Simon Hughes has advised Liverpool’s owners, FSG, to be the first to bite the bullet and hand fans a space on the board.
Calls for fan representation at the top of clubs has followed an outpouring of discontent in response to a failed attempt by the Premier League’s ‘big six’ to form a breakaway Super League.
“There’s going to be a lot of pressure on these clubs to try and maybe allow some influence of supporters on the boards of these clubs,” the journalist said on The Athletic’s The Red Agenda podcast.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of goodwill that goes to the first club that decides to do that.
“So it might be in Liverpool’s interest to try and think about that a little bit, because if they are the first club to let supporters on to the decision-making process like the board – we use the term ‘the board’ all the time and I don’t think it’s like it was 15-20 years ago where a load of old grey-heads sat around the table discussing the future of Liverpool, I think it’s more Zoom meetings across America – but I do think they will be helping themselves, the owners, if they were a bit more open to dialogue from the fans.
“Because, I think they do do that but not at the end-point of decisions, I think it would lead to a better ecosystem around the fragile and unpredictable waters of Liverpool if they were willing to offer some sort of influence to fan groups.”
The obvious, immediate benefit for FSG in integrating fans into the decision-making process at the club would be restoring an element of trust between the supporters and owners.
Beyond that, it would seem something of an open goal for PR points more broadly across English football if our American ownership were to make a conscious effort to highlight the importance of the fanbase in the coming weeks.
Regardless of who FSG help us purchase in the upcoming transfer window, John W. Henry and co. could hardly buy better publicity than by giving the fans a greater voice at board level.
It’s a move that would send shockwaves across the sport, not only handing the group some much-needed ‘goodwill’ but potentially also kickstarting change across the Premier League.