Earlier on this year I took the momentous decision to leave Ayr United Football Academy. I had been a board member for almost 10 years and had seen this organisation grow from hopes and dreams to fanfare and reality.
Moving away from Ayrshire also prompted my decision but as I moved to the north of Glasgow I was looking to remain connected to football in some way.
And so along came a prompted conversation with Paul Goodwin, former CEO of Stirling Albion and Supporter’s Direct. He had become disillusioned with the effect he was having from within SD and felt the time was right to have a fully funded Scottish Football Supporter’s Association.
I got offered a wee role and took it with both hands.
Along with other supporters and volunteers of the ideals behind it I agreed to help with growing the membership as well as blogging on the issues that SFSA face.
It’s interesting that a new organisation is felt needed to represent the interests of the customers, consumers and supporters of our dear game at a time when they have demonstrated more than once their voice shall not be silenced. Dunfermline Athletic, Heart of Midlothian and Rangers are just three clubs which come to mind as clubs where their fan’s views and opinions have been crucial to their very survival.
And yet on so many other levels – principally a national level – they are ignored and side lined. And so I have a dual role within the SFSA – let me take the membership issue first.
At the beginning of April 2015 we launched in Glasgow the first independent fans’ organisation in Scotland capable of bringing all of us together to change the game for good.
We have the backing of ex-Scotland captain Gary McAllister MBE, as well as a host of players, managers and coaches, great support from former First Minister Henry McLeish as well as all the political parties. It has begun well with a great response even from the media, and more importantly from fans up and down the country.
This is our democratic moment. To make the voice of fans loud and clear in the quest to ‘reclaim the game’ for supporters and communities, we need whoever is reading this and the organisations attached to supporters to join the SFSA.
Now let’s be clear the SFSA is not ‘another group’ – it is a movement for change. We need as many people on board as soon as possible as the more members we have the louder our voice will be heard at Hampden Park and Holyrood.
Believe it or believe it not – Scotland was the only football nation in Europe not to have an independent fans’ body. Not anymore.
Oh and membership is completely FREE for individuals, fan groups and affiliated organisations!
It’s as simple as that.
Our next move is to set up a Fans’ Parliament and to establish the democratic processes by which we can get an agenda for change implemented and owned by the fans right across the supporter communities of Scottish football.
If you are reading this and run a supporter’s club or a bus to away games then it would be good to have you as one point of contact for your club –or do you know who that should be? Please let me know by making comments below!
Secondly it is all about this blog!
I have written and in the recent past broadcast about the three lower levels of the SPFL – Andy has been very kind in his description of me being industrious – my ex-wives wouldn’t recognise me… Tracking 30 clubs over the season can be pretty onerous. As I am looking to being able to understand the views and experiences of fans in the lower leagues I have hit upon a brand new idea!
I live in Kirkintilloch. I have always believed that fans should choose their club according to their geography.
SO! For the next season I shall be following only three teams that are closest to my front door. One in the Championship, one in League One and one in League Two. I shall hold on to announcing which three clubs shall get my support and focus for next year – I can hardly wait!