ST MIRREN could become a fan-owned club as soon as next year after a new partnership between the St Mirren Independent Supporters Trust (SMISA) and social care charity Kibble was announced this morning.

Kibble, a charity based in Paisley since 1840, would bring investment into the club while working alongside St Mirren to help create employment and training opportunities for the people that it helps.

Until the recent developments, SMISA were planning to own a majority share of the Paisley side by 2026 - but current owner Gordon Scott could be bought out before the end of 2021.

Under the proposal, Kibble would purchase 27.5 per cent of Scott's shares and SMISA would buy a 51 per cent stake in the club next year - a deal which would be the first of its kind in the UK.

A meeting of SMISA's 1,200 members next week will vote on the proposal, which would see Scott remain at the club as chairman.

SMISA chair and Paisley MSP George Adam said: “St Mirren’s place at the heart of life in the town is precious. We created the Buy The Buds campaign back in 2016 because we knew there could be no one better to safeguard that than the people who will care for it most – the fans.

“The deal unveiled today will deliver that – but it will do it in half the time, for half the cost and crucially, it will help create a stronger St Mirren.

“Kibble can bring new resource and expertise to help St Mirren grow as a business, but more than that, it can help grow the club’s reach into the community of Paisley.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be talking to our members about what this means – and hopefully they will be as excited as we are by the possibilities.”

Scott, meanwhile, believes that Kibble - and the timing - is right for the proposal to go ahead.

"When I took over as chairman and majority shareholder in 2016 it was with the intention of taking the club forward and working with SMISA to create a sustainable and successful fan ownership model," he said.

“This is the right time, the right corporate partner and the right model. The club is in a very strong place right now – financially, in terms of stadium and academy infrastructure, and the people we have employed at all levels of the football club.

"Myself, Tony Fitzpatrick, Kibble and SMISA have spent a long time discussing how this would work, so I am personally very comfortable this deal will be very good for our football club.

"It was also very important to me I was comfortable the SMISA board were capable of dealing with the responsibilities that will come with fan ownership. I think the existing board have demonstrated that they are up to that challenge."