The last few weeks for Glamorgan Cricket fans have not been easy ones to stomach. The walking out of Matt Maynard, Jamie Dalrymple and Peter Walker after the management decided to appoint a new captain for 2011 has caused massive disruption and press inches.
Controversy is not something new at the club which has had to deal with the renaming of the old stadium (something that still irks die-hard fans 3 years on), poor performances on the field and the drive from being an old fashioned county club to an Ashes hosting multi-million pound stadium business.
It all started with the naming of unknown South Africa opening batsman Alviro Petersen and former club wicket-keeper Colin Metson as Head of Coaching. This was done without the knowledge of the current captain, director of cricket and chairman hence now all three have resigned.
The club has responded to the criticism of the Chairman, Paul Russell, and CEO, Alan Hamer, with a letter to members and appearances on radio. But is this old fashioned approach and lack of social network presence be their undoing?
Currently their main presence is a 2,500 strong group of friends as they have set up as a person rather than a group or page. Their twitter presence involves the @GlamCricket account which has tweeted once in over a year.
The response to the negative remarks on their Facebook page has been to delete them from the wall with apparently hundreds of remarks being taken off. If there is one way to wind up a angered fan even more is to deny them their voice.
A quick grab from the page:
Social media is seen as a way in which you can be transparent, bring fans into your club and engage with them. From my time at the club during the transition to the new stadium I can say that this is not really the objective of the club. At that time the fans felt the club was being taken away from them and no-one listened to what they had to say. And you would have to say they are right.
Those fans have started up a group called Glamorgan Cricket Pressure Group with the aim of gathering the 300 signatures of members needed to call an EGM. At this they plan to call for a vote of no confidence in the chairman, Paul Russell and ring the changes they want to see. With court proceedings by the ex-captain and manager likely it is not a good time for the club.
If they play their cards right and really utilise social media to rally around the campaign then the club could be in for some sleepless nights and have no voice to come back at them.
This example really highlights the need to have a good, engaged online presence and a PR/social media strategy for when incidents happen like this.
Whats your take on it?