Notes from the initial consultation meeting
The initial meeting to discuss the possible formation of a Fans Parliament took place just before Christmas and below you will find the minutes from the meeting.
Click here to read - Fans Parliament - Initial Presentation - and click here to read - Fans Parliament - Consultation Document
STFC Fans Parliament Meeting
Wednesday 11th December 2013, The Presidents Suite, Shrewsbury Town Football Club, Greenhous Meadow, Shrewsbury.
Meeting attended by: Adrian Plimmer (shrewsTRUST), Brian Davies (OSC), Brian Jones (OSC), Carl Jones (OSC), Chris Chambers (shrewsTRUST), Chris Smith (SuperBlues and Away Travel Club), David Hopkins (Level Playing Field), Glyn Price (Blue and Amber Message Board, Blue and Amber Fanzine, ASFC), Ian Jones (shrewsTRUST), Ian Whitfield (Media Manager – Shrewsbury Town FC), John Morris (SDN), Kieron Seaborne (Roland Wycherley Stand), Mark Vickers (Non-affiliated), Martin James (in role of Supporters Liaison Officer – Shrewsbury Town FC), Mike Davis (shrewsTRUST), Paul Buckley (Non-affiliated), Roger Groves (shrewsTRUST), Ruth Hopkins (Level Playing Field), Sarah Cadman (Non- affilated), Selwyn Plant (shrewsTRUST), Terry Fultus (OSC).
Apologies from: Chris Winter (SuperBlues), Colin Storey (shrewsTRUST), Dave Matthias (Blue and Amber Message Board, Blue and Amber Fanzine), David Ruscoe (SuperBlues), Ken Wyatt (Non-affilated), Martin Ruscoe (SuperBlues)
The meeting opened at 7 p.m.
Martin James welcomed everyone to the meeting. He gave an introduction with regards the purpose of the meeting and its structue. It opened with a statemen from Football Club Chairman Mr Wycherley (see Appendix A).
Adrian Plimmer had volunteered to take minutes of the meeting.
Martin continued with a presentation (See Appendix B).
The first section asked “Who has one at present?”
There was some knowledge around the room, (in particular Chris Smith and shrewsTRUST).
Martin commented on meeting with members of the Wolves Fans Parliament with Mike Davis (shrewsTRUST) about its structure and workings.
“Why have a Fans Parliament” – Martin outlined that under UEFA Club Licensing regulations clubs had to liaise with their fan base. Examples included some clubs who had decided to follow a democratic structure, with elections.
It was stressed that the agenda woudn’t be set by the club. What the fans are concerned about would.
Further comments were made with regards how this would impact on the current supporters groups. The Fans Parliament was not a threat to the current supporters groups, but aimed to supplement them.
“Who should be represented?” – Martin cotinued that the Fans Parliament should have a broad range of supporters representing the whole supporters base ( not just from the current supporters groups). Groups such as disabled supporters, season ticket holders, family members, senior citizens, exiles, particular stand members, away supporters.
Martin gave an overview of his role as Supporters Liaison Officer (SLO’s). He commented that supporters could become SLO’s. Clubs had elected representatives. Others appointed.
“What is the make up of the Fans Parliament?” – Martin talked about the structure of the Fans Parliament. This covered how many reps there should be, who should chair it, how people should be elected, period of office, and criteria needed to be a rep.
“The meetings themselves” –Martin covered the structure of the meetings themselves – how many times a year, venue, agenda led or open questioning, Fans Parliament to invite STFC, where would the minutes be posted.
Martin commented that the parliament would set the agenda, not the club. It needed to have clarity, and ease of communication between fans and club. The Fans Parliament was not there to dictate club policy. The club wanted information and feedback from a fans perspective. From a broad range of supporters. For example club doesn’t have a disabled supporters association. This was soemthing he was keen to set up.
The meeting was then opened to the floor.
Q. Martin James
What was to the club involvement? Would the meeting invite club officials
Mike Davis – Commented about the Wolves Fans Parliament
Had to be agenda led. Wolves Fans Parlaiment was chaired by their CEO.
Q. Mike Davis
Would club listen?
What about contenious issues? Wolves answered contenious issues head on. Would STFC be willing to answer those questions? Example given was when Stve Morgan (Wolves owner) answered questions about how much money he had invested and taken out of the club.Certain items couldn’t be minuted. If Fans Parliament is to work, then those questions would need to be answered.Fans forum does work, but tends to go over the same ground.
Chris Smith - Must have teeth and drive.
Mike Davis- If fans feel not able to get answers, will fall away.
Martin James - Didn’t feel this would be a problem for club.
Mike Davis- Questions must be answered head on.Bradford – huge remit. For example they went into detail on Football Club income.
Ruth Hopkins- Asked who chaired the Bradford City Supporters Board?
Mike Davis- Fans. Massive amount of info provided. Would we get that?
Brian Jones- Asked if shrewsTRUST had attended other groups/Fans Parliaments?
