NEWCASTLE UNITED fans have launched an ambitious bid to buy a stake in the club when Mike Ashley sells.
Spearheaded by the Newcastle United Supporters Trust (NUST), the 1892 Pledge hopes to eventually raise enough money to own a one per cent stake.
The NUST has more than 14,000 members, with the Toon Army asked to contribute ‘what they can’.
Ashley, deeply unpopular among the base, saw a £300million bid from a Saudi Arabian-backed group collapse last year but remains desperate to sell.
And a Trust statement read: “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.
“In return for the fans’ financial backing, NUST would like new owners to allow the Trust to work within the club, either through an executive board position or another role which can allow the Trust, its members and the supporters of Newcastle United to influence the club and its future direction.”
The Magpies are 17th in the Premier League with eight games remaining, a perilous one place and three points above the drop.
Former Newcastle and England defender Warren Barton is one of four “guardians” of the fund, as is local MP Ian Mearns.
The Trust said that all of the money will be donated to local charities if their bid to buy part of the club is unsuccessful.
Trust chair Greg Tomlinson said: “For decades, fans have been told they are the lifeblood of the club, but when major decisions are made, they are always left out.
“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.”
NUST board member Alex Hurst added: “It is important to stress we are not asking fans to part with their life savings or cash in their pension pots – this is not what Pledge 1892 is about.
“Instead, it’s about making small, regular donations of a few pounds a month (or more if people can spare it!) which will build up a fund over time.
“There is a huge and ever-growing disconnect between the people who run Newcastle United and the people who support 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.
“This is an ambitious project designed to begin the hard work of protecting the club for the next generation of Newcastle United fans.”