Supporters Club is ready to take over the Puritans

All change at Spencer Stadium
All change at Spencer Stadium

Talks are ongoing to change the ownership of Banbury United and the deal could be done before the end of the season.

The Board of Banbury United 1996 Ltd and Banbury United Development Ltd, the holding and trading companies of the football club, are in discussions with Banbury United Supporters Club to move the ownership of the club into a Community Benefit Society.

The Community Benefit Society (CBS) is a model that has been introduced by other clubs, including Portsmouth, Swansea City and FC United of Manchester, to give supporters ownership.

It is an extension of a Supporters Trust and means a club is controlled by its members with an elected committee responsible for governance and major decision making.

Membership of a CBS is via an annual subscription. All members get the same voting rights and there is limited liability for individuals, usually £1. In addition, and to help launch a new entity, there is the opportunity to raise share capital via Community Shares.

It is a popular and successful fund raiser for community schemes and is something that would be implemented to help get working capital for the club. BUFC Supporters Club are working closely with Supporters Direct, a national organisation, which has assisted several clubs from football and other sports to successfully implement community ownership.

Chairman Kim Dumbleton has welcomed the move for a change of ownership at Spencer Stadium.

The Banbury United chairman said: “The Board is really pleased with this development. It’s hard work keeping the club afloat and we recognise it is time for change.

“We can see great benefit to the club being owned by the fans and we have been impressed by how the Supporters Club has gone about this. We hope that an agreement can be successfully concluded to create a new, exciting chapter in this great club.”

Supporters club chairman Stephen Barlow added: “The current Board have done a great job to keep the club going in challenging circumstances, particularly in recent years.

“We are confident that a change to a supporters owned community club will be the springboard to rejuvenating Banbury United.”

An open meeting to give more details of the proposal is scheduled for Monday, March 30, 7.30pm at Spencer Stadium. Supporters and anyone with an interest in the club are urged to attend. Go to www.supporters-direct.org for more details about the Community Benefit Society.

Read the full story in this week’s Banbury Guardian.