23 May 2019 By Martin Buckley Alliance Council has worked with the Club since 2013 to offer Alliance members a voice in their choice of scarf for the following season. This summer we are excited to announce that the design contest and vote for the 2020 Alliance Scarf will return. Look for communication on the timeline and entry details soon. I thought it would be interesting to peek behind the scenes of the scarf design contest and vote – and see how your Alliance Council are working to represent you. The process starts in the Spring – when we start discussing the timelines, improvements and process on running the contest. The Club starts the ball rolling with the opening of the design phase of the competition. The designs come in from all kinds of fans – young, old, crayons to professional design. After the close of submissions – then Alliance Council gets really involved. This is where we get to discuss the designs among ourselves and reduce the many dozens of submissions to a final five. In years past we received all kinds of images and documents – and tried to shuffle them by email. Hard work. For the last few years Alliance Council have been voting electronically and reviewing online. That’s a lot easier. We have seen some incredible designs – and getting to that final few involves a few rounds of voting. It’s a lot like the World Cup – I place the scarves in groups (splitting similar designs across the groups) and the Alliance Council workgroup vote for the best of each group. In the past top two from each group have gone on to the final round of Alliance Council review. That’s where we really think hard and vote on the final five. The final five – as selected by Alliance Council – are then passed back to the Club. For 2018 the Club offered to make prototype scarves for each of the finalists, have them available at the Fan Appreciation event, and to give each finalist designer a copy of their scarf. That turned out better than we ever expected. Having scarves to see really helped fans imagine what the scarf would look like – and drove a lot of interest in the fan vote. The fan voting is where we see a lot of discussion on social media. Everyone has opinions – and right until the close of voting we see a great deal of commentary about the various scarves. The result of the fan vote is kept secret – and is usually revealed at the Alliance Annual Business meeting.