Tony Barrett takes full-time role at Liverpool as club look to improve fan interaction
Former ECHO reporter will chair five new fan forums as part of supporter engagement overhaul
Tony Barrett will lead Liverpool’s drive to give supporters a greater voice as part of an overhaul of how the club communicates with fans.
The Reds have today announced a new supporter engagement model to address the findings of a global independent research programme commissioned by the club last year.
As a result, Barrett will become Liverpool’s Head of Club and Supporter Liaison with the Reds keen to utilise social media platforms to increase interaction with their fanbase.
The ECHO’s former Liverpool correspondent, later of The Times and currently Joe.co.uk, will begin his new role next month.
He will chair, co-ordinate and manage five new fan forums as well as establish an ongoing dialogue with supporters and supporter groups on a more informal basis through social media to help understand key issues more immediately.
Four new fan forums will be created to focus on issues highlighted by fans during the research, which was undertaken by research specialists Populus last autumn.
These will centre on ticket availability, ticket prices, the stadium and local supporter engagement. A fifth forum, on equality and diversity, will also be created.
Each of the fan forums will be made up of between 8-12 supporters with one seat being reserved for the Liverpool Supporters Trust and one seat for a member of the existing Supporters Committee.
Liverpool will be launching a new campaign in the coming weeks to encourage supporters to register their interest to be selected at random to participate in one of the fan forums.
There will also be an annual fan summit hosted by Reds new chief executive Peter Moore. Club directors, senior officials and supporters who are members of the fan forums will be invited to attend the annual summit to be held at Anfield, either in person or via video call facilities.
Karen Gill, Bill Shankly’s granddaughter and honorary president of the Supporters Committee, has also been invited, with the forums running throughout next season.
Liverpool will also be engaging with other groups such as LDSA and Official LFC Supporters Clubs to ensure their voice is also heard.
The club’s dedicated Fan Services Team based at Anfield will continue to be available for supporters who have more immediate issues.
All supporters will be able to keep track of what is discussed in the fan forums by visiting the club’s website and social media platforms, where all discussion points from the meeting will be published after every forum.
Susan Black, Director of Communications at Liverpool FC, said: “This extensive independent research programme took nine months during which time Populus engaged with fans at home and around the world in order to build a robust picture of what the issues are that matter.
“They also gathered opinions on how fans want us to engage with them.
This new engagement model will give us a more open and robust platform to engage with more of our supporters on more of the issues that matter to them.
“Tony will drive this for the club and we are delighted that he will be joining us.”
More than 10,000 supporters gave feedback through a questionnaire while research agency Populus also conducted 40 in-depth interviews with fans, supporter groups including Spirit of Shankly, Spion Kop and the LFC Supporters Committee, members of the media, politicians and club officials.http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/tony-barrett-liverpool-fan-role-13065914