Updated: Oct 5
I arranged to sell my Hibs shares, at a very slight profit, and became the proud owner of an Acorn Electron.
On my 54th birthday, 22 November 2001, my purchase of 1,000 £1 shares in Clyde Football Club Limited was formalised by John McBeth and John Taylor. I was really proud to become a Clyde shareholder but it was an "investment" which some of my more worldly-wise friends asserted would become completely worthless on the very day the share certificate was acquired. Such cynicism! However, like Martin Peters, they were ten years ahead of their time. In 2011, my treasured shares did in fact become officially worthless when Clyde FC ceased to be a Limited Company and opted to become a Community Interest Company. It wasn't my first stint as a football club shareholder. In 1988, Hibernian Football Club became the second British side (after Tottenham Hotspur) to be floated on the stock market. I was working in Edinburgh at the time and there was hardly a bus shelter in the city which wasn't encouraging Hibbies to become part-owners of their club. Then there was talk that the share issue was going to flop and I suddenly felt quite sorry for Hibs. I had absolutely no connection with the Easter Road club but I did have a long-time liking for Hibs and their justified reputation for playing good football and producing great players. I decided that I could just about afford the minimum investment of £198 (360 shares). I was one of approximately 1,700 supporters who took up the offer. Far from being a flop, the floatation was said to be oversubscribed by 54%. Within a few months of becoming a Hibs shareholder it became obvious, even to me, that computers were here to stay and I felt I needed to buy one, for home use by the whole family. My problem was I didn't have the £200 needed for the PC purchase, but salvation was at hand in the form of Hibernian FC. I arranged to sell my Hibs shares, at a very slight profit, and became the proud owner of an Acorn Electron. It was a nicely timed withdrawal from the Hibernian Football Club shareholding. Hibs very quickly got into financial trouble, a position made worse when a second share issue completely backfired. Across town in Gorgie, Hibs' plight was being very closely monitored by Hearts chairman Wallace Mercer and soon the very existence of the Easter Road club would be in doubt. I have since bought shares, at different times and for various reasons, in Berwick Rangers, Workington, Lisburn Distillery and East Fife. Shareholders are normally entitled to benefits such as receiving dividends and registering their votes in company activities. Receiving a dividend from any of these four admirable football clubs would, it has to be said, be something of a surprise and, due to distance, my attendance at any AGM is very unlikely. In each instance, it really has been nothing more than a glorified donation, one that I have been glad to make.