BY DARREN JOHNSTONE – Capital City Press
Motherwell chairman Brian McCafferty insists fan ownership can be achieved at Fir Park, despite owner Les Hutchison raising concerns over the plan.
Hutchison acquired John Boyle’s majority shareholding in January after giving the club an interest-free loan.
That stake will then be handed over to supporters group the Well Society within five years, provided they meet the conditions of the repayment plan.
But at the weekend, Barbados-based philanthropist Hutchison said: “The initial enthusiasm seems to have waned. If the fans want the future of Motherwell to keep going in a positive direction, now is the time to step up.”
A key target is to have 2,000 Well Society members pledging £10 per month, as it stands the group has around 1,600 members.
McCafferty was involved in a Motherwell delegation that recently visited Hearts to see how Ann Budge and the Foundation of Hearts have transformed the Gorgie outfit.
And McCafferty is adamant that there is a future for Motherwell under support control.
Speaking in his blog to motherwellfc.co.uk, McCafferty said: “The joint club-society team learned a lot from our visit to Tynecastle.
“Clearly, Ann Budge is a fundamental factor in the club’s recent success.
“In their thousands, the fans have rallied round her board’s clear improvement plan.
“We have a fairly similar situation here at Motherwell.
“The progress we have made is often compared with the Foundation of Hearts.
“While there are clear similarities between us, there are significant differences, creating many challenges for both the club and society.
“For example, we have a relatively small, albeit vocal, support – attendance figures for last season show an average of 4,200 (one quarter of Hearts’ average attendance).
“Of that, our home support is between 3,000 and 4,000.
“In view of these numbers, it’s therefore been a huge achievement already to sign up nearly half of our average gate, ie 1,650 members to the Well Society.
“Our sign-up rate as a proportion of our average gate is actually not too dissimilar to Hearts’.
“This gives us a lot of optimism that the society can achieve its initial target of recruiting 2,000 adult members and support the club’s improvement strategy and plan.”