Strengthening engagement between Club and Supporters
Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC held its first open Supporters’ Liaison meeting on Thursday 25th October to explore developing and strengthening engagement between the club and its supporters.
It was reported to the meeting that the club was recently awarded silver licensing status by the Scottish Football Association, recognising the progress being made by the club in enhancing liaison between the club and its supporters, through the development of the role of Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO).
Having an SLO Programme is a licensing requirement for clubs seeking a silver or gold licence from the SFA, which has been working with Supporters Direct Scotland to introduce the SLO Programme.
In the early phase of implementation, ICTFC has appointed Andy Johnstone, Stadium Manager, as the SLO co-ordinator, being the first point of contact in dealing with supporters. These can be letters sent to the stadium or emails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, Mr Johnstone either replies to the correspondence or forwards to the official or Board member best able to respond.
The intention is to develop the role and ultimately appoint a number of SLOs to meet the comprehensive range of duties involved.
Gordon Fyfe, a Director of ICT who chaired the meeting, said: “This was the first of what will become a regular cycle of open meetings with supporters to explore how we can work effectively together for the benefit of the club. We took the opportunity to bring supporters up to date with what is happening around the stadium and supporters responded positively with their points of view, expressing an eagerness to engage whenever they can. This will be particularly beneficial as we progress our plans to mark our 25th anniversary, from February next year.”
Gordon Fyfe’s opening statement at the meeting
Good evening supporters. Welcome to our first Supporters’ Liaison Meeting.
My name is Gordon Fyfe and I am your chairman for the night. Football is my passion and my professional skills are in communication. This combination prompted the club chairman Graham Rae to invite me to become a Director at around this time last year.
Joining me at the top table are Yvonne Crook, our Chief Executive Officer, Jim Oliver, Commercial Manager and Andy Johnstone, Stadium Manager and Co-ordinator of Liaison with supporters.
All share my desire to work hard to ensure the club prospers, develops our youth and community activities and gains promotion to the Premiership as quickly as possible. On a 20-game unbeaten run, the team is only a couple of games away from creating a new record.
We are all positive about tonight’s meeting and want to go home with positive outcomes.
I hope you share our hopes for a constructive and productive night.
The purpose of tonight’s meeting is to give you an update of some key things happening at the club and to explore with you how we can strengthen links between the club and supporters.
A separate fans forum with the Manager and Academy Director is planned for early December.
I will say a little about our plans to mark our 25th anniversary. I am one of two directors serving on an ICTFC 25 Committee, which has now met twice and meets again on 14 November.
Yvonne will give you an operational update, revealing an exciting new initiative at the club.
Andy will explain where we are with developing strengthened lines of communication between supporters and the club, through the SLO role.
So to kick things off, I will highlight a few ideas that have emerged from the first two meetings of the ICT25 Committee.
The starting gun for the year of celebrations is 24 February 2019. This is the date in 1994 of the first board meeting of the new ICT FC, held at Balnain House.
A 25th anniversary ball is the first main event proposed – for Saturday 2 March in the Kingsmills Hotel.
Other Key projects
1 Keynote match: We are working with the Manager to identify top opposition
2 Photographic record of the club’s history:
3 Milestones and Memories:
4 Staging a ICT25 Community Festival – 8 April is emerging as a potential date for this event.
Please note this date is likely to change to 21st April (TBC)
5 Healthy Hearts
6 Creating new merchandise including, a special commemorative strip:
7 Examining the feasibility of establishing a city centre presence to promote ICT25
8 Organising a Hall of Fame event:
Our 25th anniversary Ambassador, Charlie Christie, was tasked with identifying 6 key dates in the club’s history and the plan is to remember these milestones at specific commemorative events.
The dates are:-
13 August 1994: First Scottish League game v Arbroath at Telford Street Park ends in 5-2 victory, with the late Alan Hercher scoring a hat-trick.
12 April 1997: Third Division title secured with 4-1 home win against Albion Rovers.
8 February 2000: Unforgettable 3-1 Scottish Cup win at Parkhead over Celtic
15 May 2004: Promotion to Premier League guaranteed after 3-1 win at home over St Johnstone.
30 May 2015: Scottish Cup lifted following 2-1 win over Falkirk at Hampden.
16 July 2015: ICT play in Europe for the first time against Astra Giurgui of Romania. First leg at home ended in a 1-0 for the visitors.