The Dons Trust and AFC Wimbledon are delighted to announce the establishment of a new Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) team.
After interviews, which followed extensive work on the role with SD Europe and Kevin Rye from Think Fan Engagement, we have appointed a team to cover the SLO role, and they are: Anuk Teasdale, Tim Hillyer and Paul Raymond.
Anuk, Tim and Paul will each serve in a voluntary capacity, and as part of an overall SLO team both at Plough Lane and for away matches for travelling fans. The individual roles and responsibilities and contact details are currently being defined and set up and the role will launch formally in the new year. A bit more information about each of our new appointments is below:
Anuk has been a Dons season ticket together with her family for many years from the start of AFC Wimbledon to the present day. She has been a volunteer with the Dons working with the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, Wimbledon in Sporting History and Fair Game. She also sits on the Kick It Out/Fans for Diversity Guidance Group. Anuk has always worked towards making the Club a welcoming and positive experience for all fans, and in this role hopes to make the fans' experience the best.
Since the incorporation of The Dons Trust and the reformation of AFC Wimbledon in 2002, Tim has been heavily involved.
For the inaugural match at Sutton United, he provided the backboard for the press conference. At Kingsmeadow he worked on the turnstiles, later migrating to merchandise, and even working in the tea bar. Tim’s day job is Finance Director of a charity. Additionally, he has experience as a board member of The Dons Trust. None of this has got in the way of his attendance at Wimbledon matches home and away (with one notable exception). Tim also goes to Under 18s and Women’s matches. Tim is looking forward to developing the role of Supporter Liaison Officer along with a great new team.
Paul has been a Matchday volunteer during every season at AFC Wimbledon and helped out in various roles including in the early days at Kingsmeadow selling Golden Goals and for the last few years at Kingsmeadow working in the Matchday pod at the entrance to the ground, answering queries and helping with collection of matchday tickets. This season Paul has mainly been out the front of the club shop directing supporters who are visiting the stadium for the first time. He is also a member of various working groups for both the club and trust. During the London and Rio Olympics and Paralympics Paul volunteered in back office roles and spectator services roles. Paul is looking forward to helping more visitors and supporters have an enjoyable matchday experience.
Departing Co- Chair of the Dons Trust Board, Jane Lonsdale, who has led the work for The Dons Trust, said about the appointments: “It has been an ambition of mine and a priority of the Board to deliver a new SLO team. We’ve worked collaboratively with the Club and Mandy Bynon as deputy SLO, and been supported by SD Europe and Think Fan Engagement (TFE).
"We had some brilliant applications and I’m delighted we were able to choose a great team of people. The whole point of the SLO role is to provide a formal, recognised way to improve dialogue between fans, owners and members and the club and the trust. We’re delighted at the team we’ve appointed, and we know they’re excited too, and want to hit the ground running. This role will take time to bed in, but we’re sure fans will see the benefits quite quickly.”
Until now the role of SLO has been held by the club secretary and Mandy Bynon as deputy SLO. Mandy will remain as deputy SLO to provide the formal link between EFL and the SLO team - vital as a way of feeding back the learning and experience of the new team to the EFL and its member clubs, as well as a source of potential support and help.
Mandy said: “We took the opportunity along with the Trust to completely rethink the role. We looked at the likes of Doncaster Rovers and Lincoln City, and then went out and got the right advice from SD Europe and also Kevin from TFE. That way we could test our thoughts and ideas with people who know their stuff.”
About the role of the Supporter Liaison Officer
- Supporter liaison officers (SLOs) are a bridge between the fans and the club and help to improve the dialogue between the two sides.
- Their work is dependent on the information they receive from both sides and the credibility they enjoy with both parties.
- The SLO informs fans about relevant decisions made by the club management and, in the other direction, communicates the points of
- view of fans to the club management.
- The SLO builds relationships not just with various fan groups and initiatives but also with the police and security officers.
- The SLO engages with SLOs of other clubs before matches to contribute to supporters behave in accordance with security guidelines
It is important to note that the SLO won’t be a substitution for the existing channels of communication but will instead build on the voice of supporters in the ownership and operation of the club.