Partick Thistle FC Working Group: Programme Notes – 14th November 2020 v Greenock Morton

In last Saturday’s programme we provided detail of our increased fan engagement activities but we feel that it well worth recapping on our aims in that respect and the progress made.

Naturally the very difficult circumstances that we all find ourselves living in at the moment prevent us from being able to engage directly face to face but we have been using the tools available to us to do so virtually.

As we outlined in last week’s programme we have been doing so by hosting Fan Consultation Zoom Meetings to discuss the concept of fan ownership. The decision was made to limit these meetings to small numbers but host multiple meetings as it was thought that in terms of effective communication and receiving feedback this was the most constructive approach to take.

The first of those meetings took place late last month and at the time of going to print a total of four of these Zoom meetings have now taken place with a wide cross section of Thistle fans.

As you can imagine there have been disparate views and thoughts expressed but it is precisely this range of views that we are looking for. Right from the outset the decision was made to actively seek the views of those that we know are sceptical, or even hostile, to the notion of fan ownership. It’s only by understanding properly those concerns that we can begin to address them.

The response received though has been more positive than it has been negative and that offers us great encouragement.

These meetings will remain ongoing and if you haven’t received an invite to attend a future meeting and would like to do so or can suggest someone who you feel has an important contribution to make to these vital discussions then please drop us an email at ptfcwg@gmail.com

In addition to those zoom meetings we have through these pages posed a number of questions that we were keen to gain your thoughts on. Those questions being:

  • What the term fan-ownership means to you?
  • What you would like to see from a fan owned Partick Thistle?
  • What issues you might have about the concept of fan ownership

We would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to respond with their own personal reflections on the above and we would like to take the opportunity to share some more of those views with you. It should be pointed on at this point that these are the views that we have received from those that have contributed. This input is hugely important to us and will help shape our thinking moving forward, but it is just some personal reflections although we are detecting some broad themes repeating themselves.

To summarise the most recent responses:

What does the term fan ownership mean to you?

  • Overall control of the future of Partick Thistle
  • The ability to appoint the Board of Directors
  • Day to day decisions to remain with the Board of Directors but with proper management, governance and accountability

What would you like to see from a fan owned Partick Thistle?

  • A clear, long term strategy
  • A club that is run to ensure that it has a long term, independent, future
  • Structure for fan involvement that is clear and effective with good two way communications but ultimately it must be allow the club to be run effectively.

What issues you might have about the concept of fan ownership

  • The risk of a small group taking effective control under a nominal fan ownership model
  • How to ensure that individuals with the right skills and experience are able to commit to being involved
  • Where the finances otherwise supplied by donations/wealthy individual(s) will come from.

Partick Thistle FC Working Group: Programme Notes – 7th November 2020 v Falkirk

As you may recall from our last programme update we were increasing the level of the Working Group’s direct engagement with the Thistle fan base, albeit virtually rather than face to face. Such are the challenges that we all face in the current climate.

One of the means of doing so was by hosting small Fan Consultation Zoom meetings to discuss the concept of fan ownership. It was felt that by limiting the attendees to these meetings to small numbers, but having multiple meetings, was the most constructive way to have these discussions given the constraints that come with virtual meetings.

The first of these meetings took place on Tuesday October 27th with around half a dozen in attendance at each meeting and they proved to be hugely informative and allowed the Working group to engage with those not just fully supportive of the move towards a fan owned Partick Thistle but also with those that have concerns and/or are sceptical of the whole process and what it means for Partick Thistle both in the short and long term.

These meetings will remain ongoing and if you haven’t received an invite to attend a future meeting and would like to do so or can suggest someone who you feel has an important contribution to make to these important discussions then please drop us an email at ptfcwg@gmail.com

In addition to those zoom meetings in the last programme we posed a number of questions that we were keen to gain your thoughts on. Those questions being:

  • What the term fan-ownership means to you?
  • What you would like to see from a fan owned Partick Thistle?
  • What issues you might have about the concept of fan ownership

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to respond and in many respects those responses mirror what we are hearing in the aforementioned Fan Consultation Zoom meetings.

