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Scottish football supporters gain new voice with launch of Fans Parliament

Scottish football supporters gain new voice with launch of Fans Parliament

A new initiative to gain a wider view of Scottish football fans’ opinions on issues of national importance throughout Scotland has been launched by Supporters Direct Scotland. Supporters Direct Scotland (SDS) has already had talks with the Scottish Football Association, The Scottish Football League and The Scottish Premier League about working with them in the coming months and years. The ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will allow a two way communication with all fans of all clubs, from senior to amateur and in every community in the country, to help Supporters Direct Scotland gather fans’ views on issues of importance for the first time. This will enable SDS to become a credible organisation which representing football supporters views, which can then help stimulate informed debate about issues in Scottish football with the Scottish Government and the football authorities. Included in the ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will be the new ‘scottishfans.org’ website, a series of roadshows across the country, increased engagement at matches and social media channels and a series of surveys on specific topics concerning the game. The roadshow events will begin in Edinburgh on the 28th of October with Hibs and Hearts legends Pat Stanton and Gary Mackay taking part in the debate. Former First Minister Henry McLeish said, “It has been a unique year for football fans in Scotland, on a local as well as national basis, with ordinary fans’ voices being heard loud and clear in a way they’ve never been heard, or listened to, before. Now there is a drive and determination to ensure that the momentum that was gained isn’t lost. “The new ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative will provide a platform for fans to continue the debate in the knowledge that these opinions will be shared with the Scottish Government and to the organisations running football in Scotland.” Paul Goodwin, Head of Supporters Direct in Scotland said: “Fans voices are being listened to more than ever before and we know that in recent months there has been an unprecedented debate about the game in Scotland. Through Supporters Direct Scotland fans will have the opportunity to voice their opinions on issues of importance to them which can help inform both the football authorities and government and we want the new ‘Fans Parliament’ initiative to be the conduit for the debate and discussion between fans across the country and, in effect, be the voice of Scottish football fans. “We want to facilitate discussion on key issues affecting our game through online discussions and debate and regularly present those findings to Government and the game’s governing bodies as the very latest in supporters’ opinions and views in the game. As an organisation funded by the Scottish...

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Survey Results

The Honest Men Trust (THMT) has published the results of its survey of Ayr United supporters. THMT commissioned research agency Red Circle Communications to assist in the drafting of questions for the wide ranging survey which was launched at the start of April, prior to United’s relegation to the Second Division. Red Circle have independently analysed the feedback from over 380 fans – around a third of the Honest Men’s average home crowd – and have compiled a report which is now available, below. The findings have also been sent to the Ayr United Chairman, Directors and manager Mark Roberts. The idea behind the survey was a positive one to identify issues concerning supporters and to see what can be done to entice them back to Somerset Park, after over 10,000 fans followed the team to Hampden Park in January. THMT believe the supporters are the lifeblood of any football club but too often no-one will listen to what they have to say. We are keen to see as many supporters as possible turn up and back Ayr United and we are sure the manager and players themselves would appreciate that immensely. This survey has given supporters a chance to have their say. Chairman Lachlan Cameron has responded to the survey to thank the Trust for their efforts and to confirm the results have been noted by the Somerset Park hierarchy but has chosen not to comment specifically on its findings. The survey was completed by United diehards as well as those who attend less often, for a variety of reasons. Around two thirds of the survey respondents have supported the club for over 20 years and over half attend 16 games or more a season. The survey found that 70% of fans attend the same number or more games now than in the last couple of seasons. While there was encouraging news on attendances, less positive was that less than one in five Ayr fans who completed the survey said they felt valued as a supporter by the club. It is encouraging that Ayr fans continue to back their team but we need to make sure as many of those who now go less often, or have stopped going altogether, turn up at Somerset Park more regularly. Through the survey, supporters have said they would like the club to do more to recognise their loyalty and support, and for better communication. Hopefully, taking account of the survey, the club can improve relations with supporters the coming months and there will be a positive impact on attendances. Ayr United Fan Survey - June 2012 (1134) Join THMT: If you’re not yet a member of...

