Fans

Fans' Forum Voting | Women's Group

Arsenal crest on Emirates Stadium

Please find below applications submitted for the Women's representative on the Fans’ Forum. Once you have read the applications, please submit your response in the form at the bottom of the page.

Jenny Silcott

Skills and Experience
I am currently an employee representative in a multi-national organisation and also a mental health advocate.  I am a former school governor for 11 years (6 of them as Chair).  I am an active listener, pro-active and able to communicate effectively at a variety of levels. Having been a season ticket holder for many years and travelling to many away games in the UK and Europe and experiencing first-hand as a fan which has allowed me to build up a rapport with many of the supporters.

Key Issues
To have constructive involvement directly with the club, having the right representation to be able to truly encompass Diversity and Inclusion for both home and away supporters.

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Linda Duffy

Skills and Experience
- I have a background in elite sport having been Ladies World number 1 darts player for 5 years.
- I am currently a Chartered Sport Psychologist lecturing at Middlesex University in Sport Science.
- I have been an Arsenal supporter for 50+ years.

Key Issues
I started attending Arsenal matches in the late 1960’s with my father and brother and was one of very few women supporters at that time which is a huge difference to today’s profile of supporters where statistics published in 2019 show that 46% of football fans worldwide are female. Over the past six decades I’ve witnessed much change particularly in relation to the interaction between football clubs and their female supporters. Below I’ve listed some of the key issues related to specific groups of supporters:

The rise in the interest of female football fans goes hand-in-hand with the growth of women’s football worldwide and because studies show that over half of women tend to be invested in both men’s and women’s football, the promotion of women’s football is important to both disciplines, providing a good opportunity for brand promotion.

Males tend to develop an interest in football during childhood whereas contemporary studies show that women’s interest develops later in life, with 38% of women becoming fans after turning 18 years of age. In the past 5 years only 26% of males have started following football whereas over the same time period  over 40% of female fans gained interest – the above points highlight three key issues, first, the need to encourage girls to become engaged with football at an earlier age, secondly the importance of developing academies for girls and thirdly, the exponential growth of female involvement in football as players and fans.

With the emergence of many more social media platforms and digital platforms such as  “Thisfangirl.com” aimed at female fans it’s important to establish good channels of communication between female fans and such media outlets.

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    Nilli Williamson

    Skills and Experience
    At almost 50 I have sat on and led numerous forums and focus groups as part of my various roles. Some examples:

    - I sit on the Preston Conservative Association and stood for election recently.
    - An assessor for the police which requires very careful analysis of candidate responses.
    - Member of clinical audit groups with the NHS to assess efficacy of services and systems.
    - Improving Cervical Screening services for women in Salford.
    - Senior Commissioning Manager for Primary Care Services

    Service improvement is something I am comfortable with and believe that I have transferable skills and abilities to enhance the forum. Focus groups need to consider all aspects of the service user/customers experience from the journey, match day, any financial issues, it is vital that we understand their concerns, worries, complaints, ideas in order to ensure that they can receive the best possible experience supporting our club. I run my own business too so need to fully understand my customers and how I can deliver the things they want and will be happy with, everyone is different and sometimes, thinking outside of the box and perhaps modifying something slightly and going for a bespoke and tailored service will make such a difference to the outcome. I believe that I can offer my knowledge to the forum in terms of understanding and managing fan expectation, perception and concerns. Modern football is evolving and we as a club must adapt and that isn’t an onerous task, small changes can often be the most effective.

    Key Issues
    I feel that I can relate to the things female supporters find important when attending matches. I travel from the North and have a disability too so understand the challenges of that but being a female I think we need to ensure that our views are taken on board in relation to things such as safety, welfare facilities, safe standing (when it becomes an option) seat location/suitability but overall Id say safety was the most important to prioritise. In terms of issues, I don’t think that females have significantly different issues to males but when you consider women with disability, religious women, language barriers and such things, it becomes important to ensure that the matchday experience is maximised to the highest standard. Think it is fair to comment on sexism too although my own personal experience as an Arsenal fan is that it isn’t very prominent at home games, more often in the pub, on social media and at various away matches but this does need to be tackled if our female fans face it. 

     

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