New supporters group preparing bid to buy Kilmarnock Football Club
The Killie (Community) Working Party wants to buy out Michael Johnston, once the club is debt free.
A new supporter-based consortium have indicated its interest in buying the majority shareholding in Kilmarnock Football Club.
The Killie (Community) Working Party has expressed their desire to take over from Michael Johnston, provided the current chairman can reach an agreement with the bank to wipe out the club's debt.
The move by the party, which consists of five supporter groups, comes less than a week after the Kilmarnock Futures Consortium, a separate fan-led bid, withdrew its interest in purchasing the club.
Gary Torbett, a director of the Killie Trust, said on behalf of The Killie (Community) Working Party: "We would like to acknowledge the work being undertaken by the chairman of Kilmarnock Football Club to make the club debt free and would positively encourage him to make every effort to come to an agreement with the club bankers and other significant lenders to reduce the debt to zero.
"The Killie (Community) Working Party would like to make an offer to purchase the chairman’s entire shareholding if this can be achieved.
"This offer would be contingent on a fair valuation of the company and the completion of a satisfactory due diligence process.
"This purchase would be undertaken by a new Community Interest Company (CIC) with a democratically elected board. We see this move as a genuine step forward as we prepare to get our club back.
"Unfortunately there remains concern amongst supporters with the long term position of the club and we firmly believe that fan and community ownership is where that lies rather than relying on a single majority shareholder who won’t be around for ever. The only constants at any club are the fans and the community it is based in.
"We will shortly launch our formal efforts to raise the money to take the club into community ownership and we hope that the business community – both private and public – as well as community groups and supporters will get behind us."
The group has been formed with assistance from Supporters Direct Scotland, who have provided most recently provided support towards the fan-led purchases at Dunfermline Athletic and the proposed sale of Hearts.
"I met with Michael Johnston, on behalf of The Killie (Community) Working Party, on Friday [7th February] and conveyed the outline of the supporters’ offer," Paul Goodwin, head of Supporters Direct Scotland, said.
"I reiterated SDS’ willingness to assist in progressing this offer to a satisfactory conclusion for both parties."
The Killie (Community) Working Party consists of the Killie Trust, the Kilmarnock FC Supporters Association, the Business Club, Young Kilmarnock and other minority shareholders in the club.