THE PTFC TRUST became the majority shareholder of Partick Thistle on Tuesday and now holds a 74-per-cent stake in the Championship club after Three Black Cats transferred the shares held by the late Colin Weir’s company.

Here, four Trustees – Richard Beastall, Ali Campbell, Neil Drain and Fergus Maclennan – speak exclusively to Herald and Times Sport. Part one can be read here.

[Editor's note: Fergus Maclennan had indicated at the very start of the interview that he was pressed for time and would not be able to stay on the Zoom call for its duration.]

Richard, I texted you the other day with Mhairi Black’s opinion. She’s an elected MP and she was highly critical of the share transfer. Have you got a response?

FM Mhairi Black is one Partick Thistle fan. There are a lot of Partick Thistle fans. Everyone has got a view, everyone has got an opinion.

As you’re probably aware I was speaking to Stewart Macgregor earlier this week. Just a point of clarification so we’re all clear – who operates the social media accounts for the Trust?

AC We all do. We have all done various bits of it. Where are we leading to here?

I just wanted to check. Stewart said to me that he posted on behalf of the Trust-

FM I don’t think we need to go over this again. Stewart has given you the detail.

Sorry Fergus, I’m just trying to corroborate. It is my job.

FM Sorry, Stewart has given you that article, right, where he’s explained it. I don’t think we need to go into detail. It was a pretty boring read this morning, to be honest with you. So let’s just draw a line under that.

Fergus, to clarify – I am just asking who is in charge of the social media accounts.

FM Well, Ali has just answered that question and he said that we all do.

Okay, so to clarify again – you’re saying that Stewart Macgregor hasn’t been operating them?

AC Stewart Macgregor gave you an interview and told you about his mishap.

FM I don’t really understand the question. Why are you asking that question?

Excuse me? I’m a journalist.

AC Hang on. So Stewart has explained how he became involved in the social media account and also has explained that he is no longer involved, and that what happened was a complete mishap, and that he was commenting as Stewart Macgregor – or he was intending to comment as Stewart Macgregor. Not Ark Sport, not PTFC Trust, anything like that.

ND And we would concur with that statement.

FM Guys, I’m pushed for time here but if this is the level of questions we’re asking here… sorry, are we done?

Sorry Fergus, I didn’t mean to offend you.

FM No, I just think you’re wasting time here. In terms of… is that the level of detail? You know what Stewart has told you already. Why do you need us to answer that in any more detail?

All I asked is who operates your social media accounts, Fergus. Somebody else was posting from them and using them. Can you not see how that is a tad suspicious?

FM Right. Sorry, as I say I’m short of time here. So what’s your next question?

Very well. The Jags Foundation have acccused you of colluding with the previous Trustees when creating your proposal. Do you reject that accusation? Do you have a response to it?

FM I’m not really sure why you’re asking us all these questions as if we are up in court here, as if we have to defend ourselves. I find it totally inappropriate.

ND I already answered about how we came together. I think we’ve covered that in the past.

RB It is worth saying that in one of the Q&A questions we categorically deny that there’s any involvement from outside parties in the running of the Trust.

Richard, thank you. I was just after an answer there. That’s all I wanted.

FM What’s the next question?

When I was speaking to Stewart Macgregor, he mentioned there was a previous supporter Trustee who was also involved at the early stages of the talks. He couldn’t remember their name. Do you know who they were and what their involvement was?

FM Nope.

RB Stewart’s timeline in the article was very accurate. It was the end of May that we first spoke to the Trust. The only people we spoke to at that point were the three director Trustees and the two supporter Trustees. So we have no knowledge of any conversations with anyone before that. We know that there were previous Trust members but we don’t know… frankly, to us, it’s irrelevant. You are back dwelling on the past. We came here to talk about the future and how we are going to engage with fans in the future. It’s getting dangerously close to asking us about minutes.

[Editor’s note: At this point, Maclennan politely excused himself from the interview.]

Well Richard, I’m going to do it then. Have you guys had access to the Trust minutes from April and May of 2022?

RB We have. We are Trustees, of course we have.

Are your beneficiaries allowed to see them?

RB They are commercially sensitive. The talk about potential conversations with boards and various things – we answered this question previously. To be honest, I’m disappointed. We came on this call to talk about the future and I can see that you are basically reading the 37 questions we got from The Jags Foundation.

Excuse me?

RB They’re the same questions. 

They have raised some valid questions, Richard.

RB We have answered them in the Q&A session.

But I haven’t seen that. You’ve not shown me that.

