Confused about structured dialogue? Help is at hand…

‘Structured Dialogue’ is, like ‘Fan Engagement’, ‘Structured Relationships’ and ‘Structured Engagement’, a term that’s entered the football vocabulary in the last few years at something of a rapid pace.

All of sudden, you hear talk of ‘memorandums of understanding’ between supporters’ trusts, groups and clubs; fans parliaments; ‘engagement strategies’ and more. But what does this all mean?

It’s a good question, and as usual in a developing field like that of structured dialogue, and more broadly supporter communications, there are plenty of opinions.

Fans aren’t all the same, and each club is different, so what I can’t offer you off-the-shelf solutions. What I can offer you is an expert analysis – a ‘health-check’ of your current structures and practice, and help to find the right way for you to work with your supporters and their representatives.

As a consultant with over 14 years of experience of working with supporters all over the UK and Europe, I understand them, what they think and what they want. I also know the challenges clubs face, and I build bridges between the two, help to forge understanding and agreement, and advise clubs on how to communicate with their biggest stakeholder.

If you’re interested in finding out more about structured dialogue, managing relationships with your supporters,  and communicating better with them, you can contact me. You can even sign up for a free phonecall from me via the Contact Me page of my website.

 

The Premier League and ‘Dialogue’: An urgent change of approach is needed

It used to be that you couldn’t get the authorities to sit down with the supporters or their representatives to discuss anything, or if they did, it might involve them coming to the annual conference of Supporters Direct or The FSF (now combined into the ‘supporters summit’). Sometimes it meant a speech from a less high-ranking official, with very little actual interaction with those present.

Fortunately, that changed after years of pressure, lobbying and campaigning from Supporters Direct (SD). Latterly both themselves and its sister organisation, The FSF, have begun meeting with The Premier League to discuss issues of concern. In the last few days however it’s become clear that we have a new problem in English football, and it’s this word ‘dialogue’, sometimes referred to as ‘structured dialogue’, that’s at the root of it.

The problem has emerged because The Premier League, despite very recently having a ‘structured dialogue’ meeting with a group comprised of Supporters Direct, The FSF, supporters’ trusts and other supporters’ organisations, neglected to mention a little detail: that 11:30 am kick-offs are being considered as part of their new TV deal.

Setting aside the reasons for this (maximising exposure in an ever-saturated market, and maximising revenue, whilst having to avoid the cherished Saturday 3:00pm kick-off slot), the problem here appears to be that the word ‘dialogue’ might not be being understood by The Premier League (Incidentally, it means that a two-way conversation is had between those involved, with the possibility of changes in position on either part. It’s what any good, healthy relationship should exhibit.)

In a study I undertook a few months ago for my Diploma in Public Relations examining why English football struggles with the concept of dialogue and two-way communications, one thing was very clear: the game in England struggles with what it actually means, and also with the impact it might have. It invariably means that they might have to act differently, or do something differently. Incidentally, it also means that supporters and their representatives might have to as well, but I genuinely think that’s a far smaller problem than the one I’m talking about here.

To a large extent it’s about the way that English football clubs are regarded. Historically – at least in the majority of the 20th Century and beyond – they have been private concerns, and the property of whoever owns them. This means that the owners don’t have to be subject to questioning or have to justify their actions. Naturally that has extended into the actions and culture at the heart of leagues themselves, given that they reflect the clubs themselves, who effectively own the competitions.

What’s happening now I believe is that this dynamic is clashing with an almost completely contradictory view of football, as propagated by the emergence of supporters’ trusts and Supporters Direct itself. The fact is that supporters themselves now expect a different attitude from those running the game, because they view football clubs as being morally theirs to a large extent, and at the very least, should be prepared to listen, if not act on their concerns.

This dynamic – the clash between two different cultures and sets of expectations – exists. I’ve seen it and dealt with it repeatedly – not least most recently with my report for Spirit of Shankly on the way Liverpool FC operated in this area, which ultimately led to a collapse in relationships between fans and club, and in the end, a mass walkout of fans. At some point this clash will have to be resolved in general, but more specifically, The Premier League, in this context, is going to have to start being seen to take the concept of ‘structured dialogue’ far more seriously, or it’s just storing up problems for itself.

 

Premier League TV deals: To boycott – or not to boycott?

