Rovers ahead of the game in supporter liaison

donny slo

Doncaster Rovers’ reputation for providing successful consultation with its supporters has continued to attract further interest from other Football League clubs. 

Lee Croft and Mark Hughesman were appointed Supporter Liaison Officers (SLO) at Doncaster Rovers in the summer ahead of the current season and both gave a presentation about their roles to officials (above) at Bolton Wanderers ahead of Rovers’ recent game at the Reebok Stadium.

Lee said: “By being independent and impartial, the supporter liaison officer can ensure the voices of both the fans and the club are heard. Since starting the role it has come into its own and really has had a successful impact.

“We were invited by Bolton’s SLO to a focus group meeting which was attended by around 20 other people, including the club’s senior management and supporters. They seemed very interested in our approach and how successfully it had been implemented at Rovers.”

Shaun Lockwood, communications manager at Doncaster Rovers, added: “We want to build a culture where the club and supporters are together as one. The SLOs provide information and guidance to supporters and the club’s management, allowing a conduit of two-way communication between the two.

“We are pleased that big clubs such as Bolton are taking note of how we are doing things at Doncaster Rovers and are looking at us as an example of best practice.”

FSF role

Doncaster Rovers fan and FSF Deputy Chair Martin O'Hara was invited as the lead on SLOs from an FSF point of view and as the instigator of the idea that supporters should occupy that role.

Martin said: “On the night I gave a presentation that explained the background to the SLO idea, where it came from and how UEFA supported it through the fans organisations.

“I then explained the thought process I had when all Football League clubs were told to implement SLOs and how I sold the idea to the club, how we wrote the job description and handled the interview process - we ended up with two because they couldn't be separated at that stage. The two SLOs then told what their role consisted of on a daily basis and their duties on a match day.”

A UEFA directive made SLOs mandatory for all clubs to be created and act as a bridge between the fans and the club to improve dialogue between the two.

The SLO informs fans about relevant decisions made by the club and communicates the points of view of fans. It also aims to build relationships between various fan groups, the police and security officers.

The FSF blog is the space to challenge perceived wisdom, entertain readers and inform our members. The views expressed on this blog are those of the author – they don't necessarily represent FSF policy and (pay attention journalists) shouldn’t be attributed to the FSF.