PARTICK THISTLE FC TRUST - a supporters group that own 19.28% of the club - have released a statement urging shareholders not to lend their support to a potential takeover bid from NewCity Capital.

The billionaire consortium, who already own English Championship side Barnsley and French club Nice, have been involved in prolonged discussions with the Firhill club's board with a view to buying out a majority share in Partick Thistle in the coming weeks.

But now Partick Thistle Trust - the single biggest shareholder in Thistle - have urged supporters to be wary of the bid from the consortium.

A statement published online read: "The PTFC Trust Supporters Trustees have unanimously decided to indicate to the Thistle support that we do not believe the proposed transfer of shares in PTFC to the consortium led by Paul Conway would be in the best interests of the long term future of PTFC. This is based on the information we have been able to gather over the past two months, invlving a great deal of time, questions, probing and soul searching but we feel that it is our duty as custodians of the largest single shareholding in PTFC, held for the benefit of Supporters, to provide as informed an opinion as we can on this potentially crucial point in our history to the Supporters.


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"Trustees have met with the PTFC chairman on three seperate occasions since the Board changes in July, the points made duing this statement relate to different exchanges during these meetings. During each of these meetings we have asked questions about the consortium and the current PTFC board, their plans and how this may impact/transform PTFC going forward. The aim of the Trustees has been to gather as much information as possible on the consortium's short and long-term plans for PTFC. We have asked questions around potential player transfers between OGC Nice/Barnsley and PTFC but most importantly were our questions around; why PTFC? How will the consortium fund their ambitions for PTFC and is the long-term goal? For example, how may Thistle look in five years, on and off the pitch? These questions we feel are pertinent and are questions that we would require full and open responses to if it was the PTFC Trust acting as a group of shareholders looking to sell a majority stake in the club.

"Frankly, the lack of detail provided to these questions has been troubling. When asked by the PTFC trust what due dilligence the PTFC board had initiated or completed on the consortium, the chairman confirmed that no due dilligence had been undertaken by the PTFC board. We were informed that the PTFC BoD have to sign off on a "fit and proper person's test" of prospective new owners and that they would only do this if they believed the transfer of shares would be in the best interests of PTFC. There was agreement, however, that this process is generally not fit for purpose as had been shown in various disastrous takeovers/share transfers at a number of clubs north and south of the border in recent memory.

"Another main concern raised by us to the chairman was around the consortium's potential financing of PTFC going forward, could this be via a mortgage used against the stadium or via a loan/debt creation. Given that PTFC BoD's have worked so hard to make the club debt free over recent years it is a massive concern that we face the possibility of being plunged back in to debt by a consortium with no previous connection to Thistle, to fund the club going forward. When challenged on this, the chairman said that it did "not concern him" and agreed that it was possible that a mortgage or other financial instrument could be used to finance the ambitions of the consortium. For us, as supporters who watched our club almost die 21 years ago, this is an unacceptable prospect. It was also acknowledged that it was impossible to know how Thistle may look in five years time, or who may own the club at this point. There are no guarantees on the table from the consortium in regards to funding, future ownership or it seems any key detail. It was the view of the chairman that it owuld not be in the interests of the consortium not to run Thistle well, while we agree on this point, we require more than this to be comfortable that the future of PTFC will not be gambled of endangered.


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"We have been told that the detail provided to us is the same which has been provided to the PTFC BoD and also the Jags Trust, it appears the only detail which we are missing relates to the financial transaction that would take place, which we realise is confidential and would not relate to the future plans for PTFC.

"As stated in previously released statements, the PTFC Trust have continually sought a meeting with member(s) of the consortium so that we can put our questions directly to those looking to purchase a majority shareholding and try to allay concerns that we have. Unfortunately, we have been unsuccessful in these requests and are seemingly no closer to this meeting being set up than we were when first requesting this in July.

"Based on this information, with the key points that we have outlined previously, it is impossible for us to form an opinion as to whether this will make Thistle a better football team or that it will secure the long-term future of PTFC as a going concern. Indeed, it is our view, that the potential transfer of shares to the consortium poses very serious and worrying questions about the financial sustainability of the club in the long term. Based on this, it is simply impossible for the Supporters Trustees to arrive at the same conclusion as the PTFC BoD/majority shareholder group that this deal is in the best interests of PTFC, without taking a huge leap of faith.

"We would encourage all shareholders, large and small, including the Jags Trust, to seriously consider if the proposed transfer of shares is really in the best interests of the long-term sustainability of Partick Thistle Football Club. We remain open to further communication with the PTFC BoD or any other party that we can work with for the common good of the club.


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"We realise that this decision may disappoint some supporters who are broadly in favour of the proposed share transfer but we felt that after a prolonged period of trying to gather information to come to a conclusion as to whether we could provide our support for this change in leadership, we have simply been unable to do so based on the information provided to us. Please rest assured that this decision has not been taken lightly.

"As indicated in our post yesterday, the Supporters Trustees welcome the appointment of Ian McCall as the new Thistle manager and wish Ian all the very best over the rest of this season and beyond. We apologise for the timing of this statement, it is not our intention to distract at all from the positive news regarding the managerial appointment. We were, however, keen to ensure that our opinions were provided to supporters before any potential transfer of shars takes place."