Jump to content

Link between supporters and club


Recommended Posts

I've raised this point on twitter, just wanted to put it to the forum to see what other supporters opinions are on the communication/dialogue between our fans, and the club/board/supporters groups.

The consensus I've picked up, is that despite having the fan council, (who do a fantastic job, loved their input on the strips etc) there's always been a lack of communication between fans and the club itself. 

With the new board and new owners, and fan ownership on the horizon, I've had a look into the SLO (Supporter Liason Officer) initative - which is basically a person nominated to form a bridge between a football club and it's supporters. They would be the point of contact for supporters to get in touch with the club.

The idea started in Germany and has quickly spread over here. Celtic, St Johnstone and Kilmarnock already have SLO's in place. I believe having a point of contact between fans and the club would really drive fan engagement, and help us to get more punters through the gates on a regular basis. 

My suggestion is to appoint someone as St Mirren SLO, who becomes the point of contact between our fanbase and the club. With emphasis on representing the views of the fans, rather than representing the view of the club.

Some info below (mostly stolen from Supporters Direct Scotland) 

 

Quote

 

What is an SLO?

 

 

 

An SLO is an appointee of the club who is responsible for building bridges between the club and its fans. SLOs might communicate fans’ opinions to a club’s board or senior staff members and should also liaise with stewards, police and counterparts at opposition clubs. The majority are club employees, although some are volunteers, and a club can appoint more than one.

 

 

UEFA describes the SLO as an “advocate of both sides, representing the interests of the club (or national association/league) AND those of the supporters”. The capitalisation is UEFA’s and highlights that an effective SLO must be more than a club employee who just defends his employers from fans’ criticism.

 

 

An SLO who is loved by the club but hated by the fans is probably failing in his or her remit, and the same goes in reverse. “If the SLO puts too much weight on only one horse…the two sides will drift apart,” says UEFA.

 

 

An SLO’s work is dependent on the credibility they enjoy with both parties, as Patrick Vestphael, SLO at Brøndby IF, makes clear.

 

 

“I’ve been hired by the fans and the club. The club just pays the fans’ contribution to my wages,” explains Patrick.In fact, to do the job properly an SLO needs to work with more than just the club and fans’ groups. Police, stewards, fanzines and forums, even the relevant leagues and national associations, must buy into the role. A good SLO will understand the unique dynamics that exist at his or her club.

 

 

 

What is the profile of a good SLO?

 


Credibility is the key attribute. The SLO must establish relations and have the trust of the various stakeholders, such as the club, the fans, safety officers and stewards and police. They should be independent of the club board and ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed. The three main areas of work where they should be competent are: dialogue (managing the flow of communications between fans and the club and other stakeholders), service (assisting and advising fans and clubs etc.), and prevention (liaising with safety officers, police and stewards to minimise potential conflicts)

 

 

How do SLOs work with supporters' organisations?

 


The role of the SLO is to facilitate dialogue, not lead it. SLOs should work with all supporter groups as well as individual fans. SLOs should not pose a threat to any supporter group. On the contrary, they exist to improve the dialogue and relationships between fans and clubs, and supporter groups should actively consider putting forward one of their members for the role. SLOs are employed/appointed by the club and are not supporter representatives.

 

 

  • To establish networks of SLOs at a national and European level to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and best practice and to improve the relationships between the various stakeholders, in particular the relationship between supporters and club directors/owners/safety and security organisations.
  • To provide some guarantee that a minimum level of communication flow occurs between club and supporters and hence reduce the likelihood of supporters becoming disenfranchised.
  • To better align the ability of supporters to feed into club decision making with their massive importance to the club.
  • To provide incentive for largely unorganised club supporter bases to come together and voice their beliefs. A better organised fan base will have added power to its voice and the SLO will provide an improved opportunity for this voice to be heard.

 

  •  
Edited by Doakes
Link to comment
Share on other sites


We might well end up with GLS and his initially hand-picked BoD, SMiSA, the Fan Council, and a dedicated SLO? That's a five-a-side team just needing an opponent.

Whatever way GLS/SMiSA choose to go about it, communication between club and fans must be improved dramatically. Something like the decision to brand our shop as a temporary Sellik shop is a prime example. The outgoing BoD surely, in the name of the wee man, must have realised it would be an emotive issue for many St Mirren fans. If they didn't realise at all it would be an emotive issue and it simply did not register with them, then shame on them for being so blind. It was an Old Firm club FFS, not a visiting Barcelona or a club we quite like. Anyway - they owned the bloody club. They have a website. Stick a fifty word statement out in advance saying they realise fans will see a sign going up, it is temporary, a good bit of business... Blah, blah de blah. Five minutes. Stick it on the website. Boosh, much grief headed off at the pass. I think most of us forum users would know exactly all that was required.... a bit of common sense. Hopefully GLS/SMiSA don't go about their business in a similar fashion when possibly unpopular decisions need made by them - as they undoubtably will.

As an aside. The club website - has it even recognised that the club has been sold yet!?

