Customer Charter Meeting Minutes : September 19th 2006
Customer Charter Meeting Minutes : September 19th 2006

Customers Charter Meeting - Meeting Minutes

Date of Meeting: 19/09/2006
Time: 17.45

Venue: Glovers Lounge - Yeovil Town Football Club

Present:

John Fry - Chairman/Chief Executive
Russell Slade - Football Manager
Jean Cotton - Club Secretary
Peter O Riordan - Accountant
James Hillier - Stadium Manager
Sue Parsons - Ticket Office Manager
Clive Robinson- Hospitality Manager
Sara Bradley - Supporter Liaison Representative
Rich Rendell - GWSC
Fiona Grant - GWSC
Mike Kunz - GWSC
Steve Watts - GWSC
Rod Hallett - Vice Presidents
Hazel Ford - DSA
Mark Kelly - Supporters Representative
Val Keitch - Supporters Representative
Paul Chesterman - Supporters Representative
James Richards - Supporters Representative
Jon Saunders - Supporters Representative
Dave Lilly - Supporters Representative

Apologies:

Dave Linney - Commercial Manager
Adrian Hopper - Press Officer

Welcome and Introductions.

John Fry started by welcoming everybody to the meeting, including Football Manager Russell Slade. As you know he said there is a Meet the Manager evening planned for October the 5th but Russell has come along to say a few words tonight.

Russell then went onto say that since he had been at Yeovil Town Football Club it had been a very busy time for him, especially with the recruitment of players which had played a huge part due to the lateness of his arrival and his playoff final position at Grimsby.

All Staff have rallied round and we have made sure that we have provided the best and most productive pre-season we could have by making sure we went about strengthening the squad and finding the right type of players that would take this Football Club forward.

Obviously after 8 or 9 games you will have made your own opinions as to how the boys are doing or how they are not doing, but we are reasonably happy with the progress that we have made so far.

The important thing is that on the football side we do appear to be improving as a team. It was a terrific result on Saturday against Huddersfield and there won't be many teams that will go there this season and come away with 3 goals.

Every Manager has a duty to look in depth at a Football Club and see if there are weaknesses.

I am trying to identify some of those problems so we can move forward as a Football Club, an area in particular is our Youth policy, we haven't got a Centre of Excellence, but the Chairman and I have made those initial steps and we have visited Millfield School to look at their facilities and I have another meeting there soon.

Many things need to be looked at and hopefully one day we will have a Centre of Excellence that will produce home grown players and players from afar because I think that is important for the future of the Club

Things are going very well for me, I have moved down here with my family and we are very settled and as it stands I hope I am here for a good many years to come. I want this Club to go forward and I feel they can go along way and I hope that you have seen those signs on the pitch.

Appointment of Chairman

It was proposed that Rich Rendell took the position of Chairman for Customer Charter Meetings over the next 12 months. John Fry asked if anyone present was prepared to take the position.

As none of the committee members had proposals or proposed themselves it was agreed by all that Rich Rendell would take up the position.

Approval of Minutes from previous CCM

John Fry apologised to the Committee for there being no minutes from the last meeting.

Sara Bradley was away and John was unsure as to whether anybody else had taken the minutes.

Outstanding issues

3a) Tea Bars

Prices

Clive Robinson started by explaining that the prices set in the tea bars this season would remain stable and that he had no intention to change any prices before the beginning of next season.

The reason behind such a large increase in prices especially Coke was because where the Club had been purchasing previously, the company that supplied the refreshments had ceased trading and the wholesale price had increased quite considerably.

Another factor was due to there not being a price increase implemented for the last 2 years. It was recommended to the Board in December that a price increase of 25 pence would be required and at that time the board declined, so the Club had to hold that price until the end of the season.

At the end of the season the tea bars hadn't made a profit and were in negative equity so the decision had to be made rightly or wrongly to increase the prices.

In regards to the range of food the Club supplied this had risen over a period of time, which meant that the wastage had got a lot higher and the club were having problems with Health and Safety and Health and Hygiene regulations.

