Top 5 biggest fan-owned football clubs in the world

In recent years, many billionaires have taken over football clubs, but some football clubs prefer to be close to their community and give fans control.

Newcastle is the recent club to join the list of billionaire takeover clubs as Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund have taken a majority 80% stake in the club. Let’s take a look at the world’s biggest fan-owned football clubs.

1) FC United of Manchester

Manchester United had similar off-field issues regarding the administration and management of the club during the start of the 21st century. But things only got worse when the Glazers family bought the club in 2005. It caused havoc among the fans, which led them to break away and form their club, FC United of Manchester. 

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The club had to build itself from rock bottom, starting from the tenth tier of English Football. They have made it as high as the sixth tier in 2015 but are struggling ever since. They may not be in the English top-flight but at least their owners deserve the credit for building and managing a genuine football team that includes a women’s team as well.

2) AFC Wimbledon

Wimbledon FC’s decision of relocating to the new town of Milton Keynes to prevent the club from going bankrupt. It caused a rift between the club and some local fans, who chose to create a new team to support.

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It shares a similar story to that of FC United, but how successful they have been set them apart. The Dons are enjoying themselves in League One after being thrown at level nine.

3) Athletic Club

One of the only four top tier Spanish sides to be still owned by its members, Athletic Club has been uniquely doing things their way for a long time. The club focuses on developing talents from the Basque region and signing players with local roots.

Some might find it boring when going into the transfer window but, the club has produced talents such as Unai Simon, Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams. Athletic have never been relegated from the top-flight and are always a trouble for top teams like Barca and Madrid. The most recent example was when Athletic beat Madrid and Barcelona to win the Spanish Supercup last term.

4) Barcelona

Barcelona is one of those Spanish sides that are still fan-owned but have become an example of what can happen if things get out of control. However, anyone running for president of the club must be able to find 10% of the club’s worth as a form of deposit. 

Image Credit: 90min.com

Current president Joan Laporta also needed £108m before running the office, something your local fan can’t afford. It gives Barcelona’s socio’s a finite number of choices to vote on who controls the club. Barcelona fans have the right to vote their president but don’t have a say in the club’s big decisions.

5) Bayern Munich

Contrary to Barcelona, Bayern Munich still follow their way of fan ownership. Bundesliga’s 50+1 rule indicates that the majority of the club is owned by fans, but instead of 51% fan ownership, Bayern has as high as 75% fan ownership.

Fans are focused on the team’s achievement on the pitch rather than getting into the business side of the club. As a result, Bayern has become one of the powerhouses of European football.

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