Motherwell target April for fan ownership transfer

By Kenny CrawfordBBC Sport Scotland
Fir Park, Motherwell
Motherwell lie sixth in the Scottish Premiership

The Well Society's Douglas Dickie hopes Motherwell will officially become the first fan-owned club in Scotland's top flight by the end of April.

The Scottish Premiership club's current owner, Les Hutchison, has agreed to sell his 76% shareholding to the fans group for £1.

"We're looking at a period of between six and eight weeks," joint interim chairman Dickie told BBC Scotland.

"We're heading towards the 30th of April if all the legals can be done."

John Boyle's controlling interest in the Fir Park club was transferred to retired businessman Hutchison in January 2015.

But Hutchison has now stepped down from his roles as director and vice-chairman, with Jim McMahon assuming the role of chairman and Dickie the role of vice-chairman.

The move by Hutchison is nearly four years ahead of schedule, but Dickie said: "This isn't a spur of the moment initiative.

Motherwell owner Les Hutchison
Les Hutchison took control of Motherwell in January 2015

"This hasn't been landed on us in the past week. We've been working alongside Les and the current board.

"We've been at board meetings, finance committee meetings, football committee meetings so there has been a succession plan.

"We've been going along that journey for the last year to 18 months. We're confident we have the ability to do it."

Scottish League Two clubs Clyde and Stirling Albion are already owned by their fans, while Premiership club Hearts have begun a process they hope will end in supporter control.

The Well Society has 1700 current members, with the club claiming a "solid fan base of about 3,500" and Dickie is confident there is enough local support from supporters and local businesses.

"It doesn't daunt us," he added. "Obviously we've got a great responsibility as custodians and we've got to rely on the ongoing support of the Well Society and the fans.

"They've been instrumental and we can't thank the fans enough for getting to this stage."