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FAN Meeting Minutes - January 2018

Latest details from the supporter meeting at Ashton Gate on January 18th.

Compiled by Mike Adams

Attendance

FAN: Mike Adams (secretary), Adam Baker, John Carnell, Marie Day, Miles Hendy (Vice-chair), Mark Kelly, Matthew Joy, Mike McGrath, Ben Mitchell, Jeremy Palmer (chair), Rob Palmer, Matt Parsons, Alan Payne, Keith Perry, Phil Sweet, Dave Walker, Rob Wood.

Guests: Bob Bull, Luke Carey, John Harvey, Linda Harvey, Peter Houghton, Paul Hunt, Adrian Male, Holly Palmer, Emma Payne, John Price, Andrew Starling, Roland Starling, Martin Williamson.

Apologies: Les Bowen, Jon Darch, John Greenwood, Jon Lansdown, Wayle Stillman, Julie Gwatkin

1. Minutes
The minutes for 18/9/2017 were accepted as correct and there were no matters arising

2. New nominations and current membership
Jeremy welcomed 15 special guests resulting from the website publicity. Up-to-date attendance figures were circulated with suggested amendments to ‘Fan Purpose’ to be considered at the next meeting.

3. Items from members and OTIB
Copies of AB’s responses pre-meeting had been circulated (see appendix). Discussion actions:
CATs travel

a) A loyalty scheme for away travel should be implemented
b) Groups should always be able to travel together on the same number coach
c) Price of CATS coaches to be clarified, if possible?
Action - Matt P
Matt P to take these matters to Supporter Services to under what is possible.

4. Matchday Experience
a) More profile is needed of the range available at different kiosks.
b) Drinks had been poured on demand exacerbating the queues.
MK - new units would be installed next season, possibly pouring six at a time, plus shelving round the exterior walls.
c) Seats in concourse – if shelves can be provided, why not snap-up chairs?
MK said that no obstructions are allowed in the concourse, whose design had been restricted in this respect by the Chief Fire Officer. The concourse is the first point of refuge for the stadium. Seats would be investigated.
d) the set-out of queues is still a problem. Action on all these points – MK

5. Supporter Liaison Officer - Matt Parsons – how I see my role in the Club
Matt attended Nailsea School and UWE and is a lifetime City fan.
He worked as Arsenal’s events manager for six years but still managed to attend about 12 games per season.
He is proud and honoured to be at City and in only a few months has quite a large dossier of fields of action.
He plans for fans to have a large part in formulating solutions to problems - questions as they arise should be sent direct to Matt.
At the end of his ‘listening period’ MP will discuss the way forward with all relevant departments across the football club, Ashton Gate Ltd and Bristol Sport.
In answer to a question, MP said the Club wished to make supporter experience as good as possible.
MJ added that following the completion of the stadium development project, Bristol Sport would be taking a less prominent role and the Football Club and Ashton Gate would be becoming more prominent. All employees felt they were working for the Football Club.

6. 2018/19 Season Cards
AB presented four bullet points – prices | SC PLUS, loyalty & discounts | initiatives | sale periods
He asked the meeting to put forward ideas. MJ to take points back into club discussions.
The main points to arise were:

Prices
a) The early-bird SC prices should remain the same. Subsequent pricing could reflect which division we are in.
It was noted that gate receipts for Arsenal, who have the highest prices, are only 17% of their income.
Also, promotion to the Premier League would be worth £100million, half from the league.
b) The marketing of prices per match was a good one eg the highest priced SC at £531 ≃ £23 per match.
c) The free shirt for U12s had been very successful and BSL should consider extending the scheme to U16s or to one junior per family.
d) The Club should introduce a special price for low-wage supporters, beginning with one trial match.
e) Every Bristol school should get an invitation to a game – Vicky Barlow to be invited to our next meeting

SC PLUS, loyalty & discounts
The ticketing system has data from three seasons, which can be used to operate loyalty schemes.
a) Most SC holders are in fact SC PLUS, so the two should be merged with no loss of PLUS rights
This will help considerably with the operation of discounts.
b) Possible SC for away matches – with possible involvement in play-offs and Premier League next season
c) Possible points system in addition to SCs based on distance, day of fixture etc
d) The 800 approx who have gone to every away match 2017/18 have earned their right to attend future away games including, if we reach them, this season’s play-offs and next season in the Premier League
Action - MP
MP to ask Vicky Barlow to consider the ticketing points and attend our next meeting.

