Below are details of the Fans' Forum that took place before the home match with Peterborough United.
6 February 2016
Present at the meeting:
Chris Turner, Nick Johnson, Kevin Fitzgerald, John Croot, Roy Frisby, Maurice Whyman, Andy Boden, Darryl Carpenter, Jon Morris, Ian Browes, Nigel Goodlad, Gary Bown, Lesley Brentnall and Ronnie McGirr.
Apologies received from:
In response to a question regarding the club’s financial position, Chris Turner stated that chairman Dave Allen will not let the club get into a bad financial position. Chris added that the conference & banqueting department will have a separate bank account.
Gary Bown questioned the pricing in the DCJ Group Spires Restaurant, pointing out that hospitality is cheaper at certain other clubs. Kevin Fitzgerald said: “We feel we’ve got the pricing right. The lounge is well used.”
When Nigel Goodlad asked about the Millwall fans in the Spencers Solicitors (East) Stand at the recent game, Chris pointed out that they were guests in the hospitality box. “We won’t allow fans of the opposition team to go in there in the future,” he added.
Jon Morris asked if there had ever been any hope of keeping Sam Morsy. Chris responded by saying they were “a million miles away” from agreeing a new contract. He added: “For well over 12 months he’s wanted to leave. We didn’t receive any other offers for him so it was a case of either take some money now or receive nothing in a few months’ time.”
When Ronnie McGirr asked what would happen if the defensive area was further weakened by injuries, Chris said: “We’d have to bring in another loan player.”
Roy Frisby suggested that three-year season tickets be considered. Chris responded by saying that this would create a cash-flow problem. He added that walk-up ticket prices would be increased. “People who support the club week in, week out deserve to be rewarded,” he said.
Darryl Carpenter asked if the chairman was happy with the attendances. Chris replied that he was, adding that he never criticises the fans who follow the team, home and away. “He says we need more of the fans who don’t come to watch the matches,” said Chris.
When Jon Morris asked about the likely debt by the end of the season, Chris said that he wouldn’t like to put a figure on it. “We are consolidating,” he said. “We’ve got to keep recruiting and Paul Mitchell is lining up targets for Danny to watch.” He added: “The chairman will be doing something before the summer to reduce the debt.”
Maurice Whyman asked about the progress of the Player Performance Pathway. Chris pointed out that Rai Simons and Gboly Ariyibi without the PPP. “It saved us £40,000 by funding a reserve keeper last season,” he said. “It’s a separate business so it doesn't drain any money from the club.”
In response to a question posed via Twitter regarding the decision to quote transfer fees as ‘undisclosed’, Chris explained that clubs often want to keep their business confidential. For example, they might not want other clubs to know how much they’ve received for a player as it can result in a higher asking price being quoted by a selling club.
Roy Frisby asked how families can be attracted to matches, suggesting that food offers, for example, could be put on. Kevin said it is something that can be looked at, adding: “We are looking at ways of brightening up the concourses to make them more welcoming.”
Jon Morris pointed out that the card readers in the Brampton Brewery 1866 Lounge are not working. The club representatives in attendance said that this would be looked in to.
Nigel Goodland congratulated Nick Johnson on Spire Writes’ runner-up spot in the Programme Monthly League One awards. Nick acknowledged the efforts of all the people involved in the process of putting the publication together. “We are always looking at ways of improving the programme so I’d welcome any ideas for next season,” he said.
Nigel Goodlad suggested that the club consider selling team sheets as there are many people who collect them. Following a discussion, it was agreed that team sheets would be sold after matches.
Roy Frisby asked if the club had considered staging a programme fair. It was agreed that relevant research would be carried out to establish whether it was an idea worth exploring.
Lesley Brentnall claimed that the switch to selling travel tickets in the ticket office had not worked out. Kevin pointed out that a terminal needs to be installed which will resolve the problem.
Roy asked whether any progress had been made regarding the installation of a large screen in the car park. Kevin said that an appeal against the council’s decision to reject the application was submitted in October. “We are awaiting a decision,” he added. Kevin went on to say that he was looking forward to the LED pitch-side signs being installed in June, adding: “We’ve sold quite a bit of advertising already.”
The date of the next meeting is Saturday, April 30 (11am).