Everton only Premier League club in top 20 on fan engagement index – BBC Sport


imageEverton only Premier League club in top 20 on fan engagement index By Alistair Magowan BBC Sport Last updated on

47 minutes ago 47 minutes ago .From the section Football Everton have announced plans to create a fan advisory board Everton are the only Premier League team to feature in the top 20 of an annual index which measures fan engagement for all 92 professional teams in England.

Now in its third year, the fan engagement index external-link

rates clubs based on publicly available data for their dialogue with supporters, how fans are involved in governance, and transparency of decisions.Manchester United, who earlier this month appointed their first head of fan engagement, are the only ‘big six’ team to feature in the top half of the table (44th) and improve their position.

Manchester City (58th), Tottenham (67th), Liverpool (73rd), Arsenal (79th) and Chelsea (81st) all dropped places or points.

But index author and consultant Kevin Rye said Manchester United and Liverpool had shown signs of “reflecting” on supporter reaction to the ill-fated European Super League.

Liverpool are set to announce in March an arrangement which locks fan engagement into the club’s articles of association.

“The dynamics have changed and the government’s fan-led review is forcing clubs to think about this more carefully and more quickly to expedite change,” Rye added.

Exeter City topped the table for a third year running, followed by League Two rivals Cambridge United and Carlisle United, with League One’s AFC Wimbledon and Lincoln City making up the top five.

Everton, who have announced plans to have a fan-advisory board, are 20th in the table, with Newcastle the lowest Premier League club at 87th of 92 for last season.

Their new owners, who took over in October, have promised to better engage with fans

Salford City are 85th in the table, with fellow League Two club Swindon Town bottom of the pile.

The data was collated for the 2020-21 season, when fans were largely not able to attend matches because of Covid-19, and clubs cut back on staff.

Rye said: “A little allowance was given for an exceptional season where resources were limited, and lots of clubs made cuts and redundancies including fan engagement staff.

“But lots of clubs still improved and the index shows that long-term culture is still the issue.”

Supporters have shown opposition to socios or fan tokens, where additional fan privileges can be bought with crypto-currency Concerns over crypto-currency and NFTs Rye said Premier League clubs had to “focus more on getting the basics right” and was concerned by the focus on fan tokens and NFTs (non-fungible tokens) as a way of engaging with fans.

“The technology with these options is fascinating, and there are some good uses, but it is still at an early stage of disruption and a lot of bad actors are offering money when clubs are desperate for cash after Covid-19,” Rye added.

“The clubs who are good at fan engagement are not embracing this.They realise it is a dash to monetise the relationship.

“Engaging with your fans can be messy and hard work but it’s a basic function of business and the value you get from it is phenomenal.

“The index tells us one thing: there are good clubs in the top flight like Everton and Brighton, and the reason for that is that they are focusing on what their business is and that fans are the primary stakeholder.”

Liverpool’s ‘ground-breaking’ improvement Liverpool supporters’ group Spirit of Shankly said the club’s lowly position only told part of the story of their engagement with the club, but was helpful in showing where it could improve.

Chair of the group Joe Blott said the damage done by Liverpool’s part in the European Super League was “quickly repaired” and some of the measures recently introduced had been “ground-breaking” and had informed the fan-led review.

It hopes to announce in March that fan engagement will be written into the articles of association with the club, meaning that they will be “legally binding” and “future proof” regardless of who owns Liverpool.

But Blott said improvements have already been made with regard to decision making at the club, and the representation of all parts of the fan base.

“There is a three-stage process now with decision-making: engage, consult and consent, Consent is the powerful one.Without that consent, Liverpool cannot move grounds, cannot ground share and cannot join the European Super League.”

Fan Engagement Index 2020-21 Top 20 Position Club Division Dialogue Governance Transparency Total 1 Exeter City League Two 60 80 55 195 2 Cambridge United League Two 65 65 45 175 3 Carlisle United League Two 70 65 35 170 4 AFC Wimbledon League Two 46 65 60 170 5 Lincoln City League One 75 50 40 165 6 Newport County League One 50 80 30 160 7 Reading Championship 75 25 50 150 8 Norwich City Championship 60 45 45 150 9 Doncaster Rovers League One 60 65 15 140 10 Bristol Rovers League One 60 40 35 135 11 Plymouth Argyle League One 70 35 20 125 12 Swansea City Championship 60 40 25 125 13 Oldham Athletic League Two 45 60 20 125 14 Portsmouth League One 75 45 0 120 15 Tranmere Rovers League Two 60 45 15 120 16 Luton Town Championship 75 35 0 110 17 Barrow League Two 45 50 15 110 18 Grimsby Town League Two 45 65 0 110 19 Leyton Orient League Two 40 35 35 110 20 Everton Premier League 65 25 15 105 44 Man Utd Premier League 25 35 15 75 58 Man City Premier League 35 15 15 65 67 Tottenham Premier League 30 15 15 60 73 Liverpool Premier League 20 35 0 55 79 Arsenal Premier League 15 15 15 45 81 Chelsea Premier League 20 5 15 40 NB: Where total scores are equal, dialogue is given added weight Will this man be found? Two murders, one fugitive and a hunter tracking down the target What if Steven Gerrard didn’t slip? Specs Gonzales and guests take you into an alternative football reality.

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