ST MIRREN bosses are working on an emergency plan that would see the sale of the club put on hold for as long as a YEAR if Rangers’ financial meltdown plunges the SPL into crisis.
Express Sports can reveal Saints chiefs privately fear a doomsday scenario that would see SPL contracts with the likes of TV broadcasters Sky torn up following a ‘yes’ vote to boot the liquidated ’Gers out of the top flight.
Five clubs – Aberdeen, Dundee United, Hearts, Hibernian and Inverness – have already revealed they will vote against admitting the Ibrox newco back into the SPL at a Hampden meeting on July 4.
And that could drive league sponsors away from big money deals – leaving Saints facing an £800,000 black hole in their finances.
Now 10000Hours takeover bid boss Richard Atkinson has said a ‘last-resort’ plan is being drawn up that would see the three-year sale saga extended for another 12 months while his group, the selling consortium and St Mirren supporters join forces in a bid to save the club from a cash crisis.
Atkinson told Express Sports: “If the club’s revenue is massively impacted as a result of any of the SPL’s commercial partners pulling out, the continued sustainability of the club is what becomes most important.
“Everything else – including the buying and selling of the club – becomes secondary at that point.
“I’m sure the selling consortium, the club board, 10000Hours and its members and even those who disagree with our takeover bid would agree with that.”
Under Atkinson’s emergency plan, the 1,000-plus fans who have signed up to the 10000Hours Community Interest Company (CIC) membership schemes would be asked to continue paying their dues, with the cash being used to support Saints. Only after the club’s finances were stabilised would Atkinson and his takeover team look to carry on with their bid.
Atkinson added: “We all want to support the club through a difficult period. After that, we could then look at moving forward with a takeover.”
Saints chairman Stewart Gilmour, who has teamed up with four other directors to sell a 52 per cent controlling stake in the club, hasn’t given up hope that the SPL’s commercial partners will honour their agreements.
However, he has agreed that 10000Hours should consult with its members on whether or not Saints should keep crisis-hit Rangers in the 12-team top division.
With the threat of a financial implosion to be balanced against the need for sporting integrity, 10000Hours has drawn up four draft questions for fans in an e-mail poll that will gauge reaction to a number of different outcomes.
l Should Rangers be allowed straight back into the SPL as a newco if it does not affect SPL revenues to SMFC for this season?
l Should Rangers be allowed straight back into the SPL as a newco if SMFC face a reduction of £200,000 in income?
l Should Rangers be allowed straight back into the SPL as a newco if SPL commercial revenues plummet and SMFC are faced with a massive revenue shortage and the possibility of administration?
l In the event of SPL commercial revenues reducing, would you, working with the CIC and SMFC, be prepared to support the club through increased pledges and donations?
Atkinson added: “We’re not trying to influence people – we just want them to have all the information they need.”