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Partick Thistle Football Club Trust: Power to the fans

By on February 24, 2016

Patrick Thistle fans have the “best chance of a genuine and transparent two-way dialogue” through the club trust says supporters representative Pauline Graham.

The Partick Thistle Football Club Trust – set up last year as part of the club’s bid to become debt free – will meet for the first time next month.

And through fan-appointed representatives on the trust’s board, it will give supporters the opportunity to have a greater say in the running of the Firhill club.

The initial board is being set up with five trustees, three Thistle directors and two from the supporter base. But the club says this is just to get the trust up and running, with more able to join depending on the level of activity they take on.

Graham and Foster Evans – Thistle fans since the early 1970s who both also sit on the Partick Thistle Community Trust Board – represent the supporters with Thistle directors Greig Brown and Jacqui Low along with managing director Ian Maxwell making up the five trustees.

Graham said: “It’s early days, we are just at the start of a process to explore what supporters want and what they can expect from the Trust.

“As the representatives for the supporter base Foster and I have the role of ensuring fans have a greater voice and influence in relation to the club and how it is run. We believe the Trust gives us the best chance of a genuine and transparent two-way dialogue that should empower Thistle supporters and reflect the level of shareholding they now have in the club.

“This isn’t a fully formed Trust, in the sense we have the model but now want to engage with supporters, from the outset, to make sure we know what they want and what their aspirations are for the Trust going forward. We hope they grasp this opportunity to have their say.”

And David Beattie, Thistle chairman, added: “We are delighted the Trust is now officially up and running. In one significant move, supporters are now the largest single shareholder in the club, with nearly one in five of the share capital. 

“Supporters should see this as a signal of the importance we place on their involvement with the club and the value we place on their input to what we do. On and off the pitch this season, Thistle has been making quiet progress in terms of its long term ambitions.

“To have a clear route to communicate with those supporters regularly on an open and accountable basis, through a direct channel to them, is essential if we are to continue to progress as a club. Nothing has been decided in advance of the first Trust meeting so we are starting as we mean to go on, in an open and accountable way.” 

* The Trust is the single biggest shareholder in the club, holding 19.28 per cent – the  result of a share gift by Colin and Christine Weir following their investment in the club in November last year. .

* Trust work is defined as: “… for the purpose of holding shares in the company to safeguard the long-term benefit and integrity of the association football club operated by the company, while promoting its growth and financial wellbeing.”

* Trust beneficiaries are supporters aged 18 or over who hold a season ticket to watch the home fixtures for the current season. He or she must have held such a season ticket for each of the three immediately preceding seasons.

Foster Evans first started going to Firhill in the late 1960s and has been a supporter ever since, he now goes to the games with his son and sometimes his two grandchildren. He is treasurer of Partick Thistle Community Trust and chair of Senscot Legal, as well as being a member of the parent board, Senscot, a charity supporting social entrepreneurs and networks in Scotland.

Pauline Graham has been a Jags fan since her Thistle-mad dad took her to Firhill in 1970. She has been a loyal supporter ever since, along with two of her brothers. She has been chief executive of Social Firms Scotland for almost eight years – a national charity supporting social businesses to create jobs for people who have a disability, mental ill-health, are ex-offenders or have substance misuse issues.

Also a founding director of Ready for Business Procurement, which delivers a national programme on behalf of the Scottish government to support social enterprises and charities to enter public service markets, she currently represents social enterprise on a range of Scottish government forums. In a voluntary capacity, she is chair of Partick Thistle Community Trust. 

 

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