In my blog SLO part 3 I spoke of how we contact Away teams in advance and try to ensure their match day goes smoothly. Recently after the match against Northampton a visiting supporter failed to return to the coach for the trip home.
The search for him involved the emergency services. Ian Darler and Andy Pickard along with the Police searched the stadium and also the common for him late into the evening. Fortunately, the gentleman was found safe and sound having returned home via a lift. This time it ended happily. It was good to know that everything was in place and the procedures ensured the searches were carried out in an organised and systematic manner.
The only downside was the romantic meal Lisa Darler had planned for Ian was ruined.
After every match a search of the ground is undertaken to ensure that nobody has collapsed or fallen ill.
In addition I meet with our Club's Safety Officer Andy Pickard to understand ground regulations and safety measures. I attend pre-match briefings when I can - but sometimes the role of SLO requires me to greet coaches, meet fans and sponsors, and be available in the NRE, Main Stand and Habbin all at the same time which can be a challenge
Hopefully as the role of SLO becomes more understood, I will find more willing helpers to work with me to make fans' match day experience as good as it can be. Sarah and Simon King help me on matchdays and their help is invaluable filling in wherever needed and doing checks for me around the ground before and during matches.
Margaret Pearson also helps by contacting the clubs in advance of match days to pass on information for those coming to the Abbey and also to provide information for our supporters when visiting other clubs
Most clubs are starting to have SLO teams carrying out the role required. Others have a single point of contact and are employees of the club. Either way the role is becoming more and more a part of the match day.
Don't forget I am able to be contacted by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or leaving a message for me at the club: 01223 566500 or by talking to me as you see me around the ground.
If anyone would like to volunteer their services on a match day please do contact me.