Kilmarnock sponsors QTS has warned the company could withdraw backing of the Ladbrokes Premiership club unless former chairman Michael Johnston resigns from the board.
Almost 1,500 Killie fans have signed a petition for the company secretary to sever his ties with the club, while Russel Smith has also resigned as a director following unrest over Johnston’s continuing role at Rugby Park.
Johnston, who bought into the club in 2005 for the sum of just one pound, has reportedly rejected an offer of £1.9million to sell his 40 per cent holding.
Managing director of QTS Alan McLeish said in a statement to the Kilmarnock Standard that change was needed to move Scotland’s oldest professional club forwards.
“We have been the title sponsor of Kilmarnock Football Club for the last five years now and during that time our involvement with the club has continued to grow year on year,” McLeish said in a statement.
“During our partnership with the club, we have witnessed many changes, from the boardroom right down to the grassroots.
“The ongoing pressures in the club boardroom are concerning for us, as our partnership with the club is in place to ensure that the team have the best possible resources to perform and focus on the main concern, their football.
“As a sponsor, we don’t like to get involved in the disputes, but the current arrangement is creating a very disturbing atmosphere that we feel is detrimental to the team’s success.
“The fans have made their point quite clear, they want Michael Johnston to go and considering the offer he has been made, I think he should seriously take it.
“Local business, fans, and the club directors have made their positions very clear, and I feel that I must agree.
“The only way the club can move forward now is for Michael to stand down from the board and let the club move into a new era.”
McLeish added: “QTS would seriously be considering its sponsorship position if Michael stayed in place on the board.
“We feel the only person who can take the club forward at this moment in time is Billy Bowie.
“Any other way would be to the detriment of the football club.
“Football is a very unforgiving business and there’s no doubt in my mind that Michael has done some great things in his time at the club, but the time has come for change.”