Motherwell fans on way to ownership

Motherwell have exceeded the initial £250,000 target of their Well Society scheme to make the club’s fan ownership plans a reality.

The club have raised £335,375 from supporters to purchase shares donated to the club by outgoing chairman John Boyle after launching membership plans in January.

A total of 927 members, 664 of them with voting rights, signed up by the end of March to make the scheme viable. The society will now be formally constituted and will elect two members to sit on the club’s board of directors while more members are sought.

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Chief executive Leeann Dempster said: “The supporters of Motherwell Football Club have stepped up and shown they have the passion, desire and self belief to make Motherwell a successful, sustainable fan-owned club.

“The support for the society idea has overwhelmed us and we are hugely proud of the success to date. But it is only stage one. We need to emphasise to everyone that we need to keep recruiting and keep raising funds.

“Crucially, every fan will also agree that we must demonstrate an exemplary ability to run orderly elections to the board and to bring forward candidates of ability and integrity that can be entrusted with the future of the club. We have come a long way however, and our optimism as a board remains. It is a tough trading environment but our club is improving its position.

“We have complete belief in this idea but will retain a laser focus in ensuring it is implemented in a way that will secure Motherwell’s best future.”

The Motherwell board have reiterated that they plan to develop a £1.5million “strategic reserve” to replace the personal wealth of Boyle, which helped them through cashflow problems in the past. This figure will be kept under review given the “prevailing trading and strategic position of the club and the league”.

Half of Boyle’s shares will initially be transferred to the society, with the remainder handed over when the rest of the money has been raised. Cash from player sales, club profits and new and rolling membership fees will supplement this total. The fans’ group will ultimately own a 72 per cent stake in the club and all members of the club’s board will eventually need to be approved by the society.