The Premier League, currently looking at the next set of TV contracts, have let it be known that they’re considering 11:00 kick-offs as part of an attempt to expand into Asian markets. Given that Charlie Sale reported it, there’s a very decent chance it’s got substance to it (he’s been for many years been one of the prime sources for PL stories.)

Anyway, on my twitter feed, one of the responses has been to talk about the way in which supporters might deal with the threat of this, one of which is boycotts. Boycotts are always the most controversial of tactics for a campaign, particularly in English football. Indeed, even at the height of the protests against the Norwegian owners of Wimbledon, we almost unanimously agreed that such a route would be difficult if not impossible to follow.

For what it’s worth, I think the reason for this is largely to do with that fact that football is very much solely a leisure pursuit for English fans. In many other countries I’ve worked in, football clubs – and indeed individual groups within the fanbase – have often had some kind of a broader political root. In fact in more general terms, the way that civil society itself operates means that demonstrations, direct action and boycotts are often quite different in England and most of the UK too (the exception I have in mind is Northern Ireland.)

Yet – and this is now often used as a justification for considering boycotts and walkouts – there was an extraordinarily successful action in early 2016 when over 10,000 Liverpool supporters did the #Walkouton77 that forced the hand of Liverpool FC – and indeed led to co-organisers Spirit of Shankly commissioning my report on the relationship between the club and supporters. Indeed, as a result some supporters groups as a result were talking about mass boycotts to force the hands of the authorities on ticket prices.

The problem with that idea was that it assumed that every other club and its fanbase was in the same position as LFC, and they weren’t (as this interview with SOS’s Jay McKenna should probably help to show.) Another club where it happened for most of last season was Blackpool – including of course the playoff final. And you might of course sometimes get joint action like that between the Blackpool and Blackburn Rovers supporters, where both advocated a fairly successful boycott of their FA Cup tie, but aside from joint marches, such action is itself not something we see much of. The point is that even at clubs where there are crises, not all the root causes are the same. Some people put two-and-two together and get the wrong answer.

Having advised supporters on campaigns of all types, it is often the case that people view tactics as the first consideration: that is, doing something that demonstrates what fans feel about the issue. But that’s almost always the wrong course of action. What should be the first concern for supporters’ trusts and other organisations is understanding the issues, collaboration and building a consensus. It’s what I used to spend a lot of time facilitating at Supporters Direct both locally, nationally and internationally, and now through very much more drawn out, long term campaigns like the very successful Olympic Stadium Coalition (OSC).

The second important area should be strategy. I’ve written a piece on this already a few weeks back in relation to campaigning for change at a national level in English football. Strategy is quite simply a guide as to what, who, why, where and how, a campaign will be run. It also crucially means you don’t go running off doing things that are either irrelevant or which could damage the cause you espouse – like calling for boycotts or walkouts at the wrong time. By way of example, it’s the very reason that when I took on the OSC campaign involving 14 supporters’ trusts and groups, I made it a central plank of the strategy that whatever anyone thought of those running or owning West Ham United, that wasn’t really relevant when it came to the issue at hand: that the club had been granted a very, very generous deal as a result of poor decisions and negotiating approach made at the Mayoral level in the Greater London Authority, by the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC), and by historic mistakes by central government over a number of years. If as a result there had to be relevant criticism of the actions of those running and owning West Ham, that was entirely different to focusing the campaign on the actions of the club as somehow being largely responsible for such a bad deal.

Coming back to the subject in hand, to boycott or not to boycott shouldn’t really be the question: The question(s) should be: have you spoken to other, relevant people about the issues at hand; and have you coordinated a plan of how the campaign will and should develop? Only then can you start to think about how you actually execute it.

Are Orient fans asking for too much? 

The Leyton Orient Fans Trust has just published a ‘Fit and Proper Orient Test’, which understandably has caused a lot of response, at least on Twitter, where I’ve been following the discussions.

As a tool to promote the name and aims of the trust itself, it’s rather a natty little idea. But let’s just dispense with the idea that everything a group in the position that LOFT is in does everything to get publicity.

The values it calls for any prospective owner to meet are hardly demanding the unachievable. Previous owner Barry Hearn says that fans need to ‘understand the mindset of the type of investor prepared to underwrite club losses. They like to be in control if it’s their money!’, and he’s right inasfar as LOFT and supporters have no actual say in who becomes owner. Except they do have a lot of power and influence that they should use: they have an important role in creating the environment that clubs – and therefore owners – operate within. Ergo they’re important, ergo LOFT are entirely right to seek to influence the machinations around who comes in next (if there is a genuine change coming).

