St Mirren supporters have insisted their bid to make the Buddies Scotland’s latest fan-owned club has got off to a flying start.
The Paisley faithful hope to take control of their club using a scheme similar to the one which helped the Foundation of Hearts rescue the Jambos.
The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) has had a joint offer with ex-Saints director Gordon Scott for the majority shareholding in the club accepted in principle by the selling consortium.
Construction boss and lifelong Saints fan Scott will pay the bulk of the sum required to buy the Ladbrokes Championship outfit – which is understood to be £1 million. SMISA plans to borrow the rest of the cash, with supporters then asked to pay back the loan via a fan subscription scheme.
If fundraising is successful, Scott would become majority shareholder and chairman, while SMISA would receive a seat on the board – plus an option to buy the shares Scott buys now within the next ten years, ensuring majority fan ownership at some point in the future.
SMISA kicked off their fundraising efforts on Saturday with a meeting at the Paisley 2021 Stadium and were delighted with the response after signing up 150 new members inside the first 48 hours.
They need at least 1,000 fans paying around £12 per month to make the scheme work and SMISA chairman George Adam said: “We have been delighted with the reaction to the launch of the fundraising – the sign-ups started almost immediately and I want to thank everybody who has pledged their support so far, as we have had some great feedback from fans.
“One way or another, the current board are going to sell the club – I think people understand this is a one-off chance to make sure St Mirren can stay in the hands of the people who will care for it best.
“But this is only a start – we need 1,000 signed-up members for this deal to be viable. So we are calling on everybody with St Mirren at heart to help us spread the word and reach that target.”
Scott added: “It was good to meet fans at the public meeting on Saturday – people had some good questions about how the deal will work, but hopefully they can see we have worked hard on this to make sure what we are proposing is well thought through and viable.
“I want to help lead this club back to where it belongs, in the top flight of Scottish football, and then work on a way to transfer it into the hands of the supporters. But it’s in the hands of the fans whether we get the chance to do that or not – so I would urge them to check out what is on offer at smisa.net now, and together we can own the future of the club.”
St Mirren have been up for sale since 2009 but chairman Stewart Gilmour and the rest of his selling consortium have struggled to find a buyer.