Edited by pozbaird
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm a fans council member and I've said on many occasions if any would like me to raise anything with the board I'm happy to do that through the fans council. So if anyone wants to PM me feel free. Next meeting of our committee is the first Thursday of August

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, pozbaird said:

We might well end up with GLS and his initially hand-picked BoD, SMiSA, the Fan Council, and a dedicated SLO? That's a five-a-side team just needing an opponent.

Whatever way GLS/SMiSA choose to go about it, communication between club and fans must be improved dramatically. Something like the decision to brand our shop as a temporary Sellik shop is a prime example. The outgoing BoD surely, in the name of the wee man, must have realised it would be an emotive issue for many St Mirren fans. If they didn't realise at all it would be an emotive issue and it simply did not register with them, then shame on them for being so blind. It was an Old Firm club FFS, not a visiting Barcelona or a club we quite like. Anyway - they owned the bloody club. They have a website. Stick a fifty word statement out in advance saying they realise fans will see a sign going up, it is temporary, a good bit of business... Blah, blah de blah. Five minutes. Stick it on the website. Boosh, much grief headed off at the pass. I think most of us forum users would know exactly all that was required.... a bit of common sense. Hopefully GLS/SMiSA don't go about their business in a similar fashion when possibly unpopular decisions need made by them - as they undoubtably will.

As an aside. The club website - has it even recognised that the club has been sold yet!?

 

If the club is truly forward thinking and wants the fans to be involved in the running of the club, you can't neglect the supporters who pay their money every week but can't/won't join SMISA. An SLO would go some way to ensuring that those fans are represented too. Also helps from a social media pov in a modern world where everything can be promoted and discussed online. 

Having a point of contact for fans to raise issues, ask questions and seek advice is essential for the modern game. The Celtic shop farce was a prime example of fans being slung a dingie. Club communication should not be an issue in a world where communication is literally instantaneous. It's not hard to update a website/twitter feed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Doakes raises an excellent point, I recently attended a Supporters Direct SLO workshop and heard first hand how the role developed in Germany, Sweden etc to such an extent that every club in the Bundesliga and both feeder leagues employ (aye pay them) between 1-4 full time SLO's augemented in the lower leagues with part-time SLO's

the original concept, and the one that actually provides a return on investment sees the SLO as someone who is at every game home and away, who liases with SLO's around the country to identify, best pub for away fans, no-go areas, parking, how to get to ground, issues with over zealous stewards home and away, etc, etc...

it also sees the SLO form an effective working relationship with the club, the police and matchday officials to ensure the fans get the most out of a safe, friendly fun day. As an instantly recognisable, and approachable person the SLO is the go to guy on the day, and on social media for all sorts of info and advice from around the world. And where it works well the club sees measured increases in merchandise etc as the ordinary fan becomes involved in ideas, design and marketing of stuff they actually want to buy.

i think if we had a 'proper' SLO it would benefit the fans, club, police and help improve everyones matchday experience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I keep reading complaints about communication with the club, but I've never had any problems at all. At various points I've directly contacted Norrie Jamieson, Brian Caldwell, Richard Atkinson - who was on the board at the time, Campbell Kennedy, Frazer Robertson and David Longwell and got prompt responses every single time - not always with an answer I wanted to hear, but normally with a response of some sort or another? I've also had responses, sometimes public, sometimes by PM on posts that I've made either on this forum or in the past on the official forum from officials at the club. To be honest I would have thought the last thing that needed sorted was the need for someone fans can contact. 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point of an SLO is that not all fans are the same. Many will do their own thing,make their own plans. Others, especially younger fans want, and need a 'face' there and then to talk to be it on social media, or outside the gates at Ochilview.

previosly the club went through a tick box exercise by allocating the role to Brian Caldwell along with the six other jobs he did. The true role is one filled by an approachable fan, who tweets, emails, posts queries and concerns, and is there every week in the turnstyle queue.

As one of many examples, an SLO would express to enthusiastic fans the type of songs that are no longer acceptable, this nipping in the bud a potetntially damaging incident for club and support.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Strange as it may seem to this Forum's users, many Buddiess do not use the internet. And many that do, do not use this Forum. The Club may already have an SLO but who knows about it? There is nothing on the website or in match programs. How do you contact the SLO?

The Club should have one contact point between it and supporters to which an acknowledgement is an immediate response and a proper response to the query is provided asap. At the moment there in one email [email protected] and a phone number which is great. However in the past I have emailed this account with no acknowledgement and no response. If the Club have a SLO then fans should know about it (web site, match programme, notices in the vomitories, printed on match tickets etc)) . A point of liaison is not just about answering queries / requests but also also about engaging with fans and make them feel part of the Club. Encourage fans to contact the Club and get them involved. Long overdue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The point of an SLO is that not all fans are the same. Many will do their own thing,make their own plans. Others, especially younger fans want, and need a 'face' there and then to talk to be it on social media, or outside the gates at Ochilview.

previosly the club went through a tick box exercise by allocating the role to Brian Caldwell along with the six other jobs he did. The true role is one filled by an approachable fan, who tweets, emails, posts queries and concerns, and is there every week in the turnstyle queue.

