Any director of a football club is likely to be a fan of that club. However, when we talk about a ‘supporter director’, we are referring to an individual who is democratically elected by a supporters’ trust or similar organisation to represent the interests of a wider group of supporters. The normal way of becoming a director of a football club that is a Private Limited Company is to invest in a shareholding, but many companies have people on the board for other expertise they have or particular skills they possess. At a football club, one such ‘skill’ is representing supporters’ views, the key stakeholders of any club.
Having a supporter director who is representative of supporters’ views is critical to ensuring a well functioning board is properly governed and can come with numerous benefits for both clubs and supporters.
These benefits include:
- The relationship between club and supporters changes from “us and them” to “we’re all in this together
- It makes fans less likely to blame the board for adversities, because of the element of partnership
- Communication both ways is improved, and greater understanding among supporters of the constraints under which the board operates leads to fewer demands for increased expenditure to “buy” success
- Issues of sustainability move up the agenda.
- A reservoir of talent, goodwill and effort on a voluntary basis becomes available to the club, which can augment the limited professional resources the club may be able to afford.
- Issues such as anti-racism, equal opportunities and access for the disabled can be highlighted more easily
- Gates tend to increase where Trusts are involved at boardroom level, and with them sales of merchandise increase proportionately
- The Trust also brings an additional revenue stream through voluntary fundraising, which is incentivised and stimulated when shares are made available for purchase by the Trust
List of clubs with Supporter Representatives:
- Raith Rovers
- Dundee United
- Dunfermline Athletic
- St Mirren
- Stirling Albion
Got an addition to make? Let us know by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.