Scottish clubs’ fan ownership: A model for more EFL sides to follow?

As the possession issues involving Bury and Bolton continue, Sky Sports News examines the fan-owned models embraced by several Scottish clubs. Bury were expelled with the EFL following C&N Sporting Risk week from Sky Bet League One. Together with the EFL currently prepared to talk about their readmission Gary Neville, who has links with Bury, […]

As the possession issues involving Bury and Bolton continue, Sky Sports News examines the fan-owned models embraced by several Scottish clubs.
Bury were expelled with the EFL following C&N Sporting Risk week from Sky Bet League One.
Together with the EFL currently prepared to talk about their readmission Gary Neville, who has links with Bury, lately urged Shakers fans secure the future of the club and to take control.
Bury’s two MPs, supporters society Bury and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham are also a part of a group seeking to secure the club’s standing in League Two next year.
Bolton were also on the point of liquidation last week before Football Ventures’ takeover has been confirmed.
The club had to fasten their long-term future or risk expulsion.
Together with all the Well Society supporters set acquiring a 76 percent shareholding in the club, Motherwell became a Scottish Premiership side At 2016.
St Mirren were shot over the same year, following a bid from their director Gordon Scott along with the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association.
They are only two examples of sway and fan ownership at football clubs, Stirling Albion were the very first British club to reach 100 percent fan ownership in 2010 if the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust occurred.
Clyde and East Stirlingshire have comparable arrangements, although Dunfermline Athletic were saved from government and potential oblivion in 2013 from the Pars Trust. Annan Athletic appeared to become completely.
The theory has also been embraced by 2 footballing giants, albeit in different contexts.
Businesswoman Ann Budge recovered from government in 2014 heart of Midlothian.
Budge is supposed to hands her shareholding over to the supporters’ group Foundation of Hearts, which will make Hearts the largest soccer club in the united kingdom.
Budge will remain on for at least a year to guarantee a smooth transition, from which point supporters will call all of the shots.
In 2015, Hibernian announced strategies Around Edinburgh to present their fans the chance however, the landscape has changed in Easter Road in recent times.
US businessman Ron Gordon purchased majority shareholder Tom Farmer through the summertime, but around a third of stocks in Hibernian are owned by supporters.
A Partick Thistle fans team have launched their campaign to take charge of the Scottish Championship club , amid worries over a possible takeover, this week.
Thistle For Ever state they aim to secure a vast majority shareholding for lovers of the Firhill side due to speculation around a potential sale to a consortium”with no connections to the club or its community”.
Supporters groups already own nearly 27 percent of the club’s shares, and this campaign is looking to put in a further 24 per cent, by making an offer to all existing shareholders to sell to the enthusiasts.
The move comes following EuroMillions lottery winner Colin Weir withdrew his financial support to the club and academy month following boardroom changes, although speculation is rife that the owners of Barnsley are still negotiating to buy Thistle.
Sky Sports News spoke to members of Motherwell Partick Thistle and the supporters classes of St Mirren, to compare and contrast their ideas.
It’s soul and the heart of why you are involved with soccer you want is the best for your club.
I think we’re concerned (roughly Patrick Thistle’s future). Two months ago, we were informed about a deal coming into the table which was transformational for your club, however, no details have emerged.
We’ve gone from a situation where we had a benefactor leading much to the club (lottery winner Chris Weir, who has since walked off ), without any debt, to now an area of uncertainty.
We own almost 30 percent of this club. If this set of directors are Partick Thistle shareholders, we now supply an alternative to them that may choose the club in a different way, that could possess it vested over the community.
We’re debt-free. We should be playing in our means.
I believe fan possession is a version that may work; we’ve seen up it to clubs that the magnitude of Hearts, it works. You have got to look at who is in charge, although I believe it can be embraced.
Our hearts go out to them at Bolton and Bury. It’s got to come out of the fans, they will need to galvanise themselves and also get the community together; it occurred in England in the past at Exeter City and Wimbledon which were incredibly difficult situations.
Experience and the wisdom is there now to do it that wasn’t ten to fifteen decades.
What worked (at Motherwell) has been having control. The key to all soccer clubs is control. In procuring the club, we had good help from Les Hutchison , and after that the situation was we needed to cover Les back, which worked.
The Motherwell academy has performed surprisingly well, it’s a excellent blueprint for football in general. You have to consider the goods there that have brought income.
This year, we’ve assembled a strong squad which we have not managed to do so before. A whole great deal of those young lads come and really stepped up to it and done well.
Within all of that, Motherwell is a public club; we have 2700 members in the Well Society. I received my newsletter in another afternoon, telling me how much I’ve put into the club, asking for contributions and ideas… you’re part of it.
I think that is what fans really need, they do not need to be on the outside being worried if someone will come in to spare their club, such as Bury or Bolton.
The first barrier is belief. Paul Goodwin and I were in a Motherwell match and we had been speaking to folks there, who were regular Motherwell supporters.
They were individuals who fiscally could manage to donate to the Well Society and the club, but when we spoke to them they said,”Oh, that is all a bit pie in the sky.”
They did not really believe that the lovers could grow in influence and possession and purchase up shares from the bar. Actually if it’s only inching forward, percentage by percent, you may not own the whole club, but you’ve got a state in the club. I think that is essential.
Getting people to think that’s possible, and getting people to think things could change, it’s a significant hurdle. It surprised me how their feet were shuffling and wouldn’t do anything.
We had an owner (former chairman Stewart Gilmour) who had wished to market up for quite a while, and there was no real prospect of anybody coming – no bright knight in armour!
The enthusiasts put their money and found someone who’d take that obligation (current chairman Gordon Scott) and then pay back that money.
There was that doubt there, you did not understand who was going to come together and attempt to purchase the club. We’ve seen plenty of people come together, buy clubs and desert them after months or years in charge.
Possessing that possession gives you that type of certainty as opposed to anything else.
Fan possession in itself is new. Maybe some people think they will have more control because of their investment.
It goes to you and just that sense this is no longer a business, it is a neighborhood now, that.
The ones that aren’t companies, these clubs, don’t really have much more of an alternative. All these are neighborhood clubs; Bury not went to be in Europe.
St Mirren aren’t ever likely to be in Europe, we have those fantasies… but they are all about the fans and that area. Nobody is likely to make money out of these clubs.
It seems common sense why aren’t they owned by the community that because those teams are on the community and from the general public?

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