ST MIRREN fans are edging ever closer to a historic deal which will see them take control of the club.
The fan-backed 10000HOURS group needs just over 100 Buddies to pledge their support by midnight in order to submit their final bid.
The people behind the plan – club director Richard Atkinson and ex-boardroom member Gordon Scott – have already secured the backing of hundreds of supporters.
And they are confident they can now complete a £1.5m deal to take control of a 52 per cent stake in Saints which is being flogged by chairman Stewart Gilmour and four other directors.
Once they do, the direction Saints will take in future – including a decision on whether to vote a newco Rangers back into the SPL – will be made by the fans.
And in a fresh boost, former Love Street favourites Ricky Gillies and Steven McGarry – now playing for Perth Glory in Australia’s A-League – have become the latest well-known Saints to back the scheme.
That follows the announcement that St Mirren legend Tony Fitzpatrick will be named vice-chairman if the deal goes through.
Last night, Gillies – who had previously gone on the record with his scepticism of the 10000Hours bid – revealed how he was convinced to change his mind over a round of golf with Scott.
Gillies told Express Sports: “The fans are the ones with the club’s interests at heart and I believe the 10000Hours bid will reflect that.
“The days of guys coming in and making money from clubs should be long gone.
“My biggest fear was that Saints would end up in the hands of a dictator like Vladimir Romanov at Hearts.
“I know the chairman has spoken of international interest and separate bids and my big concern was that we could end up being owned by someone who didn’t care about St Mirren.
“Just look at the Rangers situation and that shows where it can end up.
“No disrespect to Richard and his team, but I was concerned that he wasn’t a St Mirren man.
“But he has brought in guys like Gordon and ‘Fitzy’ and that reassured me.
“I played under Tony and I know he would not risk his reputation if he didn’t think this was right for the club.
“And I met Gordon for a game of golf on Wednesday and he convinced me that the 10000Hours bid was the way to go.
“I believe he has got the business acumen to take St Mirren forward.
“St Mirren means an awful lot to me – they gave me a platform to make a career for myself.
“Now I want to make sure the club’s future is secure – that’s why I have signed up.”
Scott hailed both Gillies and McGarry for their vote of confidence in the 10000Hours masterplan.
And he reiterated his view that the Paisley club will be in the control of its supporters by July 4 – a date that will forever be known as St Mirren’s own independence day.
“To have guys like Ricky and Steven signing up is a terrific boost,” said Scott, who is set to replace Gilmour as St Mirren chairman.
“Steven has even signed up all the way from Australia, so that shows the appeal of our scheme.
“Hopefully, having them on board will convince any remaining doubters that we are serious about protecting St Mirren’s interests.
“We only need just over 100 more signatures to our membership scheme and we are fully confident we can get them and the deal will go through.”
For those Saints fans who want to sign up but have not yet done so, they are being urged to act fast.
To register as a member, log on to www.10000hours.org