Fans gather to hear supporter buy out plan

meeting of East Fife fans to discuss buy-out proposals, held at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Methil, after the 3-1 win over East Stirlingshire on August 30.
meeting of East Fife fans to discuss buy-out proposals, held at the Fife Renewables Innovation Centre, Methil, after the 3-1 win over East Stirlingshire on August 30.

Almost 200 East Fife fans heard how its supporters society is planning to buy a controlling stake in the Methil club.

Just a few minutes after the Fifers had recorded their first win of the new season at Bayview, attention turned to matters off the field at a public meeting.

The East Fife Supporters Society, known better amongst fans as ‘The Trust’, wants supporters to get behind its plan to bring the club into fan ownership.

The fan ownership model has been introduced at clubs across the UK, including at Hearts and Dunfermline, and the man who helped those clubs in their transition, Paul Goodwin from Supporters Direct, addressed fans at the meeting.

Also in attendance were Allan Duthie, Eugene Clarke and Stephen Mill from the Trust.

Supporters heard impassioned pleas to get behind the Trust’s plans - but some raised their worries at the same time.

Amongst the main concerns was the issue of who the Trust had been in negotiations with over the share purchase.

Mr Clarke said: “The reality is that the shares we need to buy are from Lorraine Johnston and Samantha Twigg.

“That’s the deal we need to do.”

Mr Duthie told the meeting there was still negotiating to be done, with the value of the land at Bayview a particular cause of discussion.

He said that, at differing times, some parties had suggested the land be worth anywhere from £100,000 to £1million.

The mechanics of the land and the share purchase itself largely took a back seat at the meeting as Fife fans, who were given forms to pledge either financial or other forms of support, were encouraged to throw their backing behind the buy-out plan and bring the club back to its roots.

Mr Mill said: “We have an opportunity to get the club out of the situation it is in.

“We don’t want the club to slip into administration.

“Our club was formed by supporters and now we have an opportunity to reclaim it.”

Mr Duthie added that it was important that bodies such as sportscotland and Fife Council saw stability at East Fife if any grants or other funding is to be awarded to go towards the installation of an artificial surface.