LAKE Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser has offered support for the “Our Knights, One Chance” model of community ownership for the embattled NRL franchise.
A seven-man group of Novocastrian businessmen launched the “Our Knights, One Chance” concept in December.
They hope to raise between $15 million and $20 million by selling up to 40,000 shares worth $500 apiece.
“The survival of the Knights under this model is as much about rural NSW and identity as it is about a sporting team,” a spokesperson for the “Our Knights, One Chance” group said.
“NRL licences are portable and the Knights’ licence is at risk of being relocated.”
The proposed ownership model would place the Knights financially into the top six NRL clubs, the spokesperson said.
Councillor Fraser has been a supporter of the Knights since 1988.
“A community ownership model would put the future of our team in our hands,” Cr Fraser said.
The Lakes Mail’s parent newspaper, the Newcastle Herald, has backed the “Our Knights, One Chance” group with a commitment to buy 100 of their shares, in a $50,000 show of faith.
“We simply can't imagine a Hunter Valley without the Newcastle Knights and we have faith that this model could provide security for the fans and the region,” the Herald’s Jason King said.
“We have been there for the Knights through good times and the bad, and we hope our commitment to buy $50,000 in shares will encourage other local and national businesses to do the same.”
The “Our Newcastle, One Chance” group is also encouraging individual fans to get on board.
“The NRL needs to know the model is sustainable and, for the initiative to move to the next step, supporters must demonstrate their backing by registering at the Our Knights website,” the spokesperson said.
Other regional mayors have also come out in support of the Knights community ownership model, including those from Tamworth, Gunnedah, Upper Hunter, Maitland, Dungog and Port Stephens.
- Visit ourknights.com.au