The art of listening

Andy Rees is the Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) at Queens Park Rangers. By tapping into the Premier League SLO network and listening carefully to fans, he’s made a big difference to their match day experience.

All Premier League clubs must employ a Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO). The key aim of the SLO is to listen to the fans and bring them closer to their club. No two clubs share the same DNA, so each SLO must adopt a best-fit approach for their club and fans. The Premier League organises events for the network of 20 SLOs from the clubs, so they can learn from each other and share ideas, whilst tailoring them to fit their club.

Having joined the club from the BBC in January 2013, Andy Rees was able to get up and running very quickly in his SLO role:

“It’s largely thanks to the Premier League and their support of the events and the open network of SLOs that I was able to make a difference so quickly at QPR.”

Andy Rees and the Loftus roadies

“QPR has always been clear about its overarching strategy when it comes to fans.” As Andy points out, “We always aim to be inclusive and welcoming at all levels; whether you’re a home or visiting supporter, someone who’s been coming to Loftus Road for years or someone experiencing their first match.”

Soon after joining the club, Andy decided to introduce a team of people who are on the ground at the stadium. They call them ‘The Loftus Roadies’.

The QPR team receive the Autism Access Award

“The Loftus Roadies are our match day customer service team and play a key role in welcoming people and answering any questions. We have a group of 10-20 people easily identifiable in red Nike uniforms who work around the ground, with at least five in the family stand.”

They hand out Matchday Activity cards for youngsters, as well as a supply of free fruit bags. Alongside this, Spark the mascot is on hand and the Matchday Activity Centre is open 90 minutes before the match.

Andy and the team at QPR have also refreshed key areas of the stadium after consultation with fans. A plain grey wall in the family stand has been transformed into a QPR timeline including fans’ memorable moments throughout the years. In the visiting supporters section, a wall now features interesting facts about Loftus Road. An LED ticker has also been installed this season which welcomes visiting supporters and displays key information.

A young fan getting his face painted

Andy’s season highlight came in February when Loftus Road became the first spectator sports arena to be awarded the National Autistic Society’s ‘Autism Access Award’.

As with everything we've achieved at QPR off the pitch, we won the Autism Access Award through our focus on listening to and talking with our supporters.Andy Rees, QPR Supporter Liaison Officer

QPR fans have also been impressed with recent developments at their club with one fan stating:

“We’re proud of the way the ever-helpful, ever-smiling Roadies look after all fans on a match day. I brought my four year-old son and he had his face painted, photos taken, filled in his 'Spot with Spark' card and now he’s QPR for life.”

“The timeline is a fantastic addition to Loftus Road. It celebrates the rich history of our club and allows me to teach my children a different story from QPR folklore every other week!”

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