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supporters direct scotland may e-mag - #4

Inside this issue:

- Season ticket prices - SDS 2014 Conference - fan involvement working party - colours of our scarves



all photos taken for the colours of our scarves project and taken by stuart roy clarke

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Sport minister announcing formation of a working party for fan involvement Supporters Direct Scotland is delighted to confirm that Sport and Commonwealth Games Secretary Shona Robison has announced the formation of an “independent working group that will look at how we can increase and improve fans involvement within football clubs”, on 22 April 2014. Chaired by Stephen Morrow – a senior lecturer in Sport Finance at the University of Stirling – it will have representation from the SFA, SPFL and Supporters Direct Scotland, with others to be appointed as appropriate. Community ownership of football clubs and increased fan engagement in Scottish football has made significant progress in recent months.

Several Scottish football clubs have embraced fan ownership in recent years including Clyde, Dundee, Dunfermline Athletic, Motherwell, Stirling Albion and Stranraer which all now have forms of community or fan ownership.

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recommendations”. Ms Johnstone also pointed to a poll released by the Scottish Green Party which showed 87% of those asked support fan trusts having right of first refusal if their club came up for sale, or when it went into administration. Their research also reports 72% would support a right to buy their local club for a market value at any time.

Hearts FC are on the verge of introducing a similar structure after creditors agreed the sale of shares to chairwoman Ann Budge, who plans to transfer ownership to Supporters Direct Scotfans’ group Foundation land will be represented at these meetings by of Hearts. the Head of SDS, Paul Scottish Green MSP Ali- Goodwin and Richard son Johnstone, who was Aitkinson a member of leading the member’s the SDS Council. We will debate on Fan Owner- keep members updated ship of Football Clubs, on progress. welcomed Ms Robison’s announcement can called for an “ambitious mandate” and for the group to look at “radical

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supporters direct scotland 2014 conference

featuring: kenny shiels gordon waddell professor stephen morrow ‘no to hull tigers’ Sunday 15th June stirling management centre

conference tickets available:

make your voice heard at the conference With the domestic season now coming to an end, it is almost time to focus off the field matters at each of our respective football clubs. At Supporters Direct Scotland, we continue to focus on having fans’ voices heard around the country.

tickets now available for the supporters direct scotland 2014 conference The conference, taking place on the 15th of June at the Stirling Management Centre, aims to put fans back in the heart of the game and will be centered around the critical role of supporters’ future within the game. Speaking at the Conference will be Professor Stephen Morrow, chair of the independent working group created to examine increased and improved fans involvement within football clubs, Kenny Shiels, journalist Gordon Waddell and representatives from the ‘No To Hull City

Tigers’ campaign.

Throughout the day there will be the chance Results from the SDS to debate and discuss National Football Survey some of the most promiwill also be distributed nent themes affecting to all participants at the football and how fans Conference alongside are at the heart of the the presentation of new nation’s game through research conducted by Q&As and Focus FREE and LoughborGroups. Please e-mail ough University on how andrew.jenkin@supportfans engage with with any porter networks and questions. organisations at a club, national and internation- Tickets are available al level. Additionally, the to purchase for as litColours of our Scarves tle as £10 from https:// photo exhibition will also be on display for partici- and you can connect pants to view throughwith the event by using out the day. the hashtag #FansFuture

Fans make up only a small portion – if any - of the boardroom at the majority of clubs. There are a few exceptions to this rule where fans can voice their opinion on matters concerning all areas of their club; however at the majority of football clubs in the country, fans are not being consulted on matters which affect them directly. SDS has – and continues to - fight for fans to be given the right to have an opinion at the highest level at their club. Slowly, inroads have been made, but it is a longterm process and one that SDS will continue to be at the forefront of. Last season saw the change in league structure. This season could see new proposals being brought into play – such as financial fair play – but will the fans be asked what they think of the idea? They weren’t given the chance last season, what

would be so different this Shiels, Gordon Waddell and time around? Professor Stephen Morrow as well as the results of the SDS have knocked on the National Football Survey doors of every club in Scot- which was conducted earlier land at one time or another this year. and have been allowed access to give fans opportu- The conference gives fans nities on occasion, only to and supporters’ groups alike have the door slammed in the opportunity to have their our faces in others. voices heard, and discuss how they can help make an The fight for fan ownership impact on the future of Scothas gone on for several years tish football. Furthermore, and continues to drag on un- it gives fans the chance to til some sort of conclusion have an opinion on their recan be met where fans can spective clubs and on the isactually hear what decisions sues that matter the most to are being made about their them. club, as well as being given the opportunity to influence SDS will continue to promote what decisions will be made greater fan engagement and in the future. involvement in Scottish football. Events like this give supSDS believe that fans have porters the chance to come earned the right to have a along and interact with othsay on what their club de- er fans; to discuss and decides. Through their contin- bate on what is important to ued investment over many them and to help strengthen years and continued sup- the supporter movement in port of their club; they are Scotland. any football club’s constant – head and shoulders above Now is the opportunity for the short-termism that has football supporters to make plagued professional foot- their voices heard. To come ball for years. together and take advantage of an open forum where they SDS will be holding their an- can ask the questions that nual conference on June 15, are important to them. at the Stirling Management SDS implores all fans, from Centre. There will be a num- every club, to come along on ber of guest speakers at June15th and enjoy our anthe event, including Kenny nual conference.