Clive went onto say that he had now decided to cut back the lines and only supply pasties and not pies he also said that he had been looking at supplying Jacket Potatoes with various fillings where he would be looking at charging around 1.95.

We would like the supporters input on what lines they would like to see in the tea bars, but we would like them to be aware that we are looking at alternatives

Staff Training

Clive stated that it had been agreed today that the Club were planning to increase the wages of Tea Bar staff that they wanted to develop. He then went on to explain the problems of recruiting staff on match days, as it is very difficult to keep staff when they are only promised work once or twice every fortnight.

He has gained staff from various agencies, but the majority of the time he is sent Polish staff who cannot speak good English and have problems counting money.

The Club no longer employ U16's due to problems with work permits and a lot of the time they have problems with staff not being available or waiting until 13.00p.m. on a match day to inform him that they can't come in.

We are therefore hoping that by increasing the wages we will attain better quality staff to work in our Tea Bars making sure that supporters are served as quickly as possible.

At this time we are asking our supporters to bear with us as the pressure the tea bar staff are under is quite considerable, they have two busy periods during a match where they have to make sure that they control wastage, and serve supporters quickly and efficiently.

The sizes of the Tea Bars are inadequate for the size of the crowds we get today; however we are making progress in this area. He then went on to say to those present that if they did experience a problem in the Tea Bars then he would be more than happy to give them his mobile number so that they could ring him in order to get the problem sorted out.

Mobile Drinks/Snack Trolleys

We now have one mobile stand in the corner of the Westland Terrace, if we want another one it will cost 4'500.00 The problem with mobile drinks which are now supplied by Companies carried around in backpacks is that we can't supply alcoholic drinks in them due to our licence, hot drinks because of health and safety and soft drinks because they are costly we would also have a problem with the staff moving around within the Stadium and finding the staff to take on the task

Val then asked if the tea bar staff only came in for weekends and what training they received

Clive told the committee that training was given to staff on arrival because due to the massive turnover of staff it was not possible to provide training sessions where all were present.

Ideally we are looking for a devoted member of staff that supports this Football Club, but all supporters want to watch the match and not necessarily work during it.

I would like to ask any supporter who has family that may want to work in the Tea Bars or in the Bars on the first floor to come along while their partner is watching the football because if we take on staff that just want to watch the football the supporters don't get the service that they require and that is a problem.

John Fry went onto say that as a Football Club Yeovil Town F.C. owned everything within the Stadium and nothing was franchised and that the Club were lucky enough to have income streams that contributed to the Football side of the business.

Clive then went on to say that the Club were looking to use the small burger van behind the Marquee to do bacon rolls and maybe chips for the Supporters in the Marquee to use before the game and was hoping to have this set up by Saturday if all the staff turned up.

The Club has also decided to allow away supporters into the Marquee before the match for selected games only The security staff have clickers and they know that 330 supporters are allowed into the Marquee at any one time and that will be based on a first come first served basis. Russell Slade asked if it was possible to supply vending machines around the ground with confectionary in them for the supporters.

Clive stated that there could be a problem due to the fact that they would only be used every other week and that damp could also cause a problem, but he would look into it ready for when the Concourses are built.

Ground Advertising Forthcoming Fixtures at Huish Park

James Hillier stated that he had looked into using the board at the corner of Copse Road and Western Avenue to advertise fixtures but it was decided that the Club would purchase a trailer to put an Apex board on it to move around the Town and outer areas.

He also told the Committee that he had put an order in for the Apex board and was expecting it shortly.

We are looking for some sign writing plotters so that we can make our own signs to go around the ground, the trailer will be here by the weekend but it won't be sign written so we are hoping to have it ready for the Cheltenham game on Friday the 6th of October.

We will have the trailer parked up in one location with the intention of supplying more in the future

Rich Rendell asked if there was any chance of getting those sponsored with James telling the Committee that that had been looked at already.

Sara Bradley then went onto to tell the group that a Supporter had donated 1000.00 to go towards either the Apex board or forthcoming fixture flyers. John Fry told the Committee that the trailers will be situated around the Town and hopefully in fields advertising forthcoming matches at Huish Park and that the Club were looking to invest in having the proper sign writing facilities in order for the Apex Board to look professional.

All Committee members agreed to record in the minutes a Thank you to the kind Supporter for the donation of 1000.00 towards either the board or the fixture flyers the club are looking into producing.

Forthcoming Fixture Flyers

John Fry started by explaining the need to spread the news of fixtures to a wider audience, as he felt that the Club had tended to take for granted that people were aware that a game was on.

He said that he had been looking at a League 2 Clubs website where they produced flyers on line for their supporters to download and hand out in the area where they live.

We are trying to drive through the initiative to get more people to attend our matches because unfortunately there is a drop in attendances throughout football at the present time. The team is doing the job for us and we need to get the message across to the 1 million people in our catchment area and one way of doing this is to produce these fixture flyers.

I would like the GWSC to have a look at this on a network basis along with the VP's and Supporters and work together to get a distribution list of places in Somerset were we can put the flyers up.

Dave Lilly went onto ask if it was possible to pay the Gold Bonds agents and bit extra to distribute the posters to their members. John Fry stated that he thought that was a good idea and was going to discuss the possibility with Dave Linney - Commercial Manager.

Jean Cotton then went onto say that her and Dave had discussed the possibility of advertising games within internal e-mails at Westland's for example and also letting people know about any other promotions the Club were implementing.

Rich Rendell also stated that the intranet at Westland's could be used to promote Yeovil Town.

John Fry went on to say that the Club had now employed a person full time to look after the Website, who can design and put out e-mails advertising matches and promotions.

With that in mind we are in the process of putting in a new database paid for by the GWSC designed for Football Clubs and we are hoping that we will be able to enter around 20.000 people's details on that database which will include Supporters, Customers and Suppliers. Training is taking place in Coventry this week and Sue Parsons will be partially responsible for the database, which we feel, will make a huge difference to our operation.

Action: Sara Bradley to discuss the design and the information needed for the flyers with Sue Parsons and the Media Department.

Smoking on the Westland Terrace

James Hillier stated that this topic had been discussed at Executive Committee meetings and at Board level and there had been many suggestions made on how the Club could request that smoking could be stopped on the Westland Terrace.

Obviously there is pressure to make it non-smoking and it was put in the hands of the board who made the decision for the Club to wait until the National Ban came in.

Jean Cotton went onto say that an item would be in the programme and an announcement put over the tannoy, requesting supporters on the Westland Terrace to go outside in the compound or at the sides of the terrace when they wanted a cigarette for the comfort of their fellow supporters.

John Fry went onto say that at the Board meeting Jean had raised the issue of Smoking on the Westland Terrace and how it interferes with peoples enjoyment while watching a match at Huish Park The board took a stand because they felt that with the Government imposing a National Ban and taking into consideration that the Club have no legal rights to impose a ban we didn't want to push supporters over the edge who choose to smoke. With this proposal we can self manage it and educate people ready for when the national ban comes into place.

Membership Scheme

We have been looking at this from a Clubs point of view, and most other Clubs in this League have been looking at doing the same. Not only will we have a record of our customers but we can also reward their loyalty through a membership scheme.

The new database we are putting in place will allow us to implement this scheme and all I will say this evening is that at the next meeting we need to give some serious thought to it if we want to start with it next season.

Action: Membership Scheme to be put on the Agenda for the Next CCM

Action: Sara to bring the paperwork regarding the new CRM database to the next CCM and discuss with Committee members.

Supporters Bar Update

There are two proposals we are looking at and quite clearly Yeovil Town Football Club is an ambitious Club. We have a 26-acre site, which looks magnificent and it has been here for 16 years.

You may ask why it hasn't been developed and quite clearly when we are promoted into the Championship we will need to have the facilities in place.

The Vision of Yeovil have been looking at the development of this town and looking at it being progressive and having flagship buildings.

