First and foremost, it was great to see Thistle reach the summit of the Championship table yesterday, albeit in frustrating circumstances. Whatever Thistle’s issues off the park, it is reassuring that the players on it are laser focused on delivering success and entertainment on it.
Before our EGM, we conducted a members’ survey to sense check your views on the proposed share transfer from Three Black Cats to the PTFC Trust. The overwhelming majority of members were opposed to the transfer (less than 4% said it should be allowed to go ahead and less than 1% said they supported it). Many more said they still had unanswered questions about how the proposed new ownership model would work, and how the proposals for it came about.
On Monday of this week, we contacted the PTFC Trust directly. We sought answers to key questions about their proposals and governance.
We asked that the trustees provide us with a substantive response to those questions by Friday 16th September. We requested this deadline because we wanted to be able to update you with the PTFC Trust’s responses this weekend.
We received an acknowledgment from one of the trustees on Tuesday, but have had no substantive response to the questions themselves. In replying to that acknowledgment, we asked the trustees at least to confirm by return whether they had seen the minutes of trustee meetings held in April and May 2022. No further correspondence has been forthcoming.
The Trust’s acknowledgment email did indicate a willingness to reach out to The Jags Foundation and other supporter groups, but not until an undefined point in October.
We made clear, in response, that this proposed engagement, and answers to our questions document, should happen sooner than this.
The PTFC Trust has had well over a month since “relaunching” to answer many of these concerns. It has provided no new information to fans since the end of August.
Developments since then
It came to our attention, via several sources, that there is an intention to complete the share transfer from Three Black Cats to the PTFC Trust imminently.
This is despite the fact that, in August, the PTFC Trust promised to hold an open meeting in mid-September for fans.
The correspondence from PTFC Trust to us on Tuesday, about a meeting in October, has to be understood in light of this new information. We have reason to believe that the share transfer will in fact happen without fans having any opportunity to express a view on the final deal.
Our position and next steps
It would not be acceptable, in our view, for PTFC Trust, the Club Board and Three Black Cats to maintain radio silence about their intentions in the coming days and weeks.
The fans must be engaged with properly and fully. We need to know well in advance the final details of any proposal before it goes ahead.
In the absence of clarity, engagement and accountability, our position is very simple. It remains our view that the share transfer should not go ahead.
Our position is a perfectly reasonable one. Indeed, it is exactly the position that the (then) PTFC Trust trustees adopted, back in August 2019, when there were negotiations with overseas third parties to take control of Thistle. We can put it no better than those trustees when they said:
“We expect the supporters to be consulted before any transfer of shares takes place in our Club”
We will be making representations to several key parties in the coming days. In doing so, we will seek faithfully to represent the views of our members, and those of many in the wider Thistle support.