I happen to think that Barry Hearn was actually a bit underappreciated as an owner, even if he did sell to Bechetti, something I don’t propose to discuss. He came straight out against Wimbledon’s Norwegian owners franchising the club to Milton Keynes in 2001, and has often been outspoken about the difficulties that smaller clubs face. He is, however, one of those ‘outspoken’ types, and doesn’t always get it right.

But it’s also not like what LOFT is saying is unreasonable. This isn’t the height of pre-ITV Digital English crash football, when some owners were genuinely beginning to think they could do no wrong and were in fact geniuses.

Asking for owners to demonstrate that they meet fairly simple measures of honesty, integrity and reputation, competence and capability, financial soundless, financial openness, and their willingness to genuinely work with supporters is not some daft wishlist of unacceptable or unachievable sized proportions.

It’s bordering on the fairly-normal-to-expect as it goes. Many of the rules and regulations being adopted by The EFL and Premier League ask for the same or similar.

The environment we’re now in means that fans, and particularly their organised representatives, are a central part of decisions made, even where like at Orient they have no actual formal role.

My advice to any new owner is if you’re interested in buying Orient, best get revising.

Women at the Game launches tonight

Women at the Game launches tonight at Hotel Football, opposite Old Trafford. The event was moved following this week’s terrible events in Manchester.

The brainchild of Jacqui Forster, it aims to give women their first taste of live football in a supportive environment or to create a friends’ group for women to be together who are seasoned match-goers who are not comfortable in the usual male dominated crowd – going in an all-female group that’s supportive and welcoming.

You can read more about Women at the Game on their website.

 

So it’s goodbye from them…..

Portsmouth sharedholders have voted to sell the club to US businessman Michael Eisner’s curiously titled ‘Tourante Group’.

Although their title of ‘community owned club’ was always stretching the definition a bit, they had in place various legal agreements that prevented the club changing hands, particularly important given the 48.25% held by the Pompey Trust, earned with such backbreaking effort back in 2013. It was something I was involved in on the Supporters Direct side back then, and I’m sure that there will be some sadness amongst others who were involved.

There are plenty – the majority of Trust members – who are hailing this as a big step forward in the club’s ‘recovery’, but the truth is that the club had already  recovered, winning the title on the final day of the season just a couple of weeks back. They were getting their heads around how to run the place, which is never easy when you’ve had it land on your lap, weeks before the beginning of the season like they did.

In my view this is something of a triumph for ‘narrative’; a story that had established itself amongst many fans, and some of those around the club, that they wouldn’t, without great luck and effort, be able to overcome the difficult hurdles they had coming over the horizon. The desire to reestablish themselves in the second tier was almost overwhelming at times, but I don’t agree that these things couldn’t have been dealt with, provided the owners and fans remained together as they had done so amazingly from about 2011 when the club first collapsed.

There was some truth in it however – especially around being able to compete further up. Lots of clubs, even those owned privately, find it tough. Clubs like Fleetwood Town can rely on financing outside of the normal football business, and whilst Pompey have a very decent attendance, they have more things to spend it on, like an old, dilapidated stadium to renew.

These things are difficult to overcome when you’re owned in the way Portsmouth has been, but they’re not impossible, especially with the might of an entire city behind it. They wrested control of the club after all.

So I apologise if I’m not celebrating, because today is a little sad for everyone who like me, was willing Portsmouth to success.

However, never let one outstanding truth never be forgotten – like Chesterfield, the old Rushden and Diamonds, and Stockport County before it: that without the fans, and the efforts of each and every one who worked so hard, or put their hand in their pocket to buy a community share – and indeed, The EFL, FA, Premier League, Supporters Direct – there could well have ceased to be a Portsmouth.

I hope Michael Eisner looks after it.

Nottingham Forest – can they really become ‘the model club’ for fans?

Incoming owner of Forest, the Greek businessman Evangelos M. Marinakis, has proclaimed his vision of a the club becoming ‘the model club in England for fan and community participation’. It’s certainly a significant step-change from the previous owner, Fawaz Al Hasawi. The announcement says:

‘Because Nottingham and the region are home to excellent universities, fan representatives and delegates of the tertiary institutions will be invited to form an Advisory Council. The chair of the Council will participate regularly in board meetings as an Observer and offer hands-on input and advice gathered through the Advisory Council meetings.

