FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester FC United of Manchester

FC United of ManchesterSmaller TextLarger Text

Getting to know your Supporter Liaison Officer

Ryan Williams has been in his role since May 2013. As a reminder and to highlight what his role entails, the club have decided to reprint this interview that featured in the matchday programme last season.

Supporters Direct and UEFA have formulated a policy that requires all professional clubs to appoint a support liaison officer. Although FC United are not at the level where this is compulsory, the club decided to voluntarily take part in the directive, to show our commitment to supporter involvement in football.

Describing the directive, a Supporters Direct spokesperson said: “The introduction of this UEFA licensing requirement constitutes a new landmark in club-supporter relations and emphasises the importance UEFA attaches to dialogue and communication between clubs and fans. The introduction of SLOs across Europe will hopefully help to ensure fans have a voice at their respective clubs.”

FC held a recruitment process for this voluntary role and the successful applicant was Ryan Williams.

Speaking about his role, Ryan said: “I will be hoping to be representative of everyone at the club. FC United is made up of fans, members - be they match-goers or not and also board members and management.

“The role will therefore be about making sure there is an open dialogue between all elements of the football club.

“It is to make sure that everyone has a representative voice and that issues can be raised and dealt with to everyone’s satisfaction.

“I also expect to be involved in safety issues, ticketing issues and arrangements for away games as well. Any issues people have with any of those, it will be up to me to try and help bring some consensus.

“I firmly believe at FC United we do a lot of this already and I think we do it very well.

“SLO roles are not mandatory at this level, but one of the things I love about this club is that we have embraced the ethos of this role as Supporters Direct hoped it would be implemented.

“We have done this because we believe in supporters running clubs and communication and representation are vital in that. I have a passion for communication and engagement and that is what I specialise in at my day job for a co-operative.

“I expect there will tough issues to deal with and conflict resolution will be something I have to do well. The best word I can use to describe what I am about to face is a ‘challenge’. I am definitely under no illusions on that front. It is also an opportunity to turn the role into something special for this football club.

“Undoubtedly I will make mistakes along the way, as we all do, but it is being done for the right reasons and I hope the supporters appreciate the spirit in which this idea is being brought in.

“The club have the very best intentions with this and I am confident the fans will back it and make it work. Patience will be needed at first. We will be ‘learning by doing’.

“This role will not mean that any current open dialogue between people will be replaced. For example if fans still prefer to contact board members direct, than that is great. I will merely be another communication avenue.
“Having an SLO will take a bit of a load off the board members, volunteers and club staff too. This club is a part of us all. I was a season ticket holder at Old Trafford for many years. My family have gone forever and I was taken as a very young lad, before I can remember, and I cherish that.

“But like most FC fans, I felt United was taken away from me. I found it very difficult to give up going to Old Trafford, because it was a family thing we all did together throughout the generations.

“Eventually I said enough was enough and as soon as I attended an FC game, I felt at home. The club was formed the same year I got married, so I like to look at the poetry of two great relationships beginning at the same time. I am so proud to be involved with this club and I love the ethos.”

Should you wish to contact Ryan, please email supporterliaison@fc-utd.co.uk or telephone 07805 219393. Ryan also volunteers in the Social Club on matchdays so if you would prefer to meet with him in person just call in from 12pm until kick off.

Home Email Facebook Reddit

First Posted ~ 15:19 Fri 20 Sep 2013
News ID ~ 5099
Last Updated ~ 15:19 Fri 20 Sep 2013