As Partick Thistle prepare for Saturday’s match against Dundee United, Jags fans can expect something a bit different when they go through the turnstiles.
In the first of a series of limited edition giveaways at Firhill over the rest of the season, there will be 2,000 specially commissioned footballs handed out to Thistle supporters attending the game. The balls are designed by San Francisco-based graffiti artist and painter Barry McGee.
The giveaways are the brainchild of Mike Wilkins, managing partner of Jags sponsor, Kingsford Capital Management. Mike, who worked closely with David Shrigley on the now world-famous Thistle mascot, Kingsley, can’t wait to unleash the latest creation on Thistle fans come Saturday.
He said: "For me, this is all about involving more people in art in innovative ways. It is something that has been very close to my heart for most of my life and having the opportunity to do this with the support of Partick Thistle is fantastic. I’ve been a fan of Barry McGee for a number of years now so I was thrilled when he agreed to come on board with this project.
“The whole point of these giveaways is to show that art comes in many shapes and forms - it isn’t something which has to be locked away in museums and art galleries. Art should be accessible to everyone and if it’s something you can hold and feel and connect with, even better. I would be absolutely delighted if some of the fans who come to the game on Saturday go away wanting to learn more about art.
"However, at the same time, if those fans go away and are able to take some enjoyment and pleasure from what we are giving away that will be great news for us too. Anyway, there are many fans who say that football is an art form and who’s to say they’re wrong? As far as I know, this isn’t something any other sports team has done, either in Scotland or the rest of the world."
Jags managing director, Ian Maxwell, is certain it is a concept that will go down well with the club’s fans.
He said: "From the very start, the partnership with Kingsford Capital Management has been more than a straightforward sponsorship – you saw that with the amazing response to Kingsley. These giveaways are the continuation of that and I hope they are just as successful as the launch of our mascot was.
“We’ve spoken a lot about doing things differently this season and I hope this falls into that category. As a club and as a league, we have to look at options outside of the box in order to attract new and different fans to the football on a Saturday. I think Mike has really tapped into something Jags fans can identify with and I think the different giveaways will prove really popular as the season ticks on.”