Following the recent survey into various aspects of stadium atmosphere, which drew an unprecedented level of response from over 3,000 fans, the Supporters Club & Trust has analysed the results, held its own meeting to discuss the findings, presented
these and participated in a discussion on them at a Fans Advisory Network (FAN) meeting and attended an informal Q&A session at the Three Lions pub with supporters, Andrew Billingham and David Lloyd.
Having now crunched the numbers and listened with great interest to the comments raised at these meetings, we are pleased to offer a series of proposals for Bristol Sport to consider. We believe that, if implemented, these proposals will go a long to addressing many of the issues raised by the survey and at the meetings. We therefore call on Bristol Sport to make every effort to implement them.
- Designate the back 11 rows of the South Stand (understood to be around 1,800 seats) as a ‘singing section‘ (and invite fans to come up with a better name that invokes the spirit of the old East End)
- For next season earmark an area (perhaps 800-900 seats) on the Williams Stand side of that section for unreserved seating at all but sell-out games (with a view to expanding the policy to the whole of the singing section from 2016/17)
- Discuss with the Safety Advisory Group any desire it may have to reduce capacity in that area and challenge, as promised, any undue reduction by pointing out the very generous dimensions of the rows in the South Stand and thus the easy access for latecomers looking for a spare seat, unlike in other stands where such reductions are sometimes imposed
If nevertheless forced to impose a reduction, operate as follows:
– Sell season tickets for the unreserved area up to its capacity, minus the enforced reduction (e.g. 855 season tickets and 45 seats unsold if a 5% reduction is imposed on an area of 900 seats; have all season tickets allocated to numbered rows and seats as usual)
– Hold back the remainder as single match tickets for sell-out games
– Operate non sell-out games on a ‘sit where you want’ basis
– Operate sell-out games on a ‘sit in your specified seat’ basis (both familiar practices to fans and Safety Advisory Groups, as clubs commonly operate away sections in this way)
- If season ticket sales for the singing section do not reach its capacity, offer ‘pay on the day’ tickets for that area as for all other areas of the ground
- Consider offering a second area of unreserved seating within Block A of the Dolman Stand (operated on a similar basis to that outlined above for the singing section)
- Make it known that as and when rail seats are allowed, the intention is to retrofit them in the back 11 rows of the South Stand, thus giving fans advance notice of the future nature of that area, which they can bear in mind when deciding where to buy their season ticket (fans who would not want to be in such a safe standing section in the future might, for instance, opt not to get a season ticket in that area so as to avoid having to relocate at a later date)
- Confirm that a similar approach will be taken to standing in the singing section as has been taken in recent years in the East End and this year in Block E of the Williams
- Announce that decoration of a variety of surfaces in the South Stand (both in view of the pitch and on the concourse) with flags, banners and street art (on demountable panels) will be encouraged and indicate which surfaces these will be (preferably to include all the back and side walls of the singing section). Advise dimensions of these surfaces and confirm that anchoring points will be provided and where these will be positioned, so that fans can let their creative juices flow and start producing materials of the right size. Confirm that dry storage will be provided for all such flags, banners and street-art on demountable panels.
- Permit the use of large flags on poles in the back of the South Stand (specify maximum sizes and any other restrictions). Ensure that fans are aware before buying tickets for that area that flags may be waved there within their sightline (thus ensuring that all who do buy tickets there are quite happy with this).
- Allow all graphics and words on flags, banners and street art that could legally appear in advertising or editorial in any mainstream newspaper, such as The Post. Expect and embrace traditional football culture.
- Discuss with fans the nature of the drink/food concessions on the South Stand concourse and invite suggestions and ideas, including in relation to potential joint ventures