‘Going one step further, and recognising the crucial relevance of young fans and potential supporters for the club’s development, Nottingham Forest FC will launch the Nottingham Forest Youth Council, whose chair will be representing the views and aspirations of Nottingham’s youth to the Nottingham Forest board.’ http://www.nottinghamforest.co.uk/news/article/2016-17/nottingham-forest-football-club-press-release-3719464.aspx

Forest’s announcement, though lacking in detail, doesn’t look like any tested model I am aware of or would advocate if the aim is ‘fan engagement’ as I would know it. Combining local academics with supporters into an ‘Advisory Council’ is interesting, but the aims and objectives of these two ‘stakeholder’ groups, whilst they might intersect sometimes, are not natural bedfellows, and it could be that they clash quite significantly.

However, establishing a ‘Youth Council’ is in itself not a bad idea. Younger supporters are a very specific group in many ways, and the contemporary embracing of for example, ‘ultra’ culture is distinct from the experience of many older fans. Spion Kop 1906 at Liverpool probably fall into this category. It could reap rewards if it’s done well.

Effective ‘structured relationships’, as they’ve become known, don’t just benefit supporters, who can acquire a far greater understanding of the way that their club operates (although this depends on the types of information disclosed and issues discussed) they also benefit the clubs very significantly.

Having interviewed a whole series of chairs, chief executives and heads of supporter-relations at a range of clubs on the importance of two-way communications and genuine dialogue earlier this year, one of the key findings was that the leadership and ownership at a club benefit from a robust, honest relationship and exchange of views with supporters in a formal setting.

Those who had established relationships and regular meetings either with supporters’ trusts or elected supporter representatives at board level, also felt that it provided a useful ‘sounding board’ or ‘sense checker’ – a way of being able to make decisions that were good for the club.

These relationships allow for a greater degree of understanding, more honesty, openness, and should make it possible where necessary for either party to change their views on an issue. The key word is ‘reciprocation’. And no, it isn’t about knowing what the No.9 gets as a goal bonus.

The risk as I’ve indicated is that the wrong model is chosen – sometimes I might add, for understandable reasons. ‘Fan engagement’ (or supporter relations) is a very new field, and as I have previously said, we’re having to learn that ‘fan engagement’ models and ideas often imported from US sport don’t provide many of the answers when it comes to the relationship with supporters of football clubs as ‘stakeholders’. They consume, but they’re not consumers. It’s difficult.

A useful point of reference is my report for the Spirit of Shankly (the Liverpool Supporters Trust), which has just been published, and which investigated their relationship with Liverpool FC. The report highlighted just how important it is to consider the realpolitik at a club – who represents supporters, the structure and formality employed (the how). It’s also important to ensure that the right resources support these relationships.

In 2011, LFC established the ‘Liverpool Football Club Supporters Committee’ (LFCSC), following years of strife under the ownership of Hicks and Gillett. It comprised large groups representing various strands of the fanbase (season ticket holders, international, LGBT, BAME, commercial, supporters’ trust, local fans). Whilst this might be seen as covering all bases – some people become convinced that more equals more ‘representative’, it didn’t properly acknowledge the fact that these constituencies have a different focus, and the supporters’ trust in particular is a far more ‘political’ body of fans: they will always concern themselves with the strategic, governance, transparency, finances and the business side. SOS had also emerged directly from the Hicks and Gillett era, and so were shaped by that. This focus on the strategic issues is true even where, like SOS, they are also a formidable campaign group on matchday issues: It’s part of the DNA of a supporters’ trust to look at the ‘big picture’. What I found was that the LFCSC, though very well intentioned, couldn’t operate effectively in almost any sense, in a large part because of the size issue, though affected by other issues such as a lack of dedicated resource to support it.

‘Supporters’ councils’ like the LFCSC have become a popular form of structured engagement. Groups such as that at Stoke City get flagged up by some as something of an ‘ideal model’, but that can’t be justified, as the circumstances are distinct there: Stoke have a relatively benign, quite traditional, almost ‘patriarchal’, owner in Peter Coates, and the structure works for them. But they have never had – and maybe in some respects don’t need at this stage – an effective supporters’ trust (though they did have one, it was wound up, presumably through lack of interest).

