Californian backing Thistle

Chance meeting gives Jags a new sponsor

Partick ThistleA chance meeting between a California-based investor and one of his favourite artists created the bizarre foundation for Partick Thistle’s new sponsorship deal.

Mike Wilkins, a manager at Kingsford Capital and art aficionado, met up with Turner Prize nominee David Shrigley who is fan of the Glasgow club.

When the pair met several years ago at a dinner in San Francisco, the conversation quickly turned to the Maryhill side. After some research, the Californian’s mind was made up to support Thistle and, much to the club’s surprise, he called managing director Ian Maxwell directly to get the wheels in motion.

Thistle today unveiled the six-figure deal that will run for at least two seasons. Kingsford Capital will become the club’s new title sponsor and shirt sponsorship for both home and away strips.

Since that initial conversation Mr Shrigley has maintained his involvement and has designed a unique Kingsford logo which will adorn the front of Thistle’s shirts and be featured prominently around the stadium.  In addition, a new Shrigley-designed mascot, named Kingsley, will be in attendance on match days.

Mr Wilkins, who is already a shareholder in the recently crowned NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, said he can’t wait for the new deal to start so he can get more involved with his first ever Scottish partnership.”

“I had been looking for an opportunity to get involved with something like this in the UK for a while but hadn’t been able to find the right match. When I got talking to David Shrigley about Partick Thistle it seemed like it could be the perfect fit. The next step for me was to speak directly to the club.

“I must say that every conversation I had with the club, from start to finish, went really well and certainly built the impression that this was an organisation I very much wanted to be involved with. The perspective of the board, relating to business, sport and community, is really encouraging and I look forward to my interactions with the club and its fans.

“I hope that this relationship will become more than just your average sponsorship deal.  As a commissioner of the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington DC, I understand the power of art to communicate a shared spirit. It is very much like sport in that regard and, with David’s help and genius, I hope we can bring something unique and new to an already fantastic club.”

Mr Shrigley said: “As a Jags man it’s an honour to be involved with the club in this way. I can’t wait to see my design on the front of the shirts and around Firhill and just hope the fans like what we’re trying to do. It’s safe to say we have a few surprises in store for the supporters and we’re already in talks with a few other artists to arrange some pretty exciting giveaways over the course of the season.”

Mr Maxwell, said: “Getting a sponsor like this on board, an American financial services firm, is a real coup for us. It has been part of our long term strategy to begin attracting new sources of funding to the club and this is a fantastic way to start.

“We need to look at how to attract new people to football in Scotland, both in terms of funding and in terms of supporters, and some of the ideas that Mike and David have already brought to the table are really interesting. Everyone at the club is excited to start working closely with Kingsford Capital over the next two years and I for one hope that Mike really becomes a part of the club.

“Partick Thistle is much more than just a football club and I certainly hope that this partnership too will turn into much more than just a sponsorship deal in the weeks, months and years to come.”

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