As one of many examples, an SLO would express to enthusiastic fans the type of songs that are no longer acceptable, this nipping in the bud a potetntially damaging incident for club and support.

Ok well can whoever gets the job please tell enthusiastic fans to keep the noise down. Some of us only go to SPFL matches to catch up on our sleep.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Story I heard was clubs were given money to improve relations with fans and the two options open were hiring someone to do the job or setting up a fans council. We went for the latter - which the cynic in me thinks was probably the cheaper option.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On 27 July 2016 at 1:26 PM, santaponsasaint said:

I'm a fans council member and I've said on many occasions if any would like me to raise anything with the board I'm happy to do that through the fans council. So if anyone wants to PM me feel free. Next meeting of our committee is the first Thursday of August

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app
 

I appreciate this Gary and acknowledge that you and the rest of the Council are very approachable but the out going communication from the fans council could be a bit better. 

 

Updating the minutes on the website regularly would be great. They've not been updated since February. I know it's close season but it's not unusual for it to go without an update for 6 months+

 

As as for the clubs communication, I think its pretty good. The website is updated regularly as is social media. 

Overall, I think we're kept pretty well informed. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, davidg said:

IAs as for the clubs communication, I think its pretty good. The website is updated regularly as is social media. 

Overall, I think we're kept pretty well informed. 

I agree.

When you go on P&B a read about the level of communication or lack of it at other clubs, I think ours is relatively good.

However, there is still room for improvement.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Story I heard was clubs were given money to improve relations with fans and the two options open were hiring someone to do the job or setting up a fans council. We went for the latter - which the cynic in me thinks was probably the cheaper option.


What a load of rubbish

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I appreciate this Gary and acknowledge that you and the rest of the Council are very approachable but the out going communication from the fans council could be a bit better. 

 

Updating the minutes on the website regularly would be great. They've not been updated since February. I know it's close season but it's not unusual for it to go without an update for 6 months+

 

As as for the clubs communication, I think its pretty good. The website is updated regularly as is social media. 

Overall, I think we're kept pretty well informed. 


Davie the website is about to be shut down and a new better website is coming in. Like everything in life it takes time. But I really appreciate your comments

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there any need for the Fans Council any more? They never appeared to be more than a pseudo-independent mouthpiece for the old Board and with SMiSA now in charge or about to be their (the FC) purpose seems redundant.

I don't really see the need for an SLO either but if there is to be one then I'd challenge the assertion that they should "ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed". SMiSA should really be looking to take over as much of these responsibilities as possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Bud the Baker said:

Is there any need for the Fans Council any more? They never appeared to be more than a pseudo-independent mouthpiece for the old Board and with SMiSA now in charge or about to be their (the FC) purpose seems redundant.

I don't really see the need for an SLO either but if there is to be one then I'd challenge the assertion that they should "ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed". SMiSA should really be looking to take over as much of these responsibilities as possible.

If you don't have an SLO, or a fan council... What system would you have? Go direct to Tony Fitz? 

Plenty of need for one or the other, if not both imo. A fan owned club needs the fans to feel engaged or it just won't work. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Is there any need for the Fans Council any more? They never appeared to be more than a pseudo-independent mouthpiece for the old Board and with SMiSA now in charge or about to be their (the FC) purpose seems redundant.

I don't really see the need for an SLO either but if there is to be one then I'd challenge the assertion that they should "ideally not hold any positions in a supporter organisation once appointed". SMiSA should really be looking to take over as much of these responsibilities as possible.


More guff from someone who knows nothing about it. Fans council helped fiance the dome. Help buy new goalposts for the academy bought laptop and coaching apps for the youth coaches. Ran days for kids to come and meet the players. Organised the building of the supporters club. Yeah I would get rid of that lot.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, Doakes said:

If you don't have an SLO, or a fan council... What system would you have? Go direct to Tony Fitz? 

Plenty of need for one or the other, if not both imo. A fan owned club needs the fans to feel engaged or it just won't work. 

As I said what is SMiSA if not a fans council? I don't see the need for a SLO to be independent of SMiSA, the functions may be required but what is gained by having them independent of each other.

1 minute ago, santaponsasaint said:


More guff from someone who knows nothing about it. Fans council helped fiance the dome. Help buy new goalposts for the academy bought laptop and coaching apps for the youth coaches. Ran days for kids to come and meet the players. Organised the building of the supporters club. Yeah I would get rid of that lot. emoji53.pngemoji53.pngemoji53.pngemoji53.png

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app
 

Stooges for the outgoing BoD - if you're really offering to disband then that'd be your first action I'd applaud.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

11 minutes ago, santaponsasaint said:

Fellow fans who helped the club are stoogies. Yeah I can see that. Good one. I would write to GS if I was you.

Sent from my SM-G900F using Black & White Army mobile app
 

Fans who did what they were told by the outgoing BoD are indeed as you say, stoogies, I'm glad you can see that now and am pleased to have helped you work it out. No need for me to write to GS.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...