Welcome to the Scottish Supporters Network newsletter, brought to you by Supporters Direct Scotland. This newsletter aims to bring our members closer together and better informed of news and best practice from across the network.

Latest news from the network

By Christoph Roser at AllAboutLean.com under the free CC-BY-SA 4.0 license.

Hot on the heels of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association's partnership with social care charity Kibble, both Hearts and Motherwell have hit significant milestones this month.

All three clubs are a beacon for other clubs, demonstrating the power and potential of supporter ownership to secure a sustainable future for our football clubs.

A fan-owned St Mirren… in less time, for less cost… and better!

St Mirren Independent Supporters Association 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. SMiSA  hope that this partnership will bring 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.

Final instalment of payment to Bidco is made

The Foundation Of Hearts have now paid over the final instalment to Ann Budge’s BidCo for the loan payment made back in 2014 to save the club.
The next stage will see the transfer of BidCo’s majority shareholding of the club to the Foundation, which is likely to be around the end of April. Their success in activating a massive section of their support to fund the ownership campaign is a model to aspiring supporters groups across Scotland and beyond, and gives them a rock-solid foundation to build upon as they take ownership. Pledges from members are a key part of their strategy for the club – and with almost £10 million raised over the last 6 years the transformation of the club could not have taken place without them.

Motherwell clear external debt

Motherwell, owned by The Well Society since 2016, made their final payments to former owners John Boyle and Les Hutchison late last year, and this week announced that the last remaining external debts had been repaid. This puts the club in the black for the first time in 40 years, and was done through continual investment in youth development that has delivered success on and off the pitch – by developing young talent they have reached cup finals in recent years, currently sit 3rd in the Scottish Premiership, and have brought in substantial transfer fees that put the club on a sound financial footing.

Morton Club Together

The second largest shareholder at Greenock Morton Football Club has announced that it is formally exploring if community ownership of the club could work and how best this can be achieved.

Non-profit company Morton Club Together is embarking on the exploration of a community ownership project with “energy, urgency and positivity”. It is acting in response to a mandate presented to it by its members in a recent survey, and through taking account of feedback from the wider fan base.

We recently facilitated a conversation between the MCT leadership team and representatives from a number of other clubs who have been through the same journey - a conversation which we hope will accelerate MCT's progress, avoid some of the common pitfalls, and bring their club closer to the fans.

Graham McLennan, MCT's founder and spokesperson said, "The MCT team members who were at the meeting were both encouraged and inspired by the representatives from the other supporter ownership organisations, and the practical advice and suggestions shared have already aided our plans for moving ahead with the delivery of MCT stated objectives. It's great to feel, as an MCT member, part of such a strong and diverse team across the country."

If you would like to find out more about MCT, and join their growing band of members, this can be done at www.mortonclubtogether.com

And finally...

Articles, podcasts and videos from the archive

As part of our objective to better connect fans, share best practice within Scottish sport, to promote supporter dialogue and promote sport clubs through which positive societal change can occur, here we share some relevant stories from the past month.

  1. Should All Scottish Fans Support Rangers In Europe?
  2. The Highs And Lows Of Scottish Football… All In One Week
  3. Fairytales And Upsets Make Scottish Cup Magical
  4. Let’s Fill Hampden!
  5. Stuart Armstrong Hitting Form At The Right Time For Scotland

SD Scotland Chief Executive Alan Russell also has an article on supporter ownership in Issue 15 of Nutmeg, on sale via http://bit.ly/323cnRE.

You can also check out our back catalogue of podcast episodes and subscribe to Behind The Goals using your favoured ‘podcatcher’ here, and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Supporters Direct Scotland and our partners at FansBet are committed to helping football supporters enjoy responsible gambling; for many this is an integral part of their match day experience.

We have selected GamCare as our recommended support service for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. GamCare operate the National Gambling Helpline (whose advisers are available on 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org), provide treatment for problem gamblers and their families, create awareness about responsible gambling and treatment, and encourage an effective approach to responsible gambling within the gambling industry.

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