Birmingham City Football Club Supporters Forum: November 2016

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November 29, 2016 by Made In Brum

By Ray & Tina Hobrow – Blues Collective

Location :Legends Lounge (18:30)          Chair: David Boston (SLO) – BCFC

BCFC Representatives: Panos Pavlakis (Director), Roger Lloyd (Senior Finance Officer), Joanne Allsopp (Chief Coordinating Officer), Julia Shelton (Club Secretary), Ian Dutton (Head of Commercial), Colin Tattum (Head of Media & Communication), Jess Taylor (Marketing Manager), Dave Hoult (Safety Officer), Michelle Daly (Head of HR), Wayne Cowen (Head of Ticketing & Retail), Sharon Byrne (Catering Manager).

Supporter Group Representatives: Ray Hobrow (Blues Collective), Tina Hobrow (Blues Collective), Richard Stanley (Blues Trust), Lynda Courts (Redditch Blues), Russell Dempsey (Joys and Sorrows), Linda Goodman (Birmingham), Chris Sinclair (Northside Blues), Tony Routely (Central Blues Travel), John Griffin (North West Blues), Dave Smith (Official BCFC Forum). .

Unaffiliated Supporter Representatives (2016/17): Sam Court, Paul Barber, Adam Pownall, Emma Wilock, Clare Normanton, Brian Chapman, Andrew Orgill, Susan Smith.

Agenda:

1. Introductions     2. Parking Update     3. Ownership     4. Retail       5. Ticketing                       6. Marketing      7. Commercial         8. Media and Communication       9. HR      10. Catering 11. Match Days & Facilities        12. AOB

Introductions – Dave Boston

Parking Update – Dave Boston

2800 residents asked, only 450 replied, 81% against the proposals. Linda Goodman asked about cars leaving the kop car park later after fans have dispersed as someone was knocked over after the last home game. The club said they may look into this.

Ownership

* Like most Blues fans Blues Trust would like an indication of how things might change for the better under the new regime (John Griffin)

Answer – Although BCFC were taken over 17th October, TTA have already been investing both on and off the pitch ie the dome at the training ground, new dugouts, screens and purchasing players such as Fabbrini and his wages (Panos Pavlakis)

* Is it true some reports have suggested that TTA’s overall objection is to sell BIHL after putting it on a sound financial footing? How does TTA intend to do this, over what timescale, and how will this affect the football club? (Richard Stanley)

Answer – TTA have committed for 2 years minimum. How many other businesses make that statement?. This is a strong message of commitment. Gary Rowett feeling very “bullish” in the next transfer window. (Panos Pavlakis)

* Are the new owners/management open to fan representation at board level through a constitutionally structured fans representative body. (Richard Stanley)

Answer – In the short term probably not. BCFC will ask the question. (Roger Lloyd)

Retail

* Limited choice of ladies wear in the shop and no ladies replica shirts! (Lynda Courts)

Answer – BCFC try to bring in products that will sell rather than sit on the shelf. Minimum order quantities also have to be taken into consideration. (Wayne Cowen)

* Lots of new designs for men/ladies/kids just have the small sewn on rectangular badge not the proper ball and globe. Hats just have a metal badge attached!! Are fans ever consulted on what ranges are introduced?? (Lynda Courts)

Linda Goodman also asked about the £85 bench coat which has a heat sealed badge rather than embroidered like Chelsea / Man Utd.

Answer – The ranges that include the leather badge appeals to fans that want to wear the product as it is “not in your face”. BCFC are a different entity to those clubs mentioned. BCFC deal with Adidas UK rather than Adidas global (Wayne Cowen)

Ticketing

* What plans does the club have to increase attendances at matches? Does the club recognize that supporters groups can help do this by strengthening the bond between supporters and club? If so, are the club willing to help supporters groups by publicising their activities on its website, in matchday programmes, by adverts on the big screen and half time features. (Richard Stanley)

Answer – If fan groups are doing positive things for the club then there is no reason why BCFC won’t help / highlight. Blues4All is a prime example. Blues now offer the cheapest tickets in the championship and regularly run ticket promotions ie Free tickets to troops, 2 4 1 tickets. (Dave Boston)

* Season ticket holders including myself have never received notification this season of their away priority as in previous seasons. A small point but supporters would like to know their status. (John Griffin)

Answer – Supporters asked to check with club / ticket office to ensure club has correct email addresses.(Wayne Cowen)

* Attempted to book x4 tickets for Saturday but for 2 days now (Saturday/Monday) nobody is answering the phones, the type of tickets we require can only be booked by phone. (Dave Smith)

Answer – Calls should always be answered, if busy, then trips over to ticketmaster. (Wayne Cowen)

* Suggestions of links with smaller clubs like Redditch United and Solihull Moors – the friendly with Solihull was really ell attended and so should have more like this, should be discounts for BCFC season ticket holders to attend their games when Blues are not playing or are playing away. (Lynda Courts)

Answer – Solihull Moors already offer this. Next game a reduction from £14 to £10 for season ticket holders. It is up to other clubs to offer this. (Wayne Cowen)

