With the failure of the European Super League and the ongoing fan protests against club owners, relations between some of the Premier League’s biggest clubs and their fans appear to be at an all-time low.
So it’s no surprise that a new assessment of the football club league table with supporters places these ‘big six’ England teams firmly in the bottom half – with the message that they ‘fail to some extent’ .
Protests to Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal showed fans ‘dissatisfaction with United’s Supporters’ Trust by writing to Red Devils co-owner Joel Glazer to ask better fan engagement.
The fan engagement index, which assesses dialogue, governance and transparency, shows how the so-called Big Six stack up against 85 other professional clubs in England.
Manchester City rated the highest of the six at 46th, but it was still in the lower half of the 2019-20 season.
Comes next Arsenal at the 47th, followed by Manchester United (59e), Tottenham (62e), Liverpool (64th) and Chelsea (78th). Only City and Arsenal improved their scores from 2018 to 19.
The best high-flying teams of the 2019-20 season are Norwich (10e), Leicester (11th) and Everton (13th) with League Two City of Exeter top of the table for the second year in a row.
“Many clubs do not cover themselves with glory on the fans”
Exeter are one of the eight Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 clubs that make up the top 10 and are partly run by fan trusts or have fan representation on their board of directors. Reading are the highest ranked championship team in eighth place.
City of Salford – partly owned by several former Manchester United players, including Gary and Phil Neville, Bolton Wanderers, Sheffield Wednesday, Macclesfield Town and Town of Swindon make up the last five clubs.
Fan engagement consultant Kevin Rye, who compiled the index, said the “Big Six” results showed they were “failing to some extent,” but admitted “you don’t need to. to look at the board for that ”and“ a lot of the clubs don’t exactly cover themselves in glory ”.
All of the ‘big six’ except Tottenham have apologized or regretted their role in the Super League. Chelsea announced on Tuesday that three fan advisers will attend council meetings ‘to ensure that general fan sentiment is taken into account’ while Liverpool met with one of their fan groups to discuss changes to their structure .
It all comes before one government led fan review, which will take into account the models of involvement and ownership of supporters.
“The clubs have fallen away from the supporters and although people have been saying this for a long time, the clubs continue as if there is no problem,” Rye told BBC Sport.
“We have now seen a very sensible first step from Chelsea and there are models to handle that beyond saying that every club should have fan ownership. It’s a culture and an attitude.
“Premier League clubs that engage well with fans are Norwich [a Premier League club in 2019-20], Everton and Leicester and the reasons are their leadership; the people at the top and running the departments all understand what a fan is and how he is different from a client. They make sure that this attitude is reflected throughout the club. ”
Lessons to be learned from Exeter City?
Exeter, who are trying to reach the Ligue 2 play-offs this weekend, have been a fan-owned club for 20 years, having been in debt of £ 4.5million by the previous owners.
Fan Confidence Chairman and Board Member Nick Hawker says the club is run “for the benefit of the supporters and the community” and “immense goodwill comes out”.
He says the fact that supporters donate £ 100,000 for the management of the club each year, and almost double it in the past year, is proof of what it means to them. He also explains how there is a club trust agreement that contains a list of issues on which fans have the final say, including the name of Exeter City, its playing colors and whether to sell the club or move the stadium.
With debt affecting many clubs, he says fan ownership can play a role in running clubs more responsibly and sustainably.
“Listening to what the fans want could solve a lot of football’s problems,” he told BBC Sport. “Who owns the club? No one really. Most clubs in the UK were born in the late 1800s or early 1900s, often in churches or workers’ clubs and they are so deeply rooted in the community.
“We don’t own Exeter City, it’s in our custody. This is what some Premier League owners need to understand. “
Rye added: “If the fans were really integrated into the ‘Big Six’ clubs, would they have come to the same decision regarding the European Super League?
“It’s not like buying or owning a store, if you buy a football club and you don’t like that the fans like to have a say and be part of the club, why do you own it? from a football club? ”
“Clubs are specific institutions. “
|1||City of Exeter||League two||60||80||55||195|
|2||Carlisle United||League two||75||65||35||175|
|3||Cambridge United||League two||65||65||45||175|
|4||Newport County||League two||50||80||40||170|
|5||AFC Wimbledon||League one||45||65||60||170|
|6||Lincoln City||League one||75||50||40||165|
|7||Doncaster Rovers||League one||65||65||30||160|
|dix||Norwich City||premier league||60||45||35||140|
|11||Leicester City||premier league||75||35||20||130|
|12||City of Grimsby||League two||60||65||5||130|
|14||Tranmere Rovers||League one||60||45||15||120|
|15||Wycombe Wanderers||League one||45||55||20||120|
|16||Accrington Stanley||League one||65||30||20||115|
|17||City of Luton||Championship||75||35||0||110|
|18||Bristol Rovers||League one||60||30||20||110|
|19||Oldham Athletic||League two||45||50||15||110|
|46||Man City||premier league||35||25||15||75|
|59||Male Utd||premier league||15||35||15||65|
|NB: when the total scores are equal, the dialogue takes on additional weight|