SMISA chairman Kenny Docherty has left his position as leader of the St Mirren fan group and majority club owners after just two months in post.
In a joint-move with secretary Alan Quinn, the pair have have stepped down in protest at what they feel is an increasingly hostile and critical attitude from the group towards the St Mirren board.
Docherty and Quinn have both been an integral part of the supporters-led movement – who became majority owners of the club in July 2021 – for more than five years.
But following recent personnel changes, which included the election of former Saints chairman Stewart Gilmour to the SMISA board, both men believe they have been left with no option but to walk away.
It takes the number of SMISA board members to stand down this year to seven, following Colin Orr’s decision not to stand for re-election and the subsequent resignations of George Adam, Janette Swanson, Graeme Macpherson and Kenny Lang – although the latter has subsequently re-joined.
Docherty admits it was a tough decision to step away from something so close to his heart.
But the former Scotrail executive felt the newly-formed SMISA board have become too critical of the club and fears the change in direction is in danger of taking St Mirren away from the principles of fan ownership.
He told Renfrewshire Live Sport: “This was a really hard decision as I’ve been involved with SMISA for a while now and became chair just a few months ago. But the way things have been going since the changes at board level have made it impossible for me to continue.
“My feeling is that the way that the others are acting isn’t in the best interests of the club.
“There’s no forward planning or thinking. It’s become all about looking at what’s happened in the past and my fear is that approach will only take the club back to where we were prior to fan ownership.”
Docherty is aware the club, like others in the Scottish Premiership, has endured a tough year financially due to Covid and other factors.
But he is confident the St Mirren directors have the matter in hand and should be allowed to get on with the job.
He added: “I feel that the SMISA board is moving away from the philosophy of being fan-owned but not fan-run. That means they are going against the approach agreed by SMISA members to put the right people in place on the St Mirren board and trusting them to get the job done.
“There have been undoubted difficulties behind the scenes this year but there is a recovery plan in place and my feeling is that the St Mirren directors should be allowed to get on with that job.
“But I believe that the SMISA board has become too focused in trying to interfere with how the club is being run to the detriment of everything else.
“SMISA is there to serve its members in a number of different ways and all of that has been forced to take a back seat due to this determination to criticise the club and how they are running things.”
Swanson, who had been the only female member on the SMISA board until her resignation in October, added: “If you take a wrecking ball to a functioning board and add people whose only plan is to shout at the club board this is what happens.
“For so many people to have resigned from the SMISA board in such a short space of time tells its own story.”
Docherty has been replaced as SMISA chair by Eddie Devine, the former leader of the Labour group at Renfrewshire Council.
A SMISA spokesperson said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Kenny for all his hard work and dedication he has shown for a great number of years and he will be sorely missed at board level.
“There was a vote at the SMiSA Board meeting on the evening of Monday December 5 and Eddie Devine was confirmed as the new SMiSA Chairman.
“Eddie I’m sure will be well known to many of you and we would like to wish him all the best in his new role.”
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