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.


The last 17 months have been hard for everyone around the world, with every aspect of our lives impacted by COVID-19. Football was no exception, and we have been denied the chance to support our teams and spend time with our fellow fans.

It was difficult at times not to jump on the bandwagon and demand an early return for fans to attend matches, but we were acutely aware that doing so could increase the number of cases and ultimately deaths. This was one (rare!) time when football was NOT more important than life and death. Instead, we took a more cautious approach, working behind the scenes with other stakeholders across the game to ensure that when it was time to return it would be done as safely as possible, and that in the meantime our clubs were able to survive. That time is now.

Supporters around the country backed their clubs financially despite there being no prospect of watching their teams play; the SFA and various league bodies  accelerated scheduled payments to clubs; philanthropists (most notably James Anderson) donated massive sums of money through the SPFL Trust and directly to leagues and clubs; and the Scottish Government approved a programme of loans and grants to clubs across the country. It is testament to all of these actions that our professional game is still intact and that none of our clubs have experienced an insolvency event. In our opinion that is a minor miracle, and one that we should all be immensely proud of.

Now is the time when we can #letfansin! At first this is happening in limited numbers, but this week's decisions to allow Celtic, Aberdeen and Hibernian (and hopefully many others) to welcome larger crowds demonstrates a shared commitment to taking careful steps towards a broader lifting of restrictions. The decision-making process is not yet transparent enough, and this will frustrate many of us - but with 32 local authorities each making decisions to keep their own communities safe, and every football ground being different, this frustration is likely to continue for some time.

If crowd restrictions at your club's matches mean that it is difficult for you to attend, now is the perfect time to pay other clubs a visit. One of our lockdown projects was to create an interactive map with information about all of Scotland’s football grounds. We shared the data behind the map with a UK-wide project called LetFansIn and it is also available on their website. Many of us have dozens of football clubs on our doorsteps, playing in the 5th, 6th and 7th tiers of our game, who we have never been to. Every one of these clubs has suffered during COVID-19, and would love to see more of you on a Saturday afternoon. COVID-19 protection measures will be in place at every one of these grounds, so stay safe and enjoy your football wherever you manage to see it!

Yes Sir, We Boogied!

After a 23 year absence it was amazing to see the Scotland men's national team in the finals of a major tournament again! We would all have hoped to cheer the team on in more than three matches, but just being there was fantastic, and the performance at Wembley in particular was everything we had hoped for.

Well done to every member of the Tartan Army for your impeccable conduct at all three matches. You make us proud every time we play.

Stenhousemuir FC and the pandemic

As part of 2020's research project on volunteer management in Scottish football, funded by our friends at SD Europe, we spoke to Stenhousemuir FC about their "Community Help Initiative". We saw this as a fantastic demonstration of how quickly and powerfully a football club can respond to community need if everyone is aligned around a shared purpose and direction.

Our research project was originally intended to include visits to each club featured in the project report, and we had to wait a little longer to do this! But we were delighted to eventually sit down with Stenhousemuir's chairman Iain McMenemy to hear more from him about their work in the community. You can see what he had to say in the video below, and read the full report including more case studies here.

Tap Out and take a moment to avoid Bet Regret

With the new season underway we are delighted to be renewing our partnership with GambleAware, helping them to implement their “Bet Regret” campaign for the 2021/22 season. Bet Regret is the sinking feeling you get the minute you make a bet without thinking it through. Often when drunk, bored or chasing losses. It’s about avoiding those impulsive bets you kick yourself for as soon as you’ve made them.

Our matchday experiences are full of habits – who we go with, where we go before the game, and often superstitions like wearing our lucky pair of socks! Betting is also a habit – putting a line on or picking matches for an accumulator. This makes Saturdays about more than just the match, and we want to build good habits that make it more enjoyable rather than something we regret.

“Tap out and take a moment” is a simple tip to use every time you bet. Tap out of your betting app before you place a bet and then take a moment to think – this could be by making a cup of tea, deciding what you want for dinner or just by putting your phone down for a minute. This gives you time to really think it through and decide if it’s a bet you should avoid or not.

We have seen the return of fans in limited numbers this month for the group stage of the league cup, and look forward to the gradual lifting of COVID restrictions as the league fixtures begin. The football’s back, the fans are back, but the Bet Regret is not back. This season, tap out and take a moment to avoid Bet Regret.

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. Celebrating A Good Week For The SFA & Scots Sides In Europe
  2. Crowds, Scotland Women’s Potential New Boss and Peterhead’s Vaccine Drive
  3. It Will Be A Great Start To League Season With Fans Back In The Stands!
  4. Well Done, Motherwell FC And It’s Supporters!
  5. Celebrating Bertie Auld!
  6. Gilmour The Great
  7. Superb Scottish Euro 2020 Content
  8. Looking At Scotland’s Positive Dutch Performance

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

We have moved! You can now contact us at:

64A Cumberland Street, Edinburgh, EH3 6RE

01324 323282




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