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Stirling Albion Fan Ownership


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Stirling Albion supporters are angry, some now demanding the Club is sold in the belief that there is a benefactor out there willing to pour millions into the Club.

There might very well be but no one has so far come forward.

The fans wanting to sell the Club to get what they call "investment",  needs to understand there is nothing in the Trust rules that prevents anyone from investing. Anyone can inject cash into the Club, I know some who already do, expecting nothing in return, except hopefully watching a successful team on the pitch.

Fans who want the Club sold are in reality looking for a benefactor willing to sustain the financial losses that go with trying to compete beyond your means. You only need to look at Hearts to realise what damage can de done by investors. Vladimir Romanov virtually bankrupted the Club. Hearts are now fan owned.

What of fan ownership, I'm quoting the Scottish Supporters Network, - fans believe "benefits of community ownership are the financial sustainability and stability it brought, the fact under community ownership clubs are run for the benefit of their respective communities and that it brought democracy and transparency with fans represented at board level". There are many good example of how fan ownership is working.

Those who want to sell the Club need to explain why it can't work at Stirling Albion FC.

I'll repeat what I said earlier, private individuals can invest in fan owned Clubs, what I can never accept though is for that any investor to puts the Club back in jeapordy, by expecting a financial return.

Our younger fans just don't appreciate how close we were from going out of business a decade ago. I never want to go through that again. What we all want is a team on the park that we can be proud of. Throwing money at it does not guarantee success.

 

J. T.

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1 hour ago, MontyPython said:

Stirling Albion supporters are angry, some now demanding the Club is sold in the belief that there is a benefactor out there willing to pour millions into the Club.

There might very well be but no one has so far come forward.

The fans wanting to sell the Club to get what they call "investment",  needs to understand there is nothing in the Trust rules that prevents anyone from investing. Anyone can inject cash into the Club, I know some who already do, expecting nothing in return, except hopefully watching a successful team on the pitch.

Fans who want the Club sold are in reality looking for a benefactor willing to sustain the financial losses that go with trying to compete beyond your means. You only need to look at Hearts to realise what damage can de done by investors. Vladimir Romanov virtually bankrupted the Club. Hearts are now fan owned.

What of fan ownership, I'm quoting the Scottish Supporters Network, - fans believe "benefits of community ownership are the financial sustainability and stability it brought, the fact under community ownership clubs are run for the benefit of their respective communities and that it brought democracy and transparency with fans represented at board level". There are many good example of how fan ownership is working.

Those who want to sell the Club need to explain why it can't work at Stirling Albion FC.

I'll repeat what I said earlier, private individuals can invest in fan owned Clubs, what I can never accept though is for that any investor to puts the Club back in jeapordy, by expecting a financial return.

Our younger fans just don't appreciate how close we were from going out of business a decade ago. I never want to go through that again. What we all want is a team on the park that we can be proud of. Throwing money at it does not guarantee success.

 

J. T.

Problem with fan ownership at a club like Stirling Albion is the size of our fan base compared to the club quoted like Hearts. Hearts have over 10,000 members paying £10 a month into the club. Stirling have nothing like that. From a simple financial point of view the Albion simply cannot generate enough income to compete with teams like Kelty who have rich backers. 

You say people already invest in the club, it would be interesting to find out how much they invest. ?

Yes their is a risk that if any investor comes in and puts a large investment in the Club but I feel that before that is allowed to happen the Trust must make sure robust conditions are attached to any sale of its shares. 

The fact remains that this Club has been living within its means and has a stable financial footing unlike the past. We should strive to make sure that this continues and hope that we can finally get out of this league and stay out otherwise the future of the club could be in danger. 

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4 hours ago, MontyPython said:

Stirling Albion supporters are angry, some now demanding the Club is sold in the belief that there is a benefactor out there willing to pour millions into the Club.

There might very well be but no one has so far come forward.

The fans wanting to sell the Club to get what they call "investment",  needs to understand there is nothing in the Trust rules that prevents anyone from investing. Anyone can inject cash into the Club, I know some who already do, expecting nothing in return, except hopefully watching a successful team on the pitch.

Fans who want the Club sold are in reality looking for a benefactor willing to sustain the financial losses that go with trying to compete beyond your means. You only need to look at Hearts to realise what damage can de done by investors. Vladimir Romanov virtually bankrupted the Club. Hearts are now fan owned.

