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Sunday 19 February 2012
From the Morecambe programme

From time to time we reproduce articles from the programme which have not been reported elsewhere. The following article appeared in the Morecambe programme and welcomes communications executive Chris Slavin as well as updating fans on progress towards a new web site.

Good afternoon and welcome to the fans, officials and players of Morecambe FC.

When I first took on my current role there was a lot of criticism, albeit from a small number of fans, that too much of the matchday programme was just repeating what had already appeared on the club’s official website (the OS). I made a conscious decision that we should try to change that – while accepting that many announcements need to be made in more than one place – and I decided to use my page to update fans on what was happening around the club, with the more significant developments being reproduced later on the OS. In the summer I write the ”What’s happening at Kingsmeadow” articles for the OS to update fans in the absence of matchday programmes.

So, consistent with my aim of breaking some news on this page, I am pleased to announce that Chris Slavin has accepted a new role in the club as our Communications Executive. Chris will start on Monday – otherwise I suppose I could have asked him to write this for me! The rather formal title, which we might change as the role develops, reflects the fact that we see the role as wider than being just a journalist who covers our games and interviews Terry and the players: it should include newsletters, social media, parts of this programme, and liaison with the local and national press. We are looking forward to Chris joining us and we wish him every success.

This is an appropriate time to update you on where we are with preparations to switch our OS to a Football League interactive (FLi) site, to which we signed up a while ago. Many of you will be familiar with the standard FLi site, which is used by over 80 current and former Football League clubs. We committed ourselves to FLi late in 2011 but we didn’t want to start the switch until we had completed the process of recruiting our Communications Executive. With Chris joining us at this point in the season, we decided not to switch to the current version of FLi now because a new one is scheduled to be launched this summer.

As part of the design process for the new version of FLi, a number of clubs were asked to send a representative to comment on key concerns and specify what they were looking for from the new-style site. We collected feedback from a number of individuals and nominated David Growns, the vice chair of the Dons Trust, to provide our feedback. After he had done that, things went quiet until recently, when every club was sent three design formats and asked to choose the one that best suited their needs. For example, one was much more pictorially oriented than the others, and would probably have meant we’d have to recruit a full-time professional photographer; that, we felt, would be a step too far, and we chose one of the other two.

Last Thursday, David Charles and I went to a mid-season Football League meeting, at which I expect us to have been updated on implementation timescales for FLi version 2. We are assuming that this will happen over the summer and that for us the switch will be more time-consuming for us as we need to move from our current OS, whereas the transition will be smoother for existing FLi users.

In addition to a completely different look for our OS, there will be other changes. Users will need to pay an annual fee to view some parts of the site, for example video interviews with Terry and the players. Consistent with our approach of not overreaching ourselves financially, we have adopted the FLi site because the money it generates should cover the increased running costs of providing a better service to our fans.

Making a change in the way we communicate will take time, so please be patient. As we find out more, we will be making announcements on the OS, in this programme, and in other media.