Exeter City director Paul Morrish backs fan ownership model

Exeter City
Exeter's fans took over the club in September 2003, having formed a trust in 2000

Exeter City director Paul Morrish says he would like to protect their fan-owned model rather than follow other clubs by bringing in a wealthy owner.

City's majority shareholder is the Exeter City Supporters' Trust, who took over in 2003 after financial problems.

The club was this summer after cashflow problems led to it receiving

"We're rather fond of the way it is at the moment," Morrish told BBC Devon.

Exeter City director Paul Morrish:
"Our model is very simple, which is that we live within our means and every now and then a great player comes along and we get a sum of money for them and that enables us to invest and grow."

The club runs on a basis of having balanced budgets and has no overdrafts or borrowing facilities to dip into during lean times.

It meant manager Paul Tisdale had to wait until after the first game of the season before signing any new players and has only while and a further three signed deals elsewhere.

Earlier this season, Exeter announced that

"We're looking at that as a club, as we think about what's a sensible way to build forward is, particularly given we have quite advanced plans about what our stadium development is going to look like in the relatively near future," Morrish said.

"But we're looking at that with one objective, which is to protect what fan ownership looks like and allow ourselves to take advantage of the assets we have on and off the pitch without having to go and look for a 'Sugar Daddy' model.

Kevin Rye, Supporters Direct:
"Exeter are one of the most important stories in the history of football fan-ownership but are often overlooked because it's become the norm. They were trailblazers and have been a very important part of what, for example, Wrexham and Chester have done. They've demonstrated what we think football clubs should be all about - a long-term proposition for people who care about the club."Exeter City: the fans who wouldn't take no for an answer

"I guess if someone really fancied it and wanted to make an offer for their majority shareholding then it would be up to the Trust as the shareholder to decide what they wanted to do about that."

Morrish said the current ownership model had the benefit of making the club immune from the effects of a wealthy backer deciding to pull out.

"Some clubs are being kept going by the goodwill and big pockets of an individual benefactor," he said.

"We've seen in plenty of places that when that benefactor's circumstances or attitude changes, the whole thing gets put at risk.

"Our model is very simple, which is that we live within our means and every now and then a great player comes along and we get a sum of money for them and that enables us to invest and grow."

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