As part of the process to recruit new members to the FAB, there was an opportunity of candidates to ask questions about the role of the FAB.
We have tried to answer most of them here, to help everyone understand a bit more about what the FAB do. These answers are directly from the FAB and not answers provided by Brighton & Hove Albion F.C.
Q1) How many meetings do the FAB have per year?
Weekly Monday night as a FAB, Quarterly in person with the club, Often monthly on Microsoft Teams with the club on specific topics as they arise.
Q2) How interactive are they with fans on a match day?
We don’t. We haven’t been involved with any matchday activities.
Q3) How do they gather feedback?
Meetings (official supporters clubs) Social Media Emails
Q4) How does the FAB deal with any negative comments?
Respond with facts. We have engaged with fans such as Dogma and explained our perspective .
Q5) Are there any issues which are “no-go areas”?
No football input. What happens on the pitch is not in our remit. Otherwise no not really, although there are things we have been told will not change but thanks for our input
Q6) How are any changes communicated to the wider fanbase?
Minutes of meetings on the Albion website, Articles for fanzines, Appearance on podcasts
Q7) How is equal representation ensured?
The first election resulted in a reasonable cross section of people except for age. We are trying to ensure we address age in the second FAB election by having a separate category for younger people.
The club intended for there to be equal representation in the initial poll. It was not entirely successful due to lack of candidates/votes. This stime we have deliberately weighted in favour of a younger age group in the shortlisiting.
Q8) How strong a voice would we have?
The club listen, we are building the relationship with the club but there are improvements to be made
Q9) Would recommendations be acted upon?
If appropriate then yes and in some cases very swiftly. We can’t insist that the club take the advice of the advisory board
Q10) How is it constituted?
Full details on the Albion website
Q11) Who chairs it?
We elect a chair, currently Gill Martin
Q12) What contact would there be with the Board
Assuming you mean the club board, two members attend one meeting a year. We also have a board member present at our quarterly meetings.
Q13) What is the fan advisory club? What would I be doing?
A description of the FAB and its activities is available on the BHAFC website.
Q14) How does it address issues bearing in mind I’ve been a season ticket holder all season I didn’t know it existed?
Good question we are trying to raise awareness but as this has been the first year there has been lots of admin to get it going. It has been discussed on the Albion website, social media channels and numerous fan podcasts.
How do you get your news about what is going on at the club? Club website? Club fansites? Facebook? Twitter? Local papers? Local Radio?
We have obviously failed to communicate through a media that you use and would like to do that in future
Q15) How is the board structured and how does it communicate with the club? Where and when are meeting held? How many members are there on the board, and how are meetings structured and chaired?
See the Albion website and answers shown above.
Q16) Are head stewards from home matches in attendance at meetings?
No. The head of Security (who looks after stewarding) was at our third formal meeting with the club.
Q17) Are the board able to make recommendations and help put new areas into practice?
Yes see minutes
Q18) This is a test to see how engaged with the process you are, so if you have got this far please email the FAB with the address on the website with your name and say I have read question 18
Thanks for getting this far
Q19) FABs proudest achievement as a team?
Moving from a necessary compliance group to a useful and professional sounding board. Getting to where we are now after starting with a blank sheet of paper twelve months ago
Q20) Are you represented at Board level in the club?
See answers above
Q21) Beyond matchdays, do you look at Tour/Open sessions and opening up for other experiences?
Yes but more admin day to day issues at the moment.
Q22) How does the Fan Advisory Board keep fans informed about the things being discussed and action being taken?
See above, minutes articles podcasts
Q23) How does the FAB liaise with fan groups at home and abroad?
Members of and attend fan groups in person and virtually. Never yet turned down an invitation to attend a fan group or appear on a fan podcast
Q24) To what extent does the FAB liaise with similar groups operating at other clubs in England and abroad?
FSA/FAB group meetings
Q25) Whether there is an option to stand for more than two years?
Currently set at a 2 year term, but looking at this so possibly a three year rolling commitment but TBC
Q26) How often do you meet? Can I access meeting’s remotely?
See above and Yes
Q27) Is this a worthwhile project to be involved in? What are our aims and SMART objectives?
Yes very worthwhile, no SMART objectives but a good idea. With the FAB now established, it is time to create such plans and objectives. This will be easier with a full strength FAB.
Q28) How do we measure the success of the board?
Still in an admin setting up phase this is a good question and one for us to address. See above.
Q29) Is there a requirement of meeting on a match day or at the training ground?
No Match days are too busy so tend not to meet, although we often grab a drink together.
Q30) The board needs to be made up of people who are realistic in what they want to drive forward – please showcase success of the board to date.
Read the minuntes of meetings, listen to podcasts (Albion Roar, Albion Unlimited, Brighton Rock and Albions obessed) read articles (We Are Brighton and Dogma)
Q31) I would look for confirmation that the board isn’t simply a tick box exercise for the club to say that they are engaging with their fan base
It is what we make it
Q32) Would I need to have a certificate or qualification ?
