2 3
15 Tottenham H.     4  1  0  1  2  2  0  0  2  0  3  1  0  3   2   5  -3 3
16 Charlton Ath.    4  1  0  1  2  3  0  0  2  2  5  1  0  3   4   8  -4 3
17 Arsenal          3  0  2  0  2  2  0  0  1  0  1  0  2  1   2   3  -1 2
18 Sheff. United    4  0  2  0  1  1  0  0  2  0  3  0  2  2   1   4  -3 2
19 Blackburn R.     4  0  1  1  1  3  0  1  1  0  3  0  2  2   1   6  -5 2
20 Watford          4  0  1  1  2  3  0  0  2  1  3  0  1  3   3   6  -3 1

With thanks to Football 365

MCIVTA FAQ [v0607.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          :
News/rumour (Don Barrie)         :
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins):
Technical problems (Paul)        :
FAQ (David Warburton)            :

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings bu email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (; the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” ( and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about the fans’ committee?

The Fans’ Committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. The Fans’ Committee has been relaunched as “Points of Blue”. It has appeared on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV? provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are,, and

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here:,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at

[11] Can I buy shares in the club?

Yes you can: Shares in Manchester City PLC are traded on OFEX. The latest prices can be on found the Plus Markets Group web site or in the business section of the Manchester Evening News.

[12] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try

[13] I hear there is a TV programme specifically about City?

InsideMCFC is broadcasted by ChannelM. It is available on the SkyDigital (ch.203) and NTL (ch.26) platforms as well as being transmittedtraditionally within the Manchester area (ch.39). In addition, theprogramme is available to watch via the web. More details and schedule:

The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.

[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup,

Newsletter #1258