Ross County Football Club have put fans centre stage as they start a consultation process that aims to improve engagement with its fan base and give supporters a bigger voice within the club.
With Chairman, Roy MacGregor, a firm believer that the fan is the future of the modern football club, Ross County had begun a process of reappraising and improving its engagement with fans and supporter groups. To this end, the Club has recently welcomed Peter Swanson back to the club as Director of Operations and appointed David O’Connor as Director of Stakeholder Liaison.
As part of this consultation process an open meeting was also held on July 31st at which fans were invited to air their views and make suggestions.
“Whilst the focus has very much been on trying to move forward, what the fans almost unanimously said in the open meetings was that the first step needs to be to open the channels of communication between Club and fan,” explains General Manager, Ranald Gilbert. “Rather than looking to introduce wholly new club-led Supporters Clubs and initiatives the feedback from those who attended the meeting was that they want to see better support for the groups who’re already out there doing great work – whether it’s official supporters Clubs or just a bunch of mates who go to the games together.”
This new fan-led – rather than Club-led process – has got the ringing endorsement of the Club’s new Director of Stakeholder Liaison, David O’Connor:
“Instead of trying to impose new ideas and initiatives onto the fans and forge forward implementing them, regardless of whether the fans actually think they are a good idea, we’re going to take a step back and listen to what the fans have to say first and let them set the agenda,” says O’Connor. “The last thing we want to do is leave our supporters feeling alienated – a word that actually came up in the meetings – so for us that was a very definite wake up call.
“Already a group of dedicated volunteers have offered to take a survey of fans coming to the first game as a way to give fans a stronger voice,” adds O’Connor. “So we’ll look to support them in that moving forward whilst at the same time continuing to build on the relationships with groups like the Black Isle Supporters Club who have been putting in hard work running supporters buses for many years now.”
Ross County hope that as many fans as possible will complete the questionnaire which will be handed out by volunteers before the first home game of the season on August 10. For fans unable to attend the opening match (or anyone wanting to save time on the day!) the questionnaire will be available online at the club’s website once it has been compiled.
The Club will also look to keep all supporters up to date on all future developments using not only the website but also the official twitter feed - @RCFCStaggies