I attended this year’s Partick Thistle Open Day, which took place on Saturday. (Thistle lost 2-1 at home to Dundee United the previous evening, with Lawrence Shankland surprisingly only scoring one of United’s goals; I had originally been planning to go to the game too, but when I tried to book a hotel room via the hotel chain’s website, it wouldn’t let me reserve a room then pay by cash on arrival – which the website had already said I could.) I arrived in Glasgow early on Saturday morning, and after freshening-up and getting breakfast at Greggs, decided to walk to Firhill from Glasgow city centre. I had to wait to cross Cowcaddens Road until an Orange marching band and their police escort had gone past, but I still ended up arriving at Firhill slightly early.
Last year I couldn’t go because I was in hospital and the previous year I couldn’t go because until last year the Open Day was only actually open to season ticket holders. The Partick Thistle Open Day takes place on the pitch – which looked immaculate, especially remarkable considering there’d been a match on it the previous evening – and in and around the Jackie Husband Stand. From high up in the JHS I took several photos. I’m still finding my way round my new tablet and still don’t know how everything on it works (including the camera at the back which is for selfies – my tablet has two cameras) and at one point I accidentally ended up making a video of my feet, my bag and the floor of the Jackie Husband Stand. Anyhoo, here are the aforementioned photos:
Unfortunately the photo I tried to take of the John Lambie Stand (formerly the Northy) didn’t come out. Despite the forecasts for heavy rain and thunderstorms, it was actually quite nice weather. I watched the open training session which took place on the pitch; this training session involved the first team, women’s team, players from the PTFC Charitable Trust, Thistle’s mental health and wellbeing works team and, of course, Kingsley. During the training session, Thistle’s iconic mascot came into the stand to take selfies with people – including me (however, I can’t post the selfie Kingsley took with me – or a link to it – on this blog, as I wasn’t lucky enough to have Kingsley’s people post the selfie on social media). The training session ended with an epic penalty shootout involving players from all the aforementioned teams; highlights of the shootout included Scott Fox saving Jamie Sneddon’s penalty.
There was also a signing session where I met most of the first team, most of the women’s team and Gary Caldwell. The Open Day ended with three events which all took place in the Alan Rough Lounge. I was none the wiser about recent Thistle goings-on after the PTFC Trust meering. Gary Caldwell, who is a very nice guy, addressed the subjects of Busgate and needing more players in the Q&A as well as being very honest about whether or not there are any natural leaders in the current Jags squad. The Q&A with the board got a bit heated, and it was somewhat disappointing that the chairman was unable to attend (he was on holiday). I got a distinct feeling that the board are being a wee bit naive about the potential new investment from Barnsley’s owners, as Barnsley haven’t really progressed under their ownership. (Indeed, I note that some people are even tipping the Tykes for another relegation after selling several of their star players – such as Liam Lindsay whom Thistle got a sell-on windfall for – this summer.)
I came away from the Open Day with lots of autographs, a Thistle shirt (the current third kit, for a bargain £5 – I nearly bought some home kit socks too but they didn’t have any in my size), lots of memories and a rounded understanding of Busgate. I’m hoping to go to the game against Ayr United later this month, and of course I’m hoping to go to Ayr’s Jags icon Kris Doooooolan’s testimonial on September 15th. Dools’ testimonial will pit a Thistle Legends team against a Celtic Legends team. Those announced so far for the Thistle Legends squad include Scott Fox and Stuart Bannigan (both of whom I of course met at the Open Day), Dools himself, Squiddy, Chic Charnley, David Rowson, Conrad Balatoni, Liam Lindsay, Archie, Shaggy, Gerry Britton and Kenny Arthur. There are only one or two players left to announce for the Thistle Legends team and I would imagine one of these players will probably be Christie Elliott. The other will probably be either Freddie Frans, Sean Welsh, Ryan Edwards or Dools’ current boss – and the manager who signed him for Thistle – Ian McCall.
(Incidentally, the forecast rain started later, when I was in the middle of Sauchiehall Street, but I managed to get indoors before it got heavy.)