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Plan for Knights fans to buy into NRL club

AAP logoAAP 9/12/2016 Will Knight

A group of Newcastle businessmen have put forward a proposal for the Knights to become community-owned by raising at least $15 million in a share offering in the NRL club.

The plan was made public on Saturday under the banner 'Our Knights One Chance' with the chief ambition for the embattled club to follow in the footsteps of the NFL's Green Bay Packers and be owned by local fans.

The Knights have been in the hands of the NRL since 2014 when former mining magnate Nathan Tinkler relinquished his three-year ownership of the club.

The NRL last month announced it had rejected all bids to buy the Knights, who have struggled both on and off the field in recent times and collected this season's wooden spoon after winning just one game.

The group of seven local businessmen have asked for fans to register their interest in the proposal and if after three months there's sufficient support, they will look to sell shares in the club.

They will be for sale for $500 per share and shareholding will be capped at four per cent for each person or organisation.

It's hoped the new ownership structure would be in place for the start of the 2018 season.

Of the minimum $15 million that's required, about half of that would be put towards addressing "current trading deficiencies and restructure the Knights operations for the first three years of operations".

The mission statement says the restructure would give the club back to the fans would have a vested interest in its success.

"Over the last few years, our team has been let down by uncertainty and ownership changes. But let's change that. Now is the time to make a stand," reads an excerpt from the website ourknights.com.au.

The Knights proposal comes just months after a similar plan was launched to save Super Rugby franchise the Western Force.

RugbyWA announced a fan ownership model by selling 5000 "certificates" at $1000 each to raise $5 million and prop up the financially fragile club.

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