John Fry, Chairman YTFC
Adrian Hopper, Press Office and Chairman of the Customer Charter Group
Sara Bradley, YTFC
James Hillier, Huish Park Stadium Manager
Dave Linney, Commercial Manager YTFC
Karin Lang, Avon and Somerset Police Football Liaison Officer
Tony Strettin, G&WSC
Alistair King, G&WSC
Don Carter, VPís
Mark Kelly, YTISA
Colin Turner, YTISA
Roger Brimble, YTISA
Stewart Bratherton, YTISA
MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETINGS
John Fry opened the meeting by welcoming all present and introducing Karin Lang who had recently taken over the position of Football Liaison Officer from James Hoggett, he emphasised the importance of this position, informing the meeting that thanks to Karinís hard work the authorities had agreed that there was no need for a Police presence within the ground during the Nottingham Forest fixture, which ultimately saved the club money.
The meeting reviewed the minutes of the previous meeting; the following outstanding matters were discussed:
Adrian informed the meeting that the proposed dates to hold the Customer Charter Meeting for the forthcoming year had been sent in a letter to all supporters groups; Mark asked who they had been sent to as YTISA had not received the letter. As none of those present had received the letter Sara was asked to e-mail them to Stewart so that he can publish them on the internet and disseminate to the other supporters groups representatives.
Action: Sara to e-mail dates to Stewart for dissemination.
John informed the meeting that the club had received approval for the proposed new licence which would take effect from the 26th November; he also informed the meeting that the club had a new licensee Clive Robinson. The new 6 days a week licence would also mean that families would be allowed entry to use the facilities. The new tent that had now been purchased by the club would also have tables and chairs and 3 TVís all of which would be able to show Sky TV, under the terms of the new licence. The new licence also permitted drinks to be taken outside the Tent providing that they were consumed within the perimeter fence of the compound.
John encouraged all supporters groups to use the facilities and arrange function that would also raise funds for the new supporters bar.
John continued by saying that there were still problems with drinking in the executive boxes and other areas of the top floor, and asked James to invite Ms King to the next meeting. He also stated that there hoped to be some relaxing of the rules governing the use of the facilities by away supporters; however each set of away supporters would be looked at on a team by team basis, with the decision being made after consultation between the Stadium Safety Officer and the Police Liaison Officer.
Action: James to invite Ms Nicola King to next meeting.
Adrian informed the meeting that the club were now looking towards next year and the introduction of a membership scheme, and asked whether it was felt it was still needed. All agreed that it was, though Stewart asked what being a Member would entitle the individuals too. It was felt that most supporters wanted a membership scheme to give them the chance to obtain a ticket for the big matches, these were mainly those non season ticket holders who watch Yeovil as much as they can, but maybe not enough to merit the purchase of a season ticket or even couldnít afford to purchase one. Unless the club could offer something extra those present felt that season ticket holders would be reluctant to join the scheme as there would be no benefits. Adrian was asked to put forward a list of benefits that would be offered with a membership scheme.
Action: Adrian to issue a list of proposed benefits that would be offered to those supporters that took up the offer of a membership scheme.
John informed the meeting that the club were still looking for a suitable location to have the Alec Stock Bust situated which would obviously enable all supporters to have the opportunity to view, due to the refurbishment of the main entrance and club shop, he felt that maybe it would have to wait until the new supporters bar is built before it can go on display. He went on to say that it was currently being held in the boardroom with an exhibition of other YTFC Memorabilia linked with Alec Stock that the club had recently purchased. John did reassure the meeting that when the Bust is put on public display it would have an unveiling ceremony with members of the Stock family being in attendance, something that all present felt was essential. He also asked that if it was agreeable with the supporters groups that they each reimburse the club £247 to cover the cost of the bust, as previously discussed.
Action: The 3 supporters groups to donate £247 to the football club at the earliest opportunity to cover the outstanding balance on the purchase of the Bust.
Adrian informed the meeting as that since Gary Johnson had left the club they had not discussed the proposal that any new away kit be in the design of the old Petters United colours (Believed to be Black and Orange). Dave informed the meeting that as the Red and Black away strip would be changed at the end of the season he felt that this was a good idea. However he did emphasise that an early decision would need to be made to enable the club to place the order in time for pre-season.
Dave asked that if supporters wished to design a shirt using the proposed colours, they could send them to him at the club so that a decision can be made by the club and manager.
Action: All supporters wishing to design a proposed away strip using the colours black and orange are to forward their ideas to Dave Linney at the earliest opportunity.
James informed the meeting that the club had turned down the volume of the tannoy system, which came as somewhat of a surprise to those present. Stewart informed the meeting that he had numerous e-mails from supporters who occupy all three of the home stands, complaining about how loud the music is on matchdays.
Both James and Dave said that they would ensure that the tannoy system would be turned down to a suitable level.
Mark also asked why the club had stopped playing the YTFC song, the meeting all agreed that it was a song that united the supporters and lifted up the noise level of support prior to the arrival of the team. Dave said he would investigate the reason why it was no longer played and if necessary ensure that it was played during the pre match entertainment.
Action: James and Dave to ensure that the noise level is turned down to a suitable level and that the Yeovil Song is reintroduced to the pre match entertainment.
Adrian confirmed that the new SMS man of the match system had been introduced; however it had not been a success with only 3 votes being cast last week, though there were differing views on the subject, most agreed that during the game they were more occupied watching what was going on, on the pitch, rather than sending a SMS text message.
Don asked why the club didnít go back to having the sponsors nominate the man of the match, Dave said that this was a good suggestion, however he did reiterate that this was the opinion of the 15 members of the sponsorís party, and it has been known for some to have little knowledge football.
Colin suggested that rather than having a man of the match, why not have a player of the month, that could be voted for through the official website, Stewart stated that if this was to be introduced it may encourage more supporters to visit the club site, which can only be good for the football club. Colin also suggested that maybe the introduction of a suitable prize that could be engraved and awarded monthly to the winner. This idea was met with enthusiasm by those present.
John intervened to say that any introduction of an award should be cleared with the manager as the previous manager was opposed to the giving of any individual awards.
Action: Dave to speak to Steve Thompson on his views regarding player awards.
All other actions are complete
John informed the meeting that James was putting together the proposals for next yearís budget, which after the issuing of the appropriate licence would include the new supporterís bar, something which had been taken of their agenda until the appropriate licences had been obtained. Obviously there were still restrictions currently on the covenant of the site, but the club were in negotiations with the holder of this regarding these restrictions. He went onto say that the costing was down to 3 tenders, and that the club had possibly 2 breweries who were interested in sponsoring the bar and stand.
James was asked to submit to the board the bid that was put together last November, for consideration for next yearís budget, which runs from 1 Jul to 30 Jun.
Action: James to submit bid for new supporters bar to the board for consideration.
John informed the meeting that it was hoped that providing that there were no objections from the Police, the club intended to allow supporters access to the tent at half time, either to get refreshments or food, this is providing that the club can segregate and control the crowds.
John confirmed that the club had held a meeting with the council and that it was 99% certain that we would be remaining on the current site. He felt that the 26 acre site was large enough to improve the stadium if necessary to the required capacity, though the club must prove that they can manage the traffic dispersal using the current road infrastructure, which at the moment was working well on most matchdays.
John confirmed that he had received numerous correspondence about the progress on the disabled lift to the top floor, he informed the meeting that if the club did not utilise the funds that had been made available from the football foundation for the lift, then the club would lose the 60% funding which could also mean that they would not be able to apply for the grant again. John asked James to put the subject on his priority list to present to the board.
Action: James to put proposal to the board as a matter of urgency.
John confirmed that the licensee was in the process of putting proposals to James about changes to the top floor, which included alterations between the Boardroom Bar and VP Lounge.
John stated that the revenue taken over the bar in the tent on the Saturday of the Nottingham Forest fixture was the best ever taken, those present confirmed that it was one of the busiest days that they could remember, though it was emphasised that this was helped by the introduction of the fast bottle service at the end of the bar which all felt must be continued. Mark also asked that it be advertised that the tent now has Sky TV, which will hopefully encourage more supporters to use the facility.
Colin asked whether the club will be looking at the success of the Tent to gauge the popularity of the facility, John said that they would. Colin went on to say that he felt that very few people would use the facility during the week. John asked that the promotion and the organising of events by all would hopefully ensure that the facilities were utilised.
