THORN ATHLETIC have agreed the biggest sponsorship deal in their history after Direct Engineering extended their long-standing backing of the club’s adult team.


The financial windfall – the equivalent of five years’ worth of support – will play a significant part in helping the team bounce back from more than a year of inactivity and boost their development plans for the future.


With in-person fundraising pretty much outlawed due to Covid, the support of one of the west of Scotland’s largest engineering firms, who have premises in both Linwood and Paisley, is a real coup for the Johnstone side.


Direct Engineering service many blue-chip companies across the United Kingdom, particularly in the food and drink sector, and they have provided continual support to Thorn for more than a decade.


Team boss Johnny McEwan and Direct Engineering managing director Dom McGee announce the deal



The firm’s logo will be on the club’s Nike tracksuits and rainjackets for the team’s forthcoming season in the Caledonian Premier League.


Direct Engineering managing director Dominic McGee said: “We are delighted to extend our support for Thorn Athletic as they enter a crucial period in their development.



“We know it’s been a difficult year for grassroots organisations given the barriers they have had with raising funds in the traditional manner.


“We have built up a longstanding relationship with the Thorn and we are delighted to be able to reinvest in a growing community project.



“Their community work continues to evolve and we have no doubt they’ll go from strength to strength.”


A spokesperson for Thorn Athletic said: “We were blown away by this contribution. Direct Engineering have been committed to supporting us for many years and in many ways – but this investment took it to a new level.


“We will proudly display their name wherever we go and hopefully represent them well.”


THORN ATHLETIC have struck an Oz-some sponsorship deal after a former Johnstone man backed them all the way from Down Under.

Wacky businessman David Muir, who was born in the town and played for several local teams, now runs his own car dealership Mad Man Motors based in Wangara in Western Australia.

Mad Muir has already helped many good causes in his own Aussie community and has become a social media sensation racking up thousands of views with his zany promotional videos for his successful car sales firm where he regularly dresses up as a super hero with special effects to bring a smile to everyone’s face.

Now it’s turned out to be a right G’Day for the Thorn after he agreed to buy new Nike player bags, run out tops and other additional man of the match add ons and incentives for the club’s first team squad.


David at Mad Man Motors

And the Thorn management have hailed him for putting something back into the football community where he grew up.

He said: “I love football and I love helping when I can. I’ve watched Thorn Athletic grow over many years and regularly see the work they are doing in the community.

“Although I’m on the other side of the world I was keen to help in some way and I’m glad to be able to put something back into my hometown. My brother Alan is head coach there and I get regular updates from him. I sponsor teams here including Carramar and it’s been great to see the difference you can make. “

Players Muir McCluskey and Shaun Kelly with the Mad Man bags – the first part of a significant deal.

Thorn Athletic chairperson Mark McGee joked: “Mad Man Motors is quite aptly named! I grew up with David and he was a fantastic footballer in his own right and we’ve kept up the link through Alan and other mutual friends.

“It’s great he’s chosen to back our project in this way and it’s great to show we can attract overseas investment. I dare say there won’t be many club’s with support from such far flung corners of the globe.”

Strong team unveiled

THORN ATHLETIC 2014/15s are raring to go when football returns after bringing a strong team of sponsors on board.


These kids are among the growing Johnstone club’s youngest age groups and unfortunately their journey into the beautiful game has been delayed by the pandemic.


But when they eventually get the green light to resume training and playing small-sided games in the Paisley, Johnstone & District Youth Football League they have everything they need thanks to a top line-up of local companies.


Docherty Transport Ltd, Arnold Clark Seat/Skoda at Linwood, Kilbarchan Maintenance Service and Horne Engineering – based in the town – have ensured they are kitted out with a stunning array of new Nike teamwear.


The kids have training kits, strips, jackets and the coaches have been kitted out along with the purchase of training equipment.

A spokesman said: “We have been blown away by the generosity of all these companies – especially given the challenging circumstances for businesses just now.


“We’ve also had amazing kindness shown from all the parents as we wait patiently to get the kids back playing again.


“They all look smart and are raring to go. They have missed so much but with the fantastic sponsorship they certainly have everything they need.”


The team would also like to RPL Media Ltd who have helped showcase the group over the past few months.


From left to right, coaches/officials Mark Sloan, John Martin, Michael O’Brien and Tommy Graham with their sponsored jackets.

Chit Chat spotlight on club

JOHNSTONE man Jed McCabe’s new YouTube show is set to shine a light on one of the town’s biggest recent success stories.


