A MORTON supporter has launched an ambitious fan ownership scheme aimed at taking an initial 25 per cent stake in the club.

Graham McLennan, who lives in Port Glasgow, is heading up a new group - Morton Club Together - to help the Cappielow side onto a more sustainable financial footing.

It comes after Ton chairman Crawford Rae recently announced that parent company Golden Casket will no longer underwrite annual losses incurred by the football club and that it must break-even from next season onwards.

Mr McLennan, 48, has now set up a supporter-led group to try and raise £400,000 over the next two years to be invested directly into the Greenock side.

From today, fans can pledge from as little as £10 a month towards securing a 25 per cent 'phase one' stake for supporters in a move which would herald the start of a process of shifting the balance of ownership to the community.

Mr McLennan, a business development manager for a major Scottish charitable trust, says he has reached an agreement with Ton supremo Mr Rae to convert supporters' cash into shares in order to deliver much-needed fresh investment.

If successful, the fans' group would become the second biggest shareholder in the club, behind the Rae family.

Mr McLennan said: "As a Morton supporter who went to my first game in 1978, I believe Morton is ready to do everyone who cares about it justice through this new initiative. "I see Morton as the spirit of Inverclyde.

"Morton has been a constant community asset and outlet through 150 years of local history. "It's time to say thanks to Morton and to give it our help - and at the same time achieve all our ambitions by being winners on and off the park."

Born and bred in Inverclyde, Mr McLennan lives locally with his family.

He is a Cappielow season ticket holder and is also heavily involved in grassroots football as a qualified coach with Port Glasgow Juniors Community Sports Club.

Much of his working career has been spent in business development for charities and social enterprises, primarily in Scotland and Australia.

Along with a group of other like-minded Ton fans, he believes the fan ownership blueprint can help transform the club - and says they have the backing of Morton top brass.

The model has been successful at the likes of Hearts and Renfrewshire rivals St Mirren.

Mr McLennan said: "We're all frustrated at Morton's current plight and I could see that the board was stymied in terms of options to move forward. "There is no doubt that, just as Morton is on the brink of flourishing thanks to recent investment in its award-winning community work and the development of young sportsmen and women, its future is in serious jeopardy. "I'm not going to stand by and watch Morton disappear forever. "I wanted to offer my help to Mr Rae and the board and I approached them a few weeks back. "This project will immediately and passionately address the frustrations, desires and financial necessities surrounding Morton right now. "I believe there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who will get behind the project. "I am urging lovers of Morton, lovers of sport and believers in the power of community spirit to come forward and work with us.

"For as little as the price of a monthly Netflix subscription, or a weekly cup of coffee, we can become genuine shareholders in Morton - one of the oldest football clubs in the world - and have a formal say its future success and everything it delivers for the community of Inverclyde and beyond."

For more information about Morton Club Together and to get involved, visit www.mortonclubtogether.com