SOS Real Oviedo

by Back Page Football

A historic Spanish club, once managed by the famous Irishman Patrick O’Connell is teetering on the brink of extinction although fans worldwide and ex players are pulling together in an attempt to save the stricken club.

In an effort to raise €1.9m that will keep them alive, third-tier Real Oviedo have decided to sell shares in the club for €10.75 each. Subsequently, the football community is showing an ability to pull together during tough economical times at a time when the game is otherwise dominated by unsavoury talking points.

The team that produced some of this season’s Premier League star talents – Santi Cazorla, Juan Mata and Michu – is on the brink of extinction. Shares are now available to buy, but the issue will only last until November 17, where Oviedo’s fate will be learned.

Unfortunately, Oviedo are no strangers to this kind of situation. With a relegation from La Liga in 2001 and a two-tier demotion in 2003, Oviedo’s star players were still being paid top flight wages whilst they competed in the fourth tier. Struggling to cope with the burden of the expenditure, they sought help which wasn’t forthcoming in the shape of local authorities and government.

Their players went without pay, but the fans stayed loyal and managed to maintain impressive attendances in their superb 30,000-seater stadium, breaking numerous records in the process. The Estadio Carlos Tartiere, renovated for the 1982 World Cup, continued to attract fans and the sustainable revenue gained from the supporters is one of the main reason’s Oviedo are still fighting this battle.

Oviedo have called their current financial state their ‘worst time in our 86-year history’. But help is coming from all over the globe.

The club counted on hundreds of fans queuing through the weekend to purchase shares and also had support through English journalist Sid Lowe’s extensive detailing of the cause via Twitter (@sidlowe). A number of football fans outside of Spain have taken it upon themselves to buy shares, with the aim to keep this historic club alive, whilst the aforementioned former players Cazorla, Mata and Michu, have all also pledged money to answer Oviedo’s rallying call for funds.

Michu revealed “Myself, Mata and Cazorla have all bought shares, but it would be wrong of me to say how much,’’ declared Michu. “We just wanted to try and help save the club we all played for.

“The economy in Spain is very bad and the club needs around two million euros to survive. A lot of people have bought shares and hopefully it will be enough by the closing date of November 17.

“It’s my local club, a club I love, so I hope it will be enough.

“Swansea fans should know how much it means to me and the Oviedo supporters. I remember reading up on the history of Swansea when I first arrived here; I remember reading how the Swansea supporters bought shares in this club when it was in trouble 10 years ago – and again many years before that.

“And look at the club now; in the Premier League and winning at places like Anfield. Hopefully this SOS can have a similar reaction.’’

The latest reports have the club as having raised over €200,000 inside the first three days of issue and as a sign of gratitude, Oviedo have already promised the notable foreign support that any shareholders outside of Spain can now attend home games for free. Atletico Madrid striker Adrian is believed to have donated €25,000 to help his former team out. Whilst any shareholders won’t stand much chance of future financial gain, it’s a great opportunity to rescue one of Spain’s finest clubs in their darkest hour.

The glory La Liga days of the late 1990s and early 2000s are long behind them now. A team that once featured Robert Prosinecki, Abel Xavier, Paulo Bento, Victor Onopko and even Stan Collymore are now on their knees, praying for a saviour or rather hundreds and thousands of them.

Shares can be bought here.

FAQs around entering the process:

1) When and how can I help become a shareholder of Real Oviedo?

The window to purchase shares begins on November 3rd and closes November 17th 

2) How much does each share cost and what is the minimum number of shares I can buy?

You can become a shareholder by buying one share at the price of just €10.75.

3) How can I buy Real Oviedo’s shares?

You can do a wire- transfer to a Banco Santander Bank account. Complete IBAN for international payments is :

ES 96 0049 4325 6124 1000 4177

You also can buy shares via PayPal in   www.yosoyelrealoviedo.com

 4) How would I get the ownership of my share?

Real Oviedo will send your shares to your front door (shares certifciate are likely to be sent out in December)

Real Oviedo cannot express enough the gratitude to everyone purchasing shares and helping to keep this historic institution alive.

5) How long is the sale process open for?

From November 3 to November 17

6) Is there an age limit?

No, for buying purposes. The only limit is related to political rights such as attend and voting at AGM.

7) Do I have to be Spanish?

No.

8) Is there any risk? Will I be liable for any debt in the future?

No, the liability is held by the current board of directors.

9) What do I gain by being a shareholder? Will I make my money back?

Probably not. Realistically, you will gain nothing. But we believe this is bigger than that: it is the chance to help save one of Spain’s most historic clubs. The value of your shares is not likely to go up. In financial terms, it is likely to be worth nothing to you. But you will be part of the salvation and you will officially be a part-owner. Please do not spend money that you cannot afford. This is effectively a donation (you can also make a donation without buying shares if you want).

10) Can I go to the AGM?

All those with four shares or more can go to the AGM.

11) Will Oviedo become an entirely fan-owned club?

That depends on the number of shares sold and the balance of shares after the share issue. Our hopes rest largely on small shareholders and supporters.

12) What happens next?

After the share issue there will be an AGM at which, depending on the votes of the (new and old) shareholders, a new board will be elected and the club will move forward.

 13) Will the current board continue after the share issue?

That will depend on the balance of shares after this share issue. Whoever holds a majority following the the share issue will be able to name a new board.

14) What happens if we do not reach the target?

If we do not reach the 1,905,000 Euro target, the board will be obliged to call an AGM to dissolve the club.

15) I want to buy a Real Oviedo shirt. How do I do that?

We hope that the  on line store will be up and running around November 10. 

Glenn Dowd is a freelance writer and editor of Irish News Review and YBIG.IE.

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