The Scotland Supporters club (or SSC) was formed in 2005 to replace the Scotland Travel Club (STC). Its main purpose was to allocate and distribute match tickets to Scotland International football fans for both home and away matches. For the first time children were admitted to the club.
The main change from the STC to the SSC was members were guaranteed a ticket for all home games held at Hampden. The SFA had always had problems getting people to join the STC as it was a “travel” club – it wasn't for people who didn't travel.
Another major change was members could no longer apply for as many home game tickets as they wanted. In the first few years of the SSC members could apply for their own ticket plus one extra. In recent years members have only been able to apply for their own ticket. This has meant that some non members who have always relied on others to buy their match ticket have been left high and dry.
Membership numbers were transferred across from the STC. Up until 2007 members had been able to re-activate their old membership number if they'd let their membership lapse. It seems the SSC finally dragged it's self in to the 20th century and computerised their records, which meant they could only hold information on active members (data protection act). If you let your membership lapse you'd be allocated a new (higher) number.
The first year membership ran from January 2005 to January 2006 and cost £20. This represented a price increase of 100% from the previous STC. To help sweeten this vast price increase the SSC gave away a “welcome pack” including kilt pin, t-shirt and an exclusive DVD. Some of these items occasionally appear on eBay.
From January 2006 membership ran for 2 years at a time running to January 2008 costing £40. During that period Scotland faced France twice, and won both games. This boosted the SSC membership from 17,000 members at the start of 2007 to 30,000. At this stage the SFA announced that the membership would be capped at 30,000 and no further applications to join would be accepted. This number was chosen so the SFA could still guarantee every member would qualify for a home game ticket. Later this figure was increased to 32,500 – the extra members were decided by an open ballot. At one point the SSC had a 10,000 person waiting list!
At the start of 2006 the membership number for new members was around 32,000 - by 2008 the number had rocketed to 52,000.
The SSC now runs on a 2 year cycle to match the current campaign. 2008 to 2010 will match with the qualifications for the South Africa World Cup. The next membership period will run 2010 – 2012 and will cover the qualifiers for the 2012 European Championship in Poland and Ukraine (and hopefully the world cup in South Africa!).
With the increase in cheap flights it's meant more fans can afford to travel to away games. This has then meant the “Points” system has had to be used more frequently. The points system was introduced in 1999 when demand for tickets outstripped supply. Points are awarded for attending an away match and normally cover the last 10 games. For the Macedonia away game in 2008 you needed 3 points out of the past 10 away games.
Unfortunately with increasing membership numbers the level of “customer service” has decreased. Members are now just a membership number and it's lost the personal touch. Many long term members remember the old days when the travel club was run by Marjory Nimmo. She seemed to know most members by first name.
The SSC has tried to bring it's self into the 21st century but has struggled to grasp new technology. Their online ticket system frequently failed, the members only website wasn't secure and some times displayed other peoples details. At the launch of the SSC they promised an SSC hall of fame, member’s forum, competitions and prizes, SSC merchandise and newsletters. The member’s forum lasted about 3 months before it was withdrawn and the first newsletter wasn’t sent out till 2009.
With 32,500 members the SSC has an income of around £650k per year. Tickets extra!