Minutes from the SP held on 9th May 2017
SP Meeting 9th May 2017 at Greenhous Meadow.
Present: Brian Caldwell; Ian Whitfield;Mike Davis; Roger Groves; Martin James; Chris Wynne; Joshua Wynne; Helen Hall; Joyce Pulford; Simon Moore; Dave Matthias; Thomas Corbett; Glyn Price; David Allsopp; Richard Vernon; Jill Lucas; Rob Lewis; Rachael Dilloway; Graham Webster; Justin Gill; Stewart Price; Lyn Price; Matt Statham; Steve Price; Peter Nottle; Rob Fox.
Apologies: Paul Coyne; Ian Payne; Selwyn Plant; Adrian Plimmer; John Lumley; Marion Lane; Malcolm Lane; S-J Somerset; Colin Storey.
- Questions to the Club:
- Food prices in the Fanzone are very expensive, has this affected sales? BC said the Fanzone was on a trial basis and they had used a local company to bring in mobile units. Views about the cost had been passed back to the company. It had actually affected sales in the concourses. BC is looking at the Club doing the food in future. Fans reported the quality of food was good and that the outlets seemed busy. BC said the sales at the Southend game were the best so far, mainly because of the away fans.
- Will the Fanzone be open after matches next season? BC said it opened after the Southend game and it was not successful, and this was a sizeable gate. Staffing costs have to be taken into consideration and if not enough people visit after the game it is not viable. Jamie Edwards will give a presentation at the next meeting regarding plans for the Fanzone.
Feedback from the fans included – Could there be different food at each match? Positive views overall and including the live music. The Fanzone should be open to home and away fans as it is at other clubs. BC said it is a learning curve at present. He was gathering evidence for the Police and Safety Advisory Group which could lead to opening it up to all fans.
- Are there plans for decorating the West Stand in the close season? BC could not recall this being raised before. The South Stand project had been a good exercise of partnership between the SP and the Community. BC thought that had gone well and the NCS students helped too but Jamie has advised that there was unlikely be any funding through NCS to do any more. Jamie had got a graffiti artist on board previously. The Club provided the paint and equipment spending around £1,000. The SP had done the base painting. He asked suggestions and also thoughts for funding for the West Stand. There is £200 available from the SP Prediction League from last season.
- Does the Club have a policy on former players receiving tickets on matchdays? BC said there was no fixed policy. If ex-players ask they normally get a couple of tickets, which would be the standard amount.
- The proposed former players association – how can the SP become involved? There was an article on the website from Ian Whitfield at the Club about the setting up of such an association. Examples are two former players present on a matchday visiting the Fanzone, Sovereign Suite , Arthur Rowley, boxes, half time presentations etc. Ian said he would like to see it fan driven with Club support. Initially it needs a structure with a list of contacts of players who could attend. Stuart Dunn and Mike Jones could be very important contacts as they have players contact details. Ian asked for any supporters who have former players details to contact him with them.
- Feedback on the fans presentation night.
Well supported by the fans, players and officials of the club. Players were sitting at fans tables and engaging in conversations. It was a good night overall. The early start was an issue for some who could not get there for the start due to work commitments, however there were a good number of young children there on a school night.
The Club did publicise the event and it was a rather late decision as Paul Hurst had to make the decision bearing in mind the state of the relegation battle and what we needed from the remaining matches. A question was asked about the Club tweeting from the event. Ian W said they had done this at the Paul Hurst Q and A with live streaming but he had left it to the fans at the presentation night.
Comments included that exiles would find it hard to come to a mid week event. The way PH spoke made it feel like being part of a large family. The bar stayed open until after 10pm. Good to have the kids there mingling with their heroes.
- Season and matchday tickets.
BC - Season ticket sales are ahead of last year. The Early Bird discount was extended to a set date and it was kept to this encouraged early commitment from fans. Only a handful of people missed the deadline and complained but it had got widespread publicity from the Club and fan media. After the Oxford game there was small surge in sales. The 24th June is the next set deadline. The season fixture list will come out on the 21st June causing another boost in sales.
On matchday prices BC said they would probably keep the prices the same for next season. If we get success on the pitch and get more supporters attending then prices could change but he fears increasing prices at this time could drive supporters away.
On Cup prices BC said a deal was done with Fleetwood and Barnet to reduce these for season ticket holders which enhances their offer and the Club would look to do this again.
Under 8 season tickets and on match day are free. It was suggested that child prices should be the same in all areas of the ground. BC said he would like to look at getting aged up to 12 free or very cheap . Promotions in primary schools, the Shropshire Star and at kids events would be looked at to encourage these young supporters to start attending matches.
The Flexiticket is still in operation and also a Fan Card is shortly to be tested where a certain number of games can be bought on a card to cover fans who attend around 10 matches per season and would save them having to buy ticket as seat would load onto persons Fan card to use at turnstile. Ticket master are due in for a meeting with the Club shortly to test.
- At this point the father of a former Club employee was asked to give the observations of the operation of the buffets. It should be borne in mind that this information was from the situation at the previous season, though the catering management and delivery was still the same as for this season.
- Not everything needed improving
- The layout behind the counters was not efficient and slowed down service, spilt drinks, health and safety issues
- Need for more fridges and hot cabinets closer to the serving points
- Separate queues for different food options, hot or cold drinks would help service
- Staff should be better trained with a better selection process, some are not interested in the job while others work harder to make up for the slack attitude of others. Employ better staff. Lack of supervision of younger staff is an issue
- On the whole the food quality is good but stock levels vary. Cheaper more popular lines like sausage rolls run out as not enough are ordered, leaving larger numbers of more expensive items. The stock levels should match popularity
- There could be a variation in the stock items for different matches, different types of food and beers, drinks, a pie of the week
- Pop up stands in the concourses with a different offer e.g. curry or chilli and rice
Thanks were given for that feedback which Brian said he would take back to the hospitality department. Other comments made at the meeting included that the food had not been running out in the West Stand recently. The separate bar in the West Stand often has just one person serving and being over-whelmed. Could excess food be sold at half price at the end of the match especially for the travelling fans?
- Safe standing presentation
A presentation was made by Mike Davis and Roger Groves on behalf of the SP with regards to Safe Standing and to find out if this was something the supporters of STFC would like to see at the ground if it could indeed be done. Mike and Roger were contacted by the FSF along with all other clubs to gauge what supporters thoughts are on it. There has been a lot of press recently particularly from some Premier League clubs, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool.
Mike and Roger had made some initial enquiries and offered their findings to date to the room and how this initiative might affect the Club. This was very well received by everyone who attended the meeting and it was unanimously agreed for Mike and Roger to make further investigations.
The Club voted in favour of a return to 48 league clubs only in the Checkatrade Trophy.
STFC matches are due to be streamed live outside of the UK.
Ticketmaster are being asked to sort out the issues with ordering on line free tickets for children
Roger Groves and BC are to discuss solution to the on-going toilet seat issue.
Over 7,000 attended the Southend game which was in part due to an increased publicity in the community and the media.
The Club is finalising a ’Park and Stride’ plan for the Rod Stewart concert.
Next meeting date: Tuesday 13th June at the Greenhous Meadow.