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St Johnstone: New owner Adam Webb on building club's future

American Adam Webb has bought St Johnstone from long-term owner Geoff Brown; Webb - who also has a stake in Cambridge Utd - is the fourth US owner in the Scottish Premiership; St Johnstone vs Aberdeen on August 5 is one of four games live on Sky Sports on the opening weekend of the season

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New St Johnstone owner Adam Webb on why he wanted to buy the club, his 20-30 year plan, McDiarmid Park future, transfers, the increase of US ownership in the Scottish Premiership and more.

"Americans are dreamers, we're known for trying to do exceptional things."

The words from new St Johnstone owner Adam Webb as he set out his vision for the Scottish Premiership club, insisting he is in it for the long haul.

The American lawyer completed his takeover this week, ending the Brown family's majority shareholding in the club after almost four decades.

Webb, who has a 10 per cent stake in Cambridge United, insisted he is realistic about what it takes to own a football club while also vowing to strengthen the Perth side after they finished 10th last season.

"We don't intend to lose money, but that is the historical norm on a yearly basis with football clubs in the UK," the 53-year-old said.

Adam Webb has bought St Johnstone from Geoff Brown
Image: Adam Webb has bought St Johnstone from Geoff Brown

"Do I think ultimately we will leave the club as a much more valuable entity and operation? Absolutely.

"We are prepared to invest on an annual basis and I certainly hope that we can continue the sustainable course that Geoff [Brown] has made a regular practice at the club to not have to draw on ownership funds, because that often can end very poorly. An owner gets fed up, owner gives up and the club heads into administration.

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"That's not going to happen. We are we are prepared to put in money."

'You're going to see some great things'

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After tough seasons for Motherwell and St Johnstone in 23/24, Kris Boyd discusses what lies ahead for Motherwell and St Johnstone this time out.

While Webb insists he will not be overspending, he has outlined his vision for the club and the improvements he has planned on and off the pitch.

"This community should support the club, the business community should support the club and we should put such a good product on the field on the pitch so that we have people in the stands," he added.

"We want to gradually increase our player budget, our facilities, women's team, academy teams. That's the goal, gradual improvement of the revenues.

"On the other hand, just to reiterate, we're not going to put in a lot of money if we can help it because that is the wrong path and it's been proven time.

Craig Levein was appointed St Johnstone manager in November 2023
Image: Craig Levein was appointed St Johnstone manager in November 2023

"Our goal is to finish top-six, to be consistently competitive, obviously to go to Europe every few years, to have great cup runs and excitement and to be at a club that is competitive in the Premiership.

"That's the central focus, but stemming out from that is all the other things. There are some fantastic ideas and you're going see some great things, but we're not making any grand promises because we don't want to disappoint folks.

"It'll take time and just keep plugging away at it and we will, I'm sure in five years if we look back, we'll say we've accomplished a lot."

'The budget is up'

Uche Ikpeazu is one of six new signings at St Johnstone
Image: Uche Ikpeazu is one of six new signings at St Johnstone

Rebuilding for next season is already well under way at St Johnstone with six new signings so far this summer.

The player budget has been set and Webb believes it is a figure manager Craig Levein is happy with.

"We all know, coaches would like to spend more, that's the nature of the business, it's always good to have another tool in your tool chest," he said.

"That's the give and take at every club, but we have set a budget and we intend to stick to the budget.

"Obviously there's always flexibility if a tremendous opportunity comes along, so that's an ongoing discussion."

"The budget is up, that's the general trajectory we want to be on is raising it in a sustainable but modest level each year.

"If we can do that, if we can raise the budget basically with the level of inflation or higher every year I think we're doing our job."

Will St Johnstone remain at McDiarmid Park?

PERTH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 27: A general stadium view during a cinch Premiership match between St Johnstone and Motherwell at McDiarmid Park, on January 27, 2024, in Perth, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Image: McDiarmid Park was opened in 1989

McDiarmid Park sits on 22 acres and includes a large car park, an all-weather pitch and a training ground.

The land is worth more than what Webb had paid for his 75 per cent stake, but he insists that alone is not a reason to move.

"I wouldn't say we're committed to staying here, we're committed to doing what's best for the club," said Webb who has already bought a house in Perth.

"I think it's an incredible facility and it's a rare opportunity to have so much acreage together. It may be the only club in the UK that has that.

"If the city was to say we would like to see this developed for the good of the city, then we're going to approve such a development.

"From my personal interest what a distracting, all-consuming project [moving stadium] would be. The only reason that St Johnstone should move to a new stadium is if the all-in offer, the all-in benefit to the club, just can't be denied.

"That, to me, is likely not to occur for some time so what we've got to do is focus on making this facility as good as we can. That's my intent."

American investment in Scottish football

St Johnstone could be under American ownership next season
Image: St Johnstone are the fourth Scottish Premiership club under American ownership

The deal means St Johnstone are the fourth top-flight club under US ownership.

Hibernian are owned by the Gordon family, with the late Ron Gordon acquiring a majority shareholding in 2019. Another American, Bill Foley, owns 25 per cent of the club after his investment was approved in March.

Dundee are owned by American businessman Tim Keyes, while city rivals Dundee United are owned by Mark Ogren.

Motherwell are also in talks with US investors - however that deal has not yet been completed.

And Webb believes the Scottish FA are keen for this trend to continue.

"Americans are dreamers, we're known for trying to do exceptional things. I think it makes sense that if they have a passion, they would try to act on that passion, even though some would say 'What are you doing? This is crazy' and I've heard plenty of feedback like that," he added.

MOTHERWELL, SCOTLAND - MARCH 30: A general view during a cinch Premiership match between Motherwell and St Mirren at Fir Park, on March 30, 2024, in Motherwell, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross MacDonald / SNS Group)
Image: Motherwell are in talks with US investors

"I think it makes sense and it is likely to continue because there is a groundswell of interest in America for the UK leagues and there are a lot of resources in America that could be brought to here.

"You want resources in the league because the league has to compete worldwide now more than ever. We need the Scottish teams to do very well, internationally and that's going to be boosted and improved by having more resources in the league.

"It's a slow process, but hopefully by having other investors, not just from America but from anywhere in the world, welcomed into the league, and the SFA were very gracious and were a pleasure to work with.

"They have made clear that they would like further investment in Scottish football so I think they are taking the right tact and it is a really good thing for the game."

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