Newcastle United Supporters Trust is spearheading the drive to take a stake in the future of Newcastle United Football Club.
The Trust, which has more than 14,000 members, is asking United supporters to pledge small amounts of money for a fund that aims to buy part of the club when it is sold by the current owner, Mike Ashley.
The 1892 Pledge - named after the year Newcastle United was formed - has been three years in the planning and has already attracted support from the worlds of football, politics and the media.
Through the 1892 Pledge, NUST aims to build a pot of money that can either give supporters a small share of the club if it is sold while in the Premier League, or see fans ready to step in to help save the club in the event of relegation and the financial consequences that could see a change of ownership.
For decades, fans have been told they are the lifeblood of the club, but when major decisions are made, they are always left out.
Tomlinson continued: “It is an unfortunate fact that in football, as in life, money talks. Therefore, we feel that if we as fans really want to be an active part of conversations that will dictate the future of Newcastle United, we have to put our money where our mouth is.
“Raising funds will give us the financial backing to make our voices properly heard as and when the club is eventually sold.”
The Trust says they hope any funds raised would allow more fans' involvement in shaping the future of Newcastle United.
Alex Hurst, Trust board member said: “There is a huge and ever-growing disconnect between the people who run Newcastle United and the people who support the club. This is not just confined to the question of who manages the team - recent polls have flagged up the intense disaffection which fans have with the entire running of the club.
“This situation is unhealthy and unsustainable. We believe the 1892 Pledge is the first step towards writing a better future for Newcastle United."
“The 1892 Pledge could mean we, as fans, can invest in our club, that could be in the form of a percentage stake in NUFC if it is sold whilst in the Premier League or, if things take a turn for the worse and the club’s fortunes sink further, we would be there standing ready to provide investment and potentially be part of a buying consortium.
“Supporters must have a say in what happens to NUFC and we believe this campaign will give us a real voice in the running of the club - not just now but for years and decades into the future.”
We believe there is nothing that fans of this club can’t achieve when we are truly united and this is a chance for us to prove it.
The Trust has appointed four ‘Guardians’ to safeguard the money raised and ensure it can only be used for one of two purposes.
The first purpose is to buy shares in Newcastle United FC.
The second is that if NUST fails in its attempt to buy a part of the club when it is sold because they have failed to raise the funds or a new owner did not want to sell a part of the club to supporters then all of the money would be donated to charities based in the North East of England.
The Guardians of the fund are:
Warren Barton, former NUFC and England defender
Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead
George Caulkin North East football reporter for The Athletic
Lee Humble, chartered accountant.
Alex Hurst said: “Before Covid-19 hit, some people were confident that Premier League clubs could essentially survive on TV money, but that has been blown out of the water over the past 12 months. The financial situation faced by clubs across the league, not just NUFC, demonstrates just what a vital role fans play. We already have power and financial clout. Imagine what we could do with a proper stake in the club.”