In the end, it took a matter of minutes. Three years, seven months and 26 days after Colin Weir purchased a majority stake in Partick Thistle with a view to gifting the 55-per-cent shareholding to the fans, his vision was finally realised on Tuesday afternoon in one of the small offices located in the corner of the stand that bears the late Euromillions winner’s name at Firhill.

A small group of supporters were to meet at the stadium at midday; all of whom were there to represent the three most prominent fans’ groups at Thistle: the PTFC Trust, which received Weir’s stake and now holds a 74-per-cent share of the club; The Jags Foundation, a 1,600-member strong organisation; and The Jags Trust, another group which holds shares in the club.

One by one, representatives arrived amid a backdrop of good-natured chitter-chatter. Each was immediately greeted with a warm smile and a welcoming handshake. As the room filled up, those in attendance marvelled over the recent penalty shoot-out victory at Peterhead, where 24 spot-kicks were taken, before talk turned to bullish predictions about the team’s trip to Tannadice later that evening.

Then it was time to get down to business. Documents were produced from satchels and circulated around the table as everyone took their seats. There was a brief explanation of the paper’s contents – once signed, The Jags Foundation and the Jags Trust would be corporate beneficiaries of the PTFC Trust, incorporating the two groups into the ownership model – and then the signing of the changes to the trust deed began.

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A minute or two passed as the is were dotted and the ts crossed, until the pen was lifted from the page for the final time. As the ink dried, the realisation set in: Partick Thistle were officially, by anyone’s measure, a fan-owned football club.

The strife and drama of the past few years had been erased with a few strokes of the pen, and a new chapter of a 147-year-old institution had officially begun. Hundreds – heck, thousands – of fans had just become part-owners of their beloved team, although they wouldn’t know it until a statement was released on Thursday afternoon to reveal the news.

A few more handshakes were exchanged once the deed was done (pardon the pun), then it was time for the group to make their way down to the pitch for the accompanying photocall. Brian Welsh, the club’s media officer, scuttled back and forth, fetching tables and chairs to be used as props. Tommy Taylor, the long-serving club photographer, directed his subjects hither and yon, cracking good-natured jokes in trademark fashion.

And then it was done. Everyone involved could reflect on the magnitude of what they had just achieved with a deserved sense of pride. Each and every one had played a crucial role in delivering fan ownership at Firhill and had represented supporters to the best of their ability. There had been no shortage of hurdles to overcome to get to this point, yet here they were stood: part-owners of Partick Thistle, alongside thousands of their fellow fans.

The Herald:

That day back in November 2019 when Weir bought the shares feels like it occurred decades ago. His untimely death in December and the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in March of the following year understandably put the breaks on the whole affair but even still, there is no denying that it has been a drawn-out process. When Weir first acquired the shares, he hoped to have the whole business wrapped up within a few months but it has taken until now to get the move rubber-stamped.

The progress made since the turn of the year has been remarkable and is testament to the power of cooperation that has broken out at Firhill. It wasn’t so long ago that The Jags Foundation and the PTFC Trust had a somewhat adversarial relationship; now, there is a healthy mutual respect and friendship between the two groups. With The Jags Trust also involved, a huge cross-section of the Thistle support now have a meaningful say in how the club is run.

Public sniping, boardroom power struggles, fan protests and more twists and turns than can be mentioned: events off the park during the past few years at Thistle have been almost as dramatic as the team’s exploits on it. But it will all be worth it in the long haul as ownership of the club transfers to the most suitable guardians of all: the supporters themselves.

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Credit goes to The Jags Foundation, for continuing to fight for fan ownership even when it looked like a very distant prospect. Credit goes to the PTFC Trust, who have taken their fair share of flak over the past year or so (including within these very pages), for delivering on the promises they made to the Thistle support last year when they received Weir’s stake in the club. Credit goes to The Jags Trust, for being involved in the collaborative process and dutifully representing its members interests. Credit goes to Colin Weir for his act of incredible generosity, and credit goes to each and every one of The Jags Foundation and The Jags Trust’s members for getting involved in the long-term future of the club they hold so dear.

Partick Thistle has always belonged to supporters. Now, though, it’s official.