Voting now underway...
STOKE CITY supporters have seven days to vote for whom they think should represent them on the Supporters Council in the forthcoming season.
Eleven supporters have submitted election statements outlining why they think they are the perfect candidates to represent their Potters' supporter base in one of five General Seats that are up for grabs.
They are; Richard Bestwick, John Smith, Steve Rushton, David Harper, Mark Hammond, Ian Davies, Chris Smith, Laurence King, Ed Hyde, Mike Tudor and Adam Hindhaugh.
Three supporters have put themselves forward to represent fans in the Q-Railing Stand (Lower). These are Linda Bennett, Joe Cartmail and Anthony Gannon.
Finally, three young fans have put forward statements that they hope will see them elected onto the council as a 16-18 year old representative. These are Daniel Stevenson, Dave Crowther-Green and Will Mennell.
Fans can vote by emailing [email protected] with the subject heading ‘Supporters Council’. Simply list your preferred candidates for the General Seats (you can choose up to five) and then give one preferred candidate only for both the Q-Railing (Lower) representative and the 16-18 year old representative. Voting ends at 9pm on Tuesday August 8.
Sean Ruane will join the Council for 2017/18 as he was unchallenged in his application to represent fans in the Sharp South Stand.
GENERAL SEAT CANDIDATES
My name is Richard Bestwick and I would like to stand as a candidate in the Stoke City’s Supporters Council election. I have previously served as a member of the Supporter’s Council, a role I was very proud to hold and I was fully dedicated to engaging and attending all meetings. In my previous term, I was part of the team that helped to develop the away travel point’s scheme and I also worked with the Community department to promote the great work they achieve in the local community.
I am very passionate about Stoke City and I will talk to anybody I meet about the fantastic pricing strategy the Club currently operates. 10 years of a price freeze is something the Club needs to be very proud of, and if I am elected I would encourage the Club to freeze these prices for many more years.
Match day experience is also very high on my agenda. My fellow Stoke City fans invest a lot of time and money into supporting the Club we all love. I will continue to urge the Club to provide everybody, whatever their budget or whatever stand they sit in, to receive the highest standard of service during all aspects of their match day experience.
I previously stated that it is paramount, as an elected Supporters Council representative, to attend all meetings and play an active role in these meetings. If you would like a fully committed Supporter’s Council representative, please support me with your vote.
My name is John Smith and I am a 69 years old season ticket holder (Boothen End, block 20) living in Tean. I am a retired teacher with five grown up children and seven grandchildren. My first match was in August, 1959 (a 3-1 win over Sunderland at the Victoria Ground) and since then I have attended almost every single home match and as many away matches as I could. Whatever the level we've played at, I've been there and now, the same.
Last season, I had an issue with the security arrangements outside the stadium. I felt there was a lack of professionalism with the agency staff on a match day . In my view, the customer relations were dire. I approached the Club and detailed what the issues were, suggesting that this was one area which was necessary but could have been done far, far better. The Club listened and I was able to put some relevant points forward. Within a short time these had been addressed and, I'm pleased to say, were improved in attitude. There was a need to protect us all but the manner in which these checks are done should be carried out with minimum disruption and with courtesy to the paying customer (us fans!). Fair play to the Club for listening and fair play to the Club for having a Supporters' Council.
The most successful Clubs are those with owners, management, players and supporters all pulling in the same direction. We may never reach Champions League status on a regular basis but by cooperating and meeting together we can enjoy the journey together and "do our bit" to help reach that target. The Supporters Council is one way in which we can work together and I would like to offer my services as a member, for the benefit of all fans and, therefore our much-loved Stoke City.
I, like a great many of our supporters, am very passionate about our fabulous football Club. Having attended and supported Stoke City since the sixties, I have seen many changes at all levels including, Board, Managers and players alike.
I have been a Charity Manager within the NHS for a number of years now and this role has helped me appreciate, that within a huge organisation, we can only reach mutual beneficial goals by working closely together. Within my career, I have worked with a great number of people and organisations across the community and understand the value of individual contributions and how collectively they can make a real difference.
I firmly believe that it is "our Club" and I know, as supporters, we can definitely influence its future in many ways. For these reasons I would embrace the chance to join the Supporters Council and help improve the supporter experience and contribute to making the Club the best it can be.