One of the flagship buildings is the YTFC Stadium, but when it was built 16 years ago they didn't take into account the vision I have. It is easy to get carried away and say that we are going to build a 20'000 seater Stadium but that all depends on the site covenants, planning issues and also what League we will be in.

We are planning to stay in this League and above, and ideally we will need a 12,000 seater Stadium especially when you take into account the fact that we would be playing against the bigger boys where you will get crowds of 9,000 - 12,000 supporters and if we go about it in the right way, especially with the new CRM database, we can achieve that.

Yeovil's population is 50,000, but we need to hit the other areas of Somerset, Dorset and Devon. The Marquee will hopefully stay up until the end of the season, however Clive has been working along side me on this matter and has been in discussion with Simon Fox at the Licensing Department and they may be looking for us to have the Marquee taken down in February.

Clive has a meeting with Simon soon and he is hoping that the matter will be discussed and perhaps overruled in order for us to keep it up until the end of the season because of the covenants. Clive went on to say that in his opinion he can't see the Club being able to keep the Marquee after the end of the Season.

John then stated that he has a meeting on Friday to do with the Development of the Stadium and that he had consultants preparing reports for him to take to the Board and then discuss at the next CCM.

Because we have massive issues, I have grabbed the bull by the horns and examined how far we can go with the Stadium development and the practicalities of any development.

I have investigated the viability, including the bars and the way we are looking at it on a short-term basis will be Concourse bars that will be twice the size of the Marquee and situated on certain parts of the Stadium.

On a bigger scale I have been looking at the development of the Stadium, including the capacity we are looking for, both of these reports will be with me soon for the board to consider.

As you may be aware the planning application has come through and I think I was just as surprised as the next person when we received this as we had been waiting for over 18 months. I want what the Supporters want and that is somewhere for them to have a drink and something to eat with their family and enjoy their experience here at Huish Park.

Action: Review of Supporters Bar for Discussion at the next CCM meeting

Attracting New Supporters

Steve Watts stated that he had discussed with fellow GWSC members that many people from Shepton Mallet would like to attend games but had problems with travel.

He proposed that a travel club be set up by supporters in Shepton Mallet where they could lift share or pick up people that couldn't necessarily drive but wanted to attend matches. He said it was still early days with this idea but it was something worth looking into.

John Fry went onto say that the Club needed to bring in young supporters and target all parts of the county, part of our new e-mail service and database could well be to determine whether supporters have their own transport and to develop a transport share service.

The business of putting coaches on is a bigger long term objective as it is very expensive; the easier way to do it is to communicate through the internet or a transport service.

If you come from Beer Regis down in Dorset or from Chard and you can't get to a match then there maybe someone who would be prepared to pick you up, or a group of supporters that can lift share.

Another way of attracting younger supporters is to expand the Soccer Schools over the county and get our players involved. We need to work outside of Yeovil and in my opinion I would like to see a Supporters paper like Glovers News to be made available but run by the Supporters for the Supporters and circulated with the aim of hitting every area in Somerset and beyond.

We are aware that the facilities at the Club need to be improved but we are a victim of our own success as this Stadium was built for Conference Football.

We have made improvements but we have to be aware that we have to supply better facilities, arrange more family days and get groups of kids here from schools.

We are doing things to integrate with the Community and get more support but we need to promote these better. At the moment we are running a scheme called Playing for Success along with SSDC where we are providing training sessions for children from 15.00 - 19.00 two days a week.

Sue Parsons went onto say that the Ticket Office staff had sent out letters to Schools within the Somerset area offering the chance for children to attend matches free of charge with a paying adult.

Sue stated that the letters had gone out on Monday and that she had received a phone call today from one of the schools saying that they thought it was a fantastic idea and that they would send letters out to all the children's parents.

Dave Lilly stated that he had discussed the possibility of running a County five a side football tournament at the Club with Dave Linney.

This would take place at the end of the season when the children's football season had ended and would be played on either the Astro Pitch or on the Training Pitches.

With this in mind you could offer various discounts in the shop especially with a new home kit coming out next season and have competitions in order to attract the younger supporters to the Football Club.

