Manchester City’s parent company, the City Football Group, has failed in an attempt to add NAC Breda to its global portfolio after a furious backlash from fans of the Dutch club.
CFG agreed a deal last month to buy NAC for €7m and make them the 11th club that its controls and the fifth in Europe – after City, Girona, Troyes and Lommel. The group signed a partnership agreement with NAC in 2016, allowing the Dutch club to take City players on loan and the sharing of scouting information, but the plan was to take the relationship further.
But NAC’s supporters vowed to stand in the way because they did not want their club to lose its identity or become a factory for loan players. NAC’s 19,000-capacity stadium is normally packed and the club is very popular despite years of underachievement; they are eighth in the second division.
A group of NAC fans arranged for a banner to be hung outside City’s Etihad Stadium on 27 March which read: “Stay out of our territory, NAC is not a City Group story.” There have also been banners inside the NAC stadium and chants against the proposed takeover – together with a campaign on social media.
NAC have been owned by a group of shareholders since 2011 with four of them – part of the NOAD Foundation – controlling a golden share, which can veto the sale of the club. There have been other would-be buyers for NAC, including a consortium from the United States, but NOAD has decided to transfer the shares to a group of local business people.
A statement on the NAC website said: “After intensive discussions with both the City Football Group and two possible alternatives, the NOAD Foundation decided after careful and extensive testing to submit to the local plan of NAC Breda.”