What of fan ownership, I'm quoting the Scottish Supporters Network, - fans believe "benefits of community ownership are the financial sustainability and stability it brought, the fact under community ownership clubs are run for the benefit of their respective communities and that it brought democracy and transparency with fans represented at board level". There are many good example of how fan ownership is working.

Those who want to sell the Club need to explain why it can't work at Stirling Albion FC.

I'll repeat what I said earlier, private individuals can invest in fan owned Clubs, what I can never accept though is for that any investor to puts the Club back in jeapordy, by expecting a financial return.

Our younger fans just don't appreciate how close we were from going out of business a decade ago. I never want to go through that again. What we all want is a team on the park that we can be proud of. Throwing money at it does not guarantee success.

 

J. T.

John Daly, in his latest newsletter on the official site, said the Trust Board turned down possible investment because it's not allowed by the constitution.

Would quite appreciate some clarification on this.

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1 hour ago, gmca said:

John Daly, in his latest newsletter on the official site, said the Trust Board turned down possible investment because it's not allowed by the constitution.

Would quite appreciate some clarification on this.

 

1 hour ago, gmca said:

John Daly, in his latest newsletter on the official site, said the Trust Board turned down possible investment because it's not allowed by the constitution.

Would quite appreciate some clarification on this.

HI GMCA,

Trust Rule 4

4. In order to achieve its objects the Society may either itself or through a subsidiary company or society acting under its control:
a. buy, sell and lease property;
b. borrow;
c. grant security over its property and assets;
d. establish promote and maintain for the purposes of the Society any lawful fund raising scheme;
e. buy and hold shares in the Club or any limited company owning or controlling the Club;
f. to lend or gift money to the Club or any limited company owning or controlling the Club in order to promote the Society’s objects;


APPLICATION OF PROFITS
6. The profits or surpluses of the Society are not to be distributed either directly or indirectly in any way whatsoever among members of the Society but shall be applied:
a. to maintain prudent reserves;
b. on expenditure to achieve the Society’s objects.


Its rule 6 that prevented the "investor" from taking profit that was the reason for it to go no further. The profit could only be re-invested.

By the way when the Club refers to "investment", what they ought to have said was "loan". And the terms of that loan were detrimental to the Trust and its members. That is a moot point as the "Investor" walked away and the contractural stuff became irrelevant.

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8 hours ago, MontyPython said:

Stirling Albion supporters are angry, some now demanding the Club is sold in the belief that there is a benefactor out there willing to pour millions into the Club.

There might very well be but no one has so far come forward.

The fans wanting to sell the Club to get what they call "investment",  needs to understand there is nothing in the Trust rules that prevents anyone from investing. Anyone can inject cash into the Club, I know some who already do, expecting nothing in return, except hopefully watching a successful team on the pitch.

Fans who want the Club sold are in reality looking for a benefactor willing to sustain the financial losses that go with trying to compete beyond your means. You only need to look at Hearts to realise what damage can de done by investors. Vladimir Romanov virtually bankrupted the Club. Hearts are now fan owned.

What of fan ownership, I'm quoting the Scottish Supporters Network, - fans believe "benefits of community ownership are the financial sustainability and stability it brought, the fact under community ownership clubs are run for the benefit of their respective communities and that it brought democracy and transparency with fans represented at board level". There are many good example of how fan ownership is working.

Those who want to sell the Club need to explain why it can't work at Stirling Albion FC.

I'll repeat what I said earlier, private individuals can invest in fan owned Clubs, what I can never accept though is for that any investor to puts the Club back in jeapordy, by expecting a financial return.

Our younger fans just don't appreciate how close we were from going out of business a decade ago. I never want to go through that again. What we all want is a team on the park that we can be proud of. Throwing money at it does not guarantee success.

 

J. T.

Well said. Of course we all want success on the field. But the way the club has engaged with communities is heart warming.

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10 hours ago, MontyPython said:

What of fan ownership, I'm quoting the Scottish Supporters Network, - fans believe "benefits of community ownership are the financial sustainability and stability it brought, the fact under community ownership clubs are run for the benefit of their respective communities and that it brought democracy and transparency with fans represented at board level". There are many good example of how fan ownership is working.

 

1) Fan ownership does not inherently create 'financial sustainability and stability'. Fan groups can mismanage a football club, in the same way that a private owner can manage it prudently. 

2) As for the claimed benefits of 'community interest', 'democracy' and 'transparency', the devil is in the detail. Fan ownership groups are just as liable as any other ownership model to be run on a day to day basis by people who are not interested in opening their decisions to scrutiny. 

