Partick Thistle chair and board quit after ownership row at Firhill

Supporters have protested against the ownership model and running of the club.

Partick Thistle chair and board members quit after ownership row at Firhill SNS Group

Partick Thistle chair Jacqui Low and all but one of the club’s board of directors have resigned after fan protest about the ownership and direction at Firhill.

The group cited “negative commentary” and “increasingly destructive behaviour” from fans as being part of their reasons to step aside.

Supporters have been unhappy with the leadership at the Championship side, believing they have failed to deliver full fan ownership at the Maryhill club. The situation escalated earlier this year when it was announced that the PTFC Trust had been chosen as the recipient of majority shareholder Colin Weir’s stake in the club.

Weir, who bought the shares after winning £161m on the EuroMillions lottery, died in December 2019, and his stake was held by the Three Black Cats group and formally transferred to the Trust last month.

Fans’ group The Jags Foundation and others have complained about the new fan ownership model and believe the shareholding will be diluted, and that the current model does not represent true fan ownership, something that Low and the board have denied.

Some supporters have boycotted matches and demonstrated against the board and after discussions, seven directors including Low and former Thistle star Alan Rough, have stood down.

In a joint statement released on the club website, Low, Rough, Alan Caldwell, Andrew Byron, Douglas Noble, John Penman and Michael Robertson said: “

“Although all members of the board were re-elected at last month’s AGM, a section of the fanbase, encouraged by a false narrative about fan ownership and ongoing negative commentary, has not moved on.

“It became clear that their actions could impact on the club long term, particularly on match days, at a hugely important time for the team on the park. The disruption has already caused loss of potential sponsorship and, if allowed to go unchecked, it could do significant and real damage to the club these fans claim to love.

“The board discussed the best way to protect Thistle from this increasingly destructive behaviour. Sadly, we came to the conclusion that it meant us resigning for the good of the club.

“It has been our great privilege to help steer the club through Covid, demotion and other challenges in the last three years and we wish manager Ian McCall, coaching staff and the team every success for the rest of the season. Likewise, we wish Brian Graham and the women’s team well for their season. We want to place on record our thanks to chief executive Gerry Britton, staff, volunteers and fans for all their support.

“We hope that by taking this action now, this will draw a line, allowing the club to move forward and focus on football.”

Low had insisted in an interview last month that she would not be driven from her position.

“I’m sure I’ve thought that but people that know me also know that I don’t give up,” Low told the Glasgow Times.

“If I was asked to leave by the board or the majority shareholders, of course I would. This is not about clinging on for grim death.

“I did give the option to the board when the share transfer went through to consider my position, and they did. They came back and asked me to continue.

“It will be up to the majority shareholders too – when they get to see how everything works and what’s going on, they may want to make a decision or reconsider that. That would be their right.

“But I would ask people to look back at the club’s performance – how we got through Covid and everything else that has happened over the previous few years when the board and I were in positions of leadership.

“I don’t think we let the club down. I don’t think we could have done that any better and I was really proud of being part of that team. When my time is up, my time will be up.”

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