Thursday 16th April, 2020 at 3:26pm
To be relegated at any time in a club’s life is, in a sporting context, an enormous setback. You accept your fate, because it was in your hands to change the outcome.
However, to be relegated in the arbitrary and unjust way we are currently experiencing, with no say in it, is heartbreaking for everyone at Partick Thistle, including staff and players and especially our fans.
We advised the SPFL on Tuesday of the joint counsel’s Opinion we had sought in relation to the validity – or not – of the Dundee FC vote cast last Friday.
To be clear, we did not threaten litigation, we sought clarity on the legal points raised.
We still regard this as a strong legal Opinion that raises significant issues around the whole process of the vote and related matters. Having taken further legal advice, we have been advised that we have the option to take this before a court. Instinctively, injustice demands reparation.
However, as a Club, the decision to relegate Thistle is first and foremost about our people and what this might mean for them. To pursue court action costs money and considerable time – so we have had to consider carefully whether both could be better spent on securing the Club’s future and protecting the livelihoods of those we employ. In deciding what our next steps should be, that was our first priority.
Thistle has always lived in the real world so we also looked at the bigger picture of the life-changing pandemic we find ourselves in. The resulting lockdown is challenging the very existence of some clubs. If we were to take this action to court, there is a risk that might stop the release of much-needed monies to those clubs on Friday.
That’s a step too far for us. Regardless of what’s been inflicted on Thistle, we can’t be responsible for pushing even one club to the brink. It would be hypocritical of us to have espoused “do no harm” as a reason why we shouldn’t be relegated and then do exactly that.
Taking all of that into account, although we stand by the legal Opinion, the Board has agreed that we will not seek “further remedy” against the SPFL in order to overturn the Resolution. Although we remain at a loss to understand why a decision was taken – at a time when Governments are seeking to support jobs across sectors – that will cause significant damage to Thistle and others.
Instead, we will focus our efforts and monies on Thistle and look forward, not back. That includes making a positive contribution to the discussions on possible changes to the league structures.
We aren’t looking for sympathy, we don’t need it. We are a well-run, debt-free club with a proud history of rolling with the punches. We may be down but we are not out. When football returns, we will be here, ready to play, regardless of the league we are in.
To our fans, we hope you understand why we have reached this decision. No one should regard this as a sign of weakness – it shows our strength and resolution to get through this despite relegation being forced on us. We aren’t doing what’s easy but we are doing what is right for our Club, our people and for clubs across Scotland. We are grateful for your solid support and encouragement – and when next we meet at Firhill, it will be to start the fightback to right this wrong.