It’s often the case that clubs which have gone through serious upheaval – such as Liverpool, and maybe Forest – need a more direct relationship with their organised supporters, one which addresses the reality of how supporters are organised at a club. This is certainly the case at Liverpool, where I have recommended that the club has a far more direct, established and formally governed relationship with SOS (with a series of rights and responsibilities.)

When you’re organising something as important as the future relationship with the supporters, it makes sense to embrace the reality, and to appreciate how much work is required to build bridges between two positions that are often broken by distrust, and suffer from misunderstandings on both sides.

Coming from a situation where supporters had almost no formal relationship with their clubs, sometimes it might too easy to complain when clubs don’t get it perfect first time. But it is, above all, absolutely important they get it right.

You can download my report for Spirit of Shankly via this link

Spirit of Shankly releases its report on supporter engagement

 

The following story has just been published on the Spirit of Shankly website. As the report’s author, I now reproduce it here. You can download a copy of the report via this link.

Following Liverpool Football Club’s (LFC) announcement yesterday about their ‘new supporter liaison and engagement process’ – the result of an independent study undertaken by research company, Populus (http://www.liverpoolfc.com/news/announcements/263526-lfc-to-launch-new-supporter-liaison-and-engagement-process), Spirit of Shankly is releasing its own, separately commissioned report in order to help to inform the process.

We are pleased that the club has been openly prepared to examine practices and culture in this area, particularly using external expertise. That should be acknowledged and commended. We also believe that more clubs should consider similar exercises.

Spirit Of Shankly was made aware of the Populus review and our Chair was interviewed as part of this process. We felt it would however be helpful to our members, and the wider LFC fanbase, to receive a copy of their own, separately commissioned report on the issue.

Our report, undertaken by Kevin Rye, a consultant and expert in the field of supporter engagement & communications, establishes SOS’s own specific position as a supporters’ trust on the issues concerned.

We hope that the report, which has been sent to both LFC and Populus is seen as a constructive move by all concerned, and we look forward to discussing it further, both with members, supporters and LFC.

Want to reform football? Then stop and read this….

Following a post I wrote yesterday about Shaun Harvey offering an ‘open goal’ for football reformers, a few people challenged me about it. One or two were curious about what I actually meant when I talked about ‘strategic’. Reform is, well, reform. Isn’t it? We all want that? Can you see the problem already?

Of course, the problem with strategy – and I speak as a strategist as well as someone who delivers and advises on campaigns on the ground, whether it’s one-off campaigns, like reforming football, those being fought by Orient, Blackpool, Blackburn, Charlton or Coventry supporters, or how you actually talk about yourself as an organisation – the old ‘brand values’ schtick, is that it can make the doing difficult, and you feel like you don’t often have the time to think. Besides, nothing beats effective action, organising an event, achieving a target, making something happen. But equally if you feel like the the cause or organisation you’re working for doesn’t make sense, there’s no single rallying point, or what there is looks inconsistent, or lacks focus and doesn’t seem to know its final destination, then you might have a missing piece, and that’s almost certainly strategy.

In the specific case of campaigns, lots spring up from ‘nowhere’, or at least involve a sudden coming together of a group of people over a particular issue. Say, amongst Leyton Orient supporters. Initially the momentum is self-generating to some extent: you’ve got a pretty clear aim, a common enemy or issue you all agree on, and you fight the campaign on that basis. I’ve done it myself as a fan of Wimbledon, and it can be exhilarating. Over time – sometimes quite quickly – if your efforts don’t result quickly in the change you’re after (the removal of Bechetti), things can wane, and you start to realise that there might be something else required. Mere removal might not be the best thing. Proposing an alternative to Bechetti might be it. In fact, it’s logical, because if you don’t, all you’re doing is to ask fans to support existing chaos (Bechetti) for the unknown (there are of course, occasions where the unknown is, in fact, known – even preferable, but I’ll leave that to Donald Rumsfeld.) In my experience, that’s where a degree of strategic work is important. You need someone, or a group of people, to sit back from the hubbub – but crucially they understand it intimately – and who are capable of drawing together what’s happening into something coherent – a strategy – that makes sense.

