MCT Member Update 4th August

See below for an update we sent to MCT members on Wednesday 4th August.

In our past couple of updates we’ve stressed how important it is to get our takeover of the club right, as opposed to rushing it. We mentioned it being complex, and for those interested, we’re now in a position to explain the complexities.

The system of registering land in Scotland changed in the 70s. When you bought a house after that date, you received a neat yellow “land certificate” which outlined, in relatively simple terms, the title conditions and the extent of the land that you own. Prior to that date, transactions were recorded in the “Sasines Register”. These titles (often dating back centuries and written with quill and ink on parchment paper) had to be ingathered and checked to ensure that you were buying the property that you thought you were buying, and that there were no title conditions that would cause restrictions on your property. For example, there is one football club who have a title condition that allows the local farmer to graze his cattle on the pitch every Tuesday and Thursday. Mark Farrell has only just got Cappielow back to it’s previous bowling green condition, you can imagine his reaction if that condition appeared on the Cappielow titles. 

Unfortunately for us, the title to Cappielow has not changed hands for about 100 years. As such, it is not a neat and simple land certificate. It is further complicated by the fact that the club has acquired more land in different transactions over the years. The title actually consists of multiple title deeds covering different sections of the stadium. Not only do each of these titles have to be checked, but they have to be pieced together like a giant jigsaw to ensure that the club does actually own all the land that it is occupying.

To make matters even more difficult, many title descriptions on titles of that age include boundary descriptions like “ten paces west from the shepherd’s hut”. Obviously the shepherd’s hut is not there any more, and the length of ten paces is unclear. 

We have already discovered that the club does not own a very small parcel of land that it currently occupies. That is not a major obstacle, as the parcel of land is small and on the periphery of the stadium. However, if we were to discover an issue with a more important piece of land (eg the centre circle), that would be a problem. For this reason, we have to take great care to ensure that all the title deeds join together to cover the footprint of the stadium. 

This problem has come about due to the agreement to transfer title to the stadium from Greenock Morton Football Club Ltd into the ownership of a new property company, owned and controlled by MCT. It is now necessary to review the titles before the first registration in the land register, to ensure that there is a valid title to the land. The earlier proposals, around Golden Casket retaining title or taking a security over the land, would not have caused a change in ownership of the land and so would not have necessitated a first registration. It is only because of the negotiated position that allowed the club and stadium to be in fan ownership that these difficulties have arisen. 

As we’ve mentioned we are firmly of the view that it is more important to get this right, than to do it quickly. We are sure that you will agree with this philosophy. The delays have been frustrating for everyone but please continue to be patient with this. It is important to emphasise that MCT and Golden Casket are still totally committed to the agreed deal. It is just taking time to do this, while following all the necessary steps required by HMRC to avoid a huge tax liability. We will update you again on the takeover when there are further developments.

Club News

We hope you enjoyed the match if you were able to make it along to Cappielow on Saturday, or if you were watching at home on the stream. Just to reiterate, the current restrictions placed on fans when attending matches are far from ideal and we’re hoping they’ll be relaxed come our next home match against Queen of the South on the 21st.

There’s been some new additions to the club off the pitch this week, with the new General Manager being appointed along with our new Kit Manager and Digital Content Executive. 

Chris Ross begins his role as General Manager on Monday next week. His role is a key club appointment and MCT director, Stewart Farmer, said “we believe Chris’ experience and knowledge are extremely impressive, and he’ll bring a fresh impetus to help drive the club forward under community ownership.”

Liam McDaid and Gareth Reid have started as our new Kit Manager and Digital Content Executive, respectively. Liam joins from the Scottish FA and Gareth has been supporting the club over the past year as a volunteer, so it’s great to see him step into a role to help the club grow even further.

We know fans have been frustrated by the lack of new additions on the pitch. It was mentioned in the boardroom programme notes on Saturday that Gus is working extremely hard to bring in new players and that hasn’t changed. The transfer window remains open until the end of August. We'd like to thank all fans for their ongoing patience and support, especially behind the team that took to the pitch on Saturday. It was superb to see so many academy graduates in the squad, with Lewis McGrattan getting on the scoresheet too. That's a real positive to shout about.

We'll be back in touch in a few days with the details of our upcoming AGM.

Thanks,

MCT Comms Team