February was a busy month for me. In addition to helping Blackpool supporters, I met with Emilio Scozzafava at Portcullis House. He is a researcher for Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP, the Labour Shadow Sports Minister.
The reason for the meeting was to discuss ideas about how supporters could have more of a voice in their football clubs.
This is the area of the SLO role I really enjoy. I was on the Supporters Direct England and Wales Football Council several years ago. While on the council the thing I enjoyed most was speaking with other clubs, exchanging views and opinions and sharing advice and ideas.
Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation are now merging. Both groups have unique and special qualities. They also have some great staff with experience that must not be lost in the merger. However, due to the politics of football and the lack of funding, they are now joining together. I hope this new organisation understands what each other did and builds on those strengths without anything being lost on the way. All levels are important in the Professional and National game, not just the teams with the largest numbers of supporters.
Click here to read more https://supporters-direct.org/new-organisation
A possible merger of the organisations had been a discussion point for a number of years. A decision had become necessary because of important changes to how SD’s work can and cannot be funded once its current funding arrangements comes to an end in July 2019.
There is no point dwelling on the past and the new group, The Unified Football Supporters Organisation, will now be the point of contact for supporters and represent them at national level. It is a group I think all supporters should be aware of: they need our backing. They will have the meetings, contacts and exchanges to make things happen at national level.
Going back to the meeting with Emilio, we discussed supporter representation including the idea of a Fans' Parliament (or Supporters' Panel) and the different roles the SLO and FED undertake.
Hopefully in years to come some of the ideas discussed will bear fruit and the voice of supporters will be heard at all clubs and in the organisations that run the game.