Partick Thistle fans have been urged to ‘Save The Jags’ once again after the cinch Championship outfit announced losses of around £280,000 for the 2022/23 campaign – with The Jags Foundation (TJF), the supporters’ group, claiming that the club’s previous board’s “financial irresponsibility could have seen the demise of our club this season”.

The Firhill board released a statement on Wednesday morning informing its fanbase of the heavy losses sustained this term as it encouraged supporters to sign up to TJF in a bid to rescue the club from the financial peril it faces.

The announcement explained that the cash shortfall was caused by “an anticipated investment into the club not materialising, at the same time as the previous board committed to an increased playing budget for the men’s team with the objective of achieving promotion. There were also some errors with the original budget which meant costs would always be higher than planned in some areas.”

Following their mid-season appointment, the interim board “quickly established that we did not have sufficient funds to complete the season with a substantial cash-flow deficit. We secured our immediate future via loans to the club from directors, with longer-term investment now being sought.”

A statement from TJF followed shortly afterwards with a number of remarkable – and deeply concerning – revelations. If not for the Jags’ Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Ibrox earlier this year, which banked the club almost £300k, Thistle would have been unable to pay wages in February and “would not have been able to comfortably pay the May salaries”. TJF added that the club “had to get lucky with unbudgeted, unforeseen income or find investment, or both”. Without the Cup income, Thistle’s losses would have been between £500k and £600k.

The blame for the dire straits the club finds itself in has been laid firmly at the door of the previous club board, who resigned en masse in December amid mounting pressure from supporters (with the exception of Duncan Smillie, who serves as chairman of the interim board) as the club’s fan ownership dispute came to a head.

“Please be assured these problems have nothing to do with fan ownership and are entirely to do with the conduct of the previous board, and the oversight and scrutiny they received from the previous custodians of the shares,” TJF explained in reference to Three Black Cats, the company that held Colin Weir’s majority stake in the club.

“The culture of over-spending and loss making has to come to an end,” TJF added. “We have no reserves left to sustain it any longer. Others have spent through every last crumb in the biscuit tin.”

The news will come as a matter of great concern to Thistle supporters, who had to mobilise in 1998 to prevent the club going bust in the ‘Save The Jags’ campaign. It is telling that the same phrase has been used in TJF’s statement, drawing an unhappy parallel between that bleak time and now.

A lump sum of £50k has been paid to the club by TJF, who raise money via subscriptions from supporters, with the promise of a further £135k to follow during the 2023/24 campaign in order to “rebuild working capital and margins of safety” at Firhill. However, TJF has asked supporters to make greater contributions to the fans’ group as it does not currently generate £135k per annum.

TJF’s statement concluded: “Despite numerous challenges, we have survived since 1876. Yet financial irresponsibility could have seen the demise of our club this season. Frankly, and if you could forgive us for being emotional for a moment, we hope that no one involved in almost ending that 147-year history of our football club ever shows their face at Firhill again.

“It’s time to pull together, support our manager, dig deep where you can, and take pride in Saving the Jags again. Thank you.”

Meanwhile, the squad overhaul at Firhill this summer has begun after Scott Tiffoney agreed a move to recently-promoted Dundee. The winger will join up with his new team-mates once his Thistle contract expires this weekend.