* Mobile tickets, surely in this day and age the club should be able to accept a copy of the ticket on a phone rather than it having to be physically printed? (Russell Dempsey)

Answer – Technically it is available but it is hit and miss. Scanners sometimes do not detect the barcode on the phone due to lighting. BCFC will raise this with ticketmaster. (Wayne Cowen)

Marketing

* Why have the club removed the opportunity to earn loyalty points through the “code” on the screen at the match? (Russell Dempsey)

Answer – BCFC still trialling different things. Issuing a half season survey to understand what works to season ticket holders. (Jess Taylor)

* Loyalty Points – I don’t like Loyalty Friday as not as easy to get points, limited ways to earn points now which is not as favourable, wants points redeemable online. (Lynda Courts)

Answer – Again, BCFC are trialling different things with loyalty points. (Jess Taylor)

Commercial

* In the Wiseman lounge at half time, one TV has repeats of programmes on it but with no sound what is that all about? (Dave Smith)

Answer – BCFC did not know about this but will ensure it will not be repeated for the next game. (Ian Dutton)

Media and Communication

* We are still only getting the time and score on the big screen. Is it too much to ask for the team line ups to be shown during the match as it used to along with any Yellow or Red cards issued. We know the score but don’t always know the other information. It is just a glorified scoreboard at the moment. (Dave Smith)

Answer – BCFC will look into this. (Colin Tattum)

* Some of the adverts shown on the big screen are too glaring at night matches when they have a White background. They are hard to look towards. Have any players complained about this because it must be off putting to them. It’s not like floodlights that are on all the time as the adverts flash on without warning. A darker background to the adverts is needed at night. (Dave Smith)

Answer – Yes it was bright and the club noticed this after it was mentioned and toned it down after the Preston game. (Colin Tattum)

HR

* Do Blues pay the living wage to all employees? (Russell Dempsey)

Answer – Yes, BCFC comply top all legislation. (Michelle Daly)

Catering

* Half time catering – despite assurances at recent meetings, certain items are still running out (we were told that overstocks would be preferable to running out). (Russell Dempsey)

Answer – BCFC have implemented a new system to understand what sells more and what to hold but every game is different. The last 9 games have been monitored and levels have been increased based on customer requirements. BCFC are also looking into the option of using “hawkers” to sell off over stocked products that do not keep. (Sharon Byrne)

* Contactless payment / card payment in general – could this be implemented in the bars at all? In Belgium they have a system that is simple but very effective – they don’t take cash or cards or anything else at the point of sale. Instead they have kiosks around the ground where you pay for what you want and you are given a ticket (or multiple tickets) which you simply hand over in exchange for your drink or burger or whatever – no change to sort out, no card machines or queues. (Russell Dempsey)

Answer – BCFC will look into but can be expensive to implement. There was also a suggestion of pre-paid cards. (Roger Lloyd)

* Real ale – serve straight from the keg beer festival style and as done at Fulham and Wembley (Dave Smith)

Answer – Bottled real ale is available. A draught ale has been introduced in The Happy abode bar and will be monitored to see how it goes. (Ian Dutton)

* Mobile vendors need to walk up the aisles more to cater for customers. (Dave Smith)

Answer – BCFC will look to see if vendors can go into more areas. Due to health and safety it is not wise for them to go up and down steps. (Sharon Byrne)

Match Day Facilities

* More hand driers required, particularly in ladies toilets by entrance 5 – there is 1 hand drier- but 3 sinks and 8 toilet cubicles!! (Lynda Courts)

Answer – Utilities have been approved by the board. BCFC are looking to upgrade in general. (Dave Boston)

* Are there any plans to supply hot water to the sinks in the toilets?.. it is 2016 after all. (Dave Smith)

Answer – All upgrades would be done in the close season (Julia Shelton)

* You still need more shelves for drinks round circular pillars and along walls in concourse areas. (Lynda Courts / Dave Smith)

Answer – Would need approval as this reduces the width of walkways and also a hazard for small children. (Dave Hoult)

* Is there any talk of the Main Stand being redeveloped or is this some way off. (Dave Smith)

Answer – Yes, but in the short term monies are being invested in the football team. (Joanne Allsopp)

* Is there any chance of some small ground improvements such as floodlighting (always seems sub-standard) or some new goal nets. The place seems tired and run down and a bit of spruce up is required. (Dave Smith)

Answer – Yes these are on the list of things to do. (Joanne Allsopp)

* We have never had any sound on the old and single TV in the kop bar and when they moved its position before this season they didn’t bother turning it on until one home game last month. They have then turned it off and its not been on since so since the season started its been on once. Big Screens with sound and turn them on and then play lots of the best moments of our glorious club. You may actually start to create a nice atmosphere before games and at HT or is this too much to ask? (Dave Smith)

Answer – BCFC will look into what is operational. (Dave Boston)

AOB

* Walk out music – Gary Rowett had an input to this

* Clarification that E-cigs are banned.

Answer – All forms of smoking in the stadium bowl are banned. Signage needs to be made more prominent and stewards will be proactively monitoring the stands and instructed to be more proactive to help this situation (Dave Hoult ).

* Clarification that away ticket priorities are mainly for season ticket holders.

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