It’s also important to be strategic because you need stops along the way: markers if you like. For example, in the case of Bechetti, getting other fans to be involved in protests; or getting the EFL to admit on record that what’s happening isn’t a good thing for the game and has to be dealt with in some way. Although those thing those aren’t actual ‘achievements’ that you may recognise – like Bechetti leaving, or a bid for the club from the fans, or a fan-friendly consortium, they’re what might be termed ‘SMART’ objectives – signposts, things you can achieve, and that tell you you’re headed in the right direction.

In campaigns, if you don’t have those, people don’t really know whether they’re making progress towards the ultimate aim or aims (the removal of Bechetti, and, for example, the takeover of the club by a) the fans, b) a consortium where fans have a majority of the shares or c) a locked-in minority stake, or d) other.)

So when I talk about the campaign on football reform as needing ‘strategic direction’ – which at the moment I don’t believe it has – it’s the same. There are lots of people concerned, who care, several groups, organisations who in their own way, can do something constructive towards it. There is also lots of noise, some tactics – ‘things’ happening, and lots of, as I termed it, ‘screaming into the void’, or the ‘echo chamber’, but there’s nothing coherent. Nothing that tells me what anyone – whoever ‘anyone’ is – actually wants.

The problem is that lots of people tend to run a series of tactics as a campaign: getting political parties to say ‘we agree with reform of The FA’ or similar, or having a write-in campaign for example – even an organised twitterstorm, or a march on Wembley or the Premier League HQ (as with the ticket price campaign) or something similar. Those are all legitimate tactics, but they’re not a campaign. Similarly, when it comes to, say, organising a series of events to publicise the poor governance of football, where fans talk to their MPs, councils, write letters, do organised calls to phone-ins, for example, they’re just a series of what might be termed (confusingly so) ‘strategies’; they’re a block of tactics that are aimed, in this case, at involving fans as a group in all sorts of ways, but there’s still no aim, no objectives, nothing really coherent.

What is really required – in this case for a campaign to reform football – is to decide what your actual aim is (or maybe couple of aims), then work on what that actually looks like – what is ‘reform’? Some want The FA changed, some decry its failure over the creation of the PL and say that the PL needs to have its wings clipped, some claim that if you force the PL to pay more money over, that’ll actually remove a lot of the pressure, and attendant problems that result in, for example, the likes of Bechetti turning up; some blame individuals almost exclusively and want a more stringent Owners and Directors test to sift out the bad from the good; some want the politicians to intervene directly with acts of parliament and change things; and some want change to come from football itself. These difference matter a lot. Some of these even contradict each other – like direct intervention versus coaxing football to do it, albeit with external pressure.

And that’s what I mean when I talk about strategy. It’s something Supporters Direct used to do very well when it had the resources (it wasn’t just me doing it: Tom Hall in particularly was a very effective strategy-into-actions ‘thinker’). Although we were by no means perfect, and at times lost focus like anyone would – especially given our dearth of resources – we developed our aims as a series of workable and implementable policies and changes: club licensing, fans on the board, financial controls, etc. They’re still there, and worth a read I might add. And it’s worth adding that whilst I wouldn’t ever claim that we were the principal actor that brought the changes we have seen since about 2002, we played an absolutely vital role in clearing out the ‘clutter’ of ideas, proposing workable ideas, proving that they worked (through direct experience of implementing them – like fans on the board, or by using, say, Germany or Sweden as examples, so dismissing the idea that fan ownership and involvement didn’t actually work). Supporters’ trusts as organisations were and are a ‘lived experience’ (FC Business Magazine described our policy work at SD as, ‘Coal-face experience of the issue continue to put them in a privileged position to make respected comment on the most pressing issues facing the governance of our game.’ We also worked with the authorities as much as we could – whether UEFA, The FA, EFL or Premier League, believing as we did that change had to be to some extent acceptable to those implementing it to a large extent.)

Getting my hands dirty, solving problems between fans and clubs, organising groups and capacity building individuals and organisations is a love of mine, but what I learned and have grown to appreciate even more today, especially through my study with the CIPR, is that if you don’t have a strategic approach, where you don’t make assumptions about what something as monumental as ‘reform’ actually is – amongst a group of people like fans who we all know are massively diverse – then you don’t have a hope of getting anywhere. Not really. You might achieve the odd event, a vote in Parliament, or a statement from the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee. And sometimes the noise enough might scare the football authorities into changing a bit, but it won’t realise the potential of the campaign. 

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