Roger asked that if it was possible could we have some sort of bar area access control, therefore encouraging supporters to leave the bar area once they had purchased their drinks, allowing others to be served. As this routine was used in the upstairs bar prior to the supporters moving, there seemed no reason and James was asked to locate the cordoning posts that the club had previously used, to enable the process to be put into place for the next game.
Action: James to locate cordoning equipment.
John informed the meeting that the club had acquired another snack bar, which was used during the Forest Game; he also informed the meeting that the club were hoping to get another 2, giving a total of 4. The Glovers On A Roll van was becoming very popular during the week, and was generating between £200-300 per day, and about £1,100 on matchdays which the club were pleased with.
Sara informed the meeting that after the success of last years fireworks display another is to be held on the evening of the 4th November. Dave stated with this not clashing with either the RNAS Yeovilton Display (Wed 2 Nov) or the Showground (Sat 5 Nov), and therefore it was hoped that it would be a even bigger success. Adrian asked that if possible could the supporters groups find volunteers to help run the gates on the evening.
Sara also informed the meeting that a Quiz night had been organised, for Thu 17th Nov, with teams of 4-6 at a cost of £5 per person, which would include a ploughmanís supper. Dave expressed his concern about the date, and believed that this would clash with the opening of the Christmas Lights in Yeovil Town Centre; Sara said that the club had already sold a number of tickets so believed that it would be a success.
ANY OTHER BUSINESS
Colin asked if the cost of policing was the only reason for the switch of the Bournemouth Game from Boxing Day, and would this mean the demise of the Boxing Day Fixture. John explained that prior to the fixtures being issued; clubs are asked which teams they would not like to face on a bank holiday, of which the club had stated Bournemouth or Bristol City. Obviously the club were surprised when the fixtures were published and that the club were at home to Bournemouth. After consultation with the Police, who decided that this would be a Category A game, which would mean full Policing, the club decided that it would save the club a large sum of money to have the date switched.
Those present had reservation as this was the date when most individuals finish for the Christmas period and have their Christmas Drinks, therefore this could result in many supporters both home and away being under the influence of alcohol. Karin acknowledged these concerns and said that she was more worried about the visiting supporters which would have the opportunity to drink for most of the day before travelling to the ground.
Those present expressed the concerns of some supporters about smoking on the Westland Terrace, Stewart stated that he had received numerous e-mails from supporters about the inconsideration some smokers have for other supporters on the terrace. John stated as there was currently a smoking bill being discussed in parliament, he felt it was only a matter of time before the football authorities banned smoking within grounds. After listening to the views James was asked to submit a request to the Board that Smoking be banned on the Westland Terrace.
Action: James to submit proposal to the Board.
Alistair asked whether it was possible to advertise Yeovil Town Fixtures better, those present were unsure why the green flyers that used to be produced by the club with forthcoming fixtures were no longer being produced. Adrian was asked to start producing them again and it was asked that supporters collect them from the club and place them in suitable areas across the county.
Those present also asked why we were not advertising the next home fixture on the large noticeboard in the corner of Huish Park at the junction between Western Avenue and Lufton Way.
Action: Adrian was asked to produce a forthcoming fixtures flyer for display across the county and ensure that all future fixtures are advertised on the Noticeboard in the corner of Huish Park.
Stewart informed the meeting that he had asked fellow supporters to contact him if they wanted any issues or topics addressed at the Customer Charter Meeting, and therefore the following discussion points were not necessary his but those of other supporters.
He started by asking that if it would be possible to publish the roles of the Media and Commercial Department, as most supporters were unsure who was responsible for certain areas, and many believed that the roles crossed. He also asked whether the club had anyone dedicated to Marketing the Club outside the area, he went onto say that he along with many other supporters were upset by the comments by Gary Johnson at the start of the season that the crowds were down and not what he expected. Most supporters felt that this was due to poor Marketing across the county to promote the club. It was suggested that maybe we should promote ourselves as the ďclub of SomersetĒ, to try and entice those floating supporters in the North and East of Somerset, who may well be disillusioned by the other clubs within the West Country.
Adrian responded by saying that other than the Yeovil Papers, the WDP and the WMN he was having trouble getting Yeovil Advertisement published, as their view was that it was the responsibility of the local papers to promote the club.
