Being a far away fan can mean many losing interest in your club but not Shuggie who in late 2007 formed the Nomad PTFC Supporter’s Club. The group has been a massive success with currently around 170 members. The Nomads have been actively involved in fundraising for the club with funds going to both the Jags Trust and directly to the club through sponsorship of three player’s shirts. In total the Nomads have raised £1,250 for the shirt sponsorship. The Jags Trust has benefited to the tune of £500 not counting other donations and purchases through the JT auctions.
Shuggie has become a very popular character through his seemingly never ending enthusiasm and those legendary bullet points he uses for his ideas!
Not content with just his Nomads Hugh thought he would show off his musical talents with the release of the CD Thistle Do which was played over the Tannoy at Firhill and proved to be popular with many copies being sold.
Then there was the internet Nomads show. Shuggie decided the match chat section on the forum could be improved and in typical Shuggie style he decided to do something about it! He used his web cam in the house and by utilising www.ustream.tv he was able to put updates to other fans that logged on to the network. He obtained the real time updates from other fans at the match who would text and speak to him, this he would then put out via the network
Away from Partick Thistle Hugh is a Project Management Consultant www.AlphaPraxis.com. Hugh currently lives in Telford, Shropshire, more than 300 miles away from Glasgow.
He first started following Thistle in the late sixties when he started at Glasgow University. He resisted following his bluenose dad to Ibrox and followed the advice of his uncle to follow Thistle.
1. What made you come up with the idea of starting a Nomad Global Supporters Club?
Whew, I think it’s a long story (you wouldn’t expect any other kind, would you?)
Firstly, when I started to read the unofficial website www.PTFC.net I grew to become far more aware of the plight of my Club than I had been previously. The site brought me right back to Glasgow and the terraces of Firhill in a way that struck a chord with me. That rekindled spark set a fire going.
I documented loads of ideas for the Official site, indeed a Thistle Web Portal that could have brought the “family together” but the doubters won the day.
On the forum I could see scattered tons of fans ideas matched with frustration and I tried to bring some focus to their suggestions and pass them onto the Club. Little happened as a result.
The fans focus on correcting the Jags Trust setup seemed a highly worthy cause and I threw what weight I could behind it. I had some way off ideas about democracy and how the JTB must be driven by the membership through increased engagement – that went down a treat – down the drain I mean!
I helped try to push forward the idea of a Visioning workshop on how all interested parties could work together to raise funds for the Club – another stalled initiative.
In the summer of 2007 I heaved a box of application forms up for all things Thistle and tried to get folk onboard with the JT and Thistle fundraisers – could have got done for dropping litter!
Clearly a pattern was developing here !!
It was proving well nigh impossible to make meaningful contributions without constraints taking their toll. What to do? How could I help? Maybe I could set other sparks going for guys and gals like me?
In late 2007 I started to trawl through the entire membership of the PTFC.net forum looking for user-names that hinted of far off places. I started to issue PMs galore. The responses trickled in and the Nomads were born. I trawled the Internet too for all things Thistle. My initial objectives for the group seemed to resonate with others like me, distant from the Jags but just crazy about them.
So there you have it! A group born of frustration – worthy of Thistle’s finest traditions!!
2. You have been pressing the club to start up a live internet commentary service for people who can’t make the games. What is your vision on this and is their any sign of it happening in the near future?
Well this isn’t anything new out there. Other teams in Scotland manage to do this, why not Thistle? I can listen to my local team AFC Telford on the BBC whether they are home or away on the internet so to be so cut off from Thistle was frustrating. I narrowed down a search for a tool to the website ustream.tv and worked on it to first produce a zero-cost ten page proposal to the Club in January 2008, followed by a substantial Operating Manual to act as a start point for any such service. I am not precious about this particular solution as there are alternatives around. It would however have kick started the membership for any such subscription service and brought in a few bob for the Club. The vision was to show how this could be done for the good name and revenue for the Club, not just in subs but in bringing distant fans back to Thistle (I think there are quite a few Nomads in new R&Y or G&P kit this year thanks to being reconnected.)
As for the future, I hear voices in my head – one says after other priorities, it’s the people who show up that count – the other says, the debate continues.
3. Do you think the match day nomad show on www.ustream.tv has helped nomads stay attached to the club?
Those that tune in on-line or listen to recordings made would say yes. That said, it isn’t what I set it out to be. We pass on info from the game as it happens – a tricky job for the broadcaster as there could be noise in his ears as he tries to summarise an excited stream / scream from the Harry Wragg contact at the match. Oh to actually hear a commentator talk directly to fellow Thistle fans around the world!
4. What are the reasons behind you standing down as the nomads group secretary?
I made noises to this effect a couple of times last year, as I do believe that if something deserves to survive, a good few people ought to be involved, not just one or two. Such occasions may well have coincided with troubles up at Fortress Firhill. Remember we have seen an excellent group of fans turned off by their experiences at this club of ours despite many, many calls for volunteers to step forward from the ranks. I had no ambition to stay in role forever and as I have been lucky to have the support of others when I have been in need, I thought the New Year ought to bring change with it. This role change extends to the Nomad Show too, now co-hosted by two smashing young lads who will make the show their own, I’m sure. I would not be entirely truthful if I did not say that the shift by the JT voters to move to the Centenary Fund disappointed me to the extent that my usual enthusiasm was struck severely. It did act as a catalyst – and like a real catalyst it still remains as it was.
One thing I will stress. I think I have taken the Nomads as far as I can with regard to meeting our objectives. Ailsa as a Jags Trust Board member will be far better placed to carry this forward working with Kieron to convince our Club Board to act.
5. Have you any plans to issue another CD as a follow up to the highly successful Thistle do! CD?
I did try to kick start a positive thread on the forum along the lines of “New Year Resolutions to help PTFC”. I did threaten to pull together another Thistle CD with others potentially.:-D No mad (no pun intended) rush by others to pitch in on this yet. I have got a fistful of songs though already – subject to scrutiny and rejection by my lad who takes on the challenge of knocking them into shape – and key!!
It may be the only way I can help the JT move forward this year.