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First post in around 3 years. Thought I'd pop my head in to say I'm dismayed at what has transpired on this front. TJF are doing sterling work though. Fantastic grasp of the detail, inclusive and robust yet measured. Keep it up. 

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just bought scottish daily mail this morning (only for the tv guide)

double page spread from our chair  "this is what colin weir wanted. he did not think that partick thistle needed saved and neither do I"

still to read article and sorry don't have the tech ability to link this

 

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We've read the article (I wouldn't pay for that rag, I have a news aggregator at work).

It's full of complete and utter nonsense and includes one segment that is a flat out lie.

Just by way of examples:

"Three Black Cats decided that the Trust satisfied the priorities held by Weir. These were the safety of the shareholding and the impossibility of selling it to a third party; the understanding of the need for stability at the club; the enthusiasm shown for being representatives of the fans."

This is bollocks.

"Impossibility of selling it to a third party"

It is not "impossible" for the PTFC Trust to sell or gift the shares to a third party.

In fact, there is no requirement for any vote of the fans at all in the trust deed or the Club's Articles of Association. This is just completely made-up. The decision about what happens to the 74% shareholding of PTFC Trust rests in the hands of five unelected men.

By contrast, TJF has it in its own Articles of Association that any shareholding cannot be disposed of without the consent of the members by a special resolution (75% of those voting). In the negotiations, Three Black Cats expressed concerns that the votes of just a few hundred fans could lead to a share transfer going ahead. We went away, to speak to our lawyers, came up with a proposal to give what are known as "third party rights" to all season-ticket holders, so that somewhere closer to 2000 people would actually get a vote on such a transfer. This was dismissed as having unspecified "practical challenges"

"The understanding of the need for stability at the club"

It is PTFC Trust, not TJF, who are now suggesting that there doesn't need to be a legally binding Club-Trust agreement, similar to those seen at all other fan-owned clubs. They're the ones only just embarking now on negotiations on a memorandum of understanding, after the shares have been transferred.

The PTFC Trust model is completely untested, bears no relation to those at other fan owned clubs. The memorandum and Club-Trust relationship will be picked over for years, assuming they ever actually hold elections and the fans get any real say over what is being done supposedly in their name.

By contrast, the TJF model was tried and tested. It was, if anything, a slightly diluted version of what you see at Motherwell and St Mirren. Going for the industry standard, with a clear fundraising model that would have brought, longer-term, six figure annual sums to the Club, would have done more for "stability" than a vehicle and model that raises no money, has no precedent, and which has sown division among the support.

"The enthusiasm shown for being representatives of the fans"

I'll trust you all to discern that this is pretty much self-discrediting. The PTFC Trust is an organisation that won't hold elections this year, won't be majority elected until May 2024, and won't be wholly elected until at least May 2025. This is a "representative" group that ignores beneficiaries who email them, who reneged on a promise to hold an open meeting in mid-September, who didn't consult or seek the consent of beneficiaries before receiving the shares, who still haven't changed their rules to make all season ticket-holders beneficiaries despite promising it over a month ago.

I'll let you judge how that compares against the activity of the TJF Board to engage with the fans, growing a membership organisation  by over 75% in the space of less than 4 months.

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And to deal with it separately, the flat out lie is this:

"Some of the things that have been said and done in the name of TJF, but not necessarily driven by TJF, have been disappointing,' she says, referring to approaches to sponsors. 'There could have been repercussions from that and any responsible entity that was hoping to take on shares would never condone such behaviour."

This is a reference to exchanges on this very forum, when some of the Thistle fans on here suggested that people write to sponsors and express their displeasure.

The reality of this is that, when the Club withdrew consent to a TJF presence on match-days, Gerry Britton emailed us saying that the Club Board was disappointed that a TJF Board member:

"felt inclined to possibly cause financial harm to the Club, through the promotion of potentially damaging communications with vital club sponsors."

We were genuinely confused about what this was about at the time and asked for evidence of this. Jacqui Low replied, selectively quoting something that I had said on this forum.

You can see for yourself what I actually said right here:

On 8/10/2022 at 12:48 PM, Woodstock Jag said:

I've just seen this thread.

How you wish to express displeasure at the current situation, and to whom, is ultimately a matter for each individual. As far as I am concerned, the primary responsibility for the current situation rests with (a) the Directors of Three Black Cats (b) the Club Board and (c) the anonymous third party group that is now the preferred recipient.

Club sponsors are not responsible for the way my colleagues were treated. They are put in a very difficult position by governance-related wrangling of this kind and many of them just want to support the Club in whatever way they can.