Mike Davis- Aware from Supporters Direct. Met with Wolves Fans Parliament alomg with Martin. Bardford had a huge remit. Power to find things out.
Brian Jones- Agreed that this could fall away due to unwillingness of Football Club to give information.
Chris Smith- What would be different? Communication/information to fans. Don’t get proper answers. Loggerheads being a classic example. Nothing really changes. Needs to be a change of policy by the club.
Martin James- Club has listened. Dynamic ticketing. Certain information has to be restricted. Accounts are published. Don’t want to close things.
Mike Davis- Wolves, Bradford, Bristol City, Fans Parliament/ Supporters Board works well. Makes a huge difference. But it’s whether the club will engage to make a difference.
Martin James- Difference- breadth of. More inclusive. I.e. Soveriegn Club members.
This is really important. Need for more understanding. Information.Better matchday experience for example. Up to the club to respond. Different people have different needs.How can the Supporter Base help the club.That is the important reason to have a Fans Parliament. Encompasing everyones views.
Glyn Price- Stuck at a place where we need to bring in the next generation.
Mike Davis- Under age reps at Wolves. Reps from outside the Football Club. Community, Businesses, Local Home Owners. Isn’t just supporters. Get everybody involved. The more the Fans Parliament can get out into the community the better.
Glyn Price- We need to sell it to the fan base.
Ruth Hopkins- Need to believe a difference can be made. Senior club officials attending. Support of the Chairman. People will want answers, if not will fail.
Roger Groves- Has to be the fans decision to invite the club.
Martin James- Important the Football Club knows before meeting, who is to be invited from club.
Mike Davis- Why it is important that meeting is agenda led.
Brian Jones- Are the clubs that have Fans Parliaments work because they are bigger clubs?
Mike Davies- Those currently are bigger clubs than ourselves.
Roger Davies- Everton –huge structure.
Carl Jones- May be able to reach out more.
Mike Davis- Talked about Exiles adding to the agenda.
John Morris- Current Fans Parliament are at clubs in crisis.Think of Westminster and parliamenents generally as discredited.Live locally in Sutton, and didn’t campaign against the stadium being built their. Locals claim still affected . Big issues.Want to be about contracts, Away Travel costs. Son recently went away and cost £40. Fans Parlaiment has to have teeth.
Martin James- Great that people can raise issues.
John Morris- Need to try and motivate young. Generally don’t moan about things.
Martin James- Young people could contribute. Stadium Liasion Group meeting today.Local residents group attends. Could we co-opt? Local businesses as well.
Carl Jones- Put Football Club back into the heart of the community. Due to location on the outside of town since move. Gay Meadow more in the heart of the town.
Martin James- Gay Meadow had more of a feeling.
Chris Smith- Fans see us as a business, not a football club.
Terry Feltus- Works at ground on match day. Treated fantastically well when we go away. Not convinced we do the same. Charged to park coaches. Raised issue, but clubs don’t want to address it.
Chris Smith- Clubs are told what to do.
Martin James- Could club help?
Carl Jones- Colchester away last season. Family fun day. Out of town location. When other fans come here, where do they go?
Chris Smith- Walsall. Comparable example. Great supporters bar that welcomes away supporters.
Glyn Price- Issues must not go away. Board has to understand. Why is there not a community feel?
Roger Groves- Agree about bringing thngs to the top of the list. It isnt about getting the answer we want.
Chris Chambers- Great club has raised this idea. Fans Parliament must be inclusive. Transparent. Was previously involved in Colwyn Bay. Agree with Chris Smith previous comments. Fans are the intellectual rights owners of the club. Clubs have disconnected from the intellectual ownership. Rely on custodians to run the club correctly.Like to know if the club are listening when we raise issues and are interested.
Need to know if from the Football Club the level of transparency, and that we still feel ‘we own it’.
Football is a comodity. Major shift in football power base.
Lots of things bug me, but can change things. Real opportunity to listen and react.
Carl Jones- Aim at people. What do they want? Put through programme, website. Just feel issues can get brushed under the carpet.
Mike Davis- Reps have to be active.
Carl Jones- 20 Blocks (At Greenhous Meadow). 3 Blocks per Rep. Come and see me at a set location etc.
Mike Davis- West Stand – have to be careful. Have a queue of 80 people.
Glyn Price- Football Club have pushed direct questions to the them. Could a Fans Parliament take away ‘Instant Communication’?
Martin James- Would need to list Fans Parliament Members and contact details.
Mike Davis- Would club be willing to pass on database? So contacts of Fans Parliament members could be sent to them. Help publcise?
Martin James- Need to pass this onto to Club. Possible Data Protection issues. Could be passed out to Ian Whitfiel.
Ian Whitfield- Should be ok sending out via database.
Ruth Hopkins- How would we report issues?
Mike Davis- Fall into several categories. Minutes available.
Carl Jones- So if the Trust had an issue, how would this be raised?
Mike Davis- Put through the Fans Parliament. If no date, then to Martin direct.
Chris Smith- Need for direct questions.
Ian Whitfield- Not enough questions coming through ‘questions@’at present.
