STEWART GILMOUR, the St Mirren chairman, has revealed the club will definitely be under new ownership by the start of the season whether a proposed fans takeover is successful or not.

A Community Interest Company, 10,000 Hours, hopes to buy the 52% shareholding put up for sale by a group of directors, including Gilmour, using a £500,000 loan secured from Big Issue Invest, a social enterprise investor, as well as monthly and one-off contributions from supporters and other local groups.

Those leading the CIC have until next Friday (June 15) to demonstrate to the selling party that they have sufficient funds to meet the £1.5m asking price. If they fail to do so, Gilmour will then turn to two other interested parties – both believed to be overseas-based investors – and conclude a deal with one of them.

Gilmour, a Paisley businessman and St Mirren chairman since 1998, had hoped to keep the club in local hands but, after three years on the market, is now resigned to selling to whoever can pay the asking price while also meeting the Scottish Football Association's new guidelines on suitable owners.

With St Mirren in good health both on and off the field, many supporters had hoped the status quo would continue should 10,000 Hours fail to get their deal over the line. Gilmour, however, last night made clear that would not be the case.

"A deal will definitely be done this summer, no doubt about that," he told Herald Sport. "The guys here [the selling consortium] are tired, some of them are struggling health-wise with it too. It's been going on for too long and it's time for a fresh start with new owners and a new board to take the club forward.

"I know we said to the St Mirren support that we would do everything we could to get a good group in to take over from us but I think we've exhausted that. There aren't local guys coming to us and offering the money required to take the club off our hands. And if they aren't making us an offer after three years, then they probably never will. So we have to look at other options.

"I know there are a few folk there out there who think the consortium will still be there if the CIC can't get the deal through. No, we won't be. We will not be running the club next season. We're not going to put guys through hardship in terms of their health. Enough is enough."

Gilmour concedes he could be endangering his and the board's legacy build over 14 years if he were to sell to the wrong people but is confident that won't be the case.

"There is that aspect of it and we've tried our best to get a good succession," he added. "We would have loved a couple of local guys to have come in and handed us a couple of million quid and got on with it. That looks unlikely now. But there are people elsewhere who are seriously interested in developing football and can meet the money being talked about. These are people who would meet SFA requirements. They are fit and proper people. So we will see where it goes."

Gilmour also admitted that ongoing uncertainty over the sale has held the club back in recent years. "We've moved on under Danny [Lennon, manager] on the field, but off the field the club hasn't moved on commercially. We've stagnated. That criticism sits with the board. When you're looking at a change of ownership, you're never sure just how much change to implement."

Those leading the fans takeover – director Richard Atkinson, former director Gordon Scott, and former manager Tony Fitzpatrick – engaged with supporters at a public meeting at the club last night and are still confident they can generate sufficient interest in their proposals before next Friday.

"The club will be under new management soon and if the fans want it they can be the ones in charge," said Atkinson. "We're still hopeful they will sign up in enough numbers to make it a reality."