Welcome to the Scottish Supporters Network newsletter, brought to you by Supporters Direct Scotland. This newsletter aims to bring our members closer together and better informed of news and best practice from across the network.

Farewell to 2020/21!

With domestic football finished for the summer - hopefully to return in a couple of months in a much more recognisable form! All that remains is for us to congratulate the champions of each division (Rangers, Hearts, Partick Thistle and Queens Park), the play-off winners (Dundee, Greenock Morton, Dumbarton and Kelty Hearts), and every club in the country who kept their fans engaged, entertained and connected to each other during the most difficult of times.

As always in football, where there are winners there must also be losers. Hamilton Academical, Kilmarnock, Alloa Athletic, Forfar Athletic and Brechin City all face a summer of adjustment; and many more clubs who fell just short of promotion will also be licking their wounds right now.

But - and we must never forget this - it is a minor miracle that all of our clubs have survived COVID-19 intact and still exist to compete in 2021/22. In the first days and weeks of lockdown last spring supporters dug deep, giving much needed financial support to their clubs after the season was cut short - and in turn, many of our clubs dug deep to support their communities. We featured some of these efforts as case studies in our volunteering study, but there are countless more equally deserving of praise.

The importance of clubs to their communities, and to their supporters, was recognised by a series of philanthropers, in particular James Anderson whose donation to the SPFL Trust enabled the distribution of significant sums of money to professional clubs, to women's football and to youth football. These donations were followed by a funding package from the Scottish Government to compensate for the impact on gate revenue of COVID-19 protection measures.

In the midst of this turmoil the men's national team gave the whole nation a massive boost - and some incredible social media memes! - by qualifying for this summer's Euros. With everything still on course for fans to be in attendance, we hope they give us serveral more occasions to boogie during June and July.See you at Hampden and Wembley (the first visit on 18th June will just be a warm-up for July 11th!)

Fans Bank: the culmination of years of hard work

Football did not feature highly in the Scottish Parliamentary election, but one manifesto pledge by the SNP deserves to be celebrated, and we look forward to it being over the coming parliamentarty term.

The 'Fans Bank' promise will establish a fund to help fans take their clubs into supporter ownership, empower communities and groups, and strengthen local decision-making by supporting communities to acquire a share or control of their local sports club. This was the culmination of years of hard work by many inside and outside the world of Scottish football and politics – Supporters Direct began developing this concept during the early 2000s, continuing over the next decade before being awarded funding by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to write a feasibility study into a Community Sport Fund in 2016 which was published and shared with the Scottish Government.

It was disappointing to see other organisations attempting to claim credit for this idea, but this does not detract from the satisfaction of seeing something that was thought of as radical at the time being brought into the mainstream of policy development. Scottish football has made massive strides over the last decade to demonstrate that not only is supporter ownership possible, it can help our clubs chart a sustainable path at the highest levels of our game. Motherwell have thrived in the Premiership, becoming debt-free for the first time in 40 years; St Mirren have grown their stake in the club in partnership with the social care charity Kibble, and are on course to secure a majority shareholding later this year; the Foundation of Hearts have hit every milestone they set themselves back in 2014 and are ready to complete their transition into fan ownership this summer as they return to the Premiership; and just last week Morton Club Together agreed the terms of their supporter buy-out.

Each of these clubs have managed to do this without government support, while fans of other clubs cast look on with keen interest. For those yet to take this step, and previously unsure whether it was possible for their club, the Fans Bank is fantastic news, and Supporters Direct Scotland remain ready to assist them on their journey.

Getting ready for the Euros

Our partner organisation, the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, have been actively involved in planning for the Euros next month. Read their reports of the Glasgow and London planning meetings here:

Together with ATAC we have also met with a research project team from the University of Stirling, who are currently recruiting a team of (paid) fieldwork supports to observe and record how effectively COVID-19 mitigation measures, such as social distancing, mask wearing and hand hygiene, are being implemented at EURO 2020 matches.

If you have tickets for the matches at Hampden and Wembley and are interested in finding out more, please contact us via info@supporters-direct.scot to find out more. Training will be held during the week commencing June 7th.

Reclaim The Game

We're proud to be part of Football Supporters Europe's campaign to #ReclaimTheGame. Visit http://reclaimthegame.eu and join fans from across the continent who demand change:

  1. Fan involvement
  2. Respect for fans and fans' culture
  3. Freedom of choice
  4. Affordable football
  5. Football for everyone
  6. Stronger regulation
  7. Sharing of the wealth
  8. Competitive balance
  9. UEFA scraps its champions league reforms
  10. National governments and the EU protect our clubs and communities
  11. FAs and leagues challenge the influence of wealthy clubs

Help us strengthen Scottish football

Like most organisations, the financial pressures on SD Scotland intensified during the COVID-19 pandemic, and posed a real threat to our ability to continue our work with supporters groups and grassroots sports clubs. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic we began re-thinking our business model, and were working to expand our commercial activities. Our goal was, and remains, to reduce our reliance on grant funding whilst continuing to advocate for greater supporter engagement and involvement in the governance of our clubs and of the national game.

However, the commercial environment has changed and this has impacted us significantly. We have therefore expanded our Patreon crowdfunding programme, and any contributions (as small or as large as you can afford) that you are able to make to our work will make a massive difference to us. We have introduced three new tiers, with merchandise featuring our "football without fans is nothing" graphic in order for us to recognise your contributions:

  • Bronze tier supporters (donating £5 per month) will receive a sticker
  • Silver tier supporters (donating £12.50 per month) will receive a coffee mug
  • Gold tier supporters (donating £20 per month) will receive a t-shirt

Patreon supporters automatically become Associate Members of SD Scotland:

  1. You’ll be joining a network of fans and supporters groups working to ensure that supporters' voices are heard and influence positive change within the game.
  2. Receive regular updates on issues affecting Scottish football and/or its fans.
  3. Get free access to our events such as Annual Supporters Summit.
  4. Get involved in the democratic structures of Supporters Direct Scotland as one of our three Associate Directors.

Sign up as a Patreon supporter here.

And finally...

Articles, podcasts and videos from the archive

As part of our objective to better connect fans, share best practice within Scottish sport, to promote supporter dialogue and promote sport clubs through which positive societal change can occur, here we share some relevant recent stories.

  1. The SFA: The Good And The Bad
  2. Supporting Scottish Football!
  3. Get Fans In Hampden, Colts Should Start At Bottom & Have End Of Season Awards
  4. Celebrating Scottish Footballing History
  5. ESL – after the dust has settled
  6. SPFL Have To Show It’s Not A Closed Shop
  7. Job Well Done – BBC Highlighting Womens Game
  8. Scottish Cup and Euro 2020
  9. Hope Grows That Tartan Army Will Be In Hampden This Summer
  10. B Teams in SPFL League Two?

You can also check out our back catalogue of podcast episodes and subscribe to Behind The Goals using your favoured ‘podcatcher’ here, and subscribe to our YouTube channel here.

Supporters Direct Scotland are committed to helping football supporters enjoy responsible gambling; for many this is an integral part of their match day experience.

We have selected GamCare as our recommended support service for the prevention and treatment of problem gambling. GamCare operate the National Gambling Helpline (whose advisers are available on 0808 8020 133 or via web chat at www.gamcare.org), provide treatment for problem gamblers and their families, create awareness about responsible gambling and treatment, and encourage an effective approach to responsible gambling within the gambling industry.

Supporters Direct Scotland

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64A Cumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6RE

01324 323282




Want to have your say? Contact us at info@supporters-direct.scot