In terms of what a fan owned Partick Thistle means to you there was a broad feeling that that mean that the fans should be treated as shareholders in the Club with the ability to hold the Board of Directors to account.

In the response to what you would like to see from a fan owned Partick Thistle there were some recurring themes namely:

  • An elected Board of Directors rather than directors being appointed to their position on the Board
  • A Board of Directors more reflective of society as whole with an increase in women directors and overall younger in age
  • The Club should be run on a not for profit basis
  • The Club should become a living wage employer
  • The club should set a target for becoming carbon neutral and should aim to reduce overall waste

When it came to expressing concerns about the concept of fan ownership there was an encouraging level of support for the principal of fan ownership but with some very important caveats namely;

  • There has to be a clear and transparent consultative process
  • It can be demonstrated to the fans, who will become the owners of the Club, that this represents something different and that there is an acceptance of greater level of scrutiny

In other news we are close to launching our new, The Jags Foundation, website.

Partick Thistle FC Working Group: Programme Notes – 24th October 2020 v Airdrieonians

What will be a truncated 2020-2021 League One season began last Saturday and while we don’t intend to focus on events that will no doubt be detailed elsewhere in this programme, it is probably fair to say that the campaign began on a disappointing note for Thistle.

Today’s clash with Airdrie represents our first home league game of the season before next Saturday Thistle take the road to the north east of Scotland to face Cove Rangers. Upon returning from that Thistle face three successive home games as the month of November centres firmly and squarely around games at Firhill.

Those three successive home games at the start of next month we feel tie in neatly with our intended programme of increased fan engagement.

We will return to and will and provide more detail on what you can look out for from the Working Group during the month of November but first we want to address the entirely reasonable question of what the Working Group has already achieved as we continue to take steps towards a fan owned Partick Thistle Football Club.

Due to the nature of the work, and because of the difficulty circumstances that we all find ourselves living in at present, most of the Working Group’s activities so far have taken place away from the spotlight. As such it may look as if there has been little progress but the work that has been undertaken, although laborious in nature at times, has been essential to the overall success of the whole process and represents the reaching of not insignificant landmarks.

To summarise then the Working Group has thus far achieved:

  • Conducted a vote among the Thistle support with a view to deciding the name of the fans’ organisation that will hold the shares in Partick Thistle Football Club. The winning name being The Jags Foundation.
  • Drafted a consultative document. This document sets put in some detail options for how The Jags Foundation could operate, and how it might exercise its role as majority shareholder in the Club
  • Started the consultation process by circulating the consultative document with all members of the various sub-groups of the Working Group. This has allowed us to receive some important initial feedback and refine the document for wider distribution.

What then can you expect to see from the Working Group in the month ahead?

Back in March we had intended to launch a series of Fan Hubs at the remaining home games last season but, as we all know, events brought an all too swift end to the season.

The aim of the Fan Hubs was to provide supporters with the opportunity to speak directly to members of the Working Group with any questions they have on the subject of fan-ownership.

While fans are still not allowed to return to football grounds this is obviously something that we can’t do face to face but with three successive home games at the start of November we feel we have an opportunity to, at least virtually, offer Thistle fans the chance to directly engage with the Working Groups.

There are a number of ways in which we can do this including, but not limited to, Facebook live events and webinars and these are options that we are exploring in more detail.

Meantime we have this page in the official match programme available to us to utilise and in way of kicking off these virtual hubs we are asking Thistle fans to contact us with any questions that they have regarding the whole subject of fan ownership but in particular:

  • What the term fan-ownership means to you
  • What you would like to see from a fan-owned Partick Thistle
  • What issues you might have about the concept of fan ownership

We will collate your questions and provide our responses on this page of the programme across those three November home games.

We will also publish your questions, and our answers, on the Working Group website http://www.partickthistlefcworkinggroup.com and on our Facebook page.

Your responses will also allow us to frame the structure of any future planned online events we host.

To enable to publish the first round of questions and answers in the programme for the game against Falkirk on November 7th could you please email your questions/comments to ptfcwg@gamil.com by 3pm on Saturday October 31st 2020.

