Football fans have always felt a sense of ownership in their clubs - emotionally, culturally, historically, their club belongs to them.
But now, increasingly, fans are taking literal ownership of clubs as part of the continuing reshaping of the country's football landscape.
The latest such takeover is at Dunfermline Athletic, where the fans group Pars United has now assumed overall control. The decision will obviously help solve some of the pressing financial problems at the club, but it could also offer fans considerable hope for a better, more stable future in the Scottish football market as a whole.
The immediate benefits are clear. Dunfermline has been taken out of administration and its debts have been dealt with. This is thanks to a considerable and passionate fund-raising effort by the supporters - and it is typical of the commitment and loyalty of fans. That they have raised the money at a time when household budgets are tight - and spending on football is often the first to be cut - is all the more remarkable.
But now that the immediate problem has been fixed, what about the future? To what extent can such a model of fan ownership offer hope of a way out of the financial and management problems still lurking in Scottish football? In Europe, a side like Barcelona has proven that a truly democratic, fan-owned system is no bar to massive sporting and economic success, but there are limits to what can be expected of fans. Loyal they may be, but they cannot be continually asked to pay for their season ticket and then also stump up more money to keep the club afloat. That will only lead to the diehards having to dig deeper and deeper into their pockets.
There also has to be a quid pro quo for fans - if they are to be asked for money, they should be offered a role in the running of the club. The deal at Dunfermline offers such a role, but it is worth noting the deal was announced on the same day as the resignation of the chief executive of Rangers, Craig Mather. Rangers fans have also raised money for their club, but little seems to have changed at management level and rumours of another financial crisis persist.
Much more preferable is a model of ownership at Dunfermline - and at Stirling Albion - that gives fans a genuine say in how their club is run. It also could help retune and refocus how football as a whole is managed. For a long time, relatively small clubs such as Dunfermline felt the need to keep up with bigger ones and over-spent accordingly. It is one of the reasons many clubs ended up in debt.
A new reality in which clubs are owned and run by fans, rather than a small cabal of businessmen or one wealthy benefactor, could help change that. Not only would clubs have to live within their means, they would be much more likely to search for, and nurture, local talent rather than having to spend significant sums on players from other clubs. Such a situation would be a difficult for some - not least players used to big salaries - but for Scottish football as whole, it could be hugely positive and a long-overdue change.
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