FANS’ FORUM, 25 April 2015.Present at the meeting:
Chris Turner, Nick Johnson, Kevin Fitzgerald, John Croot, Roy Frisby, Maurice Whyman, Andy Boden, Darryl Carpenter, Lesley Brentnall, Jon Morris and Gary Bown.
Apologies received from:
Kevin Fitzgerald (KT) confirmed that beam backs will be possible next season for certain games following the fibre network installation.
In response to a question about stewarding, Chris Turner (CT) revealed that stadium manager Colin Nellist said that stewarding had been much improved this season.
Jon Morris asked for confirmation of the dress codes for the lounges next season. CT said it would be "casual but smart", adding that certain members want a collar & tie dress code.
Regarding the new Spires Restaurant, CT said that it will provide fans with an opportunity to experience matchday hospitality on a one-off basis. “If people want to eat in the restaurant and sit in their own seat, that’s fine,” he added.
CT confirmed that there are one-year agreements in place for lounge memberships.
In response to a query about the possibility of there being empty tables, KF said: “We're very proactive in marketing the tables.”
KF added that current Legends Lounge members who have not switched to the new 1866 Club Lounge will be invited to experience the lounge in pre season friendlies.
CT added that menus are being drawn up, revealing that there will be a dedicated chef for each lounge. “It will be better for everyone,” he said.
Responding to a question regarding the hospitality box, CT revealed there has been interest from people who would like to take a hospitality box, admitting that boxes should have been in place from day one. “It was a missed opportunity,” he said.
The question of whether a sports bar would be introduced was raised. CT responded by saying it was down to the cost. “If we knew it was going to be supported, I’d put a big marquee up,” he said. “If we’re in the Championship, I think that’s something to look at. It was another missed opportunity when the stadium was built.”
CT confirmed that the club will be in the black this season. He said that one area where spending has been cut is with regard to IT. “We are now spending about £70,000 a year on IT and when I came in we were spending £250,000,” he said.
When asked about the development centre, CT said that it is running at great profit, which will “reduce the costs of the academy”. He added that a deal has been set up with Gordon Hill, offering scholarships in the USA. A major sponsorship deal with the development centre will be announced soon.
In response to a question about season ticket sales, CT said that sales have been very good and “well up on last year”. He added: “The finance deal has helped. We’re currently at 4,400 and I’d like to get to nearly 5,000.”
CT confirmed that the reserve team will return next season.
Answering a query about pre-season plans, CT said that there is a possible trip to Sligo in the second week of July.
In response to Roy Frisby’s suggestion that True Blue Travel membership should be offered to more fans, KF said that he wants to increase the number of fans using the service. Lesley Brentall, who acts as a steward on the coaches, said it has been the most successful season for True Blue Travel.
Following Marcia Bigg’s decision to step down as a fans’ forum member, a request will be put out for someone to join as a representative from the family stand.