‘Big Six’ left in the shade in latest Fan Engagement Index

Exeter City win for a second year. Everton, Leicester City, Norwich City, Reading amongst top at Engagement in 2019/2020 season.

The latest Covid delayed Fan Engagement Index for the 2019/2020 season has been released by Think Fan Engagement (formerly Fan Insights), and it’s clear that the leadership of the so-called Big Six are paying lip service to Fan Engagement. None of them perform well in the final table. Chelsea’s announcement yesterday that supporter representation at board meetings will happen is very welcome, but we await the detail.

All six have forms of ‘structured dialogue’ – Arsenal Chelsea, Man City, Man United, Liverpool have what are known as ‘Fans Parliaments’, whilst Spurs have a structured relationship with their supporters’ trust. Yet none of them consulted these or their supporters’ groups before announcing their participation in the calamitous Super League proposals (or before they tried to force through ‘Project Big Picture’ in late 2020).

Some Premier League clubs have for a second year performed well. The outstanding three in 2019/2020 were Leicester City and Norwich City, with Everton one of the standout performers across the board, easily surpassing their 2018/2019 performance. However, a number of other Premier League clubs don’t have a great deal to celebrate.

The owner of Think Fan Engagement Kevin Rye, said, “The Index provides a steer as to how the game might prevent things like the ill fated Super League proposals from seeing the light of day again, and ensuring clubs are better run more generally. It’s all too easy to say we might want something like a ‘German 50%+1’ model as a solution. What the Index does is actually shine a light on the values, structures and cultures that might actually deliver a fan-centred future in English football.”

“As we emerge from Covid, the voice of fans is going to be critical. Some clubs understand this, as you can see from the results. But many haven’t paid enough attention, preferring to focus on pushing out content, social media bantz or PR gimmicks.”

Commenting on the best performing club in 2019/2020, League Two Exeter City, Kevin Rye said, “Exeter City offer an example of how to ensure Fan Engagement is woven into the DNA of everything a club does. It’s far deeper than just 50%+1, even though that’s a fundamental part of who they are. To put it simply, they ‘get it’. That’s the lesson from the Fan Engagement Index 2019/2020: All of those who do well understand that it’s a balance between structure and culture.”

The first Fan Engagement Index was published for 2018/2019 season, and scores clubs in the top four divisions of English Football using publicly available data on their Dialogue, Governance and Transparency in Fan Engagement. For 2019/2020 season, clubs were asked for their comment on the data collected, and 42 provided new information.

The full table for 2019/2020, including biggest risers and fallers, can be accessed at fanengagement.net and the full report can be accessed via fanengagement.net/fan-engagement-hub

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *