Following the recent announcement of changes to the hospitality lounges, which will come into effect next season, chief executive Chris Turner has explained the thinking behind the revamped set-up:
After listening to feedback, taking into account some complaints made about the current set-up, we have addressed those issues when making the various changes to the lounges.
The cost of membership of the 1866 CLUB Lounge remains the same as it is for the current members of the Leengate Legends Lounge - there has been no increase. The lounge itself will have a different look to it. We want it to have a football club identity, with large pictures of current and former players. The history of the club will also be acknowledged.
The food menu in there will be of a much higher quality than the current one in the Leengate Legends Lounge. Currently, very few members arrive in the Leengate Legends Lounge between 12pm and 2.30pm on a Saturday, meaning that little atmosphere is generated. This is at a time when the team is in its highest place in the Football League in over 30 years.
We want the 1866 CLUB Lounge to belong to you, the fans/members. There will be a more professional approach to pre and post-match entertainment. Players who have featured in the match will be interviewed after the match, which is currently not happening.
The Spires Restaurant will occupy the room currently known as the Leengate Legends Lounge. This will now become a dining experience. Supporters can buy a membership for this lounge, which includes a three-course meal for every home game of the season.
We are also offering all supporters the opportunity reserve a table on a one-off basis, which is currently unavailable. Tables in this lounge will feature waitress service for food and drink and the table will be yours for the entire day.
The matchday experience will be enhanced by the introduction of a guest who will be interviewed pre and post-match. Man of the Match presentations will also be made on a stage and there will be photo opportunities. We believe that this lounge will become very popular.
There are two packages on offer in the Vice Presidents Suite. One package features a dining experience in every home game. The menu will be of the highest quality. The members who choose this package can book their table for the season.
The second package is the same as the current package on offer, apart from the dress code being collar and tie. A new tie and pin badge will also be available to members of this lounge.
The unfortunate downside to the changes is the change of seats in the stand. If it were possible to keep fans in the same seats, we would have done that, but the gangway at the back of the stand is very narrow. If the current seating arrangements remained, at 2.45pm onwards there would be up to around 350 people going in opposite directions, creating health and safety issues.
We believe the changes will greatly improve the club’s conference and banqueting facilities on match days. We are opening up our facilities to more supporters, which can only be a good thing.
I fully understand the apprehension felt by some, but I feel that the benefits of the changes will soon become apparent. From a business point of view, the changes will see a vital increase in match day revenue, which has been stagnating recently.
The revenue will be increased not by charging the current members more money but by giving members a wider choice and by opening up our match day experience to all.
Thank you for your support.