Motherwell supporters have been urged to sign up to a fan-ownership scheme while the club remains in good health - not when it is teetering on the brink.

The Well Society, with the support of millionaire backer Les Hutchison, has drawn up a five-year plan which it hopes will see the club faithful eventually take charge.

Barbados-based retired businessman Hutchison was handed a controlling stake in the Steelmen by former owner John Boyle earlier this year.

But he has promised to let the fans take up the reins once they repay an interest-free loan, understood to be near £1million, given to the club to cover last year's deficit.

However, the Society is still more than 300 fee-paying members shy of its 2000 target.

This Saturday, the group will team up with the Foundation of Hearts to celebrate fan ownership when their respective teams meet at Fir Park for a Ladbrokes Premiership fixture.

And Society secretary Tom Feely admits to a degree of jealousy when he looks at the 8,000-strong list of FoH contributors who helped save the Jambos from administration last year.

Motherwell survived their own financial meltdown in 2002 and Feely accepts it may take another brush with disaster to convince some fans to rush to the club's aid once more.

"The foundation have had so much success and we would certainly like to get to their level," he said. "They have done exceptionally well but we are somewhere behind them. Hopefully this weekend will be the ideal time to talk to the fans and convince them.

"Do you have to be at death's door before fans rush to sign up? I think that's got a lot to do with it.

"The circumstances were completely different at Hearts. The club would have fallen by the wayside if the fans had not been able to help them turn the corner.

"We would never want to face that situation ourselves but you wonder, would we have twice as many people signing up if we'd faced that situation again?

"We just hope we can get the people interested while the club is still alive and doing well, rather than being in the position the Hearts fans were in."

However, Feely also acknowledges the Society is experiencing its own issues, including the mothballing of the Tata steelworks, which has cost the town 225 jobs.

He said: "The challenges we face is that we don't have the same size of fan base at Hearts do.

"There is also the situation with the steelworks in the town, which has certainly aggravated the situation. A lot of people would be well prepared to come and join us, but if finance is a bit of a problem for them, then they might have to say no, even if they would love to say yes."

Hearts will wear a specially commissioned tribute kit which features the name of every FoH contributor for Saturday's match.

The Jambos were on the brink of going bust before the fans group and their own wealthy benefactor Ann Budge struck a rescue deal.

The Tynecastle outfit are now flying high in the league and FoH chairman Brian Cormack believes more clubs should follow their example.

He said: "I think it's important that fans have more say in their clubs. Different clubs, depending on their size, will find different models which suit them. It might not necessarily mean the fans owning the club but perhaps having a bigger role at boardroom level.

"Scottish football is certainly moving in that direction and we're just glad Hearts were at the forefront.

"The club's been through a nightmare in recent years but we wanted to put it back in the hands of the people who cared most about it."