Doncaster Rovers would like to congratulate Martin O’Hara on being elected Deputy Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation.
Martin, who is the secretary of the Supporters Cooperative, was elected to the position at a recent ‘Fans Weekend’, a joint effort by Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation, in London.
We spoke to Martin to find out a little bit about the work he is involved in.
What position have you been elected to?
‘At the recent ‘Fans Weekend’, a joint effort by Supporters Direct and the Football Supporters Federation held at the Connaught Rooms in London, I was elected to the position of Deputy Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation.’
What is your role with the FSF and the VSC?
I have been the Vice Chairman of the Football Supporters Federation Yorkshire Division since 2008 and I have been on the National Council of the FSF since 2009.
‘For the FSF I also represent the campaign group and working party that looks at ‘Club Charters and Club treatment of Football Supporters’. I am also an active member of the Ticketing group, Club Governance and Safe Standing.
‘I currently hold the position of Secretary of the Viking Supporters Cooperative which is the trust responsible for the protection and safe governance at Doncaster Rovers.’
What is the FSF?
‘The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) is the democratic organisation for all football supporters, which has more than 200,000 members made up of individual fans and affiliated supporters’ organisations from every club in the professional structure and many from the Pyramid.’
How important is this organisation to fans?
‘The FSF is a democratic organisation with an elected National Council which oversees campaigns and policy. Policy is set by members and affiliated/associated supporters’ organisations at the FSF’s Annual General Meeting. Campaigns are driven by the National Council Member with responsibility for that Campaign Group.
‘The FSF also has roles on the FA Council as the fans’ representative, the Fixtures Working Party, Football Supporters Europe, Kick It Out, Rail Forum and Supporters Direct. Regional divisions also exist to provide grassroots members with a voice and point of access at a local level.’
How will it help Rovers fans?
‘Essentially there are two areas for consideration.
‘Firstly Rovers fans can benefit from our campaigning work that we do on a national level, the campaigns that make the Premier League, Football league and all other authorities, including the Police, the Safety Officers Association and others pay attention to the concerns of all football supporters.
‘As a group, football supporters suffer more injustices and are subject to more legislation than any other. Our campaign work means that these concerns are aired in all the right places. They pay attention to what we say, they listen carefully to our grievances and little by little we make progress.
‘At a local level we have been fortunate that we have been able to intervene in areas where Doncaster Rovers fans have been at a disadvantage. We took very seriously the price differential imposed on Rovers fans at Leicester 2 seasons ago, the injustices that a few fans suffered at Norwich in the same season. We also managed to create a situation where Barnsley and Rovers took the pricing structure of their respective matches seriously.
‘But because of the experience we have at all levels of football we can advise on a local level about the good practices carried out at other clubs, and hopefully ensure that best practice is brought to our football club and can be seen in the joint ‘In Rovers We Trust project for which we all have very high hopes.
‘We are setting the trend in football, difficult to see at times but believe me when we say that Doncaster Rovers will be amongst the very best.
The FSF is a voluntary organisation and is only as strong as its membership. Join for free at www.fsf.org.uk/join