EAST Stirlingshire this week became the latest senior club to move towards fan ownership when the clubs’ supporters trust snapped up almost half the shares - for just a pound.
The deal is a legacy from the departure of benefactor Spencer Fearn in May last year. The Yorkshire-based businessman left his shareholding to current chairman Les Thomson, on the understanding that the shares were passed on to the trust after 12 months.
Shiretrust now owns a 46% stake in the football club. It was set up in 2004 as a way of giving the club’s own supporters a way of influencing Shire’s future.
“We have come a long way since then,” said newly-appointed trust chairman, Ian Fleming. “When we formed it seemed almost too much to hope for that the fans might have a controlling stake. It’s something we’ve worked towards for some time and we are glad the moment has finally arrived.”
But there is a word of warning from the trust chief, who says they cannot now consider their job accomplished and simply sit back.
“If anything it puts the onus on the fans to work hard to make the club a success,” said Fleming. “Times are tough in an economic sense.
“There will have to be a certain amount of mucking in if we are to make the club financially stable,” he said. “Of course, the majority of supporters at any club will be doing their bit simply by coming to games each week or buying a season ticket.
“But we do need those who are prepared to offer time and any skills to aid the club through these hard times.”
The trust, which includes Sir Alex Ferguson as an honorary member, is now looking for volunteers to assist in every aspect of running the club, from raising revenue to organising programme sellers on matchday.