John Fry went onto say that Huddersfield gave a free shirt to all supporters who had turned seven and that this had been successful as it was said that they would become supporters for life.

At the end of the day the Club needs to attract new supporters and we are looking at certain ways to achieve that.

Action: The new Home Shirt for next season to be discussed at the next CCM

Action: Develop On-Line Car Share Service (YTFC Car Share Scheme)

Ticket Prices/Categorised Matches

Jean Cotton stated that there had been a lot of discussions regarding the categorised matches but that these games had all been arranged to be policed which of course costs the Club a lot of money. We still have 3 categorised matches left which are Bristol City, Swansea City and Millwall.

Dave Lilly suggested that the Club informed supporters that if they purchased tickets for all of the 3 remaining categorised matches, they could use the tokens on the tickets to receive a free ticket for a certain match for their loyalty.

Sue Parsons informed the Committee that the tokens were used for big cup matches, but if we didn't have a big cup-tie this could possibly be implemented.

Dave Lilly suggested that we continued with the Categorised matches for this Season as it may cause confusion among the supporters. John Fry agreed with this and told the committee that he would be reassessing this for next season.

In regards to Season Ticket Holders Sue told the group that the Club had written to random season ticket Holders that hadn't renewed this season.

The reason behind a lot of them not renewing was redundancies throughout the area, other key factors were that they had moved away from the area and because there was no direct debit scheme.

Dave Lilly suggested that with the Club setting up a savings scheme with Norwich and Peterborough Building Society that utilises on-line banking and earns both the account and Club money. Why not open an account and set up a standing order of say 20 a month into it.

Over the course of the rest of the season that will build up to about 260/280 including the 100 needed to open the account and this should pay for a season ticket next year.

Supporters can then continue to keep the account to pay for each year's ticket and in addition supporters would earn interest on that amount and the club would also earn money for all the accounts that were opened.

John Fry agreed that this was a good idea and said that it could be advertised as a Season Ticket savings scheme.

Disabled Lift

James Hillier stated the disabled lift was now in operation and that the Club had explored many sources of funding including the Football Foundation & the SSDC - Playing for Success Scheme.

We are presently discussing how it will be used effectively on match days so that the 8 wheelchair users and carers can enjoy their day here at Yeovil Town Football Club

Any Other Business

Firework Night.

Sara Bradley asked on behalf of the Club if their were any of the committee members or members of their respective groups who would be prepared to help out at the next Firework night being held at the Club on Friday the 3rd of November.

The Club needs help in manning certain points around the Stadium and to collect money and tickets on the night

It was stated that the last Firework Night hadn't been very well organised with volunteers not being told exactly what they needed to do.

The Committee were informed that it would be looked into to make sure that didn't happen at this year's event.

Sara then advised if anyone was interested they needed to get in contact with Adrian Hopper to discuss this.

Meet the Manager

Open forum with Geoff Twentyman and Russell Slade being held in the Vice Presidents Lounge on Thursday the 5th of October. Tickets now available and are priced at 3.00 for Adults 1.00 for children and includes a free drink.

Christmas Draw

Sara stated that Dave Linney was looking for people to sell raffle tickets for the Christmas Draw. If anyone was interested they needed to get in contact with Dave Linney to discuss this.

Car Boot Sale

It has been decided to hold Car Boot Sales at the Club every Sunday with the first one starting this Sunday.

Internet Forum Invitation

A Moderator from the Green Room Forum was asked if they would like to attend future CCM's. The Moderator declined the offer which mean't that there was an opening for another supporter to attend.

Colin Turner had nominated himself for a position on the Committee and all members present were asked if they objected to Colin coming to future meetings, all were in favour of him becoming a Committee member and he will be asked to attend the next meeting.

Action: Sara to contact Colin and ask him if he still wishes to attend future CCM's

Supporters Representatives Issues

No issues from Supporter Representatives were brought to the Committees attention

Date of Next CCM

It was decided that the next CCM would take place on Wednesday the 13th of December at 17.45 in the Glovers Lounge

Meeting closed: 20.10

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