Greenock Morton have become the latest Scottish football club to be community-owned after a supporters group completed a formal takeover.
Morton Club Together, which was set up two-and-a-half years ago, have completed the purchase of almost 90% of shares in the business and have taken over the day-to-day running.
MCT take over from previous owners Golden Casket, paying a nominal fee of £1. The move ends Golden Casket’s relationship with club 20 years after late chairman Douglas Rae stepped in to prevent liquidation in 2001.
His son, and outgoing chairman, Crawford Rae, said: “A new chapter in the history of Greenock Morton Football Club officially starts today.
“The supporters have dreamt of community ownership for many years, however until MCT came along, we honestly did not see this becoming a reality.”
Rae said that putting the club in the hands of fans was the perfect way for his family to step down.
“There is no better legacy for the Rae family than to afford the fans the opportunity of community ownership which is why we decided to gift MCT our majority shareholding as opposed to selling to a third party,” he said.
“The vision that MCT displayed to our family convinced us that community ownership was the best option for the future success of Greenock Morton Football Club and the right time for us to step aside.
“The last 20 years has been a rollercoaster of emotions for every member of the Rae family, we have met some great characters and made many good friends along the way. We could not have done any of this without the undying support of the Morton fans who have been the backbone of our team. For their contribution we will be eternally grateful.
“We have been assisted by so many fine people who have thrown their weight behind the task, giving of their time for nothing and we take this opportunity to thank them all for their tower of strength and friendship during our tenure.
“We are forever Morton supporters and wish everyone great success for the future of the football club.”
The move to purchase the club began in 2019 and MCT now has 850 memmbers, who contribute £10,000 per month collectively, with many also volunteering at the club. The club is now debt free and continues to own the stadium.
MCT founder, Graham McLennan, said: “Since launch day, MCT has been about bringing people together.
“Without our fellow MCT members and the ongoing efforts and support of so many people inside and outside MCT, the change already delivered at Morton and the opportunities created to continue to move Morton forward, would simply not be possible.
“I will never stop being humbled, amazed and thankful to every single person who continues to come forward to support and help MCT and Morton.
“We are all in this equally and together we will continue to work hard, openly and respectfully, as we all share a love for Morton and the community within which it operates, and always will.
“We could say that we are now just arriving at the starting line of a new era, with an exciting journey ahead. Of course, there are huge challenges to be addressed as we strive to achieve the best Morton possible, and power in people numbers has never been so important.
“By sticking together and continuing to welcome new members into MCT, I am confident that what Morton will achieve is potentially incredible.”
Fellow club and MCT board member, Gordon Ritchie, said: “It has been a long road to achieve a result that met the needs of both parties – community ownership of Morton while protecting the future of Cappielow. We are delighted that MCT has come so far in its 30 months of existence.
“As complex as the takeover has been, we are fully aware that the future management of the club will be equally challenging, but we are looking forward to moving Morton forward. We are grateful to every member of MCT who has supported us on this journey.”