Communication Leads To Community
CHERRIES TRUST BOARD TO BOARD MINUTES
Thursday 7th March, 2019
Neill Blake (AFC Bournemouth Chief Executive)
Jeff Mostyn (AFC Bournemouth Chairman)
Liz Finney (AFC Bournemouth General Manager)
Anthony Marshall (AFC Bournemouth Head of Media and Communications)
Tony Maycock (Cherries Trust Chairman)
Gary Chapman (Cherries Trust)
Gary Hickson (Cherries Trust)
Peter Ive (Cherries Trust)
- Development plans (stadium/training ground)
Following the club’s statement in October 2018, Tony Maycock (TM) asked if there was going to be any development of the South Stand at Vitality Stadium.
Neill Blake (NB) explained that plans for a new stadium have not been shelved. He said it is instead a balancing act where the owner and board of directors will not do anything that could put the club in a precarious financial position, while also reiterating their desire to keep moving the club forward.
NB explained that the owner and board of directors know that the proposed stadium and training ground developments need to be done and that they are very high on the club’s agenda, but no time frame can be given at this point.
Jeff Mostyn (JM) expressed his belief that fans would support the club stance if wanting to stay in the Premier League.
NB continued that he would like to see progress on the proposed new training ground in 2-3 months and explained that getting the first team over there would take approximately 18 months. After that, the process could start on the work of developing a new stadium.
However, NB made clear that the owner and board of directors’ main focus is to keep the club in the Premier League and financially stable.
Liz Finney (LF) explained that while a small stadium capacity is not ideal, the club is continually trying to keep engaging with supporters. LF pointed to the fact that new supporters are regularly able to access home tickets through points drops and the ticket return system, and that there has been a rise of points holders on the club’s database from approximately 25,000 to 37,000.
TM asked if the club would clarify the position of no South Stand development in the form of a club statement.
NB stated that due to it not being cost effective, there would be no further development of the South Stand, He also said that the club would not release another statement at this time, that what had needed to be said had been said in the October 2018 statement and that this stance would only change when something happens.
- Club ownership (effect of Peak6 no longer having part ownership on future finances)
NB explained that Peak6’s departure from the ownership of the club has no effect on the club’s finances, both immediately and in the future. Peak6 took up an opportunity as they wanted to get involved in other projects. NB explained that the club has no debt, aside from the friendly loans in place. NB also made it clear that Maxim Demin has no political issues or conflict in Russia.
- Safe standing (what are the club’s plans?)
JM explained that nothing has changed in terms of the club’s attitude to safe standing. He said that the club are not against safe standing but until the government, the FA and the Premier League change their stance then the club will not vocalise their opinion.
JM continued that the club has listened carefully to every debate but believes it will be difficult, if not impossible, to have safe standing at Vitality Stadium.
- Shirt sales (lack of shirts/general shop issues)
TM explained to the other Cherries Trust members that, having spoken to the club, the issue with a lack of the third shirt in the Superstore is that the club have to order a minimum of 600 shirts at a time. He continued that when the third shirt sold out, there was no guarantee any new order would arrive before Christmas and, if not, they then would go straight into a January sale situation.
LF said there will be consultation with supporters around colours used for future away and third kits, although potential kit designs cannot be shared.
AFC Bournemouth commercial director, Rob Mitchell, provided the following additional retail information prior to the meeting:
- Can only really use historical information when trying to project sales/demand/orders.
- 2017/18 third kit did not sell and had to be sold off in a Black Friday promotion.
- Extra 467 third shirts (247adult & 220 youth units) sold this year versus last year due to overwhelming popularity.
- Although we can’t show kit designs to focus groups, we will be using for colour feedback in future.
- Looked at placing another order but supplier couldn’t guarantee Christmas delivery and after Christmas we discount the kits to clear.
- Could only re-order third kit with minimum order quantities of 600 per style.
- On babies kits it’s a 600 minimum order quantity but only sold 205 the previous season so not ordered this year.
- Women’s home minimum order quantities are 600 and we still have 59% left in stock.
- Size guides are available online https://superstore.afcb.co.uk/afc-bournemouth/faq/size-guide.
- Standing in disabled areas
Gary Hickson (GH) explained that standing in disabled areas is a real problem for a lot of people at away games. He said it is also an issue for those seated in the first ten rows when there are fellow supporters stood up in front of them and that away stewards rarely deal with the issue. GH continued that they have brought it up with the supporters in question but face abuse and ultimately give up.
NB said he would raise this issue at the next Premier League meeting he attends.
JM echoed NB’s sentiments and said he expects this to be a common problem so would bring it up on behalf of other clubs too.
LF explained that the club are one of only a few who offer a pick your seat ticketing service, and that it comes with messages about standing in certain rows and lively atmospheres in other areas.
GH requested a meeting with LF, Alice Jeans and Dan Clarke regarding some ticketing and accessibility issues.
- Any other business
TM was interested to know the club’s stance on a payment to Richard Scudamore upon his departure from the Premier League
JM made clear that the reported payment came from the Premier League and not from individual clubs. He continued that what Richard Scudamore has done for the league is incredible and even more so for clubs like AFC Bournemouth.
JM said that before the recent broadcasting rights deals there wasn’t enough money to be competitive in the Premier League. The rights deals have allowed clubs to compete at the level AFC Bournemouth are now and for that reason alone he believes Richard Scudamore is worth every single penny.
JM spoke about streaming Premier League matches and explained that it would be very unlikely in the future due to the money that Sky, BT Sport and other rightsholders pay to broadcast games. However, wherever possible, the club stream fixtures that are not affected by rightsholders, including pre-season friendlies and under-21 fixtures at Vitality Stadium.
LF explained that the Equality Focus Group has been very successful to date and, moving forward, a head of department from a variety of areas of the club will be invited along to speak to the group and answer any questions they may have.
END OF MEETING