Prominent figures line up to back Kibble deal

SMISA members are being asked to vote on proposals that would see us form a unique partnership with Kibble, one of Scotland’s largest charities and social enterprises, to help take St Mirren to the next level.

We asked several prominent Saints figures for their thoughts on what this could mean for the club. We've also had backing from prominent figures within the governance of Scottish football.

Jim Goodwin, St Mirren manager and League Cup-winning captain

“Having spent an hour recently in the company of Jim Gillespie and Mark MacMillan from Kibble as they explained their plans to me, I can only see a win-win for everybody. It’s a big decision for the members to allow another organisation to come in and be a part of their club. But I can’t see anything but positives from this kind of partnership.

“As a club we want to go to the next level and to do that we need the support of Kibble. Commercially they can help us achieve that. And they are already an organisation that’s part of our town and our community. It’s a charity and a firm you can trust. For this to work, Kibble need to have a successful team on the park and that matches our ambition.      

“It means a lot to me that St Mirren is a proper community club and there’s nothing better than giving something back to kids. And that’s what Kibble is all about. This is a hugely positive move for everyone involved. I hope the members make the right choice and vote them in.”

Alan Russell, Chief Executive of Supporters Direct Scotland

"The St Mirren fans have been working hard for several years on their journey towards community ownership. In Kibble they have found a partner who shares their values, backs them as the ideal custodians for the football club, and have the resources and expertise to build on the solid foundations that community ownership will provide.

 “This partnership brings together two of the oldest social institutions in Paisley and will see the football club owned by the community and working  for the community's benefit.

"It is rare to find such a great fit between two organisations, and fans may wonder where the catch is! But the careful work that has gone on behind the scenes - with the support of Gordon Scott who has fully embraced community ownership as the best long-term model for the club - has given each party confidence that their values and priorities are fully aligned.

“While there are never any guarantees of success, we believe that St Mirren fans can look forward to a long and positive future in partnership with Kibble; and we are confident that the people of Paisley will be proud of the impact that their town's football club will have on the lives of their young people.

"As an organisation whose fundamental purpose is to promote supporter ownership, Supporters Direct Scotland endorses this partnership. Whilst it will lead to majority ownership by SMISA, rather than outright ownership, it will put the fans firmly in control of their club's future - and with a partner who fully supports their ambitions for the club."

Steven Thompson, former St Mirren centre forward and lifelong Buddie

“I have always had a great relationship with SMISA in any of my dealings with them and think they do a brilliant job representing St Mirren fans like myself.

“The new proposal to work in partnership with Kibble to take the club forward seems like an excellent idea. It would deliver fan ownership ahead of schedule in conjunction with a trusted corporate partner who can hopefully help take the club to the next level.”

Jeane Freeman MSP, Scotland's Cabinet Secretary for Health and Sport

"Football clubs are precious parts of the communities they belong to. And it's clear that St Mirren belongs to the people of Paisley. It is great to see St Mirren becoming the latest Scottish top-league club to move towards majority fan ownership - a model that many other fan groups are keen to explore.
 
"St Mirren's model sees a unique partnership between the fans who will own the club and one of Scotland's biggest oldest social enterprises, Kibble.
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That partnership's ambition is clearly to enable St Mirren to be much more than a club. Growing its role as a force for good with the Paisley community and looking to change the lives of some of Scotland's most vulnerable young people.
 
"I commend all involved for developing these innovative and forward-thinking proposals and hope SMISA's members will give their support to make them a reality."

Tony Fitzpatrick, St Mirren chief executive and former club captain and manager

“We know that fan ownership is definitely going to happen one day. But I think this is a great opportunity to get us there quicker with Kibble’s support. It’s a chance we cannot miss with the resources they can bring to the club. This is a match made in heaven.

“It’s an unbelievable opportunity for these two brilliant Paisley institutions with the same mission statements and the same values to work together. We see ourselves as a family, community club and these proposals would take us another step in that direction.

“It’s also a great chance to really empower and change the lives of those young people working with Kibble by allowing them to come into our football club and having hope in their lives.”

Gary Teale, former St Mirren player and manager, and Kibble business associate

“I have been working with Kibble at their largest social enterprise, The Experience, for the past year where we introduced the first fixed Hexagol location. I respect Kibble’s forward-thinking and professional approach but fundamentally that they balance this with the young people at the heart of the charity.

“As a past player and manager of St Mirren I believe this is a solid partnership which creates an exciting opportunity for a promising future for St Mirren and the fans.”

Jim Crawford, lifelong St Mirren fan and club volunteer

“Having digested all the relevant facts on the proposed marriage of SMISA and Kibble I believe this is an opportunity that can’t be missed. It ticks all the boxes to take St Mirren forward for generations to come.”