John went on to say, that this was part of a proposal that was currently being looked at, where it was hoped the image of the club can be taken across the area, offering packages to groups both young and old that would enable them to look behind the scenes, and therefore see all the hard work that goes in to ensuring the football club is run correctly. As well as an interface with the community to promote football and therefore have closer ties with those that is was hoped would be future supporters of the club.
Stewart read out an e-mail from a fellow supporter, about his concerns regarding the lack of supporters who may attend the Barnsley fixture (17th December), which was due to be played on what is normally a bad day for attendances, and also the fixture against MK Dons which was due to take place on Tue 14th Feb. All agreed that these could be fixtures that would not attract large crowds, and that we should be thinking of promoting these two fixtures as early as possible, with maybe some form of offer or incentive. Adrian stated that he believed that the Barnsley fixture was the one identified to issue a free childís tickets, to those purchasing a family bonfire ticket.
Stewart asked the chairman to clarify who any complaints about breach of the Customer Charter had to be sent to; Adrian stated that it was his responsibility to answer any questions, queries or complaints regarding the customer charter.
Stewart asked what the official capacity of Huish Park was. James stated that it had been reviewed in the close season, and it had been reduced by a small amount, this was due to the removal of some seats, and some areas being designated as restricted view. James was asked to confirm what the current capacity of Huish Park was.
Action: James to confirm the capacity of Huish Park, and publish on the Official site.
It had been pointed out by many supporters that the stadium is looking very untidy and dirty on the exterior. Stewart believed that many of them would be willing to offer their time to assist in the maintenance or cleaning of the outside of the ground if asked. James acknowledged this concern and stated that the club had purchased paint and it was hoped that the exterior would be painted in the near future. Stewart suggested that if the club need assistance that it be advertised; as he believed there were many supporters who would be willing to assist.
Stewart emphasised the feeling amongst the supporters that the new club shop looked excellent and was a real asset to the club, and also that the reprint of Hendford to Huish was excellent, he went onto say that the club often comes in for criticism, and therefore when something has been a success they should receive the plaudits they thoroughly deserve.
Once again there was concern among supporters about the back exit onto the Screwfix Site, during the recent bad weather large puddles had formed, and supporters on Saturday were trying to dodge the puddles, by stepping in front of cars trying to leave the car park. Many supporters felt it was only a matter of time before someone was injured, and Stewart asked that the road be looked at. James accepted the concerns of the supporters and reiterated that he was aware of the large pot holes on the road and pathway which were obviously liable to flood during bad weather.
Some fans had asked whether the club would be making any shares available. John answered by saying not at this current time.
Those present along with many other supporters brought up the subject of half times scores. Most supporters were not interested in the Premiership or Championship scores and therefore it was requested that the League 1 results are announced first. Dave accepted this and stated he would ensure that League 1 half times scores are announced first.
Action: Dave to inform Half Time announcer of priority of leagues.
Stewart had been asked to pass on a pat on the back on the way the club and mainly the Chairman had handled the Gary Johnson departure and the appointment of Steve Thompson. Roger also stated that he had been asked by a Bristol Rovers supporter to congratulate the Chairman on the handling and process, especially the way he seeked the opinion of the supporters on a successor to Gary, something he believed his club would never do.
Stewart asked whether the club would be releasing all the previous games to Forest and Swansea on DVD, as he believed there was a demand, and also he felt the club was losing revenue by not producing them. Adrian said that the production of DVDís was very time consuming, especially the design of the cover and the DVD and therefore maybe not beneficial. Those present disagreed, with Stewart suggesting that we should have a standard cover, with only the date and opposition being entered, to save time. Adrian said he would look at these proposals.
John finished by explaining that the club had been asked by Chief Scout Frank Leworthy if it would be possible to purchase Scout 7, which is a computer software programme that lists data on every footballer within the world, which would enable the scouting staff to look and gather information about suitable players, he went onto say that this was used by all Premiership clubs as well as 13 Championships clubs. John said Frank was an excellent scout who was an asset to the club, but was only one individual; with the purchase of this package it would hopefully ease some of the workload on him. John said that the cost of the software was £4000 per year, and requested that this be purchased from donations from the supporters groups. John asked that the supporters give consideration to this request and report back to the next meeting.
Action: Supporters Groups Rep to report back at the next meeting with regard to the request.
As usual, grateful thanks to Stew Bratherton of the YTISA for making the minutes of the meeting available to Ciderspace.
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