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.

Fans are back again!

We are certain our relief that the capacity restrictions placed on Scottish football only lasted 3 weeks was shared by most people in Scottish football - and also that the Scottish Government were quick to announce financial support to be distributed amongst the sports affected by these restrictions.

Rather than simply protesting against these restrictions - which would have had little effect - our focus instead was to try and create a silver lining, by encouraging as many football fans as possible to support clubs in the regional leagues whose regular attendances are below the 500 mark - plenty of room for more! Tiers 5 to 8 of our football pyramid get little attention in mainstream national media, but are the beating heart of the national game - more than 240 clubs representing their communities, providing a football pathway for local talent, and entertaining their loyal fans. Our hope was that by shining the spotlight on these leagues SPFL fans would pay them a visit and experience the game happening on their doorsteps.

Pulling this campaign together was great fun (even if the number of weather and Covid-related postponements made it a daily headache!) and the feedback we received from fans and clubs alike was fantastic. We published a 'Fixture Finder' map to help you find games near you, and encourage you to conitnue supporting football at every level on weekends when you can't get to an SPFL game.

Looking forward, we will continue to make ourselves available to the Scottish FA, SPFL and Scottish Government to improve the quality of supporter engagement when difficult decisions are being made.

Celebrating the social impact of Scottish football

To kick off 2022 we've compiled a highlights reel from our visits to clubs around the country over the last couple of years, showcasing the impact that clubs have on their communities: https://youtu.be/WluHMcRakmg

We would like to thank our friends at SD Europe for their support in producing this video, and helping to share the great work by Scottish clubs across the continent.

At Pollok FC we saw that football clubs bring people together and support the things that are important to their communities: https://youtu.be/6Hymxwdl6FE

Clubs at every level, from the Premiership down through pyramid, have a part to play… Big Hearts Community Foundation identify priority groups and focus their efforts on supporting them: https://youtu.be/S1SSMdmsAaE

The Spartans Community Football Academy's programmes reach huge numbers of young people, and also support wider community initiatives: https://youtu.be/Or0XFfoGaIE

Maryhill FC use their role in the community for mutual support, in partnership with local charities: https://youtu.be/yUz-lS6hOE0

The Covid pandemic brought community links into focus, and our football clubs stepped up to support us – none more so than Stenhousemuir FC: https://youtu.be/jwwFhJMwK44

Many clubs work closely with charities outside of football, and some have set up as charities themselves, such as Glasgow Wednesday: https://youtu.be/zg41ywxj4Zc

As Eric Bennett, the much missed Trustee of Cumnock Juniors Community Enterprise would have said, Scottish football is at the heart of it's community, with community at the heart of all it does: https://youtu.be/BmAkeoQzEqE

The featured clubs are just the tip of the iceberg, there are hundreds of clubs across the country doing amazing work!

Perceptions of club ownership and the 50+1 rule

Ewan Morrison, a Sports Studies student at the University of Stirling is analysing attitudes of Scottish football supporters towards club ownership and the 50+1 rule.

Participation information and and a link to Ewan's survey are available here.

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, and promote supporter dialogue, here we share some relevant recent stories.

  1. Celebrating The Scottish Cup!
  2. Supporting Stenhousemuir FC Ladies!
  3. Scottish Football Deserves Scientific Data To Prove Restrictions Are Necessary
  4. Let’s Support The Lower Leagues This Christmas!
  5. Stay Safe At The Football During This Festive Period

In case you missed it... we visited Cappielow in December to speak to Morton Club Together about their club's recent move into community ownership. Watch the video here.

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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01324 323282




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