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Scottish Supporters Network

Supported by:   Supporters Direct Scotland

Scottish Clubs Need To Continually Look To Improve Fan Experiences

Date: 19th January 2019

What does Scottish football need more than anything else to survive? 

It’s not a strong Rangers and Celtic! It isn’t a better TV deal and it isn’t having a better calibre of player! 

Now yes competition is great, as is more money from media broadcasters and having a better quality of player is also a way of improving our game. But essentially, Scottish football would die if they didn’t have fans buying into it week on week. 

That’s why the fan experiences within Scottish football have to be constantly looked at and improved upon. 

Clubs need to make use of relevant technology and they have to be seen within their local community and support those communities, as those communities support them. 

Gone are the days that fans should just go to the game, sing some songs, get a pie and be happy with their lot. They need more and they deserve more. 

The Success of fan ownership projects at Hearts, Motherwell and St Mirren has shown us that communities and fanbases can run and save their football clubs. 

Now some Scottish clubs have noticed this and are starting to offer their faithful support much better fan experiences both at games and throughout the week. 

Motherwell, for instance, run a very smart online campaign via video and social media that keeps supporters up to date with everything going on at Fir Park. The Well also enhance match-day experiences, they often offer younger fans a chance to meet players before games for signing sessions. 

More sides now offer an online version of the match-day programme, which will keep the technology savvy supporters happy. 

Clubs should have their own apps and have analytics showing supporters within minutes; stats for games, let fans rate players, get exclusive content from the manager and so on. These apps could also give the supporters and the clubs a vital way to communicate to each other. If there are issues in the stadium that a fan wants to tell the club about, then what easier way than via an app? For a club, to get instant feedback from their fanbase could be invaluable as they continually look to grow. 

Teams should have more quiz nights after games, have legend Q&As, club specific live podcasts, onstage player interviews and the like. I never understand why clubs would not do more to try and keep people in the stadium after games. Offer affordable food, drinks and entertainment. I know some do, but all of them should and they should be very club specific with their entertainment. 

If there’s room for it, then I’d have things like farmers markets or small festivals at stadia too. Section off a car park or a concourse on  the outside of a stand and have local suppliers selling homemade burgers, burritos, cakes and what not. It would be a British version of a tailgate party. You charge the sellers and you get people to the ground early, meaning they can then go into the club shop or the stadium’s lounge to spend more money and enjoy the atmosphere. 

Talking of food, we should have more choice on offer. Again it’s improving but do a special every week and cater for all kinds of diets too. 

Before every second home game they could have a charity on the concourses beside the food vendors. Allowing these charities to raise money and awareness. I’ve seen Hibs doing this with The Changing Room by SAMH project, if that saves one fan from mental health issues then it’s huge success in my book. 

Open up more training sessions during the week. On one day a month have a group of fans come in and watch a certain part of the session. They do it in the States and in Europe. Then have signing sessions and photo opportunities. Again you are just involving the faithful more in the workings of the club.  

As I’ve said previously, in a previous article, aim more towards families and females. Partick Thistle had a Ladies Days at Firhill and that sort of thing should be happening more. We should be getting everyone involved in our game. 

Clubs need to keep themselves relevant in the minds of their fans and they need to embrace the support. Use the technology available to you, you have so much scope for unique content -use i1! Offer new things to supporters and show that you have the same passion that they do! 

As I’ve said, it’s getting better all the time but club’s need to continually look at ways of involving the fans as that’s a great way to keep them as passionate supporters.

By Scott Johnston (TheFootyblog.net)

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