Supporters group joins with SportyCo in £45m bid for Hull City

A CROWD-FUNDING organisation has joined forces with Hull City Supporters Trust to prepare a £45m bid for the club.

Hull City fans protest against the club's owners during last season's game against Aston Villa. Picture: Tony Johnson.
Hull City fans protest against the club's owners during last season's game against Aston Villa. Picture: Tony Johnson.

The Tigers, rock-bottom of the Championship with just two wins from the opening dozen games, have already been the subject of two concrete offers from groups hoping to buy out the Allam family.

Former chairman Paul Duffen’s Saudi-led consortium is understood to be furthest down the line, ahead of a second mystery party also vying for control of City.

But the revelation that the Supporters Trust is working with SportyCo, a crowd-funding organisation, brings an intriguing extra element to the mix.

Paul Duffen

Marko Filej, chief executive of SportyCo, met Hull chairman Assem Allam after an official letter was sent confirming the group’s intent to push on with attempts to buy the club.

A statement issued on behalf of SportyCo read: “The deal structure will see a consortium of UK/US investors and Hull City AFC fans working together to ensure the club’s future success, by including fans into the ownership structure of the club.”

Alexander Jarvis, on behalf of Blackbridge Sports investment firm, has played a role in the process. He was previously involved in Barnsley owner Chien Lee’s attempts to buy the Tigers two years ago.

The Yorkshire Post revealed last week that three parties were interested in buying out the Allams and that two, including Duffen’s group, had submitted concrete offers. A third was expected in the near future.

It is understood SportyCo, in conjunction with the fans’ group, are the third interested party.

Geoff Bielby, chairman of the Supporters Trust, said: “We are 100 per cent sure that this new and unique approach of combining institutional investors and the fan base will enable us both to achieve our goals, a successful and stable Hull City AFC that will be a joy to watch play.”

Hull have been up for sale since the Allams’ attempts at rebranding the club failed in 2014. The sale process is believed to be sufficiently advanced that the owners are expected to be gone before their eighth anniversary of taking charge comes round in mid-December.

SportyCo recently launched an appeal with Brazilian second tier outfit Avai in an effort to help the club raise £15m through cryptocurrency, the electronic monetary system, a form of crowd-funding.

The company, whose ambassadors include Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos, is a shirt sponsor of Spanish La Liga side Espanyol.