Ahead of the 2023/24 Barclays Women’s Super League campaign, the Supporters Club & Trust recently held their first structured dialogue meeting of this season with Bristol City Women FC on Friday 15 September 2023.
These meetings follow the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the football club and the Supporters Club & Trust in 2021.
Representing the Supporters Club & Trust were City Women Fan Representatives D-M Withers & Shahan Miah, plus Chair Stu Rogers. Representing the football club was new General Manager Eliot Caton, Chairperson Gavin Marshall, Supporter Liaison Officer (SLO) Jerry Tocknell, Fan Engagement Executive Emily Poole & Ryan Morgan from the media department.
Away travel for supporters
We underwrote two coaches last season. The proposition for the WSL will be better this season, so we should be filling coaches to at least the bigger teams. Should run as a non-profit venture. Club keen to make it happen and an option is to discount for season ticket holders. If there is no discount for season ticket holders, the publicity messaging should acknowledge there are differences between the costing of the coach for BCFC and BCWFC supporters, but that this is part of establishing regular provision of away coaches for BCWFC games. SLO has a good relationship with Turners and will get a quote for the coach for first away game at Tottenham. Club will then look at funding options.
Away ticket information*
For our fans buying away tickets the club will need to speak to each football club about demand and how they allocate tickets. Away fans at Ashton Gate will not necessarily be offered a designated away section unless requested by their club. Arsenal have, however, requested tickets and been allocated block W17.
*this was discussed before the news broke on 19 September 2023 regarding new regulations in the WSL which should see fans be able to buy tickets for away fixtures through their own clubs. We have been advised that the football club are aware of this & we await further update from them.
The club have appointed a female matchday host for the majority of games and also a female DJ in the Heineken area for some games. They will announce who she is soon. Club looking to workshop type activity particularly with younger fans. Will mix things up for different games. Taking on board feedback about types and make up of bands and trying to achieve difference as well as constants.
Over 50% of people who attended the Lionesses game at Ashton Gate in February had never been to the stadium before, so there is opportunity to build on the BCWFC fan base. Club gearing up to stay in the WSL, however, huge investment being made by other teams. Club are taking a long-term view.
To help with atmosphere, we have secured flags from Section 82 to trial waving at home games. Fan Experience Ambassadors will be present for women’s games, which has proved successful during the