I am David Harper and for the past four years it has been my privilege to have been a member of the Supporters Council and it is my intention to again ask for your support for re-election as a general seat representative.
I have supported our great Club since 1967 and I am proud to have attended all but 4 home games during this period. In addition one of my life pleasures is to attend away games be they UK or some corner of a ‘foreign field’.
During my time on the Council and with support of valued colleagues (past and present). I have been able to draw on my life/business experience to help facilitate many initiatives that have resulted in significant benefits for our diverse supporter base e.g.:
Season ticket price cap . (10 years incredible)!
- Free away travel – emotive topic, but generally accepted as a stand out Premier League offering.
- Input into bet365 Stadium upgrades, including significant improvements for our disabled friends.
- Support for the Community Trust, including assisting the dementia project with the Approach organisation.
In addition to the ‘headline projects’, a significant amount of time is spent on day to day supporter specific issues raised by individuals, these being dealt with outside the formal meetings with management.
If you place your vote with me, I promise to provide a hardworking, constructive and evolutionary approach to your representation on the Council. If the aforementioned meets your aspirations then thank you for your confidence in me.
Best of luck to all candidates.
My name is Mark Hammond, I am 50 years old and along with my family, have been a supporter all my life and season ticket holder in the DPD stand.
I travel to most games away from home, including overseas, having done so for several years, not missing out on pre-season friendlies and am currently waiting to travel next week to Germany to watch SCFC in Leipzig. I think this stands me in good stead to see how and what both supporters and SCFC itself can improve or upgrade in the future.
I would bring a mature, level headed and honest opinion along with integrity and resolve to the committee as I am very experienced in attending, chairing and speaking at meetings at all levels due to my background with the UK MoD and the various committees that I have Chaired and been a member of throughout my working and sporting life.
I would consider it an honour to represent both the supporters and the Club itself and would serve as a worthy ambassador for such a great and historic institution.
It was 1970 when my father took me to my first game at The Victoria Ground, I remember that we sat in the Stands. When I was old enough, I purchased a junior season ticket with my pocket money for “The Paddock”, later I made the transfer to “The Boothen End” and standing in the same place every game I made some tremendous “football” friends.
I moved away in 1980 to join the RAF. Now making my home in Banbury in Oxfordshire and at the age of 55 I am coming back to football as my children have grown up and fled the nest. I have bought my first season ticket for nearly thirty years for this season.
I believe that I have a special and unique view, one that can only be achieved when you drive 200 miles to get to a game and go home. I can represent that diverse group of supporters who are not living in the City and may never have lived there. I can share your thoughts on things that others may not even consider - when games are played late but you still have a two hour (or more) drive home, on parking, on travel, on accessing Stoke City from outside of Stoke on Trent on whatever challenges stop you from joining us physically or virtually.
It might be a minority, but I would like to represent those that live away and in so doing make Stoke City a better Club for everyone.
Well I’ve been a Stokie born and bred in 1950.
My first match I recall was a match in midweek versus Charlton – circa 1958.
For the last decade I’ve been exiled in deepest scouse land having to hold my own against the banter from the reds and the blues.
Imagine my delight at STOKE 6 LIVERPOOL 1
I hung a note on my office door – simply said 6-1
Evertonians loved it and mobile phone pictures followed.
Well I retire come September 30 and would welcome the chance to contribute to my beloved Club
Up the Potters
My name is Laurence King and I seek your support please to be elected as a General Seat representative on the Supporters Council.
I was born and raised in Stoke before moving away to work in 1982 before returning to the area again in 1995 and becoming a season ticket holder shortly after. I retained the season ticket during the last seven and a half years when again I had to leave the area to work in Scotland, before moving back permanently to the Midlands in April.
Supporters are the lifeblood of this football Club and I would like the privilege of working with others to represent their views. I previously sat on the Fans Forum before having to move away from the area in 2010. Within my work role I was a senior lay trade union representative at UK and European level, this has given me useful experience in collating and representing views, in seeking constant improvements for groups and individual and in managing meetings with others such as other representatives and Club management.
Stoke City has always been my football Club and always will be, and I therefore wish the Club to be successful in all it does. There has been tremendous change and improvement at the Club particularly following promotion but there is also still much to be done to enhance the experience for supporters. I hope to work with Council members and supporters to continue those positive developments.
I would like to put myself forward for election to a General Seat.
