Hope you are enjoying the close season and getting ready to follow Thistle next season.
I am glad to report that Ian Maxwell at Partick Thistle let me know that the club were successful in being awarded some funding from the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP). The SFP approved the funding for resurfacing and regrading work required at the disabled entrance, a ramp at the rear of the Main Stand which will allow disabled access to the Aitken Suite and the installation of a disabled toilet in the old Warriors shop in the Jackie Husband Stand.
I do not know at the moment at what stage this work has reached but hopefully we will see a lot of the improvements in place when the matches start at Firhill again. With access to The Aitken Suite we can hopefully hold meetings there.
I am due to meet with Ian Maxwell soon to discuss and receive updates on a number of issues, including car parking, catering arrangements and website information. If you think of anything which could improve the matchday experience then let me know.
I am delighted that the club are making the improvements. Ian Maxwell has said that Thistle will be happy to do anything they can and spend money when it becomes available on those things which the fans consider to be important. In the future there are a number of further improvements which could be made and personally speaking I would love to eventually see all of the following:
• Elevated position in the Jackie Husband Stand for wheelchair users
• Access to The Alan Rough Lounge in the Jackie Husband Stand
• Covered area at the front of the North Stand
• Extended space in The Main Stand Enclosure and more seating for carers
• Elevated position in the North Stand
• Elevated position in The Main Stand
• Elevated positions to be made available in any new development at Firhill
Some of the above may not be possible or simply too costly but these are avenues which hopefully can be explored. Over a year ago Thistle had actually planned to install a wheelchair area in the Jackie Husband Stand, level with the concourse. Approval had been sought and obtained from Glasgow District Council for its installation. However Keith Ferguson, Secretary of The Scottish Disabled Supporters’ Association, was consulted about the planned installation and pointed out some flaws and problems in its design which had not been recognised. As a result the planned installation did not take place. However I would like to see the technical difficulties looked at again and hopefully a viable solution found.
Thistle had also planned last summer to install a lift in The Jackie Husband Stand which would have enabled access to The Alan Rough Lounge. Unfortunately this had to be postponed due to cost issues. Hopefully at some point it will be possible for access to be made available.
Please let me know what you think are the most important targets to aim for in terms of improvements and what you would most like to see. Obviously the costs involved could be a big stumbling block but consideration could be given as to how they could be overcome. I would be delighted to hear of any ideas and suggestions you may have.
Hope you enjoy the build up to the start of the season and hope to see you at the matches,
Dougie McInnes Secretary Jags Disabled Supporters’ Club