Mike Davis- Reps will pick up on things. I.e. issues being discussed in local pubs for example.
Martin James- Need to reflect on the overall effect of a Fans Parliament.
Also, how can we as fans support the club. How can we improve the match day experience?
Club should be accountable but needs support.
Skills of the fan base.
Don’t believe we have such a vehicle at present.
Terry Feltus- Sovereign Club members dwindling. If they had a rep, could bring back issues through the Fans Parliament.
Mike Davis- People generally will not praise, criticise.
Mark Vickers- Brigning new ideas. Find the club to be dismissive. Doesn’t encourage people to get involved. Not enough of a link between club and town.
Ade Plimmer- Commented on how we could make that work. Establishing links with other community interest groups in the town (i.e Shrewsbury and West Shropshire Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale –CAMRA).
Carl Jones- How could we go out into the local business community.
Glyn Price- Football Club not visible enough.Setting up of a working group within the Fans Parliament could work together to do this.
Ian Jones- Need to have links within Shrewsbury.
Glyn Price- About saying we are here.
Chris Chambers- Incredible how much of a marketing tool STFC is for Shrewsbury. People have been to the Greenhous Meadow, for meetings and exposed to Shrewsbury Town.Need for a Marketing Group – to include people like to Chamber of Trade. Need to give out information to those that attend events at the Greenhous Meadow.
Martin James- Spoke about his role as Head of Community Development. How when he started with a blank piece of paper. Football Club had lost emotional contact. Football Club do a lot in the community through the Commuity Sports Trust. Lot to be done by supporters going out into the community.
Carl Jones- When we had the Promotion Parade through the town, some shops had displays, but many didn’t seem interested.
Chris Smith- Shrewsbury is conservative.
Martin James- Socially you can say that.
Carl Jones- Would be great if we could have a market stall.
Glyn Price- Probably the most engaged I’ve seen people in town with the Football Club was when we had a stall in the Pride Hill Centre before the Conference Play Off Final. People were really interested and proud of their town. Cant believe we don’t do anything at the Flower Show.
Martin James- Do have a community stall at the Flower Show.
Terry Feltus- Cost £400 for a stallat the Flower Show.
Roger Groves- Got no problem with the concept of a Fans Parliament.Challenge is to engage the wider community. Has to be creditable.Greater onus on the Football Club to support.
Chris Smith- Dabbled in a shop before. Football Club didn’t want it.
Roger Groves- So what is different now. This has to be a two way thing.
Season Ticket holders, database. Asked for previously. Are we going to get different answers.
Ian Jones- Parliament. Government governs the country. Parliament has to have teeth and genuine representation.
Ade Plimmer- Remit is important.
Mike Davis- Fans Parliament would be a massive help to the club. Can be used to make sure the right thing is done. Enormous asset. Shows all those people out there, that the club is telling us everything we need to know. Used in the right way this could be massive.
Martin James- What are the next steps?
Carl Jones- Everyone needs to reflect, take stock and seak out the fans opinons on this.
Glyn Price- Need to confirm the structure.
Mike Davis- We need to put out to the fan base.
Glyn Price- Key questions. Need to get it out there.
Terry Feltus- Groups need to think about what has been discussed and then come back with questions.
Glyn Price- Fans could say what needs to be asked.
Roger Groves- We need dates. We need time scale. Needs to be managed.
Ruth Hopkins- Engage with Senior Club Officials. Fans Parliament a good thing.
Carl Jones- Before the next meeting. Go into the fanbase and get their views.
Mike Davis- Need to come up with a bullet point list. Ten questions to mould it. Trust will come back with a group of questions.
Mike proposed to liaise with other groups to produce a charter.
Martin James- Basis of a constitution.
Mike Davis- We can get out by social media.
Selwyn Plant Commented about not receiving comms from Football Club.
Ade Plimmer- Had had same problem, but re-registered and was now receiving information (newsletter).
John Morris- Need two, three people to start this off. Start of constitution.6 weeks time.Then engage.
Mike Davis- Could Chairman’s statement be publicised.
Martin James- Will be on website.
Terry Feltus- Important to canvas what fans want.
Ian Jones- Is important that a statement shows backing from Chairman. Postive release.
Martin James- Important to get across the message.
Roger Groves- Do fans want a Fans Parliamant?
Chris Smith- Do you want fans engagement with teeth.
Martin James brought meeting to a close. Stated that this was the start of a process. Postive. Now everyone needed time to reflect. Mike Davis would collate views for the questionsto go forward. Martin indicated that he was prepared to help as much as possible. It was important to ask questions. Next meeting date should be set with mid January a good starting point. At that meeting need to decide ‘this is what we do’.
Further comments were added as follows:
Roger Groves- Great opportunity.
Carl Jones- 15th January proposed as date for next meeting.
Ian Jones- Offered his thanks to Martin for hosting the meeting.
John Morris- Fact finding meeting on the Bundesliga.
Meeting closed. Adrian Plimmer 17/12/2013.