Sponsors absolutely do have power and influence, through their own wallets, but if you are of a mind to engage with them on this issue, please do so in a civil and polite way, and do not conduct yourselves in ways that might be construed (whether rightly or wrongly) as attempting to intimidate them or their businesses.

Quite besides the fact that we need not to be dragged down to the lowest common denominator, nuisance tactics probably won't work, will antagonise rather than win-over those sponsors, and that does nothing to advance the case we are making.

By all means, raise concerns, state your point of view, show your passion for our Club. But do it the right way.

The full context here is that I hadn't seen that thread at all, and neither had the other TJF Board members who post on here. When it was drawn to our attention by a concerned individual, who became aware of potentially intimidatory emails having been sent to club sponsors, we at TJF were absolutely mortified. The post above was intended to discourage people from continuing to do that. It wasn't even remotely "condoning" or "encouraging" that course of action.

I made this point, directly but politely, to Jacqui Low in an email reply, explaining that she had misrepresented what I had said. I requested that she withdraw the allegation, so that a line could be drawn under it. She has not replied to that email, withdrawn the allegation or apologised. I was willing to let matters lie, given that the decision to exclude us from the stadium was after all overturned after fan pressure. But now that she has repeated the allegation, even with insufficient caveats, I feel it is important that you should all know the truth.

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As far as I can see since big announcement no one from club board or PTFC Trust seems to want to answer any questions or communicate with their so called beneficiaries and seems instead their main tactic is to discredit TJF any way they can to somehow justify their decision.

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WJ, rather than preaching to us the converted, would it not be better to contact the Mail for a right to reply. That would get the message to those who hear Low without getting another voice. The next battle is going to be fought in the media rather than here.

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Low will be well known to the Mail's editors from her days as PR chief to Michael Forsyth (aka the prince of darkness to civil servants in the Scottish Office).  She will have been given an easy passage in publishing her diatribe, and the chances of the Mail publishing a response - either an article or a letter - is vanishingly remote.   Not sure who her target audience was, but suspect that she chose easy access rather than effective communication.  Maybe TJF could go to the press complaints ombudsman (if that is the right name).  If successful, a published apology would be printed (3 lines, 1 column  page13).

Best hope for retribution is via a serious paper, perhaps an approach to the Herald, Scotsman or Guardian (who often seem short of Scottish material) - might prove fruitful.

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1 hour ago, eljaggo said:

Low will be well known to the Mail's editors from her days as PR chief to Michael Forsyth (aka the prince of darkness to civil servants in the Scottish Office).  She will have been given an easy passage in publishing her diatribe, and the chances of the Mail publishing a response - either an article or a letter - is vanishingly remote.   Not sure who her target audience was, but suspect that she chose easy access rather than effective communication.  Maybe TJF could go to the press complaints ombudsman (if that is the right name).  If successful, a published apology would be printed (3 lines, 1 column  page13).

Best hope for retribution is via a serious paper, perhaps an approach to the Herald, Scotsman or Guardian (who often seem short of Scottish material) - might prove fruitful.

Perhaps the apology could be entitled “hurrah for the red and yellow shirts”?

As Stewart Lee once said, “They’re very keen on balance at the Daily Mail. It’s been a watchword for them going back to the 1930s”

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The Daily Fail, eh?

Since when was securing your own place on the Club Board a ‘moral duty’? Loose words that don’t convince me at all. 

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Difficult for TJF to get any traction given the small numbers likely to be interested in a Partick Thistle story.  Perhaps they should try to generalise the story by pointing out the moral and governance issues involved and so widen its appeal :  A substantial legacy being hijacked by a self appointed group, no control of a public company by shareholders, no shareholder presence on Board, no constraint on the sale of assets to third party, no investment in company by any director, directors being economical with the truth, etc.

There is really newsworthy material there, just don't expect the Daily Mail to publish it.

