Douglas Dickie - Ownership in sight

Last updated : 05 May 2016 By Firparkcorner

"It was not a rushed exercise," Dickie said. "The Society has been moving in this direction for years and more recently with Les (Hutchison). 

"As work has progressed it was felt that this was as good a time as any. We've been working to the Memorandum of Understanding since late January/early February.  The final agreement to the transfer needs to be fair and  see the club sustainable and that is what we are working towards

Many fans continued to hope against hope that Hutchison himself would catch the bug and go back on his previously stated intention not to become a long-term owner.

The concern expressed on messageboards and in pubs about the future need to be self-sustaining partially arose from the unexpected announcement last week. But Dickie points out that this agreement was not a sudden imposition.

"It was not a sudden step back," he said. "The Society board has been working ever closer with the club board, attending meetings and committees.

"As regards experience and help from the main club board, of course we will look at what skills and experience we have, assess and then go forward from there in terms of others.   Jim McMahon is the most experienced and has great financial knowledge and Leanne (Les' daugher) has been very supportive and brings her experience over the time she has spent since she joined

In a way that sums up what has been wrong with the Society. With only so many volunteers and so much to do, communication with the fans has been poor despite previous promises to remedy this.

"Accepted, but in recent months all focus has been with the talks and if there is an excuse at all it is that there has been a lot of work and changes from December to present and we didn't want to give the fans the wrong message and indeed change our message by the day and create confusion,  Dickie explained. "We are looking afresh at plans to keep fans informed."

The fans are certainly informed of our recent losses and everyone, backers of the Society or not, is aware this cannot go on. The Club will continue to owe money but Dickie says both the Society and Hutchison are looking for "amicable and fair" solutions and that Hutchison's contribution has been "significant."

Regardless of the final score on repayment negotiations, the club will face financial challenges in the years to come but also opportunities to reconnect with the support and the community.

"The fans will have a direct relationship with the club, a direct link," Dickie said. "We’re going to launch a survey and take account of the feedback.  What would the fans like to see?  Take it onboard then produce a manifesto, a collection of policies moving forward.

"We’re working with Scottish Football Supporters Association (SFSA) and Supporters Direct, and via fan survey we will take direction.  A Q&A session is planned for mid-April."

Sceptics are unlikely to be won over until the Society has proven itself in the running of the club. There is a catch-22 situation though in that the more who wait to see how the tide turns, the harder it is to succeed.

"We need to give them confidence that fan ownership is the way forward," Dickie said. "It is their club and they can have a direct influence if they participate."

Join the Society here.