Everton Football Club

UK Engage administers fan advisory board election for Everton Football Club
Everton FC
Client:
Everton Football Club was founded in 1878 and is one of England’s most illustrious and storied football clubs. As founder members of the Football League and Premier League, Everton has played the greatest number of top-flight games and  participated in every Premier League campaign since its creation in 1992. Everton, known as ‘The People’s Club’ is highly regarded for its fan engagement. The Club has a multi-national fanbase with passionate supporters and supporters’ clubs all  forming part of the 10 million + global social media followers. Everton’s Goodison Park has an all-seated capacity of just over 39,500 and is sold-out for every single Premier League fixture. The club is currently embarking on building a new 52,888  capacity waterfront stadium in Liverpool’s North Docks and their much-loved and historic Goodison Park home will deliver a legacy for the local community through the development of housing and community facilities on the site which will  complement the pioneering work of Everton in the Community.

Democratic Project:

Everton Football Club’s CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale wanted to establish a Fan Advisory Board (FAB) following her involvement in the Government’s fan led review of football in
2021.

The Club’s CEO asked the Chair of the Everton Fans’ Forum how supporters wanted to establish dialogue with their football club at a strategic level.

Jaz Bal, Chair of the Fans’ Forum at the time established a group of various supporters’ groups who represented different parts of the fanbase. This group became known as the
Everton Stakeholder Steering Group (ESSG).

The club’s commitment to a Fan Advisory Board was reaffirmed following the outcomes of its own survey on fan engagement and the future of the game, and a survey carried out by the
ESSG with supporters.

After the club and ESSG established a memorandum of understanding, both parties needed independent assistance in the creation of the inaugural Fan Advisory Board. It was agreed between the club and ESSG that the Board would comprise of 11 members, who represented the diversity of the fanbase. Seven of the 11 positions would go to supporters’ groups that already represent Evertonians in dialogue with the club. These were the Everton Fans’ Forum, Everton Disabled Supporters’ Association, Everton Supporters’ Club Committee, Everton Supporters’ Club Committee International, Everton Heritage Society, Everton Women Supporters’ Club and a member representing an FSA Affiliated Group. The remaining four positions were to be elected by the club’s supporters.

An open election process run by the ESSG and supported by the club was overseen by UK Engage. This led to 12 candidates being identified for the four elected positions via a shortlisting process which included a panel that consisted of a representative from the ESSG, the club and two independent Evertonians – a local member of the clergy and an MP.

The shortlisting process attempted to shortlist at least three individuals who represent a group with a protected characteristic. Any supporter registered with an Everton Fan Number (something every supporter needs when purchasing a ticket or can apply for online), would be eligible to vote for up to four candidates during the voting period.

Solution:

UK Engage provided initial consultation services to ensure the governance processes were in place for a fair and structured election, including detailing the pre-set criteria for the four positions. This included a review of the election rules and terms of reference. The election was undertaken 100% online, each voting member had their own credentials to gain access to the ballot, consisting of their surname and Everton Fan Number. UK Engage independently verified the votes cast after voting closed.

Results

The four candidates with the majority of votes cast were elected to their posts.

The results also ensured that the four candidates covered the pre-set criteria, with the top-scoring candidates set to serve the longest terms:

  • One Everton Shareholder, to serve three years – Jazz Bal (14.9%)
  • One Evertonian with no further eligibility requirements, to initially serve three years – Dave Kelly (13.7%)
  • One Evertonian representing a minority group with a protected characteristic as defined in the Equality Act of 2010, to initially serve one year – Julie Clarke (13.6%)
  • One Evertonian with no further eligibility requirements, to initially serve one year – Tony Whittaker (8.3%)

The four successful candidates were joined on the Fan Advisory Board by six representatives who had been democratically nominated by Everton supporter groups comprising the ESSG (‘reserved’ seats), with the remaining seat (FSA Affiliated Group) to be filled later.

UK Engage provided a full independent report to the club at the end of the process, verifying the results as the independent organisation appointed under the club’s governance rules, ensuring the process was fair, transparent, and free from any potential bias or conflicts of interest.

Client Testimonial

“The services provided by UK Engage ensured our inaugural Fan Advisory Board process ran smoothly and exactly to our governance requirements. We have always been committed to democratic principles for our fan elections ensuring various groups have representation of their voice at the club. As election experts, UK Engage gave us the technical insight, depth of knowledge, support, and confidence we needed to implement a successful election process.”

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