Friday, April 23, 2010

McLeish and the fans: Update

A bit more on today’s earlier post regarding the McLeish Report and the findings of the Supporters Direct survey.

James Proctor from Supporters Direct was kind enough to get in touch with a summary of the results. (They've got more on their website as well.)

The most striking thing for me is how closely a lot of the results (and there are some fairly overwhelming percentages involved) mirror a lot of the chats I have with other supporters, whether that be in the pub or through this blog and the Blogger's Manifesto idea.

I’d suggest, although this is purely anecdotal, that there is not only a consensus for change but that there’s also a lot of agreement about what that change should involve.

The fans care, they’re informed and their increasingly organised and vocal.

It’s up to the SFA, SPL and the rest to respond.

Here’s the introduction to the summary:
Two key themes come across strongly in the results; that football fans are disenchanted with the present league structure and that they feel disempowered by the current administrative set-up of Scottish football. In essence supporters know the game can be better but feel unable to influence the important decisions about how it is run.

By publishing these results Supporters Direct hopes to add the views of supporters to the current debate around Scottish football's future. Football fans are passionate and committed to the sport, are keen to see improvement in the way it is run and are willing to contribute both financially and as volunteers.

In a country the size of Scotland we must do what we can to allow talented people to be involved in the game, whichever constituency they happen to come from. This is why Supporters Direct believes that supporters should have a greater influence in the running of the sport. Adding the supporters’ voice to the existing pool of hard working people running the game can only be of benefit and help to reinvigorate the sport.
And the full Supporters Direct press release:
Football fans in Scotland have given their biggest thumbs down to the product they are currently seeing in a survey conducted by Supporters Direct, the collective voice of supporters' trusts in Scotland.

Over 1,300 fans of clubs at all levels of the senior game answered an on-line computer survey and the findings revealed that a hugely significant number of supporters are fed-up with the current league structure and they want to have a greater say in the running of the game.

The format of meeting opposing teams four times a season that is prevalent in all four senior leagues came in for the most criticism with a staggering 96% of fans advising that they would prefer not to play opponents that frequently.

Playing twice received 83% support and 13% even preferred an unequal three times a season. Just 4% of those responding to the survey went for the current option of playing four times against each other.

In addition the survey found that five out of every six fans would prefer a pyramid league structure with promotion and relegation below the Scottish Football League and over 90% would also like to see a streamlined administration with one body organising and running the professional game.

In addition 91% of respondents felt that fans were powerless to influence decisions and would like to see greater fan involvement in the running of the game.

Supporters Direct's Development Manager in Scotland, James Proctor said, “These results clearly show the depth to which fans feel disenchanted and disempowered by the current set-up of Scottish football. They think that there is a lot that needs to be improved but believe they are powerless to influence the required changes.”

“With the publication of the Henry McLeish report imminent, the message to football's hierarchy is that fans are passionate and committed to the game but want to see significant improvement in how it is organised and run. They have also stated powerfully that they want to be involved in those discussions.”

Proctor continued, “Supporters Direct would therefore welcome dialogue with the other bodies and hope that the publication of this survey, along with the debate around the McLeish report, can provide the momentum to bring about positive improvement in the game in Scotland.”

The survey, asked questions on who holds the power in football, what would improve the matchday experience and the fans views of regulation and club licensing. A summary report of the main findings is available at

Notes to Editors:
Supporters Direct in Scotland is the membership organisation for supporters' trusts. There are 31 trusts in Scotland covering all four divisions in the SPL and SFL and additionally one in Junior and two in non-league Senior divisions.

Supporters Direct in Scotland conducted an online survey, promoted through email and website links with Scottish supporters' trusts, to gain the views of a cross-section of football fans on a range of issues. During the three weeks that the survey was open it was completed by over 1,300 fans from clubs all across Scotland.

Key Findings

96% of fans disagree with the current system of playing opponents four times per season. 83% would prefer to play opponents twice per season.
The vast majority of fans (83%) want a pyramid league structure
91% would prefer one administrative body for professional football
91% agree that fans should have a greater influence in the running of the game

Headline achievements
34 Supporters’ Trusts
£3.5 Million investment in football clubs
15,000 members approx.
25 Trusts with shares in their football club
14 Directors on Football Club Boards
300 Volunteer Directors
2 Re-formed Clubs (Clydebank FC & Gretna 2008 FC)
Thanks to James for the information.

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