We would like to thank all 572 members of the Foundation that completed our August Members’ survey in the last week or so. The response rate of 68% was absolutely phenomenal, and reflects the engagement and interest that you all show in your Club and its future.
The information we collected was extremely helpful for the TJF Board. It allowed us to sense-check our own sentiments about the current situation. Particularly ahead of our EGM, which is on Thursday this week, we wanted to make sure that we are offering a way forward that those paying their monthly TJF subscriptions actually want.
We found some of the more robust or critical feedback especially helpful. We know that we haven’t always got the tone right in our messaging, and have occasionally allowed private frustrations to surface publicly. The calls for us to keep things positive, wherever possible, are heard loud and clear, and we will try to approach things in a cooperative spirit wherever there is a prospect of reciprocation.
The headline results
The quantitative results of the survey are not surprising. A decisive majority of our membership:
- wants a fan ballot before any share transfer (88.6% in favour)
- opposes the proposed share transfer to the PTFC Trust (75.5% against, 3.8% in favour, 20.6% unsure)
- would prefer The Jags Foundation to be the recipient of the shares instead (89.2%)
We thought the most significant statistic was that just four respondents, or 0.7% actually saw the PTFC Trust as their preferred majority shareholder. Even if the wider fanbase is more sympathetic, it must now at least be doubted this is what Thistle supporters want.
Of those who said they were “unsure” in relation to the second of the above three points, most felt that there was not enough information about the PTFC Trust’s proposals in the public domain to make a decision yet. Some others thought that opposing it was futile: that it would happen regardless of what the fans want.
A significant minority, 8.7% of respondents, responded “Other” in relation to the preferred majority shareholder question. As with the previous question, some wanted more information before expressing a view. Others didn’t care particularly very much what the fan ownership vehicle was, as long as it had proper representation on the Club Board.
A handful of fans, candidly, were sceptics or agnostic about fan ownership, and in an ideal world would prefer a well-resourced private owner to take over from Three Black Cats. One even suggested making a phone call to Bill Gates.
Others hoped that there could be some sort of joint enterprise, between two or more fan groups, and/or that TJF should have some sort of shareholding at the end of this process, even if it is not necessarily the majority.
We do not presume to speak for fans who are not our members, though we are always delighted to welcome new recruits. But the message from our members is loud and clear: they don’t like the ownership solution that is being offered at Thistle and they do want something that much more closely resembles what The Jags Foundation proposed.
Other interesting demographics points
We learned some other important things from the survey:
- there is potentially very significant overlap between the Foundation membership and the membership of The Jags Trust (not to be confused with the PTFC Trust)
- over half of the respondents to our survey are season ticket holders (55.1%)
- just under half of our respondents are long-standing season ticket holders (46.9% have a season ticket and also held one in 2020-21 and 2021-22)
- almost a third of respondents are former season ticket-holders (31.3%)
- about one in seven of our members have never held a season ticket (13.6%)
The figures about season ticket holding are particularly important. Firstly, because it shows that more than 300 season ticket holders, or beneficiaries of the PTFC Trust, are Foundation members. Almost all of them have consented to us making representations to the PTFC Trust on their behalf, asking for information and document disclosure. We have already acted on this.
Secondly, the figures demonstrate the importance of an inclusive and opt-in membership model for any fan-representing organisation. We all know people who, for a range of life circumstances, cannot, or cannot currently, justify buying a season ticket. If these people are not properly brought on board with the fan ownership journey, the Club will be much the poorer for it.
A more comprehensive look at the survey results can be accessed using the button below.