2016 has been another eventful year for Supporters Direct Scotland with the continued success of the sectarianism project (Colours of our scarves), the development of the Supporter Liaison Officer role and some high profile clubs becoming supporter owned.
The year started with their Annual Supporters Summit. The event kick started with a game between politicians and an SD Scotland select (which the parliamentary side won 2-1 in a tense affair), the Summit allowed SD Scotland members and stakeholders the opportunity to hear from a range of speakers including the Sports Minister on the Scottish Government’s consultation into Supporter Involvement in the ownership and governance of football clubs. The Minister was followed by Swansea City’s Supporters Trust’s chair, Phil Sumbler who shared his experiences of owning 21% in the Premiership club.
March saw SD Scotland launch their consultancy service Club Development Scotland with Bryan Jackson who had previously helped facilitate the community ownership of Dundee, Hearts, Portsmouth and Dunfermline. Launched at Motherwell FC, home to Scotland’s most recent community owned club, the launch saw SD Scotland and the community ownership movement get some significant media profile including a feature on STV’s News at 6 and an interview on ‘Scotland Tonight’.
April saw the launch of the Annual Scottish Supporters Survey which received an overwhelming and record level of responses with over 14,000 fans participating in the survey and offering their views on the state of the game in Scotland. The results were analysed and SD Scotland presented the results to both the Professional Game Board and Scottish FA Congress.
In July, we were delighted to announce continued funding for our anti-discrimination Colours of our Scarves programme. With this continued funding, SD Scotland has been working in partnership with the Scottish FA to build on work conducted with Braidhurst High School School of Football over the last two years. With this, the offer of a 2 hour delivery workshop for the players and coaches will be extended to remaining 27 Schools of Football across Scotland. Additionally, our work has included a variety of workshops, focus groups and mentoring schemes for sports participants, sport coaches and organisers alike, with workshop and delivery projects tailored to the specific needs of the individual, club or association.
SD Scotland were then delighted to announce a partnership with the Scottish FA for the development of the Supporter Liaison Officer role within Scottish football. The partnership see’s SD Scotland take on a developmental role in the position’s growth and implementation within Scottish football, designed to improve relationships between clubs and their supporters. SD Scotland’s work as part of the agreement has seen us present about the role at the Scottish FA’s Professional Game Board, Congress, Convention and to all SPFL clubs via the SPFL’s Divisional Meetings. SD Scotland were fortunate enough to interview SLOs from Malmo and Schalke about the role and are in the process of planning activity for 2017.
In between our activities, we were delighted to welcome two new SPFL clubs to the community owned family in Scotland with high profile clubs Motherwell and St Mirren both announcing they would be becoming at least 50+1% owned by their supporters through deals.
We were also incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of Margaret Ross, Chair of our members the Pars Supporters Trust in December. Margaret was one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the Pars Supporters Trust in 2004 and after the acquisition of Dunfermline FC by Pars United in 2013, Margaret took up the Pars Supporters Trust’s seat on the Board of DAFC.
If you would like any further information on our work in Scotland, please contact Andrew Jenkin.