Chit Chat with Jed and Co – which launched last month and is produced in conjunction with Lab Rat Productions – rolled into town last week to hear about the rise of Thorn Athletic Football Club.


The bumper Christmas Special, which was filmed in well-known Indian restaurant Shimla Pinks, saw host Jed sit down with Thorn chairperson Mark McGee who founded the club along with a group of friends back in the late 90s.


Viewers will hear about the club’s modest beginnings and turbulent early years through a trophy-laden two decades which has seen it grow to become the largest club in the town and recently launch an exciting Sports Academy.


It’ll be light, cameras, action when the show goes out on Christmas Eve on the Chit Chat with Jed and Co YouTube channel which has already seen high traffic with more than 1.3k views for his first sit down with Glasgow-based martial arts guru Mike Krause.



Jed, who was born and brought up in the town, hopes to use the new show to give a platform to fascinating, but otherwise unheard, stories from individuals across society and subject areas.


His slogan of ‘The show where everyone has their say’ certainly rings true with the second offering as Jed and Mark discuss the Thorn’s development in depth.


And Jed – who urged viewers to tune in through their TV screens – said: “The Thorn’s rise might have taken many by surprise – but not me! That’s why I can’t wait for people to see this.

“The show is going from strength to strength and over the coming weeks and months I’ll be bringing an array of guests together so that they can all have their say.”

Academy Coming Soon

THORN ATHLETIC FOOTBALL CLUB are ready to launch a new sports academy in Johnstone.


Club chiefs have taken over the running of the former McMaster Centre and will reopen it as the Thorn Athletic Sports Academy in the coming weeks.


There are plans to increase the club’s football activities, expand coaching to include other sports and deliver an enhanced selection of indoor and outdoor services to the community.


The newly-formed ‘Thorn Athletic Community Trust’ – which is a registered charity – has brought together a number of individuals from a variety of backgrounds, with a range of expertise to help drive the new initiative.


They will oversee the running of both the community football club and the Academy as a social enterprise.


All existing user groups can continue to operate from the facility, which had most recently been operating as Johnstone Community Sports Complex, and the two sessional staff members will remain.


The Thorn, which is the biggest football club in the town with more than 250 members, also hope to seek grant funding to improve the facilities around the grass football pitch and upgrade security.


During the recent coronavirus crisis the club has been busy delivering community initiatives in collaboration with organisations like Johnstone Community Council and Linstone to support vulnerable groups in the area.


But the opening of their own Sports Academy is a significant milestone in the club’s two decades of history.


Mark McGee, chairperson of Thorn Athletic Community Trust, said: “We are looking forward to opening the Thorn Athletic Sports Academy when it is safe to do so.


“A significant amount of work has gone on behind the scenes to make this happen.


“Our club began in the west Johnstone area more than 20 years ago, we were instrumental in saving the facility ten years ago and now we aim to give it a new lease of life in 2020.


“The Thorn is part of the fabric of life in Johnstone now and we are keen to get more people engaged with our organisation. We are excited about broadening our horizons with other sports and look forward to working with other groups who share our values to improve people’s everyday lives.


The facility was forced to close almost four months ago when the coronavirus crisis struck and it has been a struggle for volunteers to safeguard the project without any source of income.

Covid-19 Response

DOZENS of people have been helped by community support initiatives driven by the club during the Covid-19 crisis.

The club has so far worked in conjunction with Johnstone Community Council, Roots of Linwood and Graeme’s Butchers to directly assist vulnerable members of the community.

Our first project saw us make a donation of 40 breakfast packs to Renfrewshire Women’s Aid to help them provide for those people they are assisting at this time.
These tend to be vulnerable females who often have children and are struggling for any manner of reasons. Pressure on this service has increased significantly during this period.
Secondly, with the financial backing of Johnstone Community Council we reached out to members of the community who are linked to the club but who appreciated a gesture of goodwill to help them through and raise their spirits.
Volunteers Marilyn Kennedy and Paul Young gave up their time to hand deliver care packages containing fruit and veg boxes from Roots of Linwood along with breakfast packs from Graeme’s Butchers.
Fruit & Veg boxes from Roots of Linwood
These went to friends or former members of the club who were socially isolating, struggling with particular health issues, caring for others or just in need of a lift.
All packages included a letter on behalf of the organisations involved reiterating our club’s commitment to putting something back into the community when we can.
Chairperson Mark McGee said: “Thorn Athletic prides itself on being a club at the heart of the community. We are out there, we are working and we are helping when we can.
“It’s been great to work in partnership with other organisations also doing their utmost to provide for their communities and customers at this time.”

