Scottish clubs’ fan ownership: A model for more EFL sides to follow?
October 7, 2019
Scottish clubs’ fan ownership: A model for more EFL sides to follow?
Sky Sports News examines the fan-owned models adopted by several clubs as the possession troubles involving Bolton and Bury continue.
Bury were expelled with the EFL after C&N Sporting Risk week from Sky Bet League One.
Together with the EFL currently prepared to explore their readmission into the Football League, Gary Neville, who has close links with Bury, lately urged Shakers fans secure the future of their club and to take control.
Bury’s two MPs, fans society Bury and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham are also a part of a working group seeking to secure that your club’s status in League Two next year.
Bolton were also on the verge of liquidation week until Football Ventures’ takeover had been confirmed.
The club had to secure their future or risk expulsion.
In 2016, Motherwell turned into a Scottish Premiership side together with the Well Society supporters group.
St Mirren were shot over the year, after a venture from the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association along with their director Gordon Scott.
They are just two examples of fan ownership and sway at football clubs, Stirling Albion would be the first British club to achieve 100 percent enthusiast ownership in 2010 when the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust took over.
Clyde and East Stirlingshire have comparable structures, although Dunfermline Athletic were saved from administration and possible oblivion in 2013 from the Pars Trust. Annan Athletic appeared to become completely fan-owned in 2017.
The idea has been adopted by 2 Scottish footballing giants.
Area businesswoman Ann Budge rescued from government in 2014 heart of Midlothian.
Budge is due to hand her shareholding over into the fans’ group Foundation of Hearts, that will make Hearts the soccer club in the united kingdom.
Budge will remain on for at least a year to ensure a smooth transition, from which point Hearts fans will call the shots.
Around Edinburgh, Hibernian declared plans to give their fans the opportunity to own at least 51 percent of club stocks, however, the landscape has changed at Easter Road recently.
Majority shareholder Tom Farmer was purchased from US businessman Ron Gordon through the summer, but about a third of stocks in Hibernian are owned by fans.
A Partick Thistle supporters team have started their campaign to take control of the Scottish Championship club, this week.
Thistle For Ever state they aim to secure a vast majority shareholding for lovers of the Firhill side due to speculation about a possible sale to a consortium”without any links to the club or its own community”.
Supporters groups already own nearly 27 percent of the club’s shares, and this campaign wants to add a further 24 per cent, by producing an offer to all current shareholders to sell to the enthusiasts.
The move comes after EuroMillions lotto winner Colin Weir withdrew his financial support after boardroom changes, while speculation is rife that the proprietors of Barnsley are negotiating to purchase Thistle month for the club and academy.
Sky Sports News spoke to members of Motherwell Partick Thistle and St Mirren’s supporters bands, to contrast and compare their thoughts.
It’s soul and the heart of why you are involved in soccer you want is the most appropriate for your club.
I believe we’re concerned (roughly Patrick Thistle’s potential ). We were told about a deal coming but no details have emerged.
We have gone from a situation in which we had a benevolent benefactor donating a lot to the team (lotto winner Chris Weir, that has since walked away), and no debt, to now a place of doubt.
We own nearly 30 per cent of this club. Whether this set of directors are Partick Thistle investors that are genuine, we offer you an option to those who could choose the club.
We are debt-free. We ought to be playing within our means.
I think fan ownership is we have seen up it to clubs the size of Hearts, it works. You have got to think about who is in charge, although I think it could be adopted.
Our hearts go out to them at Bury and Bolton. It’s got to come from the fans, find the community together and they need to galvanise themselves; it happened previously at Wimbledon and Exeter City that were difficult circumstances in England.
The wisdom and experience is there to do it wasn’t ten to fifteen decades back.
What worked (in Motherwell) has been having control. The trick to all football clubs is controller. We had great help from Les Hutchison in securing the cluband then the problem was that worked, and we needed to pay Les back.
The Motherwell academy has done astonishingly well, it’s a excellent blueprint for football in general. You merely have to look there which have attracted income into the bar.
This season, we’ve assembled a squad that was reasonably strong which we haven’t managed to do. A whole lot of the young lads stepped up for it and come and done nicely.
Within all that, Motherwell is a neighborhood center ; we have 2700 members in the Well Society. I got my newsletter in another day, telling me how much I’ve put into the bar, asking for contributions and ideas… you’re part of it.
I believe that is what fans really want, they do not want to be on the exterior if someone will come in to save their bar being stressed, such as Bury or Bolton.
The first hurdle is belief. Paul Goodwin and I were at a Motherwell match and we had been talking to people there, who were Motherwell fans.
They were people who financially could manage to donate to the Well Society along with the team but when we talked to them said,”Oh, so that is all a bit pie in the sky.”
They didn’t really believe that the lovers could grow in influence and ownership and buy up shares in the bar. You have got a state in the club, although you may not have the entire club Actually if it’s only inching forward by percentage. I believe that is critical.
Getting folks to believe they can change things, and getting people to think that is possible, it’s a large hurdle. It wouldn’t do anything and surprised me how their feet were shuffling.
We had a operator (former chairman Stewart Gilmour) who had wished to market up for a long time, and there was no real prospect of anybody coming together – no bright knight in armour!
The enthusiasts put their money and found somebody who would take that obligation (current chairman Gordon Scott) then pay back that money.
There was still that doubt there, you did not understand who was going to come along and try to purchase the club. We have seen plenty of people come along, buy clubs and desert them .
Possessing that ownership provides you that kind of certainty instead of anything else.
Fan possession in itself is new. Some folks believe that they will have more control because of their investment.
It goes to you and just that sense this is a business, it’s a community now, that.
These smaller clubs, even those that aren’t companies, do not actually have much more of an alternative. These are neighborhood clubs; Bury was not going to be in Europe.
St Mirren aren’t ever likely to be in Europe, we’ve got those dreams… but they’re about the lovers and that area. Nobody is likely to earn money.
It seems common belief why are not they owned by the community that because those clubs are to the community and by the community?