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New St Johnstone owner Adam Webb vowed to “grow the club” and become regular European qualifiers after completing his takeover.

The American lawyer has purchased a controlling stake from Geoff Brown, who ends a 38-year spell as custodian of the Perth club. Brown will donate the net proceeds of the sale into building a community hub.

Atlanta-based Webb has a 10 per cent stake in Cambridge United and has clear plans for his latest football project.

In a message to fans on the club’s website, he wrote: “St Johnstone has been in the top tier for 16 straight seasons now so, historically speaking, the club is in a good position. But, in order to survive at this level, we have to grow the club. That is our predominant goal as owners.

“We need to attract new fans, we need existing fans to become more engaged and we need more commercial sponsors in order to increase our playing budget and remain competitive in the Premiership. So we have to make changes to improve all aspects of the club in the coming years.

“Such changes, however, will be undertaken only after engagement and consultation with supporters.”

He added: “Our goal will be to gradually and sustainably increase the player budget. We will also improve the training facilities, changing rooms, gym, physio areas and technology. These enhancements will aid recruitment and performance.

“Our ambition is to finish in the top six, compete in Europe and do well in cup competitions year-after-year. This is possible, but it will take time. Working relentlessly together, we will take one step each day and advance the club. With your patience and support, our goals are achievable.”

Stan Harris will remain as chairman during a transitional period.

Webb said: “Stan is a true servant-leader who has never taken any pay from the club despite working full-time as our CEO for the past year.”

Geoff Brown
Geoff Brown was St Johnstone chairman for 25 years (PA)

Brown stated his main aim was to hand the club over to the right person during an 18-month period of seeking a suitable buyer and deal.

“I strongly believe that we have found that person in Adam,” he said. “In all of my interactions with Adam, I find him to be a man of high integrity and I consider that he has the best interests of the club at heart.

“I am confident that everyone connected to the club will discover this for themselves over the coming weeks, months and years.”

Brown spent 25 years as chairman before being succeeded by his son, Steve, in 2011.

“As I look back on my 38 years as majority shareholder of the club, I do so with a lot of pride,” he said.

“As most will know I took on a football club back in 1986 that was in a precarious financial position, operating in a run-down stadium at Muirton Park whilst languishing towards the depths of Scottish football.

“It hasn’t been easy, but it has been a labour of love and I am immensely proud that I am now handing over a football club that is in a stable financial position, particularly against a backdrop that has been challenging at times, as has been witnessed by the number of other clubs that have ended up in financial trouble – and occasionally in administration – during my time within Scottish football.

“I know that some of the decisions taken over the decades may not have been popular at the time but the one thing I can guarantee is that all decisions taken have always been done with a view to it being in the best interests of the club and in an effort to ensure that the club remained viable, and there for all to support and enjoy.”