Partick Thistle today announced a three year, six figure, sponsorship deal with the Scottish flavoured water brand, MacB, and I was lucky enough to be invited along to the press conference at Firhill Stadium.
The day started off with the introduction of the sponsorship deal.
“Football often gets a bad rap but Partick Thistle shows the sport at its best,” said Kenny Webster, CEO of MacB’s parent company, Sangs. “The club’s a great fit with what we believe in at MacB – brilliant value, family-focused and good fun too. We’re proud to become part of the team and we’re looking forward to a great season ahead.”
Partick Thistle manager, Jackie McNamara, echoed Kenny’s comments: “I am delighted that the Club secured MacB water as our main sponsor. I think it’s a great brand and ties in perfectly with Thistle. Everybody at the Club is already looking forward to next season – we have what we believe is the core of a great squad and once we get the boys back in from the close season it will be heads down and hard work. They’ll need a good few bottles of MacB water with the pre-season training sessions I’ve prepared.”
Following the introductions was the obligatory photo shoot, which due to the unfamiliarly good weather, was to be done on the pitch. As McNamara posed alongside the new JaggyMacBee mascot, the pitch sprinklers came on just behind them, which could have led to a comedy moment, but alas they were not close enough to hit.
When the photo shoot concluded, I was given the opportunity to ask McNamara a few questions and I started by asking if this sponsorship deal, and the finances that come with it, would mean he would be looking to make some additions to the squad for the upcoming season.
“Finances are still tight, but we will still hopefully get another couple in. We are sitting with about nineteen in the squad just now. A lot of them are under twenty one, so we are hoping we can still do something”, said McNamara
Although the club finished in fifth place last season, McNamara was only in charge for one month, so I asked what his ambitions were for his first full season in charge.
“My ambition is to progress the club, not just in terms of finishing above fifth in the league, but right throughout the club, from top to bottom. Improving everything, the youth structure. the guys coming through, making sure they are properly coached and trained and educated, giving them every possible chance of getting in the first team”
With many a young manager now doing so well in their first job, particularly the likes of Neil Lennon and Pep Guardiola, I wondered if Jackie felt pressure to deliver instant success.
“Not at all, obviously different clubs have different pressures, in terms of expectations and a lot of that is down to money and finances. Maybe if i had a big budget to spend, to go out and buy players, I would be under a lot more pressure, but for me here it’s about building things. I have the nucleus of the team signed up for next season and a lot of young kids coming through. It’s up to me and Simon and the backroom staff to make sure we coach properly and that they know their jobs and ultimately do it on the Saturday.”
A hot topic throughout the season has been the proposed SPL reconstruction and how that may take shape. I was interested in Jackie’s feelings about the topic and how it would affect a club like Partick.
“I feel, not just because I am here, but in terms of the structure of the league and the small country that it is, that there is not a big gulf between the bottom teams in the SPL and the teams in the first division. The difference is the money. We want to try and improve our game in Scotland and I think we wont be able to do that unless we make the league bigger. For the future of our club and our country, it’s imperative that we extend the league.”
I would like to thank Jackie McNamara, Partick Thistle and MacB for their time today and wish Partick every success in the coming season.