IN the list of things that have made the last few months a seemingly interminable catalogue of misery and uncertainty for Partick Thistle supporters, the future ownership of their club has probably been some way down the list. Such is life at present for the Firhill faithful.

There may just be a light at the end of that particular tunnel at long last though with the news that Colin Weir has bought the majority shareholding of the club through his Three Black Cats company, with the intention of eventually gifting those shares to fans.

A fanbase is a broad church, so reaction to this news has not been unanimously positive. There are those, particularly - though not exclusively - towards the younger end of the spectrum, whose imaginations were captured by the vision that Paul Conway and the NewCity Capital investment group were selling, with apparent aims of third-place Premiership finishes and European football.


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Those fans may have been despondent as they waved goodbye to the billionaire backers of Barnsley, with chairman David Beattie and other shareholders deciding in the end to sell to Weir, a mere multi-millionaire by comparison.

On the other hand, there will be those who are jubilant, sacrificing what they may see as pipe dreams for simply living within their means, with Thistle fan Weir ensuring that come what may, at least they will always have a team to watch on a Saturday afternoon.

There is no need however for this development to mean that Thistle now simply accept their place in the grand scheme of Scottish football.

They are currently sitting rock bottom of the Championship. Most football fans would probably class them as a lower half of the Premiership/upper half of the Championship club. Manager Ian McCall, I duly predict, will have them there or thereabouts come the end of the season, but there is no need to settle for that going forward.

Embracing fan-ownership needn’t mean the shedding of ambition. The inevitable prudence that relying on the monthly generosity of a small core of supporters inevitably brings doesn’t automatically preclude an ability to consistently punch above your weight.

It was no surprise therefore to read in a statement by Thistle For Ever - the fan’s group who, along with the PTFC Trust, are aiming to eventually receive Weir’s gift - that they will be basing their plans on the ‘Well Society, the successful fan-owned model currently in operation at Motherwell.

Elsewhere in these pages you can read the verdict of ‘Well Society co-chair Douglas Dickie, who believes this will be a hugely positive direction of travel for Thistle. It won’t be without a few bumps in the road, but with hard work and the right people, he is in no doubt that a fan-owned Thistle can flourish.


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He allays fears over the misconception that fans owning a club equates to fans running it on a day-to-day basis. That is not the case at Motherwell, with the Society board having two representatives on the executive board, who are charged with running the club.

The announcement from Weir yesterday morning, outlining the make-up of the interim board, went a long way to quashing those fears too, with a wide range of skills and vast experience across the business world evident among the five appointees.

Thistle may not quite have the level of support that Motherwell enjoy, but with Weir’s backing, there is no reason why they can’t get a team on the pitch that can compete at a similar level as the Steelmen, currently sitting in fourth place in the Premiership.

Thistle are averaging around 2800 fans per home game this season, while Motherwell have around 4500 season-ticket holders, of which, around 2500 are ‘Well Society members. If Thistle get a similar sign-up from their core support, they are looking at around 1500 monthly contributors.

Weir may have to help with that shortfall if he is looking to get Thistle competing at that level again, but manager Ian McCall has already been told in the short term that he will be backed in January, and an advantage Thistle’s model has is that it is starting from a debt-free position.

Weir’s involvement also resurrects the prospect of a training ground and secures the continuation of the Thistle Weir Academy. A huge part of Motherwell’s success, and profit, has been based on player sales, and Thistle must continue to churn out the Aidan Fitzpatricks and the James Penrices if they are to make a go of this.


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It isn’t clear if NewCity Capital would have provided such funding, because details of their plans were sketchy to say the least. Some certainty has been provided by Weir, and for me, the future appears a lot brighter than it may otherwise have been.

Some Thistle fans are concerned about the return of former chairman Jacqui Low to the club, given she is a director of Weir’s Three Black Cats group. It is no secret she is a friend of Weir, but my understanding is that she will not be returning to Thistle in any official capacity.

The man who took over from Low in that boardroom coup back in July, David Beattie, now leaves the club for a second time. Throughout this long period of uncertainty, the one thing he has consistently said is that he would sell Partick Thistle to the party who had the best interests of the club at heart.

By selling to Colin Weir and the fans, I believe he has been true to his word.