ST MIRREN bidder Richard Atkinson last night admitted he’s made mistakes with his takeover bid – but has urged fans not to let that scupper his efforts to hand them control of the club.
The Maxi Group boss is close to agreeing a arrangement that will see a controlling 52 per cent stake in Saints handed to the Buddies’ support.
But before he can scrawl his signature on the historic £1.5million deal, he needs to secure the overwhelming backing of the Paisley outfit’s faithful by June 15 – or watch his bid fold.
Atkinson – who also sits on the board of equestrian body HorseScotland – admits he has stumbled over a number of hurdles during the two years it has taken him to piece together his offer.
But with a group of last-minute rivals making 11th-hour attempts to snatch control of the club, he has pleaded with fans to stick with him as he races to be first past the post.
Atkinson told Express Sports: “I know some of the fans would have liked more information and that’s not an unfair criticism.
“If this was a normal fan-based takeover that was dealing with a disastrous scenario at a club, such as what happened at Dundee, then yes, we would have put everything out there and got everyone engaged.
“But since day one of my involvement, there have always been other parties showing interest. Some have made offers that have been rebuffed, some are still interested.
“So we have always been in a competitive situation and therefore there has always been a limit on the amount of information we have been able to put out.
“Yes, there have been some flaws on how we have done it, but it has been a learning process for us.
“We have had to teach people how Comunity Interest Companies work, how boards work, how funders work – how we tie all this together.
“There has been flaws and we apologise for that. But we are doing our best. No one is perfect.”
Atkinson last week announced recent changes to his scheme that would see anyone offering £25,000 to buy 1877 shares in the club itself join an exclusive membership scheme that includes the right to sit on St Mirren’s non-executive board.
But some supporters claim such a move would dilute proposals to give everyone who signs up to his 10000Hours Comunity Interest Company an equal vote, no matter how much cash they have invested.
“That’s simply not true,” Atkinson countered. “The CiC would control 52 per cent of the shares of St Mirren FC. The CiC is run on the basis of one member, one vote.
“The 1877 Club is nothing to do with the CiC other than funding it in the background.
“The 1877 Club is to do with shares in St Mirren FC. The remaining 48 per cent of shareholders who have committed a lot of money to the club in the past deserve to have that recognised.
“The only thing that has changed in terms of the voting structure is that we have gone right back to what we have said on day one – the 48 per cent shareholders of this club are just as much a part of this football club as anyone else who joins the CiC.
“The change empowers the 48 per cent. If the CiC votes on something, and doesn’t get a 75 per cent majority, then the CIC’s vote is divvied up according to how CiC members voted.”