Albion Rovers and Livingston lead the way in ticketing revolution This week saw the latest initiative by Albion Rovers to increase their home attendance for next season and make their club more financially sustainable.

– 718 attended the fixture against Montrose, almost double what the average attendance was for the rest of the season - the club hope they can replicate that over the course of a Following the success of full season. their “Pay What You Can” campaign earlier in the Already, another club is folseason, the club have now lowing suit. Livingston are applied the same offer for offering fans the chance to next year’s season tick- pay £180 for their season ets, with a minimum price ticket – which will include of £10 to get your seat for home games against every home league game. Rangers and Hearts, and The club chairman, John could also include home Devlin, insists that he is ties against Dunfermline taking a gamble, but a full and potentially another stadium on match day Premiership side pending would be worth it. Should the play-offs. this prove to be successful, the Rovers fans could at- This staggeringly low price tend every home game for would be seen as a bargain 55p each game. all over the country, where several clubs were offering Following on from the ini- their season tickets at over tial scheme, which saw the £200 for the current seaclub gain its highest at- son. This all sounds like a tendance for the season great deal, especially when

you consider Premiership clubs charge over £300 a season ticket, for arguably a less competitive division. In addition to these adult ticket prices at Livingston, concessions can get their ticket for £90 and children’s are priced at £54. In addition to the low Season Ticket price, another great offer at Livingston is that if this is still too high a price for some fans to afford, they are offering a £10 raffle ticket, with tickets to home matches for the winners and a one-off prize of a Season Ticket. Livingston chairman, Gordon McDougall, is hoping that the scheme his club are offering will fill seats and double the home attendance, something which could be crucial to a club currently in a transition period to a community ownership structure.

as home ties against LivValue for Money erpool and both Manchester clubs. Celtic? Well were So, is the Scottish game there really any big home currently good value for league ties for them this money? A poll on Scot- season? found that 91% of respondents did not feel Another aspect to look at that our game was value though, is how expensive for money. How accurate Arsenal tickets are. The is this of the wider consen- club haven’t won a major sus? Are these new initia- trophy since 2005, albeit tives by Albion Rovers and they have a FA Cup final Livingston the way forward this season against Hull for all clubs in Scotland? City, the fans aren’t seeing their money paid back on If the initiative can prove the pitch. But are Scottish successful on a long term football fans? Some clubs basis – rather than just for would argue yes. Celtic a couple of games – then fans got to see Champions this has to be the way for- League football earlier in ward. Clubs in the top tier the season. St Johnstone have seen their attendanc- fans have overseen their es dwindling, something clubs run in the Scottish which has become some- cup. Aberdeen supportthing of a trend over the ers witnessed the club win last few seasons. their first silverware in almost 20 years. However, When compared with tick- Hibernian and Kilmarnock et prices from over Europe, fans have watched their the Scottish game is par for club flirt with relegation all the course when looking at season, and Hearts fans the paper value of prices. have seen their club releHowever, can the cost be gated, whilst Rangers fans justified by the level of skill don’t know who to trust in and general standard of the running of their club’s football in Scotland? finances. Taking Arsenal for example, they have the highest Season Ticket price in the Premier League, more than double what Celtic fans pay for their season ticket. However, compare the two footballing standards. Arsenal play a high level of football on a regular basis, whilst Celtic show a rare glimpse of what football they can play only a few times a season. Furthermore, Arsenal provided fans with several local derbies this season, as well

trophies, but might be getting the adrenaline rush associated with supporting a football team; getting pleasure from watching their club perform on the park, although not winning much in terms of silverware. Arsenal fans fall into this latter category. Each season they fork out over £900 a Season Ticket, to turn up and watch their club mount a title bid before capitulating in the second half of the season. Whereas Celtic fans pay half the price, make a sacrifice in the standard of football, but usually win at least one trophy per campaign. At the lower levels, fans pay much less than this, the football in some places is just as good as at the top – perhaps not in England, but in Scotland certainly – and not everyone is pleased. Finances in football are a tricky business. It is difficult to satisfy everyone, but at least clubs are finally making inroads at some level to try and do this.

