Greenock Morton are now officially a community owned club, with fan membership organisation Morton Club together (MCT) taking majority ownership.
The organisation, set up in April 2019, will go from having a 15% shareholding to now holding just under 90% of shares in the club.
Today’s announcement marks an incredible journey from a standing start to community ownership, with the 850-strong MCT membership contributing a minimum of £10 per month, alongside countless hours of voluntary time, to make it a reality.
That 850-strong membership has been contributing £10,000 per month this season and the Covid-hit 2020/21 season. The support has helped the club get through a very difficult period for all businesses.
MCT have taken over control from previous owners Golden Casket, who owned the club for 20 years, having saved the club from the brink of liquidation in 2001. The agreed deal sees the club’s stadium, Cappielow Park, stay in the hands of the football club, along with the club’s debt being completely cleared.
Morton have essentially been operating as community owned since the 1st of June, but today marked the signing of the official legal documents meaning supporters now own their beloved club.
Stewart Farmer and Graham Barr have joined previous Greenock Morton Football Club board members Graham McLennan and Gordon Ritchie as the MCT representatives on the newly appointed club board. Nick Robinson and Alex Gray remain on the club board, providing experience and continuity.
MCT founder, Graham McLennan, said:
“Since launch day, MCT has been about bringing people together.
Without our fellow MCT members and the ongoing efforts and support of so many people inside and outside MCT, the change already delivered at Morton and the opportunities created to continue to move Morton forward, would simply not be possible.
I will never stop being humbled, amazed and thankful to every single person who continues to come forward to support and help MCT and Morton.
We are all in this equally and together we will continue to work hard, openly and respectfully, as we all share a love for Morton and the community within which it operates, and always will.
We could say that we are now just arriving at the starting line of a new era, with an exciting journey ahead. Of course there are huge challenges to be addressed as we strive to achieve the best Morton possible, and power in people numbers has never been so important. By sticking together and continuing to welcome new members into MCT, I am confident that what Morton will achieve is potentially incredible.”
Fellow club and MCT board member, Gordon Ritchie, said:
“It has been a long road to achieve a result that met the needs of both parties - community ownership of Morton while protecting the future of Cappielow. We are delighted that MCT has come so far in its 30 months of existence.
“As complex as the takeover has been, we are fully aware that the future management of the club will be equally challenging, but we are looking forward to moving Morton forward. We are grateful to every member of MCT who has supported us on this journey.”
The takeover sees Golden Casket end a long-standing relationship with the club, after Douglas Rae stepped in to save the club in 2001. His son, and outgoing chairman, Crawford Rae, said:
"A new chapter in the history of Greenock Morton Football Club officially starts today.
The supporters have dreamt of community ownership for many years, however until MCT came along, we honestly did not see this becoming a reality.
Graham McLennan founded MCT and put together a group of amazing people who between them have a huge wealth of experience. There is always strength in numbers but far greater strength is achieved with a collective goodwill which MCT delivers in abundance.
There is no better legacy for the Rae family than to afford the fans the opportunity of community ownership which is why we decided to gift MCT our majority shareholding as opposed to selling to a third party. The vision that MCT displayed to our family convinced us that community ownership was the best option for the future success of Greenock Morton Football Club and the right time for us to step aside.
The last 20 years has been a rollercoaster of emotions for every member of the Rae family, we have met some great characters and made many good friends along the way. We could not have done any of this without the undying support of the Morton fans who have been the backbone of our team. For their contribution we will be eternally grateful.
We have been assisted by so many fine people who have thrown their weight behind the task, giving of their time for nothing and we take this opportunity to thank them all for their tower of strength and friendship during our tenure.
We are forever Morton supporters and wish everyone great success for the future of the football club."
New General Manager, Chris Ross will continue to oversee day-to-day operations at Cappielow and has already been working with the new board since joining the club in August.
You can join Morton Club Together for as little as £10 per month by visiting mortonclubtogether.co.uk/members-tc