BOARDROOM turmoil and managerial comings and goings aren’t exactly unusual occurrences on the final day of the Championship season. But what was really unusual about the controversy which engulfed Cappielow at the weekend was the fact that you might have imagined the dominant emotion to be joy and relief about the club guiding themselves to a fifth-placed finish in the Ladbrokes Championship.

Instead, in the 24 hours between Friday evening and Saturday tea-time, the club saw their chief executive Warren Hawke step down, then their managerial team Jonatan Johansson and Peter Houston walk out on the club. As the latter duo did so little more than an hour before kick off against Dundee United, it was particularly remarkable that their makeshift managerial duo of Chris Millar and Jim McAllister should be able to steer the club to another three points.

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The departure of Johansson and Houston was a murky business, ostensibly on the grounds that they had been ordered by the club’s chairman Crawford Rae to only use midfielder Charlie Telfer from the bench, as starting him would trigger a clause in his contract guaranteeing him an extension. But a statement issued by Rae suggested in fact that, if pushed, not only could they play him if they desired, but the duo would not be having their contracts renewed in any case. “In one breath, you are being told what team you can’t play and in the other you are getting bulleted anyway,” Houston was quoted as saying.

The departure of Hawke garnered less headlines, but the former player and SPFL board member’s exit after seven years in the hot-seat – a period of relative success in the championship where great strides have been made in particular with the Community Trust and the academy – was no less dramatic. But the common thread behind it all was an imminent round of cost-cutting, stated publicly at a question and answer session in Greenock’s Tontine Hotel a few months back. Put in its simplest terms, the Rae family – after the passing of former chairman Douglas – had invested £2.5m in their 20 years in charge could not, and would not, continue to put their hand in their pockets.

The club would now be run at break-even, if that is an alternative owner couldn’t be found. While there has long been on-off intrigue about local businessmen James and Sandy Easdale making a bid to run the club, there has been talk in the last few days about other “major potential investors” getting involved.

Morton supporters were very much to the fore when Douglas Rae stepped in to save the club from the disastrous ownership of Hugh Scott in the late 1990s and once again they seem likely to have a role to play. Only last month, a new supporters’ grouping called Morton Club Together was launched, keen to see if a fan ownership model which has been so successful at Hearts, Motherwell, St Mirren and elsewhere, could work in Inverclyde. The game plan is to invite minimum pledges of £10-a-month over a two-year period towards an initial target figure of £400,000, which would be invested in the team, in return for 15% of the shares in Greenock Morton, leaving the Raes with 75% through their Golden Casket company. More could follow.

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“The agreement that we have with Mr Rae is that every penny of our investment will go into strengthening the first team over the next two seasons,” said Graham McLennan of Morton Club Together. “If we can pull this 15% off, he has publicly stated that he sees this - as we do– as the first phase of further successful share issues of a similar nature which would increase the community’s ownership.

“It is a pledging exercise we are doing just now, we are not collecting any money just yet,” he added. “But we will be approaching the £80,000 towards our £400,000 target and it has only been on the go since a week past on Friday, something like ten days.

“We want to emphasise that we are acting now before things get critical, while the opportunity is still there, and what better time to do it than after we have just sustained ourselves in the championship by finishing fifth. This is about the importance of Greenock Morton to the Inverclyde Community and beyond.

“Morton Club Together read with interest that conversations are taking place between Crawford and other overseas investors. What we have always said is that anybody who shares our vision of a strong, successful, sustainable Greenock Morton moving forward is a potentially ally of ours.”