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Supporters Council Meeting Minutes

Supporters Council

Stoke City Supporters Council

Meeting with Stoke City Football Club – Saturday 16th March 2019

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies

Stoke City: Rob Killingworth, Anthony Emmerson, Adrian Hurst and Paul Lakin

Supporters: Angela Smith, David Harper, Richard Bestwick, John Smith, Michael Tudor, Nigel Hackney, Mark Bradshaw, Mark Barnett, Wayne Harrison, Adam Hindhaugh, John Slaney, Jonathan Lowe, Linda Bennett, Sean Ruane

Apologies: Tony Scholes, Daniel Stevenson

Actions/Updates from last meeting

A. Financial Fair Play.  The Club continues to address FFP issues discussed at last meeting.  Nothing new to report.   

B. Car Parking Update.  Supporters have confirmed that Police have started to issue tickets on cars parked unsafely at Sideway and other “No Parking” signed areas during home games.  This ticketing is anticipated to continue.  The Supporters Council supports actions to provide a safe environment for all fans.  A separate potential safety concern was raised regarding supporters walking between coaches in the Nuffield Health area.  With immediate effect, the Club will monitor this at future games, with possible CCTV surveillance as well.  

C. Museum Update.  The initial idea from a Council member was a permanent display of Club artifacts and memorabilia, in an existing or newly built bet365 Stadium location.  Feasibility in relation to security, facilities and cost etc. means that the idea has yet to be actioned as proposed.  However, the Club and the Supporters Council are jointly exploring a one-off “pop-up” event this summer allowing supporters to display artifacts and share personal collections with others.  The event will help shape plans for a more permanent museum space.  Council member, John Smith, will also visit similar museums/fan zones to gather information and ideas.  The Chair raised a related question as to why the Watney Cup is exhibited at Derby County although Stoke City were last winners.  The Club will check why this is the case.  

D. Contactless Transactions Update.  The Club advised that the position in relation to a wider roll-out remains as last reported, as Capital Expenditure submission deadline is the end of March 2019.  The Club will provide interim update on contactless implementation prior to the next Supporters Council meeting.  Council members stressed contactless transactions remain a high priority for a broad cross-section of fans and urged the Club to look at innovative solutions that many smaller merchants seem to be using.  The Club stated that they were hopeful that a roll out beyond existing trial locations will take place, although no implementation schedule is available until Capital investment is approved.

E. Away Coach Travel.  Council members requested the date of when a decision on free coach travel provision for 2019/20 will be made.  The Club stated that any decision to continue away travel is influenced by many factors, including Season Card sales. A decision will be communicated in due course.

F. Meet the Manager event. Nathan Jones is committed to holding an event but no date has been scheduled at this time. The Club will advise when a date is decided.

G. Ticketing

a. Season Card Sales. Early bird sales are currently at half way point.  The Club is reasonably happy with the response so far and a late surge in sales is hoped for as deadline approaches.

b. Giving Individual & Carer Tickets Access Online.  Carer tickets are not issued simultaneously on the ticketing website.  This is a function that is not allowed by ticketing software currently, but the Club’s ticketing staff members are aware and committed to resolve.  For information, the Club website is moving to “single sign-on” approach in April for Stoke City+ and other website components. 

Raised Topics

A. Gordon Banks’ Funeral.  The Supporter Council confirmed fans appreciation for the outstanding organisation by the Club of Gordon Banks’ funeral.  Paul Lakin, on behalf of the Club indicated it was a complete team effort of which people were justifiably proud.  The City Council also gave excellent support. In response to a question, the Club advised there are no plans to reproduce the Gordon Banks replica shirt.  It was felt most respectful to not commercialise this aspect. In response to another question, the Club advised fans’ tributes from the Statue area were collected and delivered to the Banks’ family.  Flowers were also collected for recycling and the Club are looking at ways to incorporate the recycled/composted matter into future tributes that may include a commemorative tree.

B. Club President.  Council members recognised Gordon’s outstanding contribution as Club President and observed he will be a hard act to follow. 

C. Future naming of stands.  The Club advised there are no current plans to name the bet365 Stadium Stands after Stanley Matthews or Gordon Banks but the Club is always open to suggestions.  The Club perspective is that a permanent legacy exists with the two statues and also two function rooms.  Council members advised that many fans feel Stand naming would be appropriate in conjunction with the commercial naming and might be looked on positively by the existing Stands sponsors.  Council members also requested that the Club look at lighting for Gordon Banks’ statue given increased people visiting; with some outside daylight hours.

D. Club Open Day.  This remains very much in Club’s thoughts for this summer.  Club staff members are still waiting on First Team management to confirm pre-season dates and locations.  The Club will make information available as soon as possible.

E. Live streaming next season. The Club advised that live streaming is covered under an EFL directive and plans for next season are under review.  The review will aim to understand the bigger picture and involvement of Sky TV’s red button coverage. The Council again emphasised the value of live streaming especially to overseas fans. This season’s streaming operational issues are now largely resolved and were due to faulty equipment which has been replaced. 

F. Meet the Vice-Chairman & Chief Executive event.  At the time of the meeting, some tickets were still available, but the event will not be live streamed. Various interactive opportunities will be available including advance question submission, live-blog, on Twitter during event and also a video recording of the event.  

G. Family Stand.  A question was raised by a fan that Family Stand Season Card holders, where concessions do not attend games, means a group has to relocate with associated costs.  The Club advised that at evening fixtures, adults are allowed to remain in the Family Area without charge if the child does not attend.  

The Club commented that while there are more families attending weekend matches, they still operate a full programme of family focused activities for all matches (including evening fixtures).  The Club’s approach to welcoming families in a safe, appropriate and safeguarded space is in line with EFL best practice guidelines.  

H. Recycling.  Council members asked what plans existed to implement a recycling program at the bet365 Stadium.  Club staff members commented that whilst they have obtained separate skips to facilitate recycling, a future step will indeed be to look at how to implement recycling in concourse areas.  The Club will review with its facilities group, but implementation would also require some change in fans behaviour.  In terms of litter, there have been some complaints from local residents regarding rubbish on pathways to the ground.  All fans are reminded to be sensitive to local residents and act appropriately.

I. Club Crest. In response to a question, the Club advised there are no current plans to redesign the Club crest.

J. Customer Care. The Council requested that the Club tag the Council in publicising ongoing positive events to strengthen communications.  The “Love is Noise” initiative was discussed. Club staff members indicated this is an entirely fan-led initiative. 

K. Recognition of Bolton Tragedy.  Recognition of date on social media appeared to be missed this year.  Bolton Wanderers did publish a note of remembrance.  Council members asked the Club to place a date in diary for next year.

Next Meeting:  TBD when 2019/20 fixture list identified.  

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