I am nineteen years old and have been a season ticket holder for the past eleven years, whilst attending nearly every away game. I believe that my lengthy experience of following the Club relative to my age enables me to offer up to date opinions on Club matters whilst acknowledging the Clubs tradition and history.
The Council should reflect the wide fan base at the Club and thus I feel strongly that one of the General Seats should be occupied by someone of the younger adult generation. Today's younger generation of adults will make up the foundation of supporters for years to come and thus it is important that they are represented by someone on the council who can offer a platform for their views and opinions.
I have served on the Council before as an Under 18 member meaning that I am well accustomed to how the council operates and how best to represent the supporters in order to bring about any necessary change for the good of the Club and fan base.
My name is Mike Tudor. I've been a Stoke City supporter my whole life, have lived in North America over 36 years and in Houston, Texas the past 15 years. Now retired, I’m fortunate enough to travel back and see 10-12 Stoke games per season live, work on three charity-related Boards (one is football-related, helping underprivileged kids in Lesotho, southern Africa) and follow my racehorse interests in the UK and USA. During a 37 year career with the world’s largest oil company, I had responsibility for many thousands of employees and annual budgets in excess of $2 billion and have extensive experience in heavy industry operations and the oversight, development and execution of major construction projects worldwide.
I held my first Stoke season ticket in 1972 and since 2008 have been a season card holder in the Q-Railing Upper Stand. I've also sponsored a player shirt (currently Geoff Cameron) annually for fifteen years.
I would bring to the Council a perspective on how the Club might improve based on how the best-run companies in the World operate; a view of how the supporter experience is different outside the U.K. (NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, MLS etc.) and which aspects might be adopted; a passion for helping the Club improve its relationship with all fans and last but not least, a viewpoint that both respects the Club's history but recognizes the need to get better every day.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Mike
I am writing to express an interest in becoming a member of the Supporter's Council. I am 38 years of age and have supported Stoke City since the age of 6/7. Stoke City has always had a prominent place in my life from my time as a Junior Potter, coaching younger fans during soccer schools on the training ground and at St Joseph's, working as a retail assistant at the Victoria Ground and the move to the Britannia Stadium and being a member of the previous fans forum with Tim Gallimore. I have been a season ticket holder for many years, occupying a seat on the half way line in the East Stand with my dad and sister. Whilst I do not attend as many away games as I used to, due to family commitments, I travelled across Europe during the 2011 / 2012 season.
I am currently employed by a North West Local Authority as a manager in Early Help and have extensive knowledge across Early Years, Education and Safeguarding as previously I was a qualified teacher and Children's Centre Manager. In my role, I form strong partnerships with key stakeholders, able to negotiate and influence key decision making as well as being an extremely effective communicator. I am passionate about the work that I do and always adopt a professional approach to the tasks that I undertake. I am able to see perspectives from different points of views and not afraid to challenge with the appropriate facts to hand.
I feel that I would be an asset to the group and be able to represent viewpoints maintaining a balanced viewpoint.
FAN REPRESENTING Q-RAILING (LOWER) CANDIDATES
have been a Stoke supporter since I was 9 years old and I’m now a Season Ticket holder sitting in the Lower Tier of the Q Railing Stand, Block 12. I follow our team both Home and Away. I would say I am a very positive Stoke Supporter (some say too positive!) I am able to see that there are a great many reasons behind team selection, the transfer window and the many aspects of running a Club. I am a mature person and have worked very closely with the public all my working life. I am confident and am used to public speaking so feel that I am able to converse with both the Committee and the fans on the various topics which may arise. I am caring and like to problem solve and a good listener. I am retired from full time work and I am now self-employed but work hours to suit. This means I have time to devote to the work of the Committee. I am very down to earth and love my Club and am passionate about football. Stoke City plays a big part in my life and I have more to give to both the fans and the Club.
My name is Joe Cartmail, I'm 18 years old and I've been a season ticket holder in the Q-Railing lower for what will be 6 seasons. My favourite Stoke memory is the 5-0 demolition of Bolton in the FA cup semi-final at Wembley.
Whilst I am a relatively new supporter compared to others applying, I see this as an advantage as I can bring a new, different perspective to perhaps what others can. It is important to have a range of opinions within the council and I think I am the right candidate as my in-depth knowledge of modern football gives me an edge over other, older applicants.