Initiatives
a) Possible quid pro quo arrangements with Somerset and Gloucester County Cricket Clubs
b) Supporters should be able to purchase disabled tickets online
c) Car parking spaces should be set aside for disabled supporters
Action – MP to take (b) and (c) to Supporter Services

Sale periods
A four-week period is deemed sufficient but is better extended by bringing the start date forward.
Have a box to tick to automatically renew each season.

7. Date of next meeting
Ashton Gate, Thursday, April 19th

APPENDIX - Adam Baker’s responses to questions pre-meeting

Q. CATS cost - in particular, for the Man City match £39 (or £34 for Season Card Plus Members) is extortionate. Is the intention of this service to make a profit or to be a service to loyal away supporters?

A. The intention is to cover the cost of the coaches and our costs for the fulfilment/system used to sell/extra charges we incur for drivers or bank holidays, etc. We also had to use a number of coaches for the Man City away game which were recruited in from all over the place, incurring additional costs for each company and this had to be taken into consideration.

Q. CATS arrangements - for the trip to Manchester many of those who normally travel together on Coach 2 have been split on any coach from 1 to 8. In future would it be possible for them to be guaranteed they will be on their usual coach 2?

A. With the short sales period it was not possible to reserve in or guarantee spaces on certain coaches. We will always work with supporters but cannot guarantee this for each game. Jerry will also do what he can on the day to switch people around if needs be.

Q. Ticket allocations - I support multiple sports in Bristol being promoted under one umbrella but I think City fans should come first for City matches. I thought it was wrong for Forever Bristol supporters, who have joined for other sports, to be given priority over City supporters, who are not Forever Bristol members.

A. This is very much how membership has been set up. It’s worth noting as part of the priority for Manchester United/Manchester City we had extra criteria for members (ie number of home match tickets purchased) to ensure regular City supporters received priority over others who had not attended matches but had membership by virtue of holding season cards with other sports.

Q. Ticket allocations - Any chance of differential for supporters who have had a season card for more than this season?

A. We have some back-dated information for season card holders, etc, but having gone through the process of Man Utd home and Man City home/away sales, it's fair to say that all season card holders were given ample and fair opportunity to purchase tickets with the top priority.

Q. Loyalty - Away ticket allocation for high priority games. Could a system of loyalty points be considered for away games based on distance to ground, time and day of match?

This is something we are looking at for the near future. Whether it would go into the detail of distance to stadium, time/day of the game, or simply work on matches attended is tbc. Discussion at FAN welcome on loyalty.

Q. Cappings - Why have we stopped this? I called to arrange a cap for my son only to be told sorry it has discontinued.

With our ever-growing junior supporter base a decision in the summer was taken to replace cappings with a signed team pennant. The club now choose at random a supporter aged under-12 attending their first game rather than an application process due to the volumes we were getting and having to let young fans down. The cap design was very outdated for our next generation of supporters and for many, the young fans attending their first game, the caps didn’t fit and were misshapen which was another reason we decided to opt for something different. The signed pennant is something the child will be able to keep for years and remember the squad that played in that season. We have received lots of positive feedback. We will however again look to review the scheme in the summer and discuss potential options.

Q. Groups - Adults accompanying the children who go onto pitch at start and half-time. They are causing a nuisance for the wheelchair users in A8 and Mike was almost knocked out of his chair by parents trying to get to the bar to take pictures.

Vicky apologises to the supporter who was almost knocked out of their chair. We don’t as a matter of course allow large groups of adults to gather in the wheelchair area. Two coaches/teachers are able to go pitch-side with their group only. Vicky has since discussed some potential work-arounds with Rob Wood we will trial.

Q. Pitch incursion - Will the Club suffer as a result of the pitch incursion after the Man Utd match?

A. We have pinpointed the “risk” group with regards to flares and will deal with individuals, rather than collectively.
We are waiting for an FA ruling re pitch incursion.
We have also identified a group of fans who were first on pitch and went direct to Man Utd fans to start trouble and they will be banned.
We are certain the pitch incursion only happened due to the winning goal coming in the 93rd minute.
The stewards reacted to the messages from the control room and all was dealt with as appropriate; EFL observers were comfortable on how it was dealt with.
Fans are urged not to repeat in future matches this season.