Original article appears on Pundit Arena.
Tomorrow (Saturday) morning will see a host of League of Ireland fans descend to the Aviva Stadium. No, this isn’t some Derry City or St.Pat’s fans turning up a day early for the FAI Cup Final. Rather this is a workshop being put together by Irish Supporters Network entitled “LOI Supporters: Making a Vital Difference.”
It was only a couple of week ago when FAI chief executive John Delaney described the Airtricity League as a “difficult child.” He also dismissed claims that the domestic game was in difficulty. Now League of Ireland fans will assemble at the home of the international team to discuss the future of the league and how they can play a role in it.
There will be various sessions running throughout the day to facilitate dialogue on what initiatives are currently taking place and what improvements can be made to improve the Irish game and draw more people to their local football ground. Representatives from the FAI will be in attendance along with members of Supporters Direct and Football Supporters Europe to talk about their own experience of fan engagement and hopefully, help supporters engage with their local club.
Some of the sessions which are planned for tomorrow, include
– Fan Engagement: What constitutes meaningful engagement and how can it benefit clubs and supporters?
– Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO): how the SLO role can develop and have an impact on Irish football
– Volunteers in Action: How supporters and volunteers are actively working to support their clubs week in week out
– Panel Discussion: How can we draw fans away from their TV and into our football grounds?
With so much on offer this weekend at the Aviva Stadium, there should be some food for thought for League of Ireland fans and how they envisage a positive future in the domestic game.