I would consider myself a Stoke City fanatic, constantly keeping up to date with transfer news, watching as many games as possible including pre-season and training exercises on YouTube.
In my role I would be completely honest about all issues and will be ensuring that the fans voices are heard, one way I will do this is by using the popular 'Oatcake' message board and other fan sites on social media in order to get the opinions of as many fans as possible, before analysing and turning them into points that can be brought up at a meeting.
Thank you for your consideration
I am a lifelong supporter, first attending matches in the mid-1960s and am a current season ticket holder.
In this era of "megabucks" with players and Clubs seemingly becoming more distant to the everyday fan I believe there is a role for the Supporters Council, and the individual members of it, to explore and implement any and all ideas to "bridge the gap." I see Stoke City as MY Club and am passionate to help continue the excellent work done in recent years to avoid the Club becoming remote to its lifeblood i.e. its supporters.
There are plenty of reasons to be proud of what the Club has achieved so far but ongoing constructive dialogue with fresh ideas and personnel together with an outward facing council will be of obvious benefit to the Club.
It would be my intention to build on my existing knowledge of current supporters views and to actively seek out fellow supporters observations about matters in respect of which they are entitled to have an opinion which should be heard (whether those observations are positive or negative) and ensure such views at brought to the Council`s attention in the appropriate manner.
As a former solicitor, I am well used to advocating on behalf of others and am experienced in the conduct of business meetings. I am someone who enjoys dialogue with a purpose and not for its own sake.
FAN REPRESENTING 16-18 YEAR OLDS CANDIDATES
I would like to join the Stoke City Supporter’s Council because I believe that I can offer a positive contribution on behalf of all 16-18-year-old supporters. I am currently 17 years old and run a fan page with over 3500 likes whose audience is predominately teenagers. Having this page allows me to engage with supporters of all ages and lets them forecast their views about news and ongoing current Club affairs and since starting this page we have been able to negotiate a social media partnership with Leons Travel Group.
I am a very intellectual person who also has excellent communication skills meaning I can be the voice for the teenage community of Stoke City. I show a grave interest in Stoke City and have been a supporter for many years showing that I know what the fans expect from the Club; with this knowledge, I can make a difference by showcasing the thoughts of fans to main Club directors.
I could also be the voice for the Sharp South Stand as when I attend Stoke matches, I always sit in the South Stand and I know what the supporters want to see introduced at the Club and this is important because fans can trust me to put their points of view across.
Although I am only 17; I am very hardworking and like to complete tasks and make sure supporters are heard.
My name is Will Mennell and I sit in the Boothen End, Block 25. I have had a season ticket since I was 9 years old and frequently attend away, cup and friendly games with my Dad and older brother.
We love nothing more than our experience together with Stoke but feel there are aspects that can still be improved.
A large part of my match-day ritual is pre-match in Delilah’s and I often arrive 2-3 hours before kick-off to soak in the atmosphere. This means I would be able to provide views and feedback on Delilah’s bar with my knowledge and others.
Outside of match-day I follow the Club in as many ways as I can, including social media such as Facebook and Instagram, as well as the new Stoke City+ and of course The Oatcake. With interactions on these platforms I would be open to providing my feedback and recommendations.
Not only will I be able to express my opinions on matters but will also be open to views of fans around me, whether it be friends, from Delilah’s, in surrounding seats or online.
I always try to keep an optimistic view and look at the broader picture rather than the immediate situation. I would hope to bring to the table smaller details such as the season review to help improve every aspect of the Club.
Having been an avid supporter of Stoke City for the best part of 15 years, attending my first home at the age of 3 and first away game at 12, I know first-hand what it is like to be a young football fan today. I think I have an understanding about how younger fans feel about attending games and the sort of things that appeal to our age group to make attending a game an enjoyable experience.
I also have experience in social media, which is in an area that younger people particularly relate to. I have produced my own content and presented through mediums such as YouTube and Twitter, with the majority of my audience being from my own age group. Producing this content has allowed easy communication with other Stoke fans and would be a platform to allow me to receive feedback that could be used in this role.
In general I have a keen interest in the game itself and I am always watching football from around the world to improve my knowledge. I recently attended a league match in Spain watching Barcelona and this season I hope to attend more games in different countries to see what the experience is like for fans in different cultures.
I believe I would be suitable for this role on the fans council and will do my best to help and improve the younger Stoke City supporter’s experience.