Monday 31 January 2011

Something is rotten in the state of Firhell

So the PTFC AGM results in life-time fan and recent board appointee Jim Alexander being thrown off the board by a vote among shareholders of 4 million to 1 million or thereabouts. As if it weren't bad enough that one of the good guys has gone, there's something not right here at all.

In preceding years the Board of Directors have been re-elected en-masse without individual votes. It was done publicly, if arguably in breach of the Articles of Association and therefore the Companies Act. Suddenly at this years' AGM, which was held on a Monday morning instead of the usual evening slot (ensuring a poorer attendance, naturally) and they hold a 'secret' ballot on individual board members.

I cannot verify if any of the following is true, but they are some of the things I have heard. If any of this is factually inaccurate I'd like to invite the Club to respond and correct me:

The Jags Trust were approached by an ex-director (with the joint largest individual shareholding) asking for a meeting. At least one current director (with a substantial shareholding) and that ex-director were present at that meeting. The Trust were informed that Jim Alexander's position was under threat based on some of the proxies submitted and enquired how the Trust intended to vote. In the end, the Trust (who own 1 million shares or thereabouts) voted for the status quo and for Jim to remain on the board.

The same ex-director apparently held several proxy votes, and was overheard discussing these proxies with another individual at the AGM. If what I have heard is true, this individual held in excess of three million of the B shares in Partick Thistle as a result of those proxy submissions.

The count for the re-election was carried out by the company in which this ex-director has an interest. This count was confirmed as correct by this same ex-director. The same company continues to deal with the Club's accounts and pays for one of its employees to be seconded to Thistle to do this job.

Now Jim Alexander has stated on the record several times that he believes the 'PropCo' deal was not good for the Club. At the time there were a considerable number of individuals who (rightly) saw the way the whole deal was structured as lacking fundamental protections for the Club. Is it any coincidence that of the leading active members of the Board we now have two people who have a substantial financial interest in PropCo and no obvious dissenting voice on the Club board. Where is the balance of power? Who is pulling the strings here?

There is something rotten in the state of Firhell.

Saturday 29 January 2011

Erskine for Scotland!

It's a great time to be a Thistle fan just now. The start of this season was pretty grim and with problems off the pitch at times it felt as though going along to Firhill on a Saturday was more out of habit and blind loyalty than genuine enjoyment.

What a difference a couple of months make, though. David Rowson comes back from injury, and the midfield suddenly starts to hold together as a cohesive unit, and the redundancies at Dundee land quite by chance Scott Fox at our doorstep. Happy just to get a game of football, Fox waltzed into the team and made a defence that leaked goals become a Sahara for hopeful opposition forwards. Now we've gone 9 games unbeaten, have a big game up at McDiarmid Park in the cup and the relegation fight we looked stuck in is a comfortable distance away. I'm absolutely delighted he's signed a 2.5 year deal as the best teams are built from the back.

Erskine for Scotland!
And then there's Chris Erskine. The man personifies Thistle in so many ways. From his impromptu mazy runs, beating 5 players in the process, to sclaffing the ball for a throw-in seconds later, he's an enigma. The entertainment value he provides alone is what keeps us coming back. Today he opened the scoring with so much confidence slotting away a one-on-one after Rowson played through a well won ball by Paddy Boyle.

Sure, Liam Buchanan's moved to Dunfermline, evidence that to sort things off the park we have to live within our means. Another goal for Doolan today and the tremendous work ethic he's shown though, just proves he's both able and willing to fill the number 9 jersey. Kris is a smart lad and very down to Earth. He, Paddy Boyle and Willie Kinniburgh have been hugely improved on last season and they've really done themselves justice at this level where their futures at Firhill might not otherwise have been certain.

We're scoring goals, we're good at the back, and the team is playing its heart out. Long may it continue!

Erskine for Scotland!

Thought for the day

Lord Hoffman has at times demonstrated considerable prescience on the issues of fundamental rights and democracy. Consider today's thought in light of both recent changes to control orders and the current situation on the North African peninsula.This extract forms part of the opinion Hoffman gave in ex parte Alconbury [2001] UKHL 23.

"There is no conflict between human rights and the democratic principle. Respect for human rights requires that certain basic rights of individuals should not be capable in any circumstances of being overridden by the majority, even if they think that the public interest so requires. Other rights should be capable of being overridden only in very restricted circumstances. These are rights which belong to individuals simply by virtue of their humanity, independently of any utilitarian calculation."

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Justice Season

BBC Four is currently doing a season on the theme of Justice, drawing substantially from Prof Michael Sandel's course at Harvard by the same name. The full series of lectures is available here on Youtube and I'm working my way through them at the moment. Sandel has a fascinating way of exploring the ideas of great thinkers across the entire philosophical spectrum. He brings it to life with tangible examples, not in a way which dilutes the ideas, but in a way that teases out every premise, strength and pitfall.

Definitely worth taking some time to listen to and to reflect.

Sleep is good

Relaunch In Progress

A new blog name, a new blog look, and with any luck, a regular stream of content...

Coming Soon Eventually!