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May 4, 2011

Buddies aim to follow Barca

In recent years Scotland’s senior football clubs have been trying to adjust to the financial realities of dwindling attendances and much reduced income from television.  That said, most of the large clubs still depend to some extent on chairmen with deep pockets. While envious glances are cast towards Barcelona speculating as to how a club owned by the fans can afford Mr Messi etal,  a growing number of St Mirren fans are pledging their support(and money) towards a Paisley version of fan power

THE first stage of the proposed community takeover of St Mirren is expected to be completed within a fortnight.

An ambitious social enterprise project that would see a Community Interest Company (CIC) purchase a 52% shareholding in the club has been gathering momentum in recent months and is set to become a reality in the next 12 days.

The business model of the CIC, 10,000 Hours, requires at least 300 individual members to pay £10 a month, alongside regular financial contributions on a larger scale from local businesses and community organisations, money which will be used initially to pay off the loans needed to buy out the consortium of directors selling their shareholding in the club.

As of yesterday afternoon, 375 individuals had pledged their support. The new CIC membership will now be asked to formalise their financial commitment at a meeting a week on Thursday, although the deal is unlikely to be completed before August.

“We’ve got two more meetings next week [with supporters] after which it’s going to happen,” Richard Atkinson, the man leading the takeover, told Herald Sport. “The people who have pledged will need to come along and sign on the dotted line and actually constitute this thing.

“There are three elements – the members, the selling consortium and the funders – and it looks like the members’ part will be the first one that’s there. In a couple of weeks it looks like we will be starting things.

“Everyone concerned is focused on the community controlling the football club, as opposed to the alternative of an unknown quantity coming in.”