A recap of the sessions that made up the 2014 Supporters Summit.
Opening Session (10:30 to 11:45)
IS IT TIME FOR CHANGE? THE BALL’S IN YOUR COURT…
Featuring a video from Greg Dyke on the recent England Commission, and other reform issues in the game.
“The issue today is not that people don’t understand there is an issue, it is that they don’t know how to change things.”
If ever that could be said to be true it’s when you’re talking about football.
We know there’s a problem because the figures don’t stack up: there have been well over 100 financial collapses in just 22 years. We know that by looking at the facts on the ground: there are owners making poor decisions that are rarely challenged – whether it’s Cardiff City going from blue to red, Hull going from City to Tigers or Coventry about to start their second season in Northampton.
And yes, we have plenty of people in politics on our side. Where calls for football reform were in the past often met with a moderate embrace, now they can’t keep their hands off the issue; they want to know what we think; they want to tell us how bad it is, and how much they want to change it.
But nothing has ever changes simply because people don’t like it. Nothing ever changes because we come up with a handy critique. Nothing ever changes because we come up with a slogan that sticks in the mind. Things change because we think, we act, because we’re brave, and because we take risks.
This session will be a guided discussion on the state of the game, and the road we, as supporters, and activists, want to go down.
The session will be introduced by Robin Osterley (CEO of Supporters Direct).
AM Workshops (11:45 to 12:45)
AWAY FANS MATTER
Twenty’s Plenty and the Away Fans Survey have ensured that the FSF’s Away Fans Matter Campaign has got off to a brilliant start. But it is just that – a start. The FSF will continue to champion away fans by fighting to lower ticket prices, improve facilities and change attitudes towards travelling supporters.
This session will update members on the campaign but it’s also your opportunity to feed in new ideas as the FSF looks to maintain momentum and incorporate new aspects, such as the abolition of match categorisation.
PROTECTING CLUB IDENTITY
A discussion on preventing the stripping of the historic identity of our traditional clubs by owners with purely commercial interests. What tools do we have in our box to stop another Cardiff City, Hull City or a move away from the home of the club as at Coventry City? What can the FA do to dissuade owners from ignoring the generations of supporters traditional values and looking to more lucrative marketing of the club to television fans around the globe?
Chair: Jacqui Forster (Supporters Direct)
- Brian Mertens (Cardiff City Supporters’ Trust)
- Chris Cooper (City Till We Die Group)
- Clive Efford MP
- Mark Harris (Witton Albion FC and Evo-Stik Northern Premier League)
SUPPORTERS LIAISON OFFICERS: WHAT HAVE THEY DONE FOR YOU LATELY?
What makes a good SLO? Do you know who your SLO is? Do you even know what an SLO is? Two years ago the Football League and Premier League said that each club must appoint an SLO. As we approach the SLOs third birthday in the UK, club reps and fans will look at examples of best practice. What’s worked and what hasn’t? How can we improve the picture?
WHAT DOES A GOOD CLUB LICENSING SYSTEM LOOK LIKE FOR THE UK?
The term ‘Licensing’ has now become a common phrase in the vocabulary of football supporters. With different interpretations of what licensing is based on whether your Club is playing in Uefa competition, or which domestic league it plays in, it’s not surprising that the purpose and message of licensing can be lost.
In this session we focus on the Football Conference, shining a light on ‘licensing’ developments the league has made and whether they can been used to good effect elsewhere.
Chair: James Mathie (Supporters Direct)
Panellists: Nick Igoe (Supporters Direct Club Development Consultant
Main Session (13:45 to 14:45)
HOW CAN FANS MAKE THEIR VOICE HEARD IN THE MEDIA?
A panel from football and the media will discuss how fans are portrayed across various media. Why are off-the-field issues often overlooked or given lower priority? How can fans influence the media agenda? How have traditional media reacted to the growing number of fan bloggers and websites? Why do fans often feel patronised by certain coverage?
PM Workshops (14:45 to 15:45)
FANS FOR DIVERSITY
Fans against Homophobia. Fans against Racism. Fans against Sexism.
The FSF and Kick it Out are working together on a range of projects that celebrate diversity among football fans and tackle prejudice. How can we promote a positive message that football should welcome those from all walks of life? The FSF and KIO would like fans to drive a series of localised events in the 2014/15 season and they’ll help support with funds for campaign materials. Get your thinking caps on.
FINANCIAL FAIR PLAY – AT HOME & ABROAD
With UEFA readying themselves to fully implement their much-discussed Club Licensing and Financial Fair Play regulations from the beginning of the forthcoming season, and the importance of club licensing high on the agenda in many countries, this session will take a look at what the next twelve months and beyond will hold. With good governance and financial sustainability now accepted as key building blocks of the game, what effect will the new regulations have on the European and national level? And what might this mean for supporters?
Chair: Rory Smith (The Times)
Supporters Trusts come in different shapes and size, each with a different relationship with their club but bound by similar underlying principles. The journey of each provides an interesting perspective into the world of football.
In this session we bring-to-life the work of supporters trusts operating at different levels of the game from the Premier League to the Conference Premier, giving working examples of the movement in action.
Chair: Robin Osterley (Supporters Direct)
WHO ARE YA? SAFETY ADVISORY GROUPS…EXPOSED!
Reduced ticket allocations, early kick-offs and bubble matches. All issues that can infuriate normally mild mannered fans. But what is the process that leads to a reduced allocation? Who really decides? The Safety Advisory Group is central to everything but buck-passing exercises from club to police to local authority and back again can leave fans baffled.
This session aims to unpick the process, outline the key players and give fans the knowledge to challenge decisions at their club.
Closing Session (16:15 to 17:30)
THE BLIZZARD Q&A
The Supporters Summit are very pleased to play host to The Blizzard Q&A. Now in it’s fourth year the football quarterly’s live Q&A events have packed out venues throughout the UK and Ireland. The session will be an in-depth discussion with some of The Blizzard’s top stable of writers about matters on and off the pitch.
Take a look at past Blizzard events to get a flavour of what it’s about.
Chair: Dave Farrar
- James Horncastle
- James Montague
- Rory Smith (The Times)