DBS check will be required. This will be done for successful candidates.
Q33) Are you diverse?
Yes but could be better. Key aim of this year’s election.
Q34) First what is the mission of the fan advisory board?
Not sure if we have a formal mission statement but we hope to represent fans’ interests, understand more about the working of the Club, and be involved in strategic decisions relating to fans.
Q35) What specific issues does it or concerns does it aim to address?
It’s abridge between the club and the fans on issues as per the inutes
Q36) How are the members selected to ensure diversity and difference of opinions?
They are elected by fans who must be members of the Albion or season ticket holders.
The election process attempts to select fans from the main fan groups such as men’s season ticket holders, women’s season ticket holders, Albion + and 1901 members. We have deliberately shortlisted candidates from each group.
Q37) How does the board usually gather information and what mechanisms are in place in order to ensure correct information?
Mainly information from the club and enquiries from fans
Q38) How is the fan advisory board funded and what resources would be provided to get the best out of the fan advisory team?
There is zero budget. Participation is entirely voluntary.
Q39) What’s the future of the Board in light of likely legislation?
Probably stronger. The Crouch Report and recent White Paper recognise the importance of strong fan engagement.
Q40) Where does the club see it best making a positive contribution? And how can it be made sustainable for the long term?
TBC, it is early days and building the teams and understanding what is needed has been part of the first year. But this is a question for the club to answer, for our part we believe where we can point to initiatives or ideas from the FAB that have been implemented.
Q41) Can the FAB be used as a mediation tool with banning issues with the club and individual fans?
Would be for the club to decide but not currently. If the club would agree, an independent member of the FAB could certainly take part at such hearings
Q42) Nervous about online meetings Would there be an opportunity to meet socially as part of the new members introduction the other FAB members?
We use online as the distance some people have to travel (as a group we are about 90 minutes apart) so being able to take part in weekly online meetings will be important. A social event once elected would certainly be on the agenda
Q43) What access to information that could improve the fan experience would we have?
The club have provided us lots of data, reports and information when requested. Much of this is confidential and it is important to recognise that
Q44) Will the club have more of a say regarding the selection process, as I am concerned that the previous an online vote, turned into a popularity contest via social media?
The club and the FAB are short listing but it will go to an election so it inevitably becomes and popularity contest and social media is probably the easiest way to do that.
If the club had more of a say in final selection the new FAB could be accused of not being independent. Once the shortlist is selected, the voting has to be online and it will be each candidate’s responsibility to go get the votes through whatever media they can. The current FAB can help with that.
Q45) To what extent are you looking for our own thoughts and recommendations or is the Fan Advisory Board only used as a conduit to get feedback from fans, via social media?
Clearly we have our own ideas but these should not take precedence over the wider fan voice
Q46) How does the Board best ensure that it listens to a diverse set of fans?
With difficulty, the challenge is how do we not become an echo chamber (we recognise some weaknesses (no north stand, no younger members) and hope this election addresses some of this
We also need to find an effective way to communicate with all sections of the fanbase, not just those who use social media.
Q47) How does the Board monitor whether all fans feel comfortable raising their concerns or ideas?
We don’t currently but would welcome help on this. see above
Q48) How is the group connected to / learning from other Fan Advisory Boards at other clubs?
We are members of the FSA and in contact with other FAB groups
Q49) What have the existing 5 members learnt so far? What has worked well and what could the new members support to improve?
It is a lot of work for 5 people.
Share the workload, bring areas of expertise we do not have particularly with web site design and social media awareness.
We didn’t have much of an idea what was expected of us by the club nor the fans at the outset. Getting a structure in place and building relationships with people at the club and in the fanbase has been key.
Q50) Do the board currently have a roadmap of areas that they think are most important?
More board members, better and wider fan engagement.
Developing some SMART objectives for the FAB to achieve in the short and medium term
Q51) I note there are 5 members currently and you are looking for 5 more, what benefits or challenges do you think will come from having more on the board.
There is a lot of work for 5 so hopefully share the love, 10 people on a zoom call will require more discipline
Q52) What is the average lead time for any suggestions that are implemented – from time of discussion to implementation at the club? Understand it depends on matter in question, but could it be immediate or wait until following season?
Some the same day, same week example auto lights timing out in disabled toilets, moving the bag drop, other much slower
Q53) Are there any confidentially arrangements in place for members of the Fan Advisory board?
Yes we have lots of confidential and privileged information that we need to do our job, this needs to be respected
Q54) When is the first meeting due to take place?
By mutual arrangement soon after the voting process is concluded. Certainly before the season starts.
Q55) Are you regularly in contact with the global areas of the fanbase (like Stateside Seagulls, Seagulls Over Spain) about what the FAB could do for them?
On the social media groups and ask if they have question / not UK specific issues.