Club Development Conference 2017 Roundup

We today attended the Scottish FA’s Club Development Conference held at the University of Stirling. Here’s a quick round up if you weren’t able to attend.

The day was kick started with a presentation from Aberdeen’s Gavin Levey and Steven Sweeney who talked participants through the relationship between the club, its academy and charity. The successes of their academy were highlighted with participants walked through the ethos and approach to developing young talent.

Steven then spoke about the work of the Community Trust who were recently awarded a European Football Development Award on account of their outstanding dementia friendly programme.

Following a short break, participants heard from Peter Davidson, Chief Executive of Links Park Community Trust who spoke about their activities and recent successes including being named the ‘Best Community Football Club’ at the Scottish FA Grassroots Award.

Peter spoke through how they were able to contribute towards tackling wider community and societial issues using football as a vehicle and their three strands of development: sport, education and healthcare.

Peter shared a recent quote from Montrose FC’s Chairman :

“Links Park Community Trust have challenged us (the club) to ask instead what we as a club can do to support the lives of those in the community”

A great quote and one which leaves us asking, how many other clubs genuinely think about what they can do to support their communities (and fans). This is supported and reaffirmed by Trust’s strapline reading “Life Is Not A Spectator Sport“.

With several clubs interested in growing their community activities, there was a good follow up discussion around how to benefit from council and local authority support by helping tackle community needs through partnerships.

With a lunch break inbetween, participants were treated to a Communications workshop from the Scottish FA’s Head of Corporate Affairs and Communications, Greig Mailer. Greig had previously worked with Hibernian FC, UEFA and the Commonwealth Games and was able to offer advice to clubs on sending the right messages.

The session focused on how clubs communicate both internally to players, coaches, members and how they portray themselves to the wider world. He shared his experiences of working with clubs, governing bodies and discussed best practice of how clubs can share their vision.

It was an excellent presentation emphasising some of Simon Shinek’s ‘Start With Why’ philosophy. We did a blog referencing the Start with Why idea back in April this year titled ‘Create Fans, Not Customers’ which you can catch up with here.

All in all, a very beneficial event and well done to the Scottish FA on pulling it together. A great opportunity for clubs to be able to share best practice and hear from some thought leaders within the sector.