Programme Notes v Queen’s Park – 10/10/2020

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: ptfcwg@gmail.com

Result of new entity naming survey

Thank you for your patience in waiting for the announcement of the outcome of the vote on the name of the community entity that will ultimately receive the majority shareholding in Partick Thistle Football Club. 

We received in excess of 1,000 responses and we thank you for taking the time to participate and detail your order of preference from the short list provided. 

Voting was very close but now that the votes have been checked and verified we can announce that the winning name is: 

The Jags Foundation

Full details of the results are available by clicking here.

These remain difficult times and we hope that all Thistle fans are doing well and are staying safe. 

Sadly it doesn’t look as if we will be seeing each other inside a football ground for some time yet. 

We, as a Working Group, remain committed though to trying to involve more fully the fan base in the process that we are undergoing. 

Our request for your votes was just one small step in that direction and you can look out for more requests for your input in the weeks and months ahead.

FAN OWNERSHIP TO PICK UP PACE IN “NEXT STEPS” TRANSITION

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

Working Group Update

The Working Group has continued to work hard during lockdown, with plenty of Zoom discussions and ideas developed and now expect to have plenty of news to communicate as the Club returns to football business in early September. Thanks to all of our fellow supporters for their patience to date. With all the challenges of Covid-19, we had decided to keep a low profile and had to postpone the direct fan engagement we had planned for the end of last season. We hope and expect that meaningful fan engagement can commence shortly.

Moving forward, the next stage will cause an evolution of the focus of the Working Group, and consequently certain changes will occur to its composition. With personal commitments unexpectedly changing for so many, during an extended period none of us anticipated, we have already had a few changes to notify you of: Pauline Graham, Tom Hosie, Frank Pieri, Gordon Shaw, and Elaine Sibbald have all stepped back from their roles within the original Working Group.  We are sure that all continue to be enthusiastic champions of fan ownership from the touchline. The remainder of the Working Group thank them all for their input and efforts in taking us this far.

Jacqui Low – Clarification Received

Earlier today the Chair of the Working Group spoke with Jacqui Low with regard to her ongoing and continuing position as a director of Three Black Cats and in addition to that a spokesman for solicitors Murray Beith Murray has issued the following statement.

“In addressing a technical issue unrelated to the company’s holding in PTFC, Ms Low is shown on Companies House as having resigned and having then been reappointed as a Director of Three Black Cats. There was a time lag in recording her continuing appointment with Companies House but that has now been done. We regret any issues or difficulties this may have caused Ms Low.”

We are grateful to have received this clarification so promptly and are delighted that this was merely a technical issue and that the route towards a fans owned Partick Thistle remains unaltered.

Jacqui Low

UPDATE TO THE BELOW

WE HAVE NOW RECEIVED CLARIFICATION ON THIS ISSUE. PLEASE REFER TO THE LINK BELOW

https://partickthistlefcworkinggroup.com/blog-feed/

We are surprised as any Thistle fan at the news of Jacqui Low’s resignation as a director of Three Black Cats.

We don’t currently know where this leaves us or how it will impact upon the move towards a fan owned Partick Thistle.

We are presently attempting to clarify the situation and will provide a further update as and when we are in receipt of any information.

First PTFC Working Group Fan Engagement Hub

Our first Fan Engagement Hub will be in place at Saturday’s home match with Alloa Athletic.

This will provide supporters with the opportunity to speak directly to members of the Working Group with any questions they have on the subject of fan-ownership.

On Saturday we will be located at the south end of the Jackie Husband Stand and will be in place from the turnstiles opening until a short time before kick-off.

While we will be located just in the Jackie Husband Stand this coming weekend we intend to move the Hub around the stadium at future fixtures as to gain insight from as wide a section of the Thistle support as possible.

Meantime, as part of our wider Fan Engagement campaign we are actively canvassing for your views and queries relating to fan-ownership.

Specifically we want to know:

  • What the term fan-ownership means to you
  • What you would like to see from a fan-owned Partick Thistle
  • What issues you might have about the concept of fan-ownership

If you can please contact us with your response to the above at ptfcwg@gmail.com