Girls kitted to the max

THORN ATHLETIC’S new girls section already have a bright future after signing up two new sponsors to get them kitted out ahead of the new season.

Greenair Environmental Ltd provided the group with a full Nike training kit whilst Burnfield Demolition stepped in to provide similar top range Nike tracksuit tops.

The club’s girls’ section has grown rapidly since they started training around six months ago and they will be embarking on the next stage of their journey in March.

Thorn’s U11 section will begin playing festivals while the U13 group are set to play competitive 7-a-sides.


Coach and organiser Charlene Reid was delighted to see the group benefit from generous sponsorship and said: “The girls are absolutely over the moon and it’s great to see them all kitted out.

“We were very lucky to have two companies that demonstrated their commitment to the group at an early stage and it has made a huge positive influence in getting us started.”

Graham Patterson, director of Greenair Environmental Ltd, said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to put something back into grassroots football and see the girls resplendent and working hard in their new kits. We look forward to seeing them develop.”

And Barry McCormick, director of Burnfield Demolition, added: “The girls have done really well since they started up and we are lucky to be in a position to support them, the girls’ game is growing rapidly and we are happy to be part of it.”


Turf at the Top

THORN ATHLETIC know the grass is always greener on the other side after launching their new football kit.


Leading domestic and commercial artificial grass supplier CY Turf agreed to come on board at the start of the season and the distinctive new black Nike kit arrived recently and had its first few outings over recent weeks.


The Hillington-based company – who offer the full design, landscaping and installation service – are in a league of their own when it comes to artificial grass and decided to form a winning combination with ‘The Thorn’.


With the growth in uses for artificial turf this is an expanding market and one the Johnstone club are delighted to be associated with them.


CY Turf director Duncan Yates said: “The kit is looking fantastic with the logo on it and everyone seems delighted with it. We no look forward to seeing it in action over the next few seasons.”


Suppliers Pitch Teamwear done a fantastic job preparing the kit and the club are delighted to bring yet another high-profile supporter on board.


He said: “We are delighted to have CY Turf’s support and look forward to promoting them throughout the next few seasons across the west of Scotland and hopefully beyond.


“It’s great when a business recognises the value of putting something back into the grassroots game and of course with the link between football and the many uses of artificial turf then this is hopefully a good fit.”


Foreign Flair boosts club

THORN ATHLETIC have hailed their own ‘foreign legion’ after having a Spaniard and a Swede training with them for the past four months.


The Johnstone club were contacted by Albert Rull Sans and Adam Malm who have been studying at The University of the West of Scotland since the summer.


Catalan Albert and Adam, from Norrkoping, are part of the Erasmus scheme which is run by the European Union to provide opportunities to students who want to study or gain work experience abroad.


And the duo, both 22, have been training with the Thorn on Monday and Wednesday evenings alongside their involvement with the UWS team.


Members of the Thorn Athletic squad have enjoyed having them around and they both recently made debuts for the club in a friendly match against Dalry Juniors.


Club officials presented them with replica Nike Thorn jerseys as momentos before the match and they were guests at the club’s next home match where they enjoyed hospitality during the game.


Adam has now returned home but the club has received international clearance from the Royal Spanish Football Federation to sign Albert until the end of the season.


Thorn Athletic manager Johnny McEwan said: “It’s been a breath of fresh air having the boys around and they are both smashing lads and very able players.


“We’d like to have given them more opportunities but our schedule has been busy. However, it’s possible that Albert could play a part for us once he returns after Christmas.


“Hopefully they’ve enjoyed their time in the area and we wish them all the very best with their studies and their football.”

Marshall the Troops

THORN ATHLETIC 2006 YFC have announced well-known Johnstone business John Marshall & Son as their new kit sponsor.


The award-winning High Street butcher has formed a successful partnership with the current Paisley, Johnstone & District Youth Football League First Division champions.


John Marshall & Son have kitted out the team with a brand new luminous Nike away kit to boost their title defence, which carries the business logo emblazoned across the front – you certainly won’t miss them!


Head coach Steven McKnight, who led the team to no fewer than EIGHT trophies last season, was delighted to get the long-established business on board.


He said: “We are grateful to Bryan and his team for their support. The continued backing of the local business community is essential to our success.”


Bryan Marshall, owner of John Marshall & Son, said: “Putting something back into the community, especially grassroots football is something we are happy to do.


“We realise the challenges that face voluntary sports groups these days but with the support of the Johnstone community for our business we will do our best to continue to back good causes where possible.”


Team captain Haydon Barrett presented a framed top to staff at the shop and it will take pride of place on display for customers at the busy shop.