Fans to have say in Southern's Expansion

Fan voice: Georges River Council mayor Kevin Greene (left) and Southern Expansion chairman Morris Iemma at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Picture: Chris Lane
Fan voice: Georges River Council mayor Kevin Greene (left) and Southern Expansion chairman Morris Iemma at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Picture: Chris Lane

Southern Expansion fans will be able to elect two of the club’s members to Southern’s inaugural board of directors. 

Southern announced the unique administration model as part of their public bid document released on Wednesday.

The club are hopeful of inclusion in the 2019-20 A-League and W-League seasons with Football Federation Australia to announce the successful two new franchises in October.

Southern also indicated their desire to sign a genuine marquee player who will draw fans through the gates at their three home grounds at Kogarah, Woolooware and Wollongong.

One male and one female member with be chosen from among the club’s fans to sit on Southern’s board which chairman Morris Iemma said meant members would have a “voice around the table.”

“Over the past 12 months we’ve explored various models of member involvement in modern professional sporting clubs and what we’ve found is that clubs require significant private business ownership and funding to be successful and sustainable. But they often lose contact with their members and fans. This won’t happen at Southern,” he said.

“Our CEO will be tasked with establishing and maintaining an ongoing working relationship with the members’ organisation and representatives, to ensure their views are heard.

“Southern will be the only football club in Australia to give members a direct say and have genuine input into the operations of the club’s board and ultimately, the strategic direction of the club on and off the field the field.

“A lack of engagement has resulted in the A-League stagnating, in terms of club memberships, crowds and TV audiences. It’s why our board model is a welcome initiative which will build engagement with our members and the wider community.”

A special advisory council made up of representatives from St George and Sutherland Shire football associations as well as South Coast Football will also advise the board.

Southern’s public document outlines their bid’s focus which includes what they believe is an “under-utilisation” of the club’s catchment area, which Southern describe as one of the most important football areas for “fanaticism and talent” in Australia.

Southern’s bid also highlights its free youth development and talent identification programs under head of football Craig Foster which will feature guest coaches from clubs around the world, a commitment to women’s football under the guidance of W-League ambassadors and former Matildas Julie Murray and Di Cleary, its financial backing and investments in new training facilities and local infrastructure and an “immense” commercial uplift to the A-League.