Soccer

Motherwell fans set to be consulted after several ‘serious’ investment proposals

The fan-owned club have received “four or five” approaches from interested parties

Motherwell have several investment opportunities
Motherwell v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Fir Park Motherwell have several investment opportunities (Steve Welsh/PA)

Motherwell supporters are set to be given some major decisions to make following several proposals to invest in the fan-owned club.

Outgoing chairman Jim McMahon revealed at Motherwell’s annual general meeting on Wednesday night that they had received “four or five serious approaches” following a recent announcement that the club were open to investment.

Talks with two of those interested parties – one American and one multi-national – have “progressed rapidly” but both would result in significant dilution of the Well Society’s 71 per cent stake.

With the interested parties keen to push forward, Well Society members are set to be consulted given at least one of the proposals would reduce their shareholding below 50 per cent, while members have been promised the final say on whether to accept a concrete offer.

The Well Society was set up in 2011 and assumed a majority stake five years later. It has close to 4,000 members, who have already invested £1million in the club, mostly in the form of a loan, while about £750,000 is in a reserve fund.

The news came on the backdrop of financial results which showed the club made a £1.6million loss last season.

McMahon claimed the loss was “fully anticipated, managed and primarily the result of various long-term strategic decisions made by the club in recent years”. The club have invested heavily in Fir Park, including a new £1.2million hybrid pitch, new PA and CCTV systems among other projects.

Turnover was £6.4million, an increase of more than £800,000, the majority of which can be attributed to a rise in income from UEFA.

Graham Alexander was one of three managers Motherwell had last season
Graham Alexander Graham Alexander was one of three managers Motherwell had last season (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Staff costs last season were £5.1m, down slightly on the previous campaign. The first-team player budget fell by £340,000, mainly because of a reduction in bonuses, while other staff costs increased by £184,000, partly because of compensation costs to departed managers Graham Alexander and Steven Hammell and their assistants.

As a comparison, fan-owned St Mirren spent £4.3million on their staff costs last season after reaching the top six of the cinch Premiership.

Motherwell have spent significantly more on wages than the likes of St Mirren and Kilmarnock since becoming fan owned but McMahon and interim chief executive Derek Weir have both talked about a funding gap in recent months and the challenge of competing with the likes of Hearts and Hibernian, who have benefited from external funds.

The club had £1.75million cash on May 31 last year, down from more than £4million from 12 months earlier. They expect to have at least £500,000 in the bank at the end of the current financial year but say they have had a profitable season this time round.

Meanwhile, it was revealed that manager Stuart Kettlewell has a contract until the end of next season.

It was widely believed that Kettlewell’s contract was due to expire in the summer as Motherwell had declared his deal was “initially to May 2024” when he was appointed exactly 12 months ago. However, a one-year extension was triggered when Motherwell avoided relegation last season.

A club statement later read: “We would like to apologise to both our fans and Stuart for not properly communicating the terms of the extension in May last year and for the uncertainty this has clearly caused.”

The club’s recruitment of a new chief executive is ongoing with Weir scheduled to depart in five weeks. McMahon steps down at the end of the season and another director, Andrew Wilson, has now resigned.