The Kilmarnock Supporters Trust this afternoon launched a scathing attack on club chairman Michael Johnston for abstaining from the vote which eventually saw a 10-1 split in favour of blocking the Rangers newco application to the SPL.
Despite this victory for ‘sporting integrity’ the Killie trust in a statement said: “The Killie Trust would like to disassociate themselves from the actions of the Kilmarnock Football Club Chairman at the SPL meeting on Wednesday. It was important that we, as a club, were seen to be taking a moral stance as opposed to acting in self-interest, and it is felt that we have been misrepresented by our majority shareholder and sole board member in this case. His refusal to vote was clearly not in the best long-term interests of the club as it cast a shadow of doubt over our own integrity in this sorry affair.
“We hosted an open meeting in conjunction with our Supporters Association last week which Michael Johnston attended and a unanimous show of hands from the floor should have left him in no doubt that Kilmarnock supporters were not in favour of any new club being allowed entry directly into the top division based purely on financial reasons. This was also backed up by various on-line polls which indicated that 98% of those whom voted were also of the same mind, and we are more than certain that the “consultation”, which the club paid for and then apparently decided not to act upon, would have reflected the same; although the results of said “consultation” were kept out of the public domain and not made available to those whom voted.”
Despite this Michael Johnston has fired back claiming that only 36% voted in favour of blocking the newco application.
He said: “In recent weeks I have taken all appropriate soundings, having canvassed the views of all shareholders and all season ticket holders aged 18 or over. I also attended the meeting organised by the Supporters’ Association and the Supporters’ Trust when I shared a fair amount of commercially sensitive information with those present and answered a number of questions from the audience.
“The result of the consultation process (36% of all shareholders and all season ticket holders aged 18 or over in favour of “NO” to “Newco”) was far removed from the mood of the supporters’ meeting but of course involved almost 2,500 shareholders and adult season ticket holders, as opposed to the 150 or thereby at the meeting.
“As everyone now knows, the SPL clubs voted by 10 – 1, with Kilmarnock abstaining, to reject Rangers “Newco” application to join the SPL.
“I elected to abstain in order to reflect the result of the consultation process and in recognition of a number of other factors, not least of which was Section 172 of the Companies Act concerning my fiduciary duty as a Director to act in the long term interests of The Kilmarnock Football Club Limited and to ensure its success as a business.”
The Killie trust also turned their sights on SPL chief executive Neil Doncaster and SFA chief executive Stewart Regan. The statement added: “The decision taken by the SPL is indeed a momentous one and we hope that the fans of the clubs affected can now concentrate on getting behind their teams and ensuring that the embarrassing scare-mongering predictions of Neil Doncaster and Stewart Regan, who should be considering their own positions at this time, do not come to fruition.
“If ever it was more clear that we need only one governing body for a country our size it is now. We sympathise with all football fans out there who have been victims of so-called business men that have systematically taken their club apart and we hope that such supporters will have a major say in how their club is run from here on in.
“The only good thing to come out of all this has been the refreshing way in which most clubs have responded to the wishes of their fan base and we hope that the clubs in the SFL will respond in a similar fashion and not be bullied into accepting change they do not want, when it comes to doing the right thing there can be no compromise.”
Johnston also launched a broadside at the SPL and their plans for Rangers newco being parachuted into the First Division.
He concluded: “I also believe that the plan to parachute Rangers “Newco” into SFL1 is highly controversial and wished to register my concern about the timing of the SPL vote and the resultant pressure now placed on the SFL clubs to accommodate “Newco” in SFL1 when they vote on the issue on 13th July. If the SPL can’t function in its present form without four “Old Firm” derbies, then the SPL should have come up with a solution rather than passing the buck to the SFL.”