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Exeter City: Top of the Tree

Exeter City are top club in the Fan Engagement Index for the second year in a row. The reason they make Fan Engagement work isn’t simply because they’re fan-owned. ‘50%+1’ doesn’t flick a Fan Engagement switch. The key difference is that they understand how to run a football business: integrating fans into the decision making processes at every level.

The club works hard at finding ways to listen and engage with fans, involving them in discussions at multiple levels – fans forums, fans parliaments, informal and formal relationships, listening and engagement.

What Exeter City – and all clubs who are good at Fan Engagement have – is a ‘culture of Fan Engagement’.

Exeter City don’t view the board or senior management to be separate from the fans on the ground. They ensure that the views of fans feed in across all levels, whether directly at board level, senior management, or delivery in terms of matchday and Fan Experience. Although ownership helps them because it creates a legal obligation and the right to be heard, it also needs the culture that means what the club hear, it takes seriously.

This doesn’t mean mean ‘own the club, pick the team’. It means that football club understand the central role fans have that makes the entire business of football even possible.