St Mirren supporters have completed their five-year journey to become majority shareholders of the Premiership club.
The St Mirren Independent Supporters Association (SMISA) has made the final payment to buy chairman Gordon Scott’s shareholding and own 51% of the Buddies.
The move comes in conjunction with charity and social enterprise Kibble, who bought a 27% stake in the club last year, and puts the future of the club in the hands of the fan base.
The partnership with Kibble, believed to be unique in European football, allowed the SMISA to transition to club owners in half the time originally anticipated.
St Mirren supporters funded the share purchase through monthly contributions and will now see their payments go towards different areas of the club, including the youth development programme and the charitable foundation.
The day-to-day running of the club will still be done by chief executive Tony Fitzpatrick and his staff, but there will now be four fan representatives on the board.
Chairman Scott, who partnered with the SMISA in 2016 to buy out the previous owners and put the buy-back agreement in place, said: “
“I am immensely proud of the part I have played in delivering fan ownership.
“We had always said that we had ten years to deliver a sustainable model but when the opportunity arose to deliver this now in partnership with Kibble it was too good an opportunity to miss.
“We have taken giant strides over the last five seasons both on the pitch and off it and with the deal now complete I am convinced that this model will allow us to continue that progress.”
SMISA chair George Adam added: “This is a really proud day not just for St Mirren fans but for the people of Paisley and beyond.
“To have our club now owned by the supporters means we will never have to worry again about it being run by people without St Mirren’s best interests at heart.
“It’s a real testimony to the fans who were presented with a vision back in 2015 and have now been able to make it a reality. I’ve never been prouder to be a Buddie.”
Kibble chief executive and St Mirren vice-chairman Jim Gillespie said: “This is a historic day for St Mirren’s fans.
“They are now in charge of the destiny of the club they love, and Kibble are delighted to be working with SMISA and to have played our part in making this possible.
“When we agreed to become shareholders and partners last year, it was because we were excited about the chance to work hand-in-hand with SMISA to help take the club forward while improving the lives of young people in the Renfrewshire area.
“We believe we are starting to see the fruits of that relationship and look forward to contributing towards many more successful years at St Mirren.”
Supporters Direct Scotland chief executive Alan Russell added: “At SD Scotland we are delighted to see SMISA reach this milestone and are proud to have supported them on their journey towards fan ownership.
“They have shown what can be achieved by working in close partnership with other shareholders and other community organisations and have had one hand on the steering wheel as St Mirren FC have established themselves in the Premiership once again.
“Their experience as minority shareholders over the last few years will be invaluable as they take ownership of the club – and they join the family of fan-owned clubs who are a beacon to the whole supporters trust movement in Scotland and beyond.”