FOOTBALL SUPPORTERS HAVE a vital role to play in supporting their clubs on and away from match days, and understanding the importance of this dynamic within Irish football is the key objective behind a survey launched by the Irish Supporters Network (ISN).
The 2019 SSE Airtricity League season will once again see half of the clubs participating in the Premier Division doing so under community ownership, alongside a number of fan-owned clubs and supporters trusts present in the First Division. Ahead of the new term, ISN is asking everyone with an interest in the League of Ireland to put aside 10 minutes of their day and complete the online survey:
The findings will contribute to a greater understanding of supporter/club relations within Irish domestic football and gather together examples of best practice as well as areas that can be targeted for improvement within the League in the coming months.
“Football supporters in the League of Ireland are not solely fans in the stands,” said Aidan McNelis, on behalf of the ISN board. “They are the same people that volunteer their time and expertise, make significant contributions to income streams, and promote their club’s name and identity passionately in workplaces and communities across the country. It’s vital their contribution to the game is fully recognised not only by their club but by all stakeholders in Irish football.”
The ISN is a support network for Ireland’s football cooperatives and any supporter group looking to have an organised voice within their football club. Founded in 2016 by Finn Harps, FORAS (Cork City), Galway United Football Co-op and The 1895 Trust, its activities are open to everyone with an interest in seeing positive change and progression within the League of Ireland.
ISN’s previous survey (2017) focused on the matchday experience and found:
- Better atmosphere (20.6%), clean functional facilities (17.8%) and better food/refreshments were the main improvements sought by supporters
- 62.9% of respondents said better dialogue between Gardaí, club stewards and supporters would improve their match night experience
- Almost 70% of overseas football fans had a ‘Positive’ or ‘Very Positive’ perception of the League
- Just over 80% of respondents said they were ‘Satisfied’ or ‘Very Satisfied’ with their club’s matchday pricing
The ISN previously hosted a workshop entitled “Towards a Sustainable League” at Tallaght Stadium in March 2017 and was part of SD Europe’s “Clubs and Supporters for Better Governance in Football” project, which was co-financed by the European Commission’s Erasmus+ programme and Uefa. The organisation was founded following Ireland’s involvement in the ‘Improving Football Governance’ project in 2012/13. The activities included the creation of the ‘Heart of the Game’ handbook.