Seven long months have passed since Thistle last played a competitive fixture at Firhill. We scored an equalising goal deep into injury time that night but most of us left the stadium extremely frustrated. We again had failed to win a game that based on dominance of possession and chances created we should have won. The failure to win left us sitting bottom of the Championship, albeit with a game in hand on the side immediately above us and with 9 more fixtures to play.
Except there would be no more fixtures to play. Not last season.
The forthcoming weekend schedule of fixtures were postponed and then the remainder of the season was suspended before, amidst much rancour, acrimony and emails in spam folders, the season was declared over with titles, promotions and relegations declared.
The upshot of the above was that our club were relegated and by the tiniest of margins.
Just as the near seven month long absence has impacted upon all clubs at our level so too has it impacted on the Working Group, and that has brought its own difficulties and frustrations.
The home game that never was against Alloa Athletic on March 14th was supposed to signal the first of our Fan Engagement Hubs as we sought to engage more fully with the Thistle fan base. With there being little likelihood of fans returning to grounds in Scotland any time soon it is going to remain difficult, if not impossible, to have any direct face to face engagement with the wider Thistle support. Indeed as a Working Group we have ourselves been unable to meet face to face since March. Thanks, however, to the wonders of the likes of Zoom we have continued to meet virtually and our commitment to widening our fan engagement as we take the next steps towards a fan owned Partick Thistle remains absolute. This programme page will be one important conduit of information and we are exploring a number of other options open to us help to include as many Thistle fans as possible in what is an essential process.
We haven’t been entirely idle during the hiatus, however, and much background work getting to know the nuts and bolts of how community clubs are run has been undertaken. This will assist us as we consult further with fans. In addition, and as the opening salvo in our ongoing endeavours, the name of the fan organisation that will hold the shares was voted on by Jags fans, with the successful name being The Jags Foundation.
There have been some changes too in personnel within the Working Group since March amongst which Gavin Taylor has replaced Ian Wright as our Chair. We thank Ian for his incredible hard work and diligence in his time as Chair.
While until earlier this week Thistle hadn’t returned to competitive action ourselves football had returned elsewhere albeit, like us, behind closed doors. If watching games on TV with a backdrop of empty stands and with artificial crowd noise has taught us anything it is that football is a much diminished experience without us present.
This global crisis is highlighting just how important fans are to the continued well-being of the sport we love. We are seeing, and we need look no further than the activities of the Charitable Trust associated with our club as an example, clubs providing vital support to their local communities.
We want to see, first and foremost, a successful Partick Thistle on the pitch but we also want to see our club as a genuine asset rooted deep in the local community. We don’t believe that these two goals are mutually exclusive.
Above all else we want Partick Thistle to have a secure, sustainable future and a platform from which we can reach our full potential. If football clubs need their supporters, why shouldn’t they be owned by them? Indeed, why should they be owned by anyone else? Community ownership ensures that fans will always be at the heart of decisions made about the club as we face the future.
We look forward to turning this into a reality, and we hope you will assist us in making The Jags Foundation a vibrant and inclusive organisation to help us drive forward.
For more information on the Working Group please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org