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Tons of Support: The Greenock Morton Supporters Trust

by Danny Goodwin

After a long campaign by supporters groups and individuals against club chairman Hugh Scotts controversial management of the club, with protests and an unofficial boycott which saw Mortons home crowds drop to probably their lowest in history with just a few hundred fans passing through the turnstiles, Hugh Scott was forced to go to the Court of Session in December 2000 and an administrator was appointed to run the affairs of the club.

A 'Save the 'Ton' group was quickly formed, comprising mainly of supporters clubs reps whose remit was to raise money to keep the club in business, until a buyer was found.

However many months prior to this, another Morton fan Stuart Duncan had become increasingly aware of the clubs perilous position and decided to research the plight of numerous English clubs who had found themselves in similar circumstances to Mortons troubles.

Despite there not being a mechanism in Scotland like "Supporters Direct" to help with advice and cash assistance, Stuart, having carried out intensive research, was confident that he could get a Morton Trust up and running. Stuart recruited his team of seven, which included fans spokesman Jim McColl and myself (the former unofficial fanzine editor), and the first Greenock Morton Supporters Trust Board was born.

Stuart, a project manager with IBM, split us into various working parties to look at finance, advertising, fund-raising, setting up a website, etc. After many long months, which included dozens of group meetings, attending a Supporters Direct Conference in Edinburgh organised by The Scottish Independent Supporters Coalition (SISCO) as well as speaking to protagonists of the Supporters Direct movement including Sean Hamil of the Celtic Trust for independent advice, we were ready to launch.

Like many of our English counterparts we had decided to set up the Trust as an Industrial and Provident Society, and to get as many fans as possible to sign up we decided to keep our membership and Loan Note fees to a minimum in order not to alienate any of our supporters. We decided upon a � annual membership fee and a �0 'Loan Note' payable either up-front or in installments for as little as � per month.

 
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