Edited by eljaggo
typos
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I have just read the interview the PTFC Trust had with James Cairney and my first reaction is Wow. Just to clarify it was not a good Wow, quite the opposite. I would suggest others read it for themselves though to form their own opinion. It is 3 parts - the interview and a Q&A in two sections.

https://twitter.com/JamesCairneyHT?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

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6 minutes ago, Fawlty Towers said:

I have just read the interview the PTFC Trust had with James Cairney and my first reaction is Wow. Just to clarify it was not a good Wow, quite the opposite. I would suggest others read it for themselves though to form their own opinion. It is 3 parts - the interview and a Q&A in two sections.

https://twitter.com/JamesCairneyHT?ref_src=twsrc^google|twcamp^serp|twgr^author

Perhaps a quicker way to this  interview https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/sport/22632796.ptfc-trust-interview-part-engagement-representation-beneficiaries/

and https://www.glasgowtimes.co.uk/sport/22634604.ptfc-trust-interview-part-ii-clarifications-minutes-comes-next/

 

laughable stuff

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4 minutes ago, lady-isobel-barnett said:

An interview so catastrophic that it doesn't really require further comment. 

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Who ever gave them PR advice on this interview should find another vocation as PR is not for them. If Fergus MacLennan in particular isn't cringing after reading that interview then he's truly not inhabiting the same planet as the rest of us.  

These guys come across as useful idiots who have been put in an impossible situation by Jlow and pals. Still no clearer understanding why the Trust had to take the shares? If they had said not interested how would that have made things any better or worse?

They are lying to themselves if they think reaction has been mixed or that this can be turned around. If they wanted to get the fans on board they should resign from the Trust and force new elections particularly if that means some of the leadership of TJF can be voted into the Trust.

I guess that since engaging with the fans was not constructive because people wanted answers that we can expect that to be their last interview with James Cairney?

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These Trustees are an apalling group of people who should never be anywhere near the (proxy) stewardship of a public company.

As ever, the fundamental question is what are Low's motives?  She is a serial meddler, with a seat on the board of 4 or 5 quangos, so perhaps she is quite simply a control freak with political convictions she wants satisfied.

With no personal shareholding, there seems no financial incentive for her to sell the Club or its assets, although she could receive other payments (consultancy fees, etc) for her involvement in such a move. 

My main concern is over the Club's assets.  The PTFC Trust generates no income to the Club, and the board members have shown no inclination to invest in the Club.  There will be some substantial expenditure needed to maintain the fabric of Firhill in the next 5 years or so, and that will almost certainly mean raising capital either from cash flow (unlikely) or loans (expensive with interest rates rising).

In such circumstances, these may be an incentive to sell Firhill for housing development and for the Club to de-camp to the training development site at Kirkintilloch., which I believe is still owned by 3BCs.  Just to add to the mix, there seems to be no let or hindrance in the PTFC Trust selling the shares to whomsover it pleases.

The Club is in perilous waters, Low has to be removed.

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It’s been a while since I last looked at Three Black Cats’ annual accounts (and they don’t illuminate much except for quickly depleting cash reserves and a massive soft loan) but I thought they had sold on the land on which the training ground was supposedly going to be built?

The development had already encountered problems with access routes and permissions at planning stage so I doubt it’s a viable location.

Longer-term though, unless some serious money is put into making Firhill fit for purpose, the conversation about what to do with it will become an uncomfortable one. Moving outside of Maryhill would, IMO, be terminal for the Club, in much the same way as it has been for Clyde leaving Glasgow. You would immediately lose easily 500 off the normal home gate, and the soul of the Club would wither and die. But there’s not going to be another, more suitable, venue within Glasgow, that costs less to acquire so as to make it worth the hassle leaving Firhill in the first place. We can’t do a St Mirren.

I’ve gone back into the 3BC accounts again and this is from Season 2020-21:

image.png.e6b8bdc03095829dc066b2caa20108f7.png

To the best of my awareness, 3BC has only one subsidiary. PTFC Limited. So when you read the Thistle accounts for that year, bear this in mind. That year PTFC Limited reported a £6k profit, while also in receipt of over £500k in Covid-19 support.

Turnover no doubt recovered quite significantly in 2021-22 with a full season, in the second tier, and there will have been the Queen’s Park groundshare money (though also the additional expense fixing the pitch). But bluntly it is not clear that PTFC Ltd will have broken even (or got near to it) in that financial year without some significant non-obvious other support. The ground transfer also took place inside the 2021-22 financial year, so that will be a one off appreciation in assets of almost £2 million, but which will do nothing for cashflow or turnover.

So I would recommend that everyone looks very closely at not just the PTFC Limited accounts as and when they are published, but also the 3BC ones.

Edited by Woodstock Jag

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14 minutes ago, Woodstock Jag said:

It’s been a while since I last looked at Three Black Cats’ annual accounts (and they don’t illuminate much except for quickly depleting cash reserves and a massive soft loan) but I thought they had sold on the land on which the training ground was supposedly going to be built?

The development had already encountered problems with access routes and permissions at planning stage so I doubt it’s a viable location.

