The ‘Well Society is one of a growing number of football supporters’ groups in Scotland who believe in the merits of fan-ownership of their local clubs.
It aims to enter into an innovative ownership arrangement with the fans of Motherwell FC. As the brainchild of the previous owner, John Boyle, the society was set up to acquire a majority shareholding of the club on behalf of its members.
In early 2015 Les Hutchison, a Barbados-based businessman with strong family and social ties with Motherwell, agreed to purchase John Boyle’s shares for £1 and provide the club with an initial interest-free loan of £650k. This loan was used to help stabilise the club’s finances, providing the society with a helping hand to achieve its purpose.
The loan must be repaid according to the agreement with the club and society that includes a repayment every six months over five years. If either club or society defaults on three payments the agreement will become null and void.
It is also a requirement of the agreement for the society to have a minimum membership of 2,000 people, who by paying an average of £10 per month will generate income of £240k per annum. With this income the society will be able to,
- build a reserve fund to help the club repay the loan as and when required
- provide the club with cash injections in times of need ,and
- have enough in the kitty to run the club when it takes effective ownership.
If the conditions of the loan agreement are reached, the society will be able to ‘buy’ Les’ majority shareholding for the same amount he paid for them.
Les has subsequently provided an additional interest-free loan of £380k and helped the club formulate a sound five-year business plan based on sustainable, financially sound principles. We are most grateful to him for his support, commitment and business acumen in helping the club and society through the transition period between his ownership and fan-ownership.
It has long been the dream and ambition of most Motherwell fans to own and run their precious club on behalf of themselves, their families and the community as a whole: by 2020, with enough society members, we believe their dream will become a concrete reality.