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Stirling Albion Football Club sold to supporters’ trust

Fri 2nd Jul 2010 | Clubs Ownership

The Stirling Albion Supporters Trust (The Trust) and Stirling Albion Football Club’s Chairman Peter McKenzie have reached an agreement in principal that sees The Trust taking day to day control of the Scottish Second Division Champions with immediate effect while both parties’ legal advisors complete the formal paperwork on the agreement.

The value of the deal, which is made up by the settlement of outstanding debts and a one off cash payment to Mr McKenzie, is in the region of £300,000.  Mr McKenzie has kindly agreed to write off his £1.2 million loan due to him over the years.

Since The Trust launched its Buy Stirling Albion campaign in May 2009 it has registered over 2000 new members from all over the world including Cristiano Ronaldo and Andy Murray.

The ‘Buy Stirling Albion’ campaign spokesperson Paul Goodwin said: “We are absolutely delighted to have reached an agreement to acquire Mr McKenzie’s majority shareholding in the club.  Throughout the negotiations Mr McKenzie made the wellbeing of the club and its position in the community key factors in any agreement he made and, as those are also central to The Trust’s plans, we are pleased that he has seen The Trust as the people to continue his legacy.

“This acquisition has the potential to be a landmark moment for the future of Scottish football as it marks the first senior Scottish football club to come under the direct control of its fans’ Supporters Trust.  Everyone knows that there are severe pressures on football at all levels just now and we are under no illusion, and no-one else connected with the club should be either, that there is a very challenging future ahead. 

“The Trust is absolutely committed to supporting the management and the team, developing the club’s role and presence in the wider Stirling community and undertaking some innovative commercial activity in order to generate new income into the club in what will be a very exciting season including many big games with the likes of Partick Thistle, Falkirk and Dundee.”

Despite his sadness at the recent passing of his wife Mima, Chairman Peter McKenzie expressed his delight that The Trust is to take over Stirling Albion:  “I am thrilled that the true fans will look after the future of this great club.

“I had a few offers on the table but it was always my wish that the club remain within the local community.  Many people have been involved in the process and they should all take great credit for making this happen.  The Trust members have been very professional in their approach and have always given me the greatest of respect for which I am most grateful. 

“I would like to also thank Alan Skilling of MacFarlane Gray, Chartered Accountants who has brought all parties together to reach this successful conclusion.  Alan of course is a former Stirling Albion player and he has worked tirelessly over the past month to achieve all of our aims.  I should also say thanks to Stirling Council for their input.  We have not always agreed on issues but I think they know that my heart ruled my head at times and I know they will be invaluable to The Trust in the years ahead.  They should also take credit for Stirling Albion being the first senior football club in Britain to be owned by the supporters”.

 

Peter’s daughter Tricia Chillas added: “I am so proud of Dad’s determination and desire to leave the club in local hands and I know Mum would have been also.  He has taken a lot of unjust criticism during the past year.  He has invested heavily both in financial and emotional terms over a long number of years but he can walk away with his head held high as he achieved his final wish to take the club back to Division One and to leave the legacy of local people running the club.

“As someone once said to him it should be Stirling’s Albion and this is now the case.  No-one other than close family and friends will truly know what he has had to put up with in recent years.  It has been especially difficult with the passing of my Mum however I look forward to going with him to future games where he can relax and enjoy himself with no worries other than the score!”

Paul Goodwin added: “The support that the Buy Stirling Albion campaign has achieved from all corners of the globe has been magnificent.  We would stress that now is the time for businesses, the general public and other potential investors who have similar aspirations for the club and its role in the community to come forward. 

“We firmly believe that as well as being a successful senior football club, Stirling Albion FC belongs in the community and should play a greater role in the city.  It can be a catalyst for lots of positive activities in Stirling so we want to ensure its long term future for all the people of Stirling who will benefit from its continued well being.  We know we have a lot of support from many organisations and businesses across the city and beyond for our vision and we are keen to make this a reality.

“The club has been owned by Stirling Albion fan Peter McKenzie for 26 years and his support must be recognised and appreciated by everyone connected with the club.

In the last year the Buy Stirling Albion campaign has demonstrated creative and innovative ways of generating widespread interest in the club as well as generating significant income.  With ownership of the club a number of other income streams to bring new revenues into the club would be activated.

Highlights of ‘Buy Stirling Albion’ campaign

 

  • 2000 new members of The Trust each paying £40
  • Wide range of celebrity supporters including Cristiano Ronaldo, Andy Murray and Nick Nairn
  • £100,000 raised in less than a year
  • Local business commitments to support community football club concept
  • International interest in the football club and in the city from as far away as China, Australia and the USA
  • Created a high profile ‘High Street’ retail presence
  • Created a ‘community hub’ website for fans
  • Relaunched ‘Spot the Ball’ using digital technology
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