Fans of Stirling Albion FC (a Scotland Second Division club) have had a substantial bid to buy the club rejected by the current owner.
The offer, from the Stirling Albion Supporters’ Trust, which met the sale price (thought to be £300k) placed on the club by current owner Peter McKenzie, has been rejected. It’s believed that McKenzie has now upped the asking price to £450k, despite the club having been on sale for several years. With no other serious bids forthcoming, fans are worried that the club is at risk of going out of business with spiraling costs and little sign of any investment.
The Stirling Albion Supporters’ Trust, which is aiming for Stirling Albion FC to be the first UK league club to be 100% owned by football fans, has setup BuyStirlingAlbion.org.uk to help generate support for their bid.
Paul Goodwin from BuyStirlingAlbion.org.uk said, “A substantial offer was made for the club at the full asking price placed by the Chairman. For reasons unknown that was rejected and a new, increased price was placed on the club. We have serious concerns about the future of the club as we are aware of significant creditors looking for settlement of existing debts.
“…the club has no assets and has massive debts. We firmly believe that this very generous offer is an exceptional sum of money for a business that has little or no value. The figures now being quoted are simply not reflective of a club that has spiraling debt and no commercial plan.
“The BuyStirlingAlbion campaign has been extremely successful in generating support from football fans across the world and in generating commercial interest in the club too which has put us in a strong position to open negotiations with the Chairman. Also, the backing of a benefactor, who has offered to provide additional financial support in the form of a flexible interest free loan, has further enhanced the BuyStirlingAlbion campaign. With all of these factors in place the Stirling Albion Supporters’ Trust’s vision for the future of the club is now a reality.
“We would urge Mr McKenzie to reconsider our offer which would allow the Stirling Albion Supporters’ Trust to start implementing its plans before the potential commercial partners decide to walk away and the club dips further into difficulty.”
Formed in 1945, Stirling Albion finished in 5th position in Scotland’s Second Division last season. The ‘BuyStirlingAlbion’ campaign is offering football fans across the world the chance to become part of the first ever 100% fans’ owned football league club in the UK for just £40 with a guarantee that if the bid fails they will get £35 returned to them.
The Fine Print:
‘Albion Trust Membership’ – Those who buy one will NOT be a shareholder in the football club but will be a member of The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust who will be the sole shareholder in the football club.
Under this plan all monies committed will be used by The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust to buy the club which will remain the single shareholder in the club.
Individual’s input into the running of the football club will only exist as long as membership of the ‘Albion Trust Membership’ is maintained.
The first year’s ‘Albion Trust Membership’ will cost £40 to reflect the fundraising requirements to purchase the club. In subsequent years the cost of the ‘Albion Trust Membership’ is expected to reduce with The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust pledging to reduce the cost of the ‘Albion Trust Membership’ to £10 in year 2010/11.
A comparison with MyFC is inevitable in any fans-based takeover but there is none of the ‘play fantasy football in real life’ bluster associated with this proposed takeover. Whether fans around the world can warm up to owning a Second Division Scottish club is another matter entirely.