The notes from the latest club/supporters meeting
The football club and supporters groups now meet on a regular basis to allow feedback from the fans at to discuss the issues affecting them and a chance to feedback directly with the club.
The latest meeting recently took place and below are the items discussed.
Supporters Group meeting - Wed 12th December
1. Lighting of the SuperBlues Way –any change to the previous position.
A - No
2. Branding of the club – 5 months has passed since the last update, has anything changed?
A - No, there are no plans as yet to re-brand the club
3. Access to the Oteley Road.
A - There is nothing to update.
4. What is STFC’s position on the Safe Standing Areas initiative?
A - Alan Roberts, Safety Officer, has attended a safety conference and seen the demo. Realistically we would have to install in the whole of the South Stand or a whole block. The rise and tread of the existing steps would lead to support rails having to be put across the whole width of the stand or block and all the way to the top of the stand. This would be financially unmanageable at this time. The stadium was built to be as safe as it could be as an “all seater” venue fit for the Championship and to be certified for UEFA matches. The club have no desire to change the existing seating and as is the case with the majority of league clubs we have not expressed an interest in this initiative. We have no problems with the SSA road show coming to the ground for supporters to see it. If we were to build new stands in the corners this may be a time to look at standing areas, subject to league regulations.
5. What is the position regarding stadium and shirt sponsorship going forward?
A - Andy Pugh, General Manager, stated that both were in the final stages of very promising negotiations. There would be the appropriate release of this information in due course.
6. Scoreboard update?
A - Alan Roberts said that the issue was entirely with the company installing the scoreboard. They are world class fitters of these types of screens and ours was bespoke built for this stadium. They had never had a problem before. Due to a malfunction during the erection process the steel work and screen were damaged. The Health and Safety Executive have been involved in reviewing the original installation and advising on the re-installation. Effectively the process has had to start again and we are not willing to propose a completion date at this time.
7. STFC home shirts for 2013/14 – will the fans be asked for designs to vote on this time?
A - Yes, Ian Whitfield will be placing competition rules and guidance on the website shortly to encourage fans to come up with designs to be voted on early next year. The club colours of white, blue and amber will be the only colours accepted.
8. Match day experience.
A - Martin James, Head of Community Development, asked the supporter group reps for suggestions to improve the match day experience for fans. Conversations revolved around half time entertainments on the pitch e.g. crossbar challenge, 5 a side games for kids, pom pom girl displays, marching bands. Difficult to put on things before the matches as most fans arrive in the 20 mins before kick off. Occasional family day type activities were supported especially when the weather is good. Feature days e.g. wearing club colours, fancy dress and a legends day when the former players circulate the pitch.
9. What are STFC’s thoughts on the club’s location for the Shrewsbury Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE) around the site and along the Oteley Road?
a) Did the club submit anything to the Council as part of the public consultation. The consultation period is still going on. The existing documentation released to the public are proposals not what actually will happen. The land for the Percy Thrower and Sutton Grange developments are the only parts at present which are agreed with developers. We are part of a Liaison Group which was established before the club moved to the present site. All aspects of the SUE will be part of our group meetings. We will attend meetings and offer views on aspects of the new development that may affect STFC.
b) As part of this (long term development) does the club believe some of the issues with parking, lighting, access etc will be addressed. Residential and employment areas are part of this development. The link underpass between Meole Brace Retail Park and the proposed new employment zone behind the ground will be developed and we expect to see people coming from several different directions to the ground. Changes to the present systems are expected to be implemented by the developers through the consultation process.
c) Will the club be making itself heard as a key player in the area? Yes as stated above we will be involved.
d) Does STFC own land holdings outside of the gated area and if so is it considered this could generate funds down the line if required? The land STFC owns lies within the green fence boundary. We do not own the land from the lights to the gates. As this will be a main access to the employment zone behind the ground we will be keen to ensure safe and clear access to the ground.
10. Tickets – any changes to accommodate special offers during the season for potential low gate matches or a relegation battle?
A - There are currently no plans. We have the January transfer window coming up and we need to generate funds for the expenditure to come. We will not know about relegation battles until nearer the time and this is when any possible offers might be put forward. The view that halving prices doubles attendances does not work in reality and does not lead to increased revenue. It does not necessarily lead to new supporters who will then continue to attend at the full price. It can dilute the takings from existing fans. Some supporters see discounted price matches as of less value because of the opposition and do not come. Those fans asking for reductions have often not taken advantage of generous “early bird” season ticket offers where 10 matches are effectively free over the season. These can be paid for in instalments over the season.
Out of an average attendance of 5500 we have 3000 season ticket holders, around 750 family groups who benefit from existing ticket offers. There will be a ticketing review at the end of season where the issue of pensionable age and the differential between 16 and 17 year old prices will be discussed for next season. The Football League have to be informed about ticket offers before the season starts though there is a little leeway during the season as long as they agree. We encourage our fans to participate in the best deal of all and purchase a season ticket.
AOB. The club have had a complaint from a local resident about the amount of swearing and abusive chanting at matches that can be heard passing by as well as in the stadium. The club has assured them that it does all it can to reduce the impact of such behaviour through signage and advice from stewards, however the issue is not just confined to STFC – it is a universal issue in football.
Supporters Bar – discussion about the lack of a facility at the ground. The club reiterated once again that there is nowhere to site a supporters bar in the existing facilities and that if new developments came forward at the club to extend the hospitality areas or fill in the corners then there would be room for discussion about a supporters bar possibly being incorporated into plans. The discussion moved to supporter groups combining to put together a proposal to either the Power Leagues or a local pub (Brooklands) to allow for a supporters bar (badge holder access) for home and away supporter club members. This will be taken on further by the supporter club reps for discussion and possible presentation to the venues.