Real Oviedo have found themselves this season in serious financial trouble, and so they did something many football clubs in similar positions have done in similar circumstances in recent years:
Oviedo have spent the past decade fighting for survival, lurching from crisis to crisis and it was perhaps apt that they signed the troubled footballer Stan Collymore in 2001, only for him to walk out after 34 days.
Their latest crisis threatens their existence. They need €1.9 million before November 17 to stave off liquidation. A share issue (shares cost €10 each) was launched on Friday and over 4,000 fans around the world – many of them who had barely heard of the club a week ago – have purchased €200,000 worth of shares in three days.
The wave of interest was fueled by Guardian writer Sid Lowe’s Twitter campaign (he has been a fan since he arrived in Spain in 1996). Moreover, Arsenal, Chelsea and Swansea players Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata, and Michu have all pitched in and purchases shares as well to save the team.
Supporters Direct have been integral in the UK in pushing for community-owned clubs via share schemes. Perhaps Sid Lowe’s campaign might also be a model to help save storied clubs with donations via shares (perhaps without voting rights?) from football fans beyond the limits of the club in the event of the threat of liquidation.
Meanwhile, the case for community stewardship in bloated club football grows by the day…