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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Supporters Council Meeting Minutes

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Stoke City Supporters Council Meeting 
Saturday 24th September 2016 | Stoke City vs West Bromwich Albion

Club attendees
Tony Scholes, Adrian Hurst, Rob Killingworth, Anthony Emmerson 
  
Council Attendees
Nigel Hackney, Adrian Oldfield, Elliot Hackney, Joe Haynes, Mark Mills, Mark Barnett, John Slaney, Wayne Harrison, David Harper (Vice Chair), Angela Smith (Chair) 

Apologies
Rob Doe, Bryan Shaw, Runar Kvernen, Brian Edwards, Richard Heath. 



Approval of the minutes of the last meeting:

The minutes were agreed as an accurate reflection of the meeting and were approved. 

Welcome of New Members:

Nigel Hackney (Family Area rep), Adrian Oldfield (Corporate fan rep), Mark Barnett (Disabled fan rep) and Elliot Hackney (General seat) were welcomed to the Supporters Council.
 
Matchdays (Away Games & Crowd Problems):

There continues to be concerns around the poor behaviour of a minority of Stoke City supporters at away games.

A child was injured as a result of exuberant behaviour following a goal at Middlesbrough and a youngster broke ribs at Goodison Park because of a crowd surge at the Everton fixture. The SCFC Ticket Office was encouraged to continue with the empathic selling of tickets, i.e. selling a defined section of away stand seats to fans that need/want to sit throughout.

The Club will consider using strong imagery, as opposed to just website messaging, to highlight the problems that can be faced with unruly behaviour at away grounds. The Club also confirmed that they always request for SCFC Stewards to be present at every away fixture. However, this decision rests with the home club.

The idea was suggested for Stoke City to demonstrate best practice and offer a Family Friendly type space in the bet365 Stadium's Away End. The Club will liaise with all visiting teams and, where a large number of families/fans are identified as attending a game at SCFC, provisions may be made to offer a section of the South Stand where seating will be enforced and the respect of fellow fans promoted.

Alcohol on Official Coaches: 

There is still an obvious issue of supporters trying to sneak alcohol onto official coaches, with some fans trying to travel when noticeably inebriated, resulting in anti-social behaviour. Council members were in agreement that a zero tolerance policy should be enforced. It was noted that the Club can directly influence those fans travelling on official coaches. A renewed effort will be made to remind all fans travelling on official coaches that drinking alcohol contravenes national legislation in relation to coach travel.
 
It was agreed that the no alcohol on coaches' policy would be communicated to fans travelling to Manchester United on October 2nd and other away fixture in 2016-17. Any person found to be carrying alcohol illegally will be banned from travelling for 3 games. The offender will then be required to attend a meeting with the Club and will have to sign an Acceptable Behaviour Contract before they can resume use of the Club away transport. If they are caught offending again they will be banned permanently.

Family Bus: 
 
A suggestion was made that a 'Family Coach' be made available for away games. The Club said that it would assess the makeup of away ticket purchasers before deciding if there is enough demand.  If the demand was there, then it is something they would certainly consider.

Points at Away Games:

A fan had contacted one Council member as, when they buy tickets for away games on the day of the game, they do not accrue points to their account. SCFC Ticket Office had said that they would be unable to allocate points to these fans, even if they provide receipts etc. The Club will review this policy and report back any developments at the next meeting.

Website:

The Council stated that it would like the Club to update the Supporters Council page on the website.  

It was also raised that that there are several opportunities for the Club with regards to maximising its social media presence. A Council member suggested that the Club is missing opportunities by not extensively developing all social media platforms. The member pointed out that content is perhaps not 'best in class' whilst there is the obvious absence of a Snapchat account. Tony Scholes thanked the member for the constructive comments and said that Club staff members would be happy to meet with members of the Council to discuss further.

Catering:

Members questioned whether 'beer bars' had been discontinued on the concourse. Club staff members confirmed that it was not the case. The bars now offer an extremely small range of confectionary (at the request of supporters) and so this may have brought confusion.

The Club confirmed that Kiosks 8 and Kiosk 12 (Boothen End & dpd Stand) had been trialled for new 'queue here' type signage since the start of the season. Steer from the new Matchday support team and repositioning / replacements of TVs are also having a much improved effect on matchday queuing behaviour. The Club is also currently carrying out exploratory work into contactless payments across the concourses. The current networking/Wi-Fi infrastructure doesn't allow for this but a project is being scoped.

Searches:

It was reported that male stewards are unwilling to search female supporters, even when the female supporter gives her consent. This means that women are often delayed entering the stadium (and missing kick-off) through lack of female steward availability. To this end, the Club are attempting to recruit additional female Stewards (as well as educating all male Stewards that they are able to search female supporters where consent is given).

It was also discussed that queues of fans waiting to be searched often had little structure. The Club and Council members agreed that more order would develop over time, and that intervention in the form of barriers was not a consideration for now.

The Chief Executive pointed out that in the modern day, Premier League football fans need to factor in the necessity to arrive at grounds early in order to pass through security and be comfortable seated for kick-off.

Turnstiles:

It was reported that there had been an insufficient number of turnstile operatives at the first two Premier League home games of the season. This resulted in a small number of turnstiles being closed in the run up to kick off, with increased queues at turnstiles either side.

The Club said that the staff shortage was due to an unusually large number of staff reporting illness on the day of the game. The Club has since recruited 10 new staff members to ensure that there will always be a pool of additional staff to help out.

Family Area & Cup Games:

It has been noticed that there are often single adults in the family stands for night matches. The Club commented that this occurs if adults decide not to bring their children or a night game. However, the Club will ensure that children's tickets are not being used by adults. This is an unacceptable practice and will lead to an immediate Club ban.

Ticket Exchange:

The Club was asked whether Season Card holders would be allowed to sell individual game tickets on exchange sites if they were unable to make a particular fixture. The Club acknowledge that a minority of Premier League clubs allow Season Card holders to use StubHub and similar sites, but it is not something the Club is considering.

Ticket Prices:

The Club was asked whether they would consider doing something on pricing in the coming seasons. A Council member said that an opportunity presents itself as the Club's 10-year Premier League is near and also, if the Club were to hold prices for 2017-18, it will be the 10th consecutive season. The Club said that whilst next year's prices had yet to be finalised, all fans recognise how competitive pricing is at current levels. However, ideas were invited on giving non-financial benefit to the longest serving Season Card Holders.

AOB

Foundation:

Concerns were raised by Council members about the lack of marketing/visibility of the Potters Foundation scheme. The Club confirmed that it is still in operation and will ensure that it is actively marketed moving forward.

Transport / Bikes:

Work is ongoing to ensure the swift and reliable service of matchday shuttle buses. Following a request on where supporters can store bicycles. Club staff has agreed to determine the demand for such a service.

Ladies: 

The Club were asked to clarify the level of support it gives to the Ladies team. The Club confirmed that financial and operational support had increased significantly for the 2016-17.

International Day:

The Club confirmed that planning of a matchday to celebrate its international fans has commenced.  

The meeting ended with the Chair expressing thanks to all those who have served on previous elected Council. Tony Scholes stated that Council belongs to the fans and performs a valuable role. 

Date of Next Meeting:

3rd December 2016, Stoke City v Burnley, 11.00am in the Gordon Banks Suite

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