THE Well Society has urged Motherwell fans not to gamble with the club’s future after it was set a cash ultimatum to prove its ownership credentials.
The fans’ group has welcomed the clarity of Motherwell’s statement on Wednesday, which outlined the club’s need to raise cash to avert a financial “crisis”, and vowed to embrace the challenge of almost doubling its cash reserves to £800,000 by the end of November.
Motherwell, who posted losses totalling about £780,000 in the two years to June 2013 and expect to record a small deficit in the season just finished, have flagged up the need to secure external investment should the Well Society fail to meet its target.
A Well Society statement read: “This could be soft loans from Motherwell-minded business people who are open to the idea of community ownership.
“However, there is a possibility that the club could be forced to sell the shares donated by John Boyle to perhaps one individual or group.
“There are no guarantees that their motives and ideals would be shared by the Motherwell support, or that they could successfully run a football club.
“We have already experienced administration and it was fortunate that John Boyle took a financial hit and stayed around to put the club on a level footing and give us the opportunity to own the club.
“But who knows what could happen if a new owner comes in and gets the club into trouble?”
Motherwell have warned they will have to make major cuts which could put the club into a downward spiral should they fail to raise sufficient capital - and the Well Society urged supporters not to leave it to others to protect the club.
“John Boyle put the club up for sale several years before the Well Society was founded and no suitable buyer emerged,” the statement continued.
“St Mirren are among the best-run clubs in Scotland - a debt-free, top-flight club with a new stadium and training ground - but they have been up for sale for years without attracting an offer that is acceptable to their board.
“People are not queuing up to invest in Scottish football.
“As a support, we have possibly been spoiled by the safety net of John Boyle’s personal wealth in recent years.
“If we can afford to, it is time we took responsibility for our own club rather than taking our eyes of the ball and depending on another white knight to come along.”
The fans were promised former chairman Boyle’s circa-70 per cent shareholding if they raised £1.5million to act as a cash reserve for the club, and the Well Society, which has two representatives on the club board, pleaded with them not to let the chance slip away.
The statement finished: “If you are a Well Society member, please, please try to persuade more of your friends and family to join, or upgrade your membership, if you can. If you are not a member, please join now.
“Otherwise this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to secure majority ownership for Motherwell fans may be lost forever. And no-one can tell what the consequences will be.”