Clarets chairman working on ways to connect better with supporters

Alan Pace is working on ways to connect better with supporters.

Friday, 8th October 2021, 7:00 am
Alan Pace

And a return to holding annual general meetings, not held by the club since November 2012, is on the cards.

Pace, asked about the importance of the fans’ role in the club, insists he is looking for a way to communicate with a body of supporters, and give shareholders more of a voice: "I think it's hugely important, how we get that done, in a right way - again, there's the historical context of those involved, rather than those who want to be involved for the next 20 years.

"We think it's very important we have a shareholder representation of the community and people who make this such a great club, but 50% of people who responded to a supporter survey said they were not part of any particular supporter group, nor were they looking to be.

"I wonder how do we reach and connect with supporters in general, versus a minority or subset who choose to be involved in a way they historically have been.

"We've got some work to do to find that mechanism, that may be shareholding, representation on the board, but as we work through the next 20 years I think you'll continue to see us evolve in our thinking, as well as the participation of folks.

"We had a supporters' board of many different elements, that kind of fell apart in our first couple of months, and we're still trying to figure out what is the best way to re-engage with them.

"More work to be done.”

There hasn’t been an AGM since Barry Kilby’s last season as chairman, with the shareholdings then going to Burnley FC Holdings, with no requirement for an annual meeting.

But Pace said: “There will be a return to that (an AGM), I want to hear from shareholders.

“All I ask is that people are respectful, and as long as we can have a dialogue - it doesn't have to mean we agree, I'm not looking for that singularity - but I do believe we have the necessity to have a dialogue that doesn't exist today.

"It's just been timing, moving my family and getting a bunch of stuff done, but there will be a general meeting and I just have to figure out whether we can do it once or twice a year.

“We need to have a shareholder forum, where they can ask questions and feel like owners.

“We haven't done as well as we should in the shareholder category, but the number of requests, 'can I sell, I want to sell' couldn't be ignored.

"I felt this was the right way.

"But there could be anything from a special set of access points, hospitality only for shareholders, things that make people feel special about being a shareholder.

"Long term, I would love to see us paying dividends, if that is something people may want to see...I don't know, most might possibly say you don't want anything paying out of the club.

"But I do think, if you want to properly see it as an investment, we have work to do to make it feel like that for individuals.

"Investment may be emotional for some people, but for others I think there are some economics involved, so creating the third-party trading of shares is important for the minority shareholders, so they have a liquidity possibility in the future.

"But there is work we need to do to give people a voice as well as value in the shares they hold.”