When chairman David Beattie bumped into Chris and Colin Weir, Thistle supporters and £161m lottery winners, asking for a hand-out was apparently the last thing on his mind.
A relationship developed, however, leading to yesterday's announcement that the club's wealthiest fans would be donating £750,000 over three years to help establish a new youth academy that will bear their name. With Thistle running on a break-even financial strategy, it was little surprise that Beattie described it as "a momentous day" for the Maryhill club.
"We had been talking about it and how we make [our youth development] a professional set-up but money was always a stumbling block," he said. "We had the ideas but not the finance to make it a reality. What it means is the club is going to be able to take its 120 professional kids and expand that to about 400 kids. The objective is to have a thousand kids a week training up to three times a week."
Beattie explained how the partnership came about. "The last thing we wanted to do was chap on their [the Weirs'] door even though we knew they are Partick Thistle fans. I bumped into them and we started talking about Thistle. Slowly but surely the friendship developed.
"They are absolutely delighted to be involved with the club especially with the youth development of it. They asked how they could help and our passion has always been to develop the youth culture. We discussed with them the community side of things and the football side of things and came up with this initiative of a youth academy. We think it is really important and it is one of our core values at Thistle."
Such is the significance of this development that Gerry Britton, the club's former player and co-manager, has given up his career as a solicitor to devote his time fully to Thistle's expanded youth development programme. "It's a cliche but it is a dream come true for me to be able to do this in a professional manner with the resources, the facilities and the expertise we will be able to bring to bear on the kids that we have at present," said Britton who has headed up the club's academy on a part-time basis for four years.
"We will be able to offer a level of staff akin to what the first team is used to in terms of physiotherapy, sports science, nutrition and sports psychology. Our aim is to start that off with kids from 11 years of age as opposed to waiting until Alan [Archibald, Thistle manager] gets them. The ideal scenario would be to bring one player into the first team each year - because providing players for Alan is what this is all about."