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

Sky Sports News assesses the fan-owned versions adopted by some clubs, as the possession troubles involving Bolton and Bury continue.
Bury were expelled in Sky Bet League One using the EFL following C&N Sporting Risk.
With the EFL currently prepared to talk about their readmission into the Football League, Gary Neville, who has close links with Bury urged Shakers fans to take secure and control the future of their club.
Bury’s two MPs, fans society Forever Bury and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham will also be part of a class looking to secure your club’s status in League Two next season.
Meanwhile, Bolton were on the verge of liquidation last week before Football Ventures‘ takeover had been confirmed.
The team had 14 days to fasten their long-term future or risk expulsion from the EFL.
With the Well Society supporters group acquiring a 76 per cent shareholding in the club, Motherwell became a fan-owned Scottish Premiership side in 2016.
St Mirren were shot over before that same year, following a joint bid from the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association along with their director Gordon Scott.
They are just two examples at Scottish football clubs of enthusiast ownership and sway, Stirling Albion would be the first club to achieve 100 percent enthusiast ownership in 2010 if the Stirling Albion Supporters Trust occurred.
Clyde and East Stirlingshire have similar structures, while Dunfermline Athletic were stored from administration and potential oblivion from 2013 from the Pars Trust. Annan Athletic voted to become completely.
Two Scottish footballing giants have also embraced the notion .
Businesswoman Ann Budge rescued from government in 2014 heart of Midlothian.
Budge is due to hand her shareholding over to the supporters‘ team Foundation of Hearts, which can make Hearts the soccer club in the united kingdom.
Budge will stay on for at least a year to guarantee a smooth transition, from which point fans will call the shots.
The landscape has shifted in Easter Road in recent times, although in 2015, Hibernian declared plans across Edinburgh to present their fans the opportunity to own at least 51 per cent of club stocks.
Majority shareholder Tom Farmer was purchased from US businessman Ron Gordon during the summertime, but fans now own about a third of shares in Hibernian.
This week, a Partick Thistle supporters group have started their effort to take control of the Scottish Championship club.
Thistle For Ever state they aim to secure a majority shareholding for lovers of the Firhill side due to speculation about a potential sale to a consortium“without the connections to the club or its community“.
Supporters groups already own nearly 27 per cent of the club’s stocks, and this campaign is looking to bring a further 24 percent, by creating an offer to all current shareholders to sell to the enthusiasts.
The move comes following EuroMillions lotto winner Colin Weir withdrew his financial support to the team and academy month following boardroom changes, while speculation is rife that the owners of Barnsley are still negotiating to purchase Thistle.
Sky Sports News spoke to members of Motherwell, Partick Thistle and the supporters bands of St Mirren, to compare and contrast their thoughts.
It is the heart and soul of why you’re involved with football you want is the best for your club.
I think we are concerned (roughly Patrick Thistle’s potential ). Two months before, we were informed about a bargain coming into the table that was transformational for the club, however, no details have surfaced.
We’ve gone from a situation where we had a benevolent benefactor contributing a lot to the team (lotto winner Chris Weir, that has since walked away), without any debt, to now an area of uncertainty.
We own almost 30 per cent of the club. If this set of directors are Partick Thistle shareholders, we now provide an option to them that may choose the club in another direction, that could get it vested over the community.
We’re debt-free. We must be playing within our means.
I believe fan ownership is a version that may function; we have seen it right up to clubs Hearts‘ magnitude, it works. You have really got to think about who’s in charge, although I think it can be adopted.
Our hearts go out to them in Bury and Bolton. It’s got to come from the fans, get the community together and they have to galvanise themselves; it occurred in the past at Exeter City and Wimbledon which were unbelievably difficult conditions in England.
The wisdom and expertise is there now to do it wasn’t ten to fifteen decades back.
What worked (in Motherwell) was having control. The key to everything at football clubs is controller. We had good help from Les Hutchison in securing the club, and after that the situation was that worked, and we needed to cover Les back.
The Motherwell academy has done well, it’s a blueprint for football in general. You simply have to look at the goods there that have attracted income.
This year, we have constructed a squad which we haven’t been able to do so before. A whole great deal of those lads stepped up to it and have come and done well.
Motherwell is a community center. I got my newsletter in the other day, telling me how much I have put into the club, asking for ideas and contributions… you are part of it.
I think that is what fans really want, they do not want to be on the outside if someone is going to come in to spare their club, being concerned, such as Bury or Bolton.
The first barrier is belief. Paul Goodwin and I were at a Motherwell game and we had been speaking to folks there, who were Motherwell supporters.
They were people who financially could manage to contribute to the Well Society along with the club, but once we spoke to them they said,“Oh, that’s a little pie in the sky.“
They did not believe that the lovers purchase up shares from the club and could rise in influence and possession. You’ve got a state in the club, although you might not have the club even if it’s only inching ahead by percentage. I believe that is essential.
Getting people to think that is possible, and getting folks to think they can change things, it is a major obstacle. It would not do anything and surprised me how folks were shuffling their feet.
We had a owner (former chairman Stewart Gilmour) who had wanted to market up for a long time, and there was no real possibility of anyone coming along – no bright knight in armour!
The fans put their money together and found somebody who would take that obligation (current chairman Gordon Scott) then pay that money back.
There was still that uncertainty there, you didn’t know who was planning to come along and attempt to obtain the club. We’ve seen lots of people buy clubs come along and desert them after months or years in charge.
Having that ownership provides you that type of certainty as opposed to anything else.
Fan possession in itself is comparatively new. Some folks think that they have more control due to their investment.
It goes to you and that feeling this is a business, it’s a community today, that.
Those which are not companies, these smaller clubs, do not actually have much more of the alternative. All these are community clubs; Bury was never likely to be in Europe.
St Mirren aren’t ever going to be in Europe, we have those dreams… but they are about the fans and that area. Nobody is likely to make money from these clubs.
It seems almost common belief why are not they owned by the neighborhood, that since those clubs are to the community and by the general public?

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