18:39 22 July 2012
By Stoke City Football Club
STOKE CITY have introduced a new representative body which aims to develop an even closer bond with their supporters.
A democratically elected Supporters Council has been set up to enhance dialogue between the Club and fans on matters of mutual interest.
This provides a platform for a select number of fans representing a wide cross section of the supporter base to voice the general viewpoint and make a significant contribution in helping to shape the way the Club moves forward.
As a result, the Supporters Council may well be used as a sounding board for new ideas while they are under consideration by the Club.
City's Chief Executive Tony Scholes commented: "A glowing feature of the success which this Football Club has achieved over the past few years has been the tremendous sense of togetherness which we enjoy with our supporters.
"The fans have played a big part in getting us where we are today and it is just as important that they continue do so in the future.
"I am very excited by the creation of this Supporters Council in that it will provide a good forum for discussion and debate between the Club and our fans and hopefully make them feel even more a part of what we are trying to achieve."
He added: "While supporters generally tend to engage more with their Club when things aren't going particularly well, it is equally important to have this means of dialogue in settled times so that we can gauge the opinions of our fans.
"The Supporters Club and Fans Forum have served us well in the past, but they are not necessarily the best models for the future. We believe the Supporters Council will be a better representation of who we are as a Club in the 21st Century."
The Supporters Council is constructed of three categories of membership; direct representation, general seats and specialist seats which will extend across a wide cross section of Season Ticket holders and Members.
Voting for the general seats and the specialist seats was held in the second half of the 2011-12 season, leading up to the first meeting of the newly-formed Supporters Council being held shortly before the end of the campaign.
The Football Supporters Federation gave the Supporters Council their seal of approval with Chair Malcolm Clarke enthusing: "The great thing about the new Council is that it is both truly democratic and representative of the various categories of supporter.
"I am delighted that the Federation's discussions with the Club on developing a new process for engagement with its supporters have produced such a positive outcome.
"Supporters are the heart and soul of any Football Club and it's really encouraging that Stoke City recognises the need to have an effective mechanism for engaging with its supporter base. The arrival of the Supporters Council is a really exciting development which has the potential to put Stoke City at the leading edge of how to do that."