Motherwell fans promised '˜unique' influence in running of club

Motherwell fans will soon have a 'unique' opportunity to influence policy at their club, according to director Douglas Dickie.

Motherwell fans will be able to influence matters at the Fir Park club. Picture: SNS

The Well Society, the club’s new majority shareholder, is finalising plans to ensure members of the fan group have direct access to the boardroom.

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Plans for “executive” and “supervisory” boards were announced when the club moved into fan ownership late last month and further details of the governance structure are being ironed out to ensure Well Society members are fully consulted in major strategic decisions.

The Well Society was set up in 2012 with members promised greater involvement in the running of the club ahead of a gradual succession of power. But the organisation’s small group of directors and other volunteers have been largely occupied with recruiting members and raising money to help steer the club through difficult financial times.

Now the challenge is well under way to put fan ownership into action.

Dickie, joint chair of the Well Society, told Press Association Sport: “In terms of the fans being involved, it’s now their club. We are working on the governance structure, which will show a path and link to board level.

“An executive board will be responsible for the day-to-day running and operational issues of the club, this board is effectively the Motherwell Football Club board as it stands currently. That provides stability, it’s been there for the past year through the negotiation process and all the board members are Well Society members.

“We are also looking at a supervisory board, they will be responsible and consulted on strategic decisions facing the club but the two will work hand in hand.

“In the initial stages this will be the Well Society board but it’s our intention to add four or five members who will bring specialist skills and that’s open to all Well Society members.

“We are going to create a pathway and a direct connection and improve our communication through Q&As, newsletters, working groups and continued match presence where directors will be present at all. Each member will have an opportunity to be involved at any level through a democratic process.

“We should be proud of what we have achieved, we are unique, the first Scottish top-flight club to be fully in control of the fans.”

The first milestone of 2,000 members has been reached - a threshold which was one of the stipulations in the initial deal with Les Hutchison when he stepped in to keep the prospect of community ownership alive with a takeover in January 2015 amid a cash-flow crisis. The club has lost about £2.4million in the past five seasons.

A renegotiated deal accelerated the transfer of shares to the Well Society and plans to make the club self-sufficient are well under way.

“There have been hours, days and months of negotiation over the past year or so that have led to a medium-term financial stability at the club, which involved looking at all departments at the club,” Dickie said.

“We have set targets, obviously the 2,000 members was the first major one, which is fantastic. Now we are looking forward to 2,500 and we cannot stress how important the members have been to date in achieving our goal.

“To aid and improve the club going forward at all levels, including our successful youth development programme, we would urge all fans who are not members to sign up and pledge.”

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