RB We answered them when we spoke previously.When we spoke previously, and we’ve answered them previously – there are commercially sensitive things talked about in meeting minutes. For example, there could be – I don’t know – there could be something happening involving an allegation against a Trust member. You don’t publish a minute that talks about an allegation against a Trust member. You don’t publish a minute that talks about a commercial aspect of a conversation you’re having to do with the share gift.

Richard, that’s the first time you’ve told me that. You have not told me that before. Maybe you think you have but you have not.

RB I apologise. I thought we had.

I read over our Q&A about ten minutes before coming on this call and these points were not addressed there. That Q&A was a full transcript of the interview.

RB We have addressed them on our website or… we have addressed them previously.

If they are addressed in the new Q&A, I’ve not had access to that yet. I have not seen answers to these questions. Again, I am a journalist. It is my job to ask questions.

ND No problem.

I can’t help it if you don’t like them but that’s my job.

RB Okay.

What points do you want to get our there then? What are the next steps for the Trust? You have got the shares, what happens now?

ND I think what we want to push out is that we want to get the communication from the Trust to the beneficiaries as quickly as we can, so that we can start a two-way dialogue better. Ideally, we would like to extend the beneficiaries of the Trust but that will be decided by the current beneficiaries, not us. We would like to learn more about how the club is run and ask the questions that fans have about how the club is run – and get answers to those. And start a proper dialogue between the fans and the club. And get the fans closer together. We don’t want to be constantly defending ourselves about what previous Trustees have done. We don’t have the time to do all these things. If we want to do the things we want to do, we have to concentrate on looking forward rather than going back. We are all busy people with jobs and we want to try and get this club stable, have genuine fan ownership and engagement. There are people all over social media saying we have no interest in fan engagement in fan ownership, which is absolute nonsense. It is exactly the opposite and we will hopefully prove this in the coming weeks, months and years that that’s the case. We want a stable, successful Partick Thistle Football Club with genuine fan ownership and fans being closer to the club. We think we have the ability to do that. Unfortunately, the other people who were looking for the shares were unsuccessful in bringing the club closer together to its fans. They brought the fans together but they didn’t bring the club closer to the fans. And it’s not for us to judge why that happened but it definitely happened in the end. We’re not allocating blame or anything like that but we were in a situation whereby we didn’t have fans close to the club. And we are definitely closer. We are nowhere near the end of the journey and it will not be us who decide the journey, ultimately it will be the fans. But that will not happen next week, it will not happen in a month’s time. It is an evolution as to how it goes. But we have got the structure in place that allows that evolution.

Are there plans in place for the Trust to be a fundraising vehicle in any way?

RB The short answer is yes, there are. Absolutely. It doesn’t need to be but it would be great if it was because the club having more money would be a fantastic thing but it’s not a requirement that it has to be, but we would love it to be.

You said beneficiaries are currently season ticket holders for three years, the hope is that will change to just season ticket holders. What about non-season ticket holders? Are there any plans in place to get them involved in the process?

RB If our beneficiaries vote for it – but yes, there is. But that’s up to our beneficiaries. The original proposal document said that we would welcome memberships but that is up to beneficiaries to decide if that is the right thing to do.

When will you start canvassing your beneficiaries?

AC Realistically, a couple of weeks. We need to meet with the club board and agree an absolute process. We have got an idea of how it is going to work as I alluded to earlier. We will meet with the club board and make sure they’re happy and we’re happy that we can reach as many people as possible without causing any issues with GDPR and so on. But yeah, we are looking at the next couple of weeks.

Is there anything you’d like to talk about that hasn’t come up?

RB I don’t think… back to what we said at the beginning of this – we are genuine about this, we really, really are. And we want people to engage with us positively, and we want to judge us in a year, not a month or a week. Six months, not six days – however you want to phrase that. We are at the beginning of a journey. Judge us further on in the journey, not now. And don’t judge us for stuff in the past that was before our time frankly.

ND I don’t think we need to be judged. I personally don’t care how people judge me. Personally speaking – maybe not speaking for the other guys in the Trust – all I want to do is in five years’ time look at a club that is fan-owned, with a great relationship with its fans and a successful football team. I don’t really care if people still hate me and think I’m a charlatan or whatever, so long as the club is okay and the fans are getting properly represented in the long term and it’s stable – I genuinely don’t care how people judge us. I don’t. I’m quite happy enough in myself without worrying about anyone else’s opinion – so long as the club is okay and so long as the fans are getting represented. So long as this debacle has been going on for three years, and it is a debacle, is put behind us.