Meeting with AFC Bournemouth 26/9/2017

MEETING BETWEEN AFC BOURNEMOUTH AND CHERRIES TRUST BOARD 

Held: 26th September 2017 at 6pm – Board Room, Vitality Stadium

Cherries Trust: Tony Maycock, Stu Bramley, Robin Latchem, Kerry Smith, Gary Hickson, Steve Large, James Swyer, Stuart Orchard, Peter Ive.

AFC Bournemouth: Neill Blake (Chief Executive), Jeff Mostyn (Chairman), Liz Finney (General Manager).

AGENDA

New Stadium and Training Facilities

  • Progress
  • Stadimax consultation
  • Feedback from local residents
  • Safe Standing

Club Ownership

  • Should we be concerned following recent directorial departures?
  • What succession planning is in place at the club?

Cherries Trust

  • How does the club view the Trust and how can it grow?

Ticketing

  • What caused the issues around entry to the ground for the Carabao Cup tie versus Brighton and what can be done to ensure they don’t happen again?
  • Ticket exchange
  • Disabled away travel
  • Choosing away seating

Minutes from the meeting

Meeting format
It was agreed by all present that brief notes would be made and circulated to all attendees for approval before release and until that final approval is received all discussion remains confidential. Any items discussed and not noted were, by agreement by all attendees, to remain confidential.

New Stadium
NB is happy with the progress being made with planning and is holding regular meetings with Bournemouth Borough Council to ensure everything runs smoothly.

The club will be undertaking a series of consultations to inform decisions they make. The first round of these is being undertaken by Stadimax, with a focus on corporate sales, hospitality and non-matchday income. NB highlighted the importance of growing these areas to ensure that the project is sustainable in the long-term.. NB also asserted that there would be no loss of facilities in Kings Park as part of the build and that the athletics stadium will be relocated within Kings Park, at AFC Bournemouth’s expense. Discussions with the Council regarding the training complex are advanced, with a planning decision due before the end of 2017.

NB stated that there has been little real discontent from local residents about the proposed stadium and that the club is keen to work with those nearby to ensure they were consulted. NB and LF referenced the success of a previous meeting in which residents and councillors were invited to discuss any issues with AFCB staff.

JM highlighted the benefit to the town as a whole from having a Premier League football club, particularly in a desirable tourist area. NB also reiterated their statement in the last board-to-board meeting that a move was not dependent on League status.

Regarding safe standing, the club has committed to support the Premier League in undertaking an investigation into the feasibility of the introduction of safe standing. JS has been in talks with the Football Supporters Federation to devise a survey on fans’ attitudes to safe standing which is due to be promoted in October. This is part of a nationwide survey on the subject. JS will share the survey with the club before it is publicly available.

Club Ownership
NB confirmed that Mikhail Ponomarev, Oleg Tikhturov and Igor Tikhturov left the board because of an increase in their own personal business commitments away from the club and will continue to attend matches where possible. NB said he is comfortable with the structure and stability of the board and club ownership going forward.

Cherries Trust
NB said that it was encouraging to see the Cherries Trust growing and getting stronger. He appreciates the work done by the organisation and how they have provided important feedback on many issues. NB also stated that the club will continue to be open with the Trust and highlighted the importance of mutual respect. LF reiterated that the Trust can always ask difficult questions, which JM seconded, highlighting the importance of independence. All club representatives said they were keen to support the Trust and enjoyed the link it provides with the fanbase.

RL asked if the club could offer fans the option to join the Trust as part of their season ticket renewal. NB said this might have accounting implications, but would look into the feasibility of this and other methods of supporting membership recruitment. LF was keen to praise the work of KS and GH in arranging focus groups and suggested that the Trust take more ownership of them to help to raise its profile. TM asked whether club staff could attend each focus group, which led to the suggestion of themed focus group with the relevant member of AFCB staff at each one (e.g. ticketing, media, retail). This would add a clearer focus and avoid repetition of topics.

Ticketing
LF outlined the circumstances for the issues encountered during the Brighton match on 19th September, including the high volume of sales after the posting date, which resulted in c.3000 tickets requiring collection on the night, twinned with the requirement for 100% searching. LF confirmed that while tickets were not double-sold, there were instances of Season Ticket holders who had bought a seat after they’d gone to general sale, sitting in their ST seat and ignoring the information on their new ticket.

LF also outlined the plans put in place to make entry to the stadium less problematic including:

  • A newly-devised lane system to help direct people to the correct turnstile and avoid merging of queues. The club has ordered 65 additional barriers to fulfil this.
  • A greater number of stewards manning the lanes.
  • The recruitment of a supporter services team to deal with ticketing issues on a matchday, leaving stewards free to concentrate on security inside and outside the ground
  • Increased signage outlining where to go to enter each turnstile
  • The inclusion of the flyer in ticket despatch, outlining how to use the ticket scanners
  • The club is also looking into lighting solutions on the outside of the ground, whilst being mindful of not causing light pollution for neighbouring residents. This is being tested shortly.

LF is also working on a number of incentives to encourage fans to get to the ground earlier, including earlybird food and drink offers, e.g. Pie and a Pint for £5, or Pie and a soft drink for £4 both available up to 30 minutes before kick off. There is also a new incentive for fans that have entered the ground more than 45 minutes before kick off to go into a draw to win a signed Man of the Match shirt from the previous home game, i.e. Jordon Ibe shirt at the Leicester game. The club have started marketing tickets for the Carabao Cup tie against Middlesbrough earlier than usual in order to try to eliminate an influx of last minute sales which require collection. Only 2400 Season Ticket holders bought their seats for the cup game versus Brighton.

SB raised the issue of ‘print at home tickets’. LF said that the club don’t currently have the facility to do this and that it may cause more issues at present and that it would be good for the current 2 types of entry, i.e. Season Ticket and paper tickets, to settle before introducing new options. However, the ticketing manager has already looked at how the process could work with our system.

TM discussed the scope for official resale of tickets, now that we have barcode scanners. LF said that the club has been in contact with a company who facilitates this and with other clubs. JS has been speaking with Twickets, who have facilitated this for Crystal Palace. LF asked if he could put them in touch with Dan Clarke.

TM and GH mentioned the positive feedback from those using the disabled mini-bus to attend away matches. TM asked if the club would be able to run this for all away matches, which NB is looking into.

GH raised the issue of disabled supporters at away matches being inconvenienced by those standing up around them, despite buying tickets in the front five rows. LF  asked GH to report any issues to Dan Clarke and copy in herself and Alice Jeans.

RL asked if the club can provide a clearer indication as to the number of blocks available for away games and how many fans fall into each point drop. This would help when a group of fans wishing to order tickets together have a different number of away points and are not eligible to order tickets at the same time. LF is going to look into this

AOB
TM raised the issue of shirt sizing and the lack of larger sized shirts in the club shop and the importance of making all fans feel included. NB confirmed that 60 4XL shirts have been ordered and will be stocked as a matter of course again next season. TM asked him to check if this reflects last season’s sales of 3XL shirts, given that the sizing has changed.

RL raised his dislike of the club promoting gambling through its shirt sponsors and asked if the club would consider selling sponsorless shirts in adult sizes. NB said that it is a contractual obligation that all adult shirts carry the club’s official sponsor.

The meeting ended.

Have your say
Join the Cherries Trust today to add your name to a growing group of AFC Bournemouth fans. Every member we have gives greater legitimacy to the Trust and gives us all a stronger voice. We hold regular focus groups, use our position to represent the wishes of fans in the media and meet with decision makers at the club to ensure your voice is heard.

Join as a voting member today for just £10. Click here to find out more.

 

 

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