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Trust seek fans views on ‘newco’ Rangers

The Honest Men Trust (THMT) is asking for the views of its members – and all Ayr United fans – on the prospect of Rangers joining the Scottish Football League and plans for reconstruction in Scottish football. THMT Chairman, John Dalton, said “We were delighted with the response the Trust had from all Ayr United supporters to our recent fans survey, with over 380 replies on a range of matters concerning the club. Now, the situation surrounding Rangers has huge implications for Scottish football and it is only right that supporters’ voices are heard”. Fans of SPL clubs have made their feelings clear and clubs are taking notice meaning it now looks unlikely that the SPL will allow Rangers to continue in the top tier when they vote on July 4th. The SFA have now confirmed that talks are ongoing between the three governing bodies which would see one league body oversee the senior game; the introduction of a play-off between SPL and SFL First Division; a single financial distribution model and a pyramid system, with the potential for relegation from and promotion to the fourth tier. John said: “Scottish football is in need of change and the situation at Rangers offers an opportunity to do this.  The proposals mentioned by the SFA, many of which feature in the Fans’ Plan produced by Supporters Direct Scotland, are to be cautiously welcomed. However, what happens to Rangers is still unknown. Will they start in the First Division or the Third? Or even stay in the top division? “The fact that clubs in the SPL are willing to listen to their supporters on this matter is hugely encouraging. SFL clubs, including Ayr United, are likely to have their vote on the future of Scottish football and on Rangers and we would hope that the Ayr United Board take account of the opinions of supporters”. THMT will feedback the views of supporters on Rangers and league reconstruction – and the results of the fan survey – to the Ayr United Board in the coming weeks. Fans can send their comments using the form below or by e-mail to admin@thmt.co.uk   Comments or questions are welcome. First Name: Last Name: Email: Subject: Message: CAPTCHA...

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SD Scotland Survey Update

 Supporters Direct Scotland Survey special Earlier this month, Supporters Direct Scotland published the results of their 2011 Scottish Football Supporters Survey. Since the results have been released, the Survey has gained traction with a number of media outlets: Fans in call for fairer SPL cash split – Scotland on Sunday, 5/2/12 “A demand for more even distribution of the Scottish Premier League’s central revenue is the fan response that stands out from the latest survey conducted by campaign group Supporters Direct…” Survey reveals fans will continue to shun Scottish games while Old Firm receive majority of SPL cash – Sunday Mail, 5/2/12 “Scottish football fans will keep quitting the game unless the SPL spreads the wealth away from the Old Firm and gives them a competition worth watching…” SPL Fans Insist Bigger is Better – The Sunday Post, 5/2/12 “Scottish football fans have hardened their opposition towards a ten-team SPL…” Terrace Support for top 10 halves – The Sunday Herald, 5/2/12 “Scotland’s football supporters have restated their opposition to a 10-team top division, and insisted there must be more competition and fairer redistribution of revenues across the game…” Fans eye fairness at Old Firm expense – Mail on Sunday, 5/2/12 “Scottish football fans have called on the SPL to distribute its wealth more equally, with even supporters of the Old Firm accepting that a new formula is needed to stimulate competition in the Scottish game…” This reflects the level to which the survey and its results has engaged not only the Scottish footballing public, but many in the media as well. To view and download the full survey and its results as a PDF file, please clickhere. The full results clearly illustrate a desire amongst Scottish football supporters for: Bigger Scottish football leagues, particularly with regards to the SPL:   ·        9 out 10 fans want a league larger than the current set up. ·        Three quarters of fans want a 16 or 18 team league with nearly half of all respondents preferring a 16-team league set up. ·        81% of Old Firm fans support a league bigger than current set up ·        Even when it was explained that the SPL justifies smaller leagues so that there at least 4 Old Firm matches per season, respondents remained solid in their support for larger leagues with a 16 team set up the preferred option of 45% of fans (compared to 49% before mention of TV revenues). A wider distribution of income and increased competition: ·        Two-thirds of fans stated that they would attend more regularly if there was more competition ·        Greater sharing of central revenue is likely to increase competition according to 83% of respondents. A national fans’ organisation to give them a greater say...

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