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John Terry leading ‘True Blue Consortium’ to offer fans minority stake in Chelsea FC


Chelsea v Palmeiras: Final - FIFA Club World Cup UAE 2021 Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

I’ve been trying to get a handle on what this “True Blue Consortium” initiative may be that John Terry, and to a lesser extent Claire Rafferty, have been pushing hard over the past few days. Media reports have rather vague and rather snake-oil-salesman-y (or rather NFT-salesman-y), but a more detailed rundown of the concept has been posted on the True Blue website, and it’s ... interesting ... I guess?

(Not to be confused with the official Chelsea membership program, which used to be called “True Blue” but may not be anymore.)

The good thing is that it’s “not an NFT” and has “nothing to do with NFTs”. Or at least that’s what the website says. The very first report, from Goal’s Nizaar Kinsella mentions NFTs in the tweet and talks about “tokens” a lot. It’s unclear if the concept changed in the few days since, or if token was an unfortunate term to use, or if the website’s fudging the facts.

(There was/is also a ChelseaDAO, but presumably unrelated to this effort.)

So if not NFTs, then what is this True Blue Consortium (TBC) selling?

As per their website, they’re selling “shares” at £100+ a pop, which will then run on an “exchange” where people can buy more shares ... or even sell shares for some reason. Not sure why you’d want to sell shares, but there’s an insinuation that they might somehow appreciate and you need some “liquidity”. If we’re talking true fan ownership, the idea of profits should not be entering the conversation.

The technology behind this is PrimaryBid, which apparently allows ordinary private investors without the normally requisite amounts of moneys or institutional connections to buy into IPOs. (Ironically, PrimaryBid themselves are using standard channels of funding to get off the ground.) Not sure why we need such a fancy concept, but it’s good to have proven(?) tech.

Owning shares in companies does give you voting rights for certain decisions, and that would be the idea here, too, which the PrimaryBid platform would apparently facilitate as well. More shares would equal more votes, presumably. The TBC website’s pledge page has rather helpfully and hopefully included a £500k+ commitment option on the form. You know, for the common man!

TBC will be looking to acquire 5-10 per cent of the club from the eventual new owners, having secured soft commitments from five unnamed investors for a total of £250m to help cover that. The shares sold would then give you a tiny percentage of that pie to call yours. The entire Consortium would be represented by one voting member on the Board, in theory giving the fans a direct voice.

This effort is separate from Chelsea Pitch Owners (CPO) or Chelsea Supporters Trust (CST), though both of them have given it their support, “in principle” (i.e. fan ownership = good). If you’re not a member of the CPO or the CST, now is a great time to join, by the way.

Despite the promotional push, the TBC is still very much a fledgling effort and they don’t have a specific timeline for any of this. There’s every chance that the new owners will laugh them out of the room when they come in with the offer to acquire 10 per cent — even if many prospective owners have talked up the importance of fan engagement and giving fans a real stake and so on. Such talk is cheap; we’ll see what the real action turns out to be.

You can pledge your theoretical intention of support for the True Blue Consortium here.

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