FORAS represented at the Aviva
Representatives from Cork City and Cork City Women’s FC flew the flag for FORAS at the Aviva Stadium over the weekend.
Attending the LOI Supporters: Making a Difference workshop were Cork City FC vice-chairman John Kennedy and club CEO Tim Murphy, along with FORAS volunteers Shane Tobin, John Paul Clifford, Gearoid O’Mahony and Niamh O’Mahony – all of whom helped to organise the Irish Supporters Network event. In addition, CCWFC media officer Joe McSweeney and club SLO Áine O’Donovan attended of behalf of the Women’s National League side.
The workshop was opened by SSE Airtricity League director Fran Gavin, who said the FAI was happy to host the event at the home of Irish football.
The opening session heard about the benefits of meaningful Fan Engagement from Irish business Mobstats before hearing of the efforts being made by Bohemian FC in their local community in recent years.
The second session of the day focused on the SLO role, and how it can benefit clubs and supporters alike. Participants heard the experiences of Rosenborg SLO Arne Christian Eggan and also from SLO consultant Stuart Dykes (Supporters Direct Europe & Uefa).
John Kennedy spoke about Cork City’s Family Enclosure as part of the third session of the day: Making a Difference: Volunteers in Action and detailed how every fan’s experience on match night begins far before they ever reach Turner’s Cross. He also explained the origins of the Family Enclosure and revealed that an estimated 12,000 supporters have enjoyed some time within its surrounds. Towards the end of the 2014 season, it was full on occasion and will look to expand further in 2015.
Representatives from the Patrons Scheme at St. Pat’s, Shamrock Rovers and Finn Harps also discussed their own particular activities as part of this session.
The final session of the day saw CEO Tim Murphy form part of a four-way panel to discuss: How to draw supporters away from TVs and into football grounds, along with Ben Shave of Supporters Direct Europe, League of Ireland columnist and former player Alan Cawley and Irish Sun journalist Owen Cowzer.
Tim pointed out that the word ‘company’ hadn’t been used all day and that while football was no ordinary business, it still had to be run like one if it was to succeed in the longer term. Topics such as summer soccer, ex-LOI players in the national squad and various marketing initiatives were also touched on.
More details about the workshop can be found over on www.heartofthegame.ie.