First up we’re speaking to one of the first SLOs appointed in Scottish football, Beverley Mayer, St Johnstone’s SLO who was appointed to the position in July 2016. Beverley has been one of the success stories of the SLO role’s development in the past 18 months by undertaking a huge number of initiatives to help fans, in addition to her already numerous other duties at the club.
The SLO role is an important ‘GO TO’ role within each Club which makes dialogue between all stakeholders much easier. Looking to the future, if all professional clubs were to appoint SLOs it would definitely be beneficial for the above reason. Hopefully it will become the norm rather than the exception. My own role would definitely be enhanced by having SLOs at every club both to communicate with and to learn from.
I was appointed as the Club’s Lotto Administrator over 5 years ago which is my full time job. The SLO role was in addition to my existing remit but is voluntary so any SLO work has to be fitted in around my ‘day job’ so to speak but after being involved in running supporters’ clubs and buses for many years I am well used to dealing with matters and events that may arise ‘out of hours’! A typical week for me would be responding to queries that reach me via email/social media/phone messages and to a lesser extent delegating the queries to the relevant departments and ensuring they have been followed up. If we have a home match I will attend the pre-ops meeting and make contact with the visiting team’s SLO to communicate any vital information ie traffic/parking issues, ticketing/turnstile/accessibility information, permission for tifos/choreos etc. I have also started to attend away pre-ops meetings where possible. I attend every match, both home and away.
I was appointed just over a year ago and since then several other clubs have appointed SLOs, therefore raising awareness of the role amongst the various stakeholders and also creating a better understanding of the role itself.
I liaise with supporters groups (individuals/clubs/disabled/risk etc), Scottish Disabled Supporters’ Association, SD Scotland, Police/FoCUS, Club Security, Club Management, Operations (catering/kiosk/Maintenance etc).
I try to be as open, helpful and as accessible to all stakeholders as possible but in particular the supporters, so short-term it’s important that I maintain that. If supporters are invited to keep raising issues and queries with me then I will keep looking for solutions, resolutions and answers to give them which means I will keep learning and hopefully improve in my role. This in turn should help to enhance the supporters’ experience at both home and away matches. It’s vital to have an open mind and a positive, ‘can-do’ attitude in this role!
Longer term I plan to expand upon my own knowledge, to keep on top of the ever changing rules, regulations and legislation which supporters are bound by on a match day, to maintain the open lines of communication I have with all stakeholders and to reach out further afield to our ‘exiled’ supporters, a group who are keen to feel ‘closer’ to the Club but by their very nature can sometimes be neglected. I am also a huge advocate of the introduction of ‘safe standing’ and am watching with great interest as other clubs carry out feasibility studies as they look to give this policy further consideration. At the moment so many clubs have ‘unsafe’ standing so it’s definitely the way forward. It’s also a way of introducing another tier of pricing ergo potentially generating more income for clubs. Watch this space…
Fans can contact me via the dedicated SLO page on our website http://perthstjohnstonefc.co.uk/supporter-liaison-officer, twitter: @SJFC_SLO , email: or by telephone (01738) 459090.
I remember pestering the life out of my dad to buy me a St Johnstone FC scarf and tammy when I was at primary school because my best friend had them. I eventually wore him down enough that when I was 8 years old he relented. Over 35 years later I still have that same scarf although it only makes an appearance at special occasions, the last time being the Scottish Cup Final on 17th May, 2014. We went on to win the Scottish Cup that day, defeating Dundee Utd 2-0 and my scarf hasn’t been washed or worn since!
The best player I have ever seen wearing the blue and white of St Johnstone FC is Sergei Baltacha of the USSR. He played for us in the early 90s and was a tough, no-nonsense central defender/sweeper. We had just won promotion to the Premier League and Sergei brought genuine class not only to St Johnstone FC but to the Premier League as a whole. He was in the twilight of his career at aged 32 but was nevertheless still a master of his profession, winning nearly 50 caps for the Soviet Union before we signed him.