Communicating with fans

Following today’s announcement from Bristol City FC that Dean Holden has been appointed Head Coach, the Bristol City Supporters Club & Trust wish Dean every success in his new role.

We would also like to take this opportunity to impress on the club how vital we believe it is for all communication with fans to be timely, transparent, consistent and empathetic.

At the time of Lee Johnson’s dismissal back in the first week of July, Steve Lansdown talked of the need to “bring a breath of fresh air into the club”, said the club wanted to find “somebody who can take us that next step” up to the Premier League and explained that the timing of Lee’s dismissal was in order to give the new man “as much time as possible to get ready for the new season”.

He said that the club had in mind “a particular type of person that we want to have come in” and that “the aim is to get into the Premier League as soon as we can”.

At the same time, Mark Ashton told fans that “we have been inundated with applicants, internationally, nationally, coaches/managers from right across the globe”.

While we recognise that it is only right and proper for the club not to provide a running commentary during such a recruitment process, now that it has been concluded we would encourage Mark Ashton to be transparent with fans in explaining the thinking behind it.

Many City supporters have been angered, bewildered and upset over the last couple of months by the way in which their club has communicated with them. From the option of season ticket refunds being hidden in the small print to belated confirmation of the longest serving player’s departure only after he had been forced by media reports to announce it himself, a series of poorly worded and/or poorly timed communications has left many with the impression that the club places little value on keeping fans informed in a timely, transparent manner.

However, as we have said privately and publicly to the club before, we believe that timely, open and empathetic communication with fans is vital if the club is to keep supporters on board. And at a time when, due to Covid-19, we are unable to have any physical contact with the club by attending games, we would suggest that good communication is essential if fans are not to feel an emotional as well as a physical disconnect with their club.

We stand ready, as ever, to act as a sounding board for proposed communications to help the club avoid inadvertently striking what only fans may recognise as the wrong tone.

19 thoughts on “Communicating with fans

  1. Nigel Mitchell says

    Well said…. Ashton needs to climb down off his high horse and start doing the job most professional CEO‘S would view as a key part of the role. – Good quality, timely and honest communication. No more spin or bull***t! I fear he won’t learn though, – far too arrogant!

  2. Gary Horne says

    Mark Ashton told fans that “we have been inundated with applicants, internationally, nationally, coaches/managers from right across the globe”.

    and they choose Holden ?

  3. Anthony Smith says

    This cop out has ended my 60 years of supporting city. Lansdown has acted like a politician, with failed promises and lies. This was the the perfect time to push for the promised land. The fans will never forgive for this.

  4. Dave McClelland says

    As always, there will be factors behind the scenes that we as fans will not be aware of in all processes. That doesn’t make it easier to accept and being kept aware, as much as is possible is really essential. If we really had the number and quality of applicants as was suggested, then the decision made, in my view was predominantly financially based if our ambitions as a club are still the same. The club is a business but please be honest with us fans and supporters.

  5. Norman Jennings says

    Absolute disgrace. Ashton has to go and an experienced football man appointed as director of football. Ashton wants someone he can control and scared of an experienced manager. I have been a supporter for over sixty years. Enough is a enough. I will not be renewing my season ticket. Thank you Ashton & LansdownNor

  6. Michael Meredith says

    Very good . How do we stand with our season tickets we have purchased for next season ? And what do we get for our money ? Is it just BCTV or are there other things involved ? Not much coming out from the club.
    Communication is very poor Unless they want you to buy high price shirts etc . Mike

  7. Steve says

    Up to now the communication with fans has been poor leading to a separation between fans and club. How do they expect us to buy into it when all we get fed is lies?
    Some clarifying is needed soon regarding next season’s season ticket purchases, where do the fans stand regarding refunds due to Covid?

  8. Allan Young says

    I have little idea how good, bad or indifferent Dean Holden is, and I wish him well, however, he was part of the regime that failed and his temporary stewardship was at best average.

    The words coming from Messrs. Ashton and Lansdown, the latter for whom I have great respect, have not been matched by actions.

    Given this background Mr. Holden’s appointment is both unimaginitive and uninspiring and sadly, because of the level of expectation created by Messrs Ashton and Lansdown, he may find it difficult to get the fans onside without a rip roaring start.

  9. Alan Robinson says

    The recent head coach saga isn’t the first time Ashton left himself open to criticism The fiasco over the season card prices showed just how little thought goes into how the fans would react. Ashton is like a bull at gate as far we fans are concerned.

  10. Marcus says

    Good comms are important! Get out of here, really? Are you serious.or do you have nothing else to say?
    I am delighted with the comms of the club and the way we have a new mgt team to suit our busineas/future club’s income.
    Excellent work M.A and team and we have a lot to look forward to next season with the new faces, youngsters plus of course the excellent work of Lee J over 4 hrs with 4 top half finishes in the toughest league

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