St Mirren fans to use Hearts blueprint in takeover bid

The Paisley club have struggled on the park this season. Picture: SNS

The Paisley club have struggled on the park this season. Picture: SNS

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St Mirren fans are hoping to take control of the Paisley outfit after submitting a fresh takeover bid.

The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association have teamed up with former director Gordon Scott as they look to buy out a controlling stake owned by chairman Stewart Gilmour and a consortium of fellow board members and investors.

It is understood an offer in the region of £1million was lodged on Tuesday.

The SMISA plan is based on the model which saw the Foundation of Hearts rescue their club with the help of Ann Budge.

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Together the fans’ group and Scott hope to buy up a majority stake, with the Buddies support then buying out Scott’s holding over a five-to-10-year period.

If successful Scott would take over as chairman in the initial period, while a fan representative would also be appointed to the club’s board.

SMISA chairman George Adam - who is also MSP for Paisley - told Press Association Sport: “An offer has been made and we’re now just waiting for the board to get back to us.

“Our plan is very similar to the model Hearts have employed to great success. Gordon already has a shareholding and plans to buy more, while we will also buy a stake and between us we will own a majority.

“Then over five to 10 years we will buy up Gordon’s shares, and from that point is where I believe it will get exciting as the fans will be in charge. They will have a say in how the club is run.

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“Fan ownership and community trusts are the future for Scottish Football.”

Gilmour and his allies first put their 51 per cent stake in Saints up for sale in 2009 but since then have struggled to find a buyer.

Ayrshire haulage firm owner Richard Atkinson led another fan-backed group called 10,000 Hours which submitted a £1.25million offer in 2012. However, that bid was rebuffed when the consortium claimed it was concerned by the project’s sustainability.

An Argentine group were also shown round the Paisley 2021 Stadium last year but that deal also collapsed.

The Buddies were relegated from the Scottish Premiership last season and currently sit seventh in the Championship, nine points adrift of the play-off places.

“We have learned from the mistakes made by 10,000 Hours and we’ve tried to make sure everything is kept tight between us and the board and we only went public when we had something to say,” said Adam.

“When we go to our members, we want to make sure we have a robust case to make.

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“This is an opportunity to own the club, if we miss out God knows what could happen to it if it goes to somebody else.

“It’s no secret the board want to move on. They have put a lot into St Mirren and quite rightly believe their time is up. But who is going to chap on the door next?

“Financially the club is still very well run and we believe this is our chance to bring the club into community ownership.

“Time is now pressing. The club has a new manager in Alex Rae now in place but the January transfer window is coming to a close soon. We need to get this moving so the club can move forward.”

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