Board Meeting online using Zoom
Wednesday 6th September 2023, 7:00pm
Board: Stuart Rogers SR (chair & minutes), Marie Day MD, James Nicholls JN, Jon Darch JD, Shahan Miah SM, D-M Withers DM.
Supporters: Paul Binning. Mark Newman MN, Matt Seaward MS, Christine Chard CC, Ian Heath IH, Wendy Rowland WR.
Bristol City: Jerry Tocknell JT (SLO). Police: Dave Walker DW (Football Support Officer)
APOLOGIES: Board: Mike Adams MA, Terry Hamlin TH, Miles Hendy MH (vice-chair)
1. SLO & POLICE
14,900 men’s season tickets sold, of which 4,500 issued as physical cards. 1,689 women’s season tickets. Plymouth and West Brom games have been given full away allocation. For the women’s game, Arsenal have been given all of block W17 to sell. Leicester are taking a different approach. A number of suggested venues for this year’s Q&A, normally held at the Hen & Chicken, were provided to the SLO. Lisa Fillingham’s funeral is on Friday 22nd September with a drive through Ashton Gate.
Car park fines continue, notably to former players and managers. The issues with retail still prevail. It was noted that both are operated by Bristol Sport. Digital tickets only update after the rugby games, which could be an issue if the rugby is on a Friday before a Saturday game. Only 1 arrest at Millwall and none at Swansea, where the fans behaviour was exemplary. More should be made of this. Two fans ejected when reclaiming their trainers that were thrown around as they are considered as missiles. There was also one injury. The paper aeroplanes made out of display cards that made it on to the pitch also made it into the referee’s report. For the first time in a while there were no pyros in the ground following Flag Day.
Some concern expressed at the meeting (and in the survey) about food and drink prices, particularly that a bottle of water at Ashton Gate costs £2.90. This might become especially difficult for families and particularly during the hot weather.
2. MEETINGS WITH THE FOOTBALL CLUB
DM & SM had an introductory call with the new women’s team General Manager, Eliot Caton. A follow up structured dialogue meeting has been arranged for either Tuesday 12th or Friday 15th September (now confirmed for the 15th with Gavin Marshall and SR also attending).
JN, MN and SR met with JT, Phil Alexander and Dave Barton on 28th July and issued a public follow up. Next meeting is on Wednesday 13th September. Tonight’s meeting will help form the agenda. [ACTION SR]
There is likely to be a varied approach adopted by WSL teams selling tickets for away fans. Our survey showed that 34% of fans would support away travel via organised coaches and 30% said maybe. We underwrote the cost last season, so will ask the football club to do so this season. [ACTION DM/SM].
4. SUPPORTERS SURVEY 2023
Separate surveys went out for the men’s and women’s teams. Full data downloads are available and a summary comparing with last season’s results produced. Some of the comments still need to be downloaded for analysis [ACTION JD].
The results are to be shared at upcoming meetings and then disseminated through our external communications. The small sub-group to meet and plan this. [ACTION SR/SM/MH]
£125,000 in all accounts, which is good considering some exceptional spend last season. An outline budget is being prepared for this season and accounts being brought up to date. [ACTION JT].
a) Bristol City APP
IH raised that the recently updated version of the APP no longer has an option for match audio. Also, Radio Bristol commentary is restricted to within the BS3 area. As an exile that relies heavily on the audio and a subscriber of £40 a season, this is restrictive as it can only be accessed via a PC rather than a mobile or ipad. This to be raised at the meeting on 13th September. [ACTION SR/JN/MN].
b) Digital-only season tickets
Concerns voiced by CC that it will be an issue when season tickets become digital only as it will not be inclusive for disabled and elderly fans. PB stated that it could not only alienate but risk 30% not renewing. This to be raised at the meeting on 13th September. [ACTION SR/JN/MN].
c) Rewards Scheme
This has been problematic after its delayed launch and not as well received as straightforward discounts on merchandise. The scheme is too heavily linked to retail and some of the retail options exclude younger fans from participating. Charlie Lincoln to be invited to the next monthly meeting. [ACTION MA].
d) Social media channels like Instagram
An interesting debate about opening up other social media channels like Instagram concluded that whilst it might reach younger/different audiences, it would need to be content/picture heavy and could take up excessive volunteer time. For now, the Supporters Club & Trust will maintain presence on Facebook & Twitter/X
e) Flags at Women’s games
We would like to introduce flags for Women’s games at Ashton Gate, so will ask S82 if we can borrow some of the wavy flags on matchdays. [ACTION SR].
f) Supporters Bar for Women’s games
If the bar were to be used/promoted on matchdays it would have to be on a non-membership basis. We need to check firstly if it will be staffed and secondly whether commission would be due. [ACTION SR].
Next meeting would take place on Wednesday 4th October 2023, but this clashes with Rotherham United (A) so an alternative date will need to be arranged