It is, of course, great to have Partick Thistle back in our lives on Saturday afternoons (and Tuesday nights) again but the virtual matchday experience is a sharp reminder of what we are all missing. We naturally all want to see Partick Thistle emerge victorious every time eleven guys in Thistle colours step onto the pitch to represent our club but there is more to being a Thistle fan, to being the fan of any team, than just the 90 minutes on the park. The fortunes of our team have fluctuated wildly over the last decade or so, from the joy of that Championship winning season and the subsequent achievement of a top six finish to the depths of despair of relegation from the Premiership and a further, imposed, relegation. Despite all that the bonds that tie us to Thistle and Firhill remain just as strong. Describing the fans of a football team as a family might be an overused description but behind all clichés runs a truism. We Thistle fans are a community, we are a family and like many, many families over the course of the last year we have been apart for far too long. Partick Thistle may be back playing and while they might delight, frustrate or infuriate much as they have always done, football won’t be back until we are sitting cheek by jowl together.
Sadly when we can once more make the trudge up south drive that seems to get steeper each passing year (or are we all just getting older?) not everyone will be there with us. The last year has been a cruel year and we will have lost some of our Thistle family along the way.
Which is why, when this is supposed to be an update on the progress of The Jags Foundation, we make no apology for taking time to pause and reflect upon those Thistle fans that have passed from our family since we were last all together.
As part of ongoing fan engagement we are gathering together the thoughts of fans, and ex-players, on the subject of fan ownership. It was as part of that process that we contacted 86 year old Bill Pettet, a Jags man through and through. Sadly Bill passed away a short time after we had the pleasure of speaking to him. His words sum up for us the very ethos of supporting Partick Thistle and underline why we view Partick Thistle becoming a fan owned club as a wonderful opportunity.
“I believe PTFC is not just a football club. It is a way of life for many, a meeting place, a support group for all like-minded football fans. It has always been easy to follow a team winning trophies but try 60 years of supporting one team through thick and thin. We have seen the highs of 1971 and the lows of collection buckets at the gates. We have always looked forward to match days where the result is secondary to catching up with friends and family. The club is a community within communities. These are the foundations a great club is built upon. This is fantastic opportunity for fans to support and have a say in the running of the club and secure PTFC for future generations to come.”
The thoughts of The Jags Foundation are with Bill’s family and friends at this very difficult time. Just as they are with all who have lost a loved one.
An important part of increasing the profile of The Jags Foundation and to boosting our communication with the fan base was the launch of The Jags Foundation website which went live in the middle of January.
It was important to us that when it came to developing our website that we tapped into the wide and varied skillset within the Thistle support to assist us with this important communication tool. In utilising the services of 41 Sports Media, a company led by a lifelong Thistle fan, we were able to keep the design and creation of the website firmly inside, that phrase again, the Partick Thistle family. That we were able to do that underlines the broad range of skills that can be found within our support. A broad range of skills that will be an essential resource on our journey to be becoming a fan owned club.
If you haven’t yet done so you can check out our website at www.thejagsfoundation.co.uk
We aren’t, as yet, in the position to start taking memberships (and fees) but in logging into our website you will have the opportunity to the sign up to be kept fully up to date with all our plans and to guarantee the chance to become a founder member of The Jags Foundation.
We have been blown away with the response that we have received so far. Within just a few days of launching our website over 500 Thistle fans had registered their interest in The Jags Foundation. That figure quickly grew to 900 and at the start of the current month the figure stood at any impressive 1,189 and continues to grow.
As part of trying to increase those numbers further, and we realise that the figures mentioned above represent just a fraction of the Thistle fan base, is the support from elsewhere and we were pleased when the Club released the following statement, under the heading ‘Realising the Dream’, earlier this month:
“In November 2019, Colin Weir bought a majority shareholding in Partick Thistle, with the express intent of gifting those shares at no cost to fans. He encouraged them to come together to create a suitable organisation that could work with his company, Three Black Cats, to ensure a smooth handover of shares while preserving the stability of the Club.
“Sadly, Colin’s untimely death and then Covid slowed down the process. But work continued in the background, culminating in the launch of The Jags Foundation (TJF) in January. To date, 900 fans have signed up and that’s a testament to all the hard work of the team behind TJF. It’s important that as many fans as possible get involved, so check out The Jags Foundation and sign up to play your part in realising Colin’s dream.”
All of our efforts continue to be focused on just that, realising Colin Weir’s dream. Your support is essential as that dreams starts to become a reality.
You should expect to hear much more from us in the coming weeks, including a survey being sent to all who have expressed interest in The Jags Foundation. It is important to us that we get as much feedback as possible.