Not only throughout Scottish football, but the sport in general, fans can never By Blair Condie truly know how good the @BCondie92 value for money is in their club. Some fans can argue that they have been paid back what they put in with trophy wins, but others may argue that the style of football isn’t giving them enough excitement and entertainment when they go to games. On the flip side, fans that pay less for their season tickets may never win any

colours of our scarves update The ‘Colours of our Scarves’ Programme has kicked into gear over the last four months working with over 2200 participants, taking part in a cross section of workshops, focus groups and facilitated discussions. In addition to this, we have also visited Falkirk FC, Dundee Utd FC, Hamilton Accies FC and Hibernian FC for Matchday exhibitions, which were received very well by the club’s players, staff and supporters alike. The ‘Colour of our Scarves’ programme will interact with foot-

ball clubs, football supporters and residents of communities around football stadia to gain a unique perspective on the issue of sectarianism nationwide, whilst exploring and attempting to gain more knowledge and research on the differentiation and geographical anomalies in the prevalence of Sectarianism that may currently exist in Scotland. In addition to this the programme will also give the participating individuals a knowledge and understanding to better address and change the existence of sectarianism

locally. Over the next fourteen months it is our intention to visit all the other senior football grounds in Scotland and take the programme nationwide. For more information on the programme please visit

Hearts too, have only recently found themselves in a position where fan ownership is coming into play. Towards the end of the season, the club begun to turn their fortunes around, however it was a little too late and they were relegated to the Championship.

a response to geoff brown’s comments regarding ownership structures St Johnstone owner, Geoff Brown, has this week hit out at the idea of fan ownership being the way forward in football. The businessman, whose family have ran the Perth side for almost 30 years argues that his club have benefitted from a stable owner who has run the club, while many of their rivals have flirted with the prospect of administration, with some clubs actually finding themselves in that predicament. Brown maintains that a

one man owner is the best, and believes clubs which are run by committees can’t be held to account over their demise.

as a number of clubs further down the divisions, fans have taken control of their club in a committee formed basis – and each of these clubs, given time, have In the last few sea- begun to turn their forsons, Rangers, Hearts tunes around. and Dunfermline have found themselves al- Stirling Albion – the club most begging fans for who became the first their additional invest- League club in the UK ments to keep the club to be entirely fan owned afloat, and now each – have now gained proclub is at the mercy of motion to League One, the fans. and have amassed a squad which many are The fans care about of the belief that they their clubs, they want can challenge again for what is best for them. Championship promoAt both Hearts and tion once again. Dunfermline, as well

Although it could still be another couple of years before a fan committee take control at Tynecastle, the foundations have been built for this move to take place. The same is at Motherwell. Fan ownership is becoming a possibility at this club, and despite reports this week, the fans still maintain the ambition to seize control of their club within the next year or so. Although fan ownership in football is a relatively new concept – certainly in Scotland anyway – but the concept is proven elsewhere. German clubs have shown that they can thrive with the fan ownership concept. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund have shown that they both can challenge on the European stage, whilst Barcelona is also majority owned by the fans.

Arguably the most successful club in Europe in the last 8 years, the Catalan club are run as a democracy, where fans vote for changes at the top and all can make their own votes on every decision the club take. Even Real Madrid have a similar ownership model to their rivals! Fan ownership is proven at the highest levels in European football. Although Scottish football is not once what it was, our clubs are still being given the opportunity to compete on this stage. With patience and continued investment from fans, Scottish football can compete at the highest levels of football. Many argue that it is not competing right now, so surely this shows that there could be something wrong with the way it currently operates? Clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich have – at least for the last 20 years – played a major role in the Champions League, and Dortmund have re-emerged from their ‘90s participation in the competition to once again become a contender amongst

Europe’s elite. Fan ownership in these clubs works because of the continued support each member gives to the club, which is something that Scottish football fans do have in them when it is required. If and when fans are called upon to save their club, they turn up with the goods when no one man investor does. Clubs can’t rely on someone who has no passion for the club, no affiliation and is only looking to recoup the money they put in with a tidy profit. The fans don’t want this. Fans want to see their club survive. They want their club to succeed. They don’t want to lose part of their community, part of their heritage. If all goes well, they’d be ecstatic should the club even manage to win a trophy along the way. Change is required in Scottish football. It may take time, and it may be a bumpy road, but the way things are currently set up, the passion is being overruled by profit. By Blair Condie @bcondie92

Damian Collins MP: “Get to the Supporters Summit and get your voices heard” Damian Collins, MP for Folkestone and Hythe, and the man responsible for the cross party supported Football Governance Bill has come out strongly in favour of Supporters Direct and the FSF’s call for proper consultation with supporters about the future of our national game, and urged fans to attend the Supporters Summit on the 26th July.

ing big changes to the way the game is run in England. In his message, Collins said:

game, which is a continuation of the work done by John Whittingdale’s Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. Fans need to unite on the big issues, along with our other allies in the game – at grassroots, in nonleague, and across football. So many of us share a desire to see the way the game is run changed to benefit the fans and all those who care about it, and not just a privileged elite. We urge you to seize the opportunity on the 26th July, and help us to create a real manifesto for change that we can all campaign on together.”

“Football is nothing without the fans and any reform of the sport must include consultation with supporters including representative bodies such as Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters’ Federation. I would urge fans to attend the upcoming SD/FSF SumHis Bill is designed to mit and have their voices tackle some of the is- heard.” sues long campaigned on by SD and the FSF, Robin Osterley, Chief Exincluding the most re- ecutive of SD, commentcent Culture, Media and ed: Sport Select Committee reports – the fifth report “We welcome Damian’s h t t p : / / w w w . s u p p o r t in forty years demand- work on the running of the

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