SMiSA Statement - Fan Ownership/Gordon Scott

There have been some important developments of late which the committee of the trust are keen to share with members and the wider support.

Over the past few weeks we have been working with former St Mirren director Gordon Scott on plans to make a joint offer for the shares held by the selling consortium.

As part of our research into that we conducted a survey of fans, which had about 600 responses, and we would like to thank everybody who took the time to fill it out.

All in, 96% of fans backed the idea of fan ownership, and 94% backed the principle of a fan on the board, while 60% said they would be willing to make a financial contribution towards a scheme that would bring about either or both.

Those results have encouraged us to go public on plans which – if realised – could ensure St Mirren stays in the hands of the people who care about it

Members of the consortium have already indicated to the trust that they are happy to listen to what we put forward.

We would stress things are at an early stage and there is a lot of work to be done before we would be in a position to make a formal offer to them.

However we have the basis of a plan which - should an offer be accepted - would bring about meaningful fan representation over the short and medium term, and a transfer to majority fan ownership over the long term.

The model we are looking into is as follows:
- Gordon will put up most of the money, and SMiSA will fundraise the rest. The fundraising campaign will only start if we agree a deal in principle with the consortium;
- if a deal is done, Gordon would become the majority shareholder and chairman of the club;
- SMiSA would substantially increase its shareholding, and receive a place on the board, to be elected by the fans;
- Both parties would have an agreement that would see SMiSA continue to fundraise over several years to raise the cash to buy Gordon’s majority shareholding at some point in the future

The financial details are still to be decided but we envisage a £10-per-month membership scheme being the primary source of long-term ongoing funding, while other short-term income streams would be needed to fund the trust’s contribution to the initial share purchase.

The trust has a five-figure sum of money in the bank as it stands, however we would only commit this towards an offer for the shares if a majority of members were happy for us to do so.

We see the benefits of the proposed model as being as follows:
- the current board deserves a tremendous amount of credit for the job they have done over the years, but they have made it clear they would like to move on. This would allow them to do so while keeping the club in the hands of St Mirren supporters;
- it would see control of St Mirren transfer to Gordon, a lifelong Saints fan with the business background and boardroom experience to take the club forward, while the fans would have a direct representative with influence over its day-to-day running;
- the previous attempt at fan ownership suffered because it had to find all the money at once; this would be different as Gordon’s presence means an ‘Ann Budge model’ where we would have years to raise the funds to buy him out and put a viable fan ownership structure in place;

We are very keen to hear the thoughts of members and the wider support on these plans, and invite your feedback.

Although we believe SMiSA is best placed to be the vehicle through which this process should happen, ultimately it belongs to everybody who cares about St Mirren.

We have already begun the process of engaging with fan groups because we know what we are proposing will only work if the wider support is willing to back it.

As it stands, the SMiSA committee is a small group and we would welcome the input of any fans who feel they have the expertise and skills to help us take it forward.

As we say, things are at a very early stage and there are a lot of hurdles which would need to be cleared before any of this could become reality.

It won’t happen overnight, but we will do our best to keep members and the wider support updated whenever there are developments to be shared.

However, we are excited by the possibilities of what this could mean for our club and hope you are too.

The SMiSA committee