Football Supporters Europe’s SLO Spotlight series returns for its second edition. For this next interview, FSE spoke to Aberdeen FC SLO Lynn Fiske.

Through this feature, we aim to elevate the awareness of SLOs by providing an opportunity for SLOs to learn from each other and for supporters to grow their understanding of this important role too. 

How long have you been your club’s SLO, and what made you decide to want to do the role for your club? 

“I’ve been my club’s SLO for almost seven years, since June 2017. I had 17 years’ experience working within the Ticketing/Customer Service Department before I decided to apply for the new role. Having gotten to know lots of supporters over the years and being a fan all my life, I relished the challenge and opportunity to make improvements for the supporters, to listen to them and bring their feedback to the club.” 

What are you most proud of achieving since becoming your club’s SLO? 

“Being involved in the development of the Red Shed. This is an active stand given to our supporters a few years ago to bring colour and noise to the stadium. When new into the role, many supporters contacted me asking for a place in the stadium for fans to hang their banners, wave flags, and make noise. I was, and still am, as passionate as they were to get this off the ground. It required working closely with supporters and also the club bringing them both together to achieve what they have today. It has taken a few years and many challenges and hurdles along the way, and there is still work to be done. The supporters in this stand contribute lots to the matchday experience for everyone in the stadium, so it’s been an important piece of work.” 

Aberdeen FC have competed in UEFA Club Competitions in recent years. In the instances where you have been in contact with the opponent clubs’ SLO prior to a match, how has it aided preparations? 

“It has helped preparations greatly. Once I know our opposing club, I find out if they have an SLO and then make contact with them. We share any information that is relevant to our fans such as what to expect at the stadium, is there a place to hang banners, local bars, areas for socialising, and how to get to the stadium from the city- anything that will be useful to the fans visiting. We contact each other by email, phone, and text messages. We are always available to answer questions that arise when planning the matches. This is all done prior to the match. We’ll then meet up often the day before the match and on matchday. We show each other the stand where our supporters will be and the facilities for them, and also ensure that the SLOs have everything that they need in place for the match.” 

Tell us about the difficulties faced when you played Eintracht Frankfurt at home last year and their fans weren’t allowed to enter the ground? 

“It was disappointing that our fans didn’t get to see the Eintracht Frankfurt fans in our stadium. Many of them travelled to our city anyway because their flights and accommodation had been booked months earlier. Our club’s biggest difficulty was preventing our opponent’s fans from purchasing tickets and entering in the home stands. Our ticket office had to implement measures to prevent the online purchase of tickets. Many Eintracht Frankfurt fans upon arriving in Aberdeen, visited our ticket office trying to buy match tickets. On matchday tight security measures had to be implemented at the turnstiles to stop the entry of Eintracht Frankfurt fans who had managed to obtain tickets. Our club had to do these things as requested by UEFA.” 

If you were giving advice to other SLOs, what do you think is the key to success in the role? 

“Be available for your club’s supporters. Listen, listen, listen to them and bring their feedback to your club. Remember you no longer have an opinion. The SLO’s role is to bring the opinion of the fans to the club. Be a good communicator and do your best to find solutions to problems.” 

What advice would you give to those new to the SLO role? 

“Try to meet and talk to as many supporters as possible. Build good relationships with staff at your club. Reach out to fellow SLOs – the network is good – as we help and support each other. If you have an issue, it is highly likely a fellow SLO will have gone through something similar. Connect with Football Supporters Europe, there are guides and handbooks on their website which contain a wealth of useful information.” 

If you could give one simple message to all supporters of your club about the SLO role, what would it be? 

“Your SLO will listen to you and take your suggestions/ideas/complaints to the club. The SLO doesn’t make the decisions but is there to facilitate dialogue between the club and its fans.” 

You have previously attended FSE’s European SLO Network meetings, what do you find most valuable from attending? 

“Listening to case studies presented by other SLOs and widening my network of contacts. You come away from these meetings full of inspiration and new ideas. Meeting new SLOs gives you another SLO to call upon. SLOs share their experiences with each other and are always available to help each other.” 

You took part in the UEFA Academy training for the Scottish SLOs, what was your experience of it? 

“It was most worthwhile and covered a wide and useful range of topics, including media, communication, club licensing, as well as stress and time management. The workshops with time for open discussion were a great opportunity to learn and share ideas with each other.” 

How well do you know your counterparts in the other Scottish clubs? Is there a working relationship between all the Scottish SLOs?  

“I know the SLOs in my league very well and I am familiar with many from lower leagues. We contact and assist each other ahead of matches. There is a WhatsApp group where we communicate regularly. There is also a Scottish SLO Network Interim-Steering Group, which I am part of. This was set up after our UEFA Academy training and the aim is to raise awareness and recognition of the role within Scottish football. We aim to raise the profile, show the value and benefits to Scottish clubs who currently do not have an SLO.” 

Finally, what do you think has been the main benefit of the implementation of SLOs in Scottish football for both clubs and supporters? 

“I think it is having that go to person that can facilitate two-way communication between the supporters and the club. It benefits both and for the supporters they know there is a dedicated person they can reach out to who will raise their concerns and issues to the relevant club personnel seeking resolution.” 

FSE would like to thank Lynn Fiske and Aberdeen FC for taking part in the series.   

Our previous interview with AC Sparta Praha’s SLO Daniel Peterka can be found here

Learn more about SLOs and FSE’s role in developing the position here.   

Contact us to find out more about the Supporter Liaison Officer role here.  

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