The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) has taken a massive step closer to achieving its goal of making St Mirren majority owned by its fans after making the final payment on their 29% shareholding in the club to its former owners.
SMISA and one-time St Mirren director Gordon Scott joined forces in June 2016 to purchase the majority shareholding held by a group of directors led by former chairman Stewart Gilmour, with Scott taking charge of the club then being bought out by supporters within a 10-year period.
SMISA, backed by the monthly financial contributions of approximately 1270 members, had to make regular payments to the club’s former owners for their shares as part of that agreement.
Now, after just two years, the full sum has been paid, taking St Mirren fans a step closer to bringing their club into the hands of the Paisley community.
The fans group initially expected they would need a loan to do this – but with member numbers rising and staying well above the initial target of 1,000, the milestone was reached without a penny of borrowing.
SMISA members pay £12 per month, with £10 going towards the share purchase and – in what is believed to be one of a kind – £2 goes into a separate pot allowing members to invest in club-related projects. SMISA also has an elected fan representative on the club board.
To date, SMISA have part-funded the club’s wheelchair platform, run a unique community season ticket scheme bringing hundreds of local residents to games, and committed £50,000 towards a new astrograss surface at the club’s training ground and youth academy.
They also boosted the first-team wage bill when the team was on the brink of relegation to League One 18 months ago, helping kickstart the incredible on-field resurgence that sent the club on the way to the Premier League.
SMISA convenor George Adam said: “This is another major milestone for the St Mirren community as we move towards our fans one day majority owning their club.
“Thanks to the loyalty and commitment of our members, we have been able to make the necessary payments to the old board without having to seek any other external financial assistance.
“The past two years have been hugely successful for St Mirren on and off the park. We look forward to continuing working with Gordon and the rest of the board to take the club forward while we move along the road towards community ownership of the club.
“The more members who sign up to join, the stronger we are – so I would encourage any Saints fans who haven’t yet done so to look at what their fellow fans are achieving.”
Photo Credit: SMISA/ www.smisa.net