Longer-term though, unless some serious money is put into making Firhill fit for purpose, the conversation about what to do with it will become an uncomfortable one. Moving outside of Maryhill would, IMO, be terminal for the Club, in much the same way as it has been for Clyde leaving Glasgow. You would immediately lose easily 500 off the normal home gate, and the soul of the Club would wither and die. But there’s not going to be another, more suitable, venue within Glasgow, that costs less to acquire so as to make it worth the hassle leaving Firhill in the first place. We can’t do a St Mirren.

I’ve gone back into the 3BC accounts again and this is from Season 2020-21:

image.png.e6b8bdc03095829dc066b2caa20108f7.png

To the best of my awareness, 3BC has only one subsidiary. PTFC Limited. So when you read the Thistle accounts for that year, bear this in mind. That year PTFC Limited reported a £6k profit, while also in receipt of over £500k in Covid-19 support.

Turnover no doubt recovered quite significantly in 2021-22 with a full season, in the second tier, and there will have been the Queen’s Park groundshare money (though also the additional expense fixing the pitch). But bluntly it is not clear that PTFC Ltd will have broken even (or got near to it) in that financial year without some significant non-obvious other support. The ground transfer also took place inside the 2021-22 financial year, so that will be a one off appreciation in assets of almost £2 million, but which will do nothing for cashflow or turnover.

So I would recommend that everyone looks very closely at not just the PTFC Limited accounts as and when they are published, but also the 3BC ones.

Interesting. I have a couple of questions/comments

I thought we only received £150k covid-19 support as that was issued when we were in league 1?

My understanding was the money 3BC's accounts before being transferred to PTFC Ltd was Colin Weir's money? 3BC (really just Jlow after Weir's death) were in effect control of that money?

Theoretically if PTFC ltd spending is artificially increased by increasing the number of employee's, by spending on feasibility studies and other work in support of an unnecessary training ground then the people in receipt of those payments have in effect got access to Colin Weir's money in a legal way that on face value benefits the club but in reality only provides short term game.

Much is made by Jlow and the Trust that we are debt free but your point about the state of the stadium shows the lie behind the debt free statement. We may be debt free now but thats because we are burning through Colin Weir's money and haven't fixed any long term issues that will need lots of money spent on them.

 

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3 hours ago, lady-isobel-barnett said:

If I had the PTFC Trust’s gift for communication, I wouldn’t do it much either.

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17 minutes ago, laukat said:

Interesting. I have a couple of questions/comments

I thought we only received £150k covid-19 support as that was issued when we were in league 1?

That was a specific grant. Other support, including furlough, also applied in season 2020-21.

17 minutes ago, laukat said:

My understanding was the money 3BC's accounts before being transferred to PTFC Ltd was Colin Weir's money? 3BC (really just Jlow after Weir's death) were in effect control of that money?

Colin Weir set up 3BC and put his money into it. Some of that was in the form of a massive 7 figure soft loan, which the last accounts say will be waived. If it isn’t waived, 3BC goes very abruptly insolvent.

17 minutes ago, laukat said:

Theoretically if PTFC ltd spending is artificially increased by increasing the number of employee's, by spending on feasibility studies and other work in support of an unnecessary training ground then the people in receipt of those payments have in effect got access to Colin Weir's money in a legal way that on face value benefits the club but in reality only provides short term game.

I’m straying into the deeper recesses of my memory with this, but as I understand it this money was all set aside and put into 3BC before his death. Not being a revenue generating company, 3BC needed working capital to operate (eg legal fees to Peter Shand’s firm will, I imagine, not have been insignificant).

17 minutes ago, laukat said:

Much is made by Jlow and the Trust that we are debt free but your point about the state of the stadium shows the lie behind the debt free statement. We may be debt free now but thats because we are burning through Colin Weir's money and haven't fixed any long term issues that will need lots of money spent on them.

Cashflow, not debt, is what usually kills or severely weakens football clubs. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got several million on the balance sheet in the form of valuation of a dilapidated stadium unless there is the option to borrow against or sell it as part of your business plan. Beyond that the most important thing is how much cash do you have in the bank, how much recurring income can you bank on, and who are your short term creditors (and for how much).

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3 hours ago, lady-isobel-barnett said:

Their Commander in Chief sent them on a Special Operation. They were told they would be welcomed, with open arms, as heroes. They were assured they would be remembered in history.

That last bit, at least, is true. Stand up, take a bow, the brave quintet of the Patzy Division.

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