THE future of Newport County AFC is in your hands – that was the message from last week’s open supporters’ meeting.

As well as highlighting huge concerns over the deal with the Welsh Rugby Union to play at Rodney Parade, the board of directors launched a six-week supporters’ consultation on the future ownership of the club.

The consultation asks the fans to choose between three options: to maintain the current Supporters Trust ownership model; to embrace a hybrid model involving supporters and outside investment; or to put the club up for sale.

The survey can be completed online at or at the ticket office and must be returned by July 4.

That convergence with Independence Day is probably entirely coincidental but there will no doubt be plenty of support for maintaining the status quo.

For what it’s worth, my preference would be for what the Exiles describe as “the old Swansea City model” of “blended ownership” split between supporters, businessmen and the city council.

In an ideal world the fans would retain a major say in the way the club is run but the financial burden would be eased by outside investment, although the lack of assets means attracting that investment will be tricky.

County’s operational chairman Gavin Foxall has been in talks with the council over the Rodney Parade issue and he has built up a close relationship with chief executive Will Godfrey.

And fellow director Kevin Ward has good contacts with the political leadership of the council.

Both are optimistic that the city’s governing body will be able to help the club navigate the choppy waters that may lie ahead.

And it’s encouraging that the board is being proactive in addressing their concerns about the future funding of the club while in a position of relative strength.

County reported a loss of £350,000 in the year up to June 2017 but they will post a profit for the financial year ending in June 2018 thanks to the money-spinning run to the FA Cup fourth round, which ended in defeat in a Wembley replay against Tottenham Hotspur.

As director Shaun Johnson pointed out at the meeting last week, that is a pretty rare state of affairs in League Two, where the average loss per club each year is around £500,000.

But it’s clear that if the current ownership model is retained then the financial contribution from members has to be increased significantly.

In the 2016-2017 season Trust subscriptions, which are currently just £10 a year, raised just £10,000 and donations a further £25,000.

That £35,000 contribution to a club with a turnover of £2.2m is simply not enough, as director Mark Crook emphasised.

“We’re in the most financially robust position that the football club has been in since I came back in January 2017 and when I served on the board previously under a different regime,” said Crook.

“But the Trust contribution is less than two per cent of the turnover and we cannot rely on player sales and cup runs.

“We need to plan and understand how we make a viable future for this football club.”

The three other supporter-owned clubs in the Football League raise a great deal more from their fans.

Wycombe Wanderers, who have just been promoted to League One, have 180 fans making regular payments and 140 one-off payments give them a yearly contribution of around £85,000.

AFC Wimbledon, who won promotion to League One in 2016, raise more than £100,000 a year from subscriptions and their Blue & Gold Club raises a further £35,000.

And Exeter City, who were beaten in the League Two play-off final for the second year running yesterday, can rely on £100,000 from donations and from ’31 Club’ members.

All three clubs are proving that the supporter-owned model can work and can lead to success on the pitch.

But those figures show that Exiles Trust members probably need to increase their contribution from £10 a year to £10 a month if the model is to be sustainable.

With around 1,500 members at present, that would bump up annual contributions to £180,000.

And the club is keen to convince more fans to join the Trust and have their say on the way forward.

“Any decision will be made by the Trust members,” said director Colin Faulkner.

“If you aren’t a Trust member you can have a say in the survey but if you wanted a vote on that say going forward then we would encourage you to sign up to the Trust.”