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East Stirlingshire FC owner sells his stake in club for 1

Thu 27th May 2010 | Clubs Ownership

East Stirlingshire owner Spencer Fearn has sold his stake in the club for £1 and resigned from the board but insists their future is secure.

Current chairman Les Thomson has bought the shares but has agreed to sell them to the Shiretrust supporters group in a year's time should it want them according to the BBC.

"I wanted to leave the club to the fans despite having received a good offer for my shares," said Fearn.

The English businessman has been with the Falkirk club for four years.

Third Division Shire sold their Firs Park ground in 2008 and have been sharing Stenhousemuir's Ochilview Park in nearby Larbert until a new stadium can be built.

Now Fearn, whose business interests include a record label and training firm, has agreed to write off loans he made to the club and says his decision to leave is personal.

"I would prefer to keep my reasons for leaving as private," the former Sheffield United player told Shire's website.

"I hope the fans respect that, but I have to put my family first."

Shire, not so long ago the perennial worst side in Scottish senior football, finished third in Division Three this season, missing out on promotion after losing to Forfar Athletic in their play-off semi-final.

"It has been a great four years," said Fearn, who had been vice-chairman. "We have achieved a lot in that time and I am proud of what we have all done together.

"I could have waited two or three months, but I felt I had to make the move now so the club can move forward."

Fearn will not sever his ties with the club completely but indicated that it is the start of the process of handing the club to their fans.

"It allows the shares to stay in Les's hands for a year and the Shiretrust can buy them in 12 months time if they want to exercise that option," he said.

"I will still come to some games and will put some money into the club."

Fearn said that the club is still in good financial health and will still have a competitive budget for the 2010-11 season.

"Shire will be left largely debt-free and there will be no need to return to the £10 a week days just to survive," he said, referring to previous low payments to players.

"The pre-season tour has all been paid for and that will not be affected by this decision."

Shire coach Jim McInally had delayed a decision on player contracts for next season until after a decision about Fearn's shareholding had been made clear.

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