The Working Group (WG) and Three Black Cats (3BC) are pleased to announce agreement has been reached to move on to the next stage of fan ownership that will see fan engagement begin in earnest with Partick Thistle supporters. To mark that transition, the Working Group itself will become “Next Steps” as the interim group that will lead directly to the new entity.
In a joint statement, they said:
“Despite the intention being good, the original timescale for fan ownership proved to be too challenging, not least once Covid-19 struck. That being said, despite there being little visibility in recent months, substantive work was ongoing behind the scenes and none of that will go to waste.
“However, Colin Weir wanted fans at the heart of this process and as our thoughts turn to football again, it’s time to kick off the fan engagement for real in a dynamic way and with a sense of urgency. The concept of fan ownership needs explanation to show what the relationship between the new entity, fans and club will be in future. But there also needs to be clarity around how the new fans’ shareholding entity will work in practical terms – what shape it will take, how it will engage with fans and vice versa, what it seeks to achieve and how it will function on behalf of fans. That includes being clear on the definition of what fan ownership actually is.
“To reflect the transition, the Next Steps group will comprise of members of the WG and other fans/groups/shareholders, led by new Chairman Gavin Taylor, an experienced businessman and long-time Jags fan. Due to his work commitments, current WG Chairman Ian Wright has asked to step down as he has now taken the project to where he was asked to and leaves with everyone’s thanks.
“The group is tasked with three initial aims, all with delivery deadlines:
- to seek agreement from fans on a name for the new entity as soon as possible, identifying a method then beginning consultations from September 7th – 18th, with announcement on 21st September; this period will also mark the start of explaining the concept of fan ownership to allow fans to make informed decisions as things progress;
- immediately identify a timetable/schedule of actions between now and the shares/land transfer. This will be done with deadline dates and will be shared with fans by 23rd September;
- and, in parallel, finalise the proposed model for fan ownership and begin consultation with the fans on it no later than 16th October.
“Communicating whilst still in partial lockdown will present its own challenges – but they are not insurmountable. NS commits to communicate with fans directly and regularly.
“Other aspects of the process behind the transition to fan ownership – whether technical, legal etc – will continue to be worked on simultaneously to ensure that the timetable can be met – but those three milestones must be achieved. Doing so will enable rapid progress on to the next stage of the handover.
“Yes, there must be robust structures and processes in place to reassure the current majority shareholding company that the investment is safe now and in the longer term. But, as important to everyone involved, there must also be a partnership process between fans and NS, with regular communication and maximum fan involvement to make this a genuine transition to fan ownership that all fans can get behind.
“This is an exciting and life-changing development for Partick Thistle and all who love the Club. Fan ownership remains 3BC’s only priority and every member of the WG has contributed to making that reality a step closer. Nothing has happened to change the absolute commitment that Thistle will be a fan-owned club as envisioned by Colin Weir.
“But it must be done in a way that delivers for all fans and the Club while respecting his wishes. We must get this right for all concerned. Together, we will get it right.”
Friday, 28th August 2020