I can't comment on the exact details of what's going on at Stirling Albion, but within just three months of Greenock Morton becoming a fan-owned club there are already very serious concerns about the competence and direction of its leadership. The commitment of the fan leadership group to transparency and democracy is already looking paper-thin as well.

The benefits that you are referring to are slogans and not demonstrable results. It takes the right kind of leadership and structures in place to make them happen. And if that's not being demonstrated at Stirling Albion or any other fan-owned club then the supporters are absolutely right to call for change and to consider private ownership as an alternative. 

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It's been quoted several times since the 'investment proposal' was made that the then Trust Board rejected the proposal and further did not put the proposal to the membership so that a vote could be taken to change the constitution.   This is misleading.  What is almost always omitted, is the fact Stirling Albion Supporters Trust is a Community Benefit Society and the the whole point of being a community benefit society is that individuals do not make a profit - the clue is in the name.  Any profits made must be reinvested into the society itself or into the causes/objects that underpin the existence of the Trust itself.

So the idea that a profit sharing proposal could be acceptable through a simple change to the constitution is patently incorrect.

The whole Trust would need to have changed into something where that kind of model was allowed - perhaps a charity or a Community Interest Company (note that I don't know enough about these types of organisation to know if that is factually accurate so this is speculation on my part). 

That in turn would have ramifications for the Club (as a limited company).

In my opinion, work is required to restructure the entire enterprise - Club and Trust - so that any future possible investment (unlikely as it might seem) would not fall at the first hurdle.  By restructuring, it might also be possible to address the underlying issues that have beset the Club since fan ownership began and are just getting worse as the years go by.

It's interesting - and slightly depressing - to see our friend from Morton mention early indications of dissatisfaction.  A word of caution here.  In the runup to fan ownership there is a good deal of engagement and enthusiasm.  Money flows in as there is a target to meet or a crisis to avert.  But once ownership is achieved, apathy soon sets in and the money starts to dry up as people realise that buying a club as a one off and running one operationally are two entirely different things. 

It's critical to ensure that good governance and accountability is baked in right at the start.  If you don't do that then you will suffer further down the line as one or two people will just run it as they see fit and everyone else will just go along with it (until the wheels come off on the playing side of course and then you will find it's too late).

Fan ownership can undoubtedly work and I always find it interesting when Stirling's Club Board members say otherwise.  The position they hold is entirely down to fan ownership and the irony is clearly lost on them.  Strangely, this issue only ever arises when the team is struggling and some pressure is being applied by a handful of fans on social media.

 

Edited by TheVoiceofReason
typo
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5 hours ago, MontyPython said:

 

HI GMCA,

Trust Rule 4

4. In order to achieve its objects the Society may either itself or through a subsidiary company or society acting under its control:
a. buy, sell and lease property;
b. borrow;
c. grant security over its property and assets;
d. establish promote and maintain for the purposes of the Society any lawful fund raising scheme;
e. buy and hold shares in the Club or any limited company owning or controlling the Club;
f. to lend or gift money to the Club or any limited company owning or controlling the Club in order to promote the Society’s objects;


APPLICATION OF PROFITS
6. The profits or surpluses of the Society are not to be distributed either directly or indirectly in any way whatsoever among members of the Society but shall be applied:
a. to maintain prudent reserves;
b. on expenditure to achieve the Society’s objects.


Its rule 6 that prevented the "investor" from taking profit that was the reason for it to go no further. The profit could only be re-invested.

By the way when the Club refers to "investment", what they ought to have said was "loan". And the terms of that loan were detrimental to the Trust and its members. That is a moot point as the "Investor" walked away and the contractural stuff became irrelevant.

Thanks for that, makes our situation much clearer.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The Trust Board categorically did not turn down the Consortium Bid to run the club via a Limited Liability Partnership.

The Consortium withdrew their bid before the Trust Board could decide to put it to members for a vote. That is a fact. I was in all those meetings (and there were many) and we had to spend Trust Money to get legal advice which clearly said that the Trust Rules prevented any scheme where profits were taken out of the Trust.
This did not mean that the Consortium Bid could not have gone through in an adapted form or the Trust Rules changed before proceeding. Bottom line is that Consortium walked away.
No-one has subsequently offered to invest in the club since.

Perhaps at the next Supporters meeting, someone should question the Supporters Liaison Officer about what he meant by the Trust Board turning down investment. I suspect a clarification would be issued.


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