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Supporters Direct: The Role of Organised Fan Power in the Reform of the English Football Industry

Supporters Direct: The Role of Organised Fan Power in the Reform of the English Football Industry

Room G01 – Clore Management Centre,
Birkbeck College,
Torrington Square,
London WC1 7HX

Wednesday 27 th April, 6pm-8pm

Given by:

Dave Boyle, Deputy Manager, Supporters Direct

Synopsis

In this seminar Dave Boyle outlines the potential influence of the Supporters Trust movement (supporters trusts are fan-owned co-operatives who take ownership stakes in their football clubs – for full details see the Supporters Direct website below) in the ongoing reform of the English football industry. He addresses the following key questions.

How much of football’s financial and governance problems can be traced to the structure of clubs and the decision-making processes at clubs? Dave Boyle argues in this seminar that many of the pressures that clubs are under are the result of poor decision-making which flows from a lack of accountability. They are not accountable to customers, because of the famous loyalty fans have to their clubs. They are not accountable to shareholders, because in most cases, the club board represents the majority shareholding bloc. They are finally not particularly accountable to the governing body because of the regulatory crisis within English football.

He argues that the Supporters’ Trust movement represents a crucial plank in any serious attempt to bring better management, better governance and better performance to clubs. The improved performance of clubs with significant input from their supporters trusts (Trust-owned clubs such as Lincoln and Chesterfield are breaking even financially) gives a great deal of hope for the future. But without action to address the wider regulatory environment, the ‘quiet revolution’, as award-winning sports writer David Conn has termed the Trust movement, will be at risk from the competitive imbalance between clubs and divisions.

Dave Boyle is Deputy Manager of Supporters Direct. He joined the organisation at its inception in 2000 after working in Local Government Public Relations and Higher Education. In his time at the organisation, he has helped set up over a third of the Trusts in existence, including those at Chesterfield, York City, Exeter City and AFC Wimbledon. He was formerly a vice-chair of the Football Supporters’ Federation, where he remains a National Council Member representing Supporter Direct. Dave has represented Supporters Direct on Newsnight, News 24, Channel 5 News, Sky News, ITN and Radio 1, 4 and 5 as well as on regional media, and has also spoken at meetings at the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Co-operative Party Conferences. He has also written for 442 Magazine , When Saturday Comes and Tribune ;and given lectures at Birkbeck College , Bath and Liverpool Universities .

Reading

For further details contact:

Sean Hamil
s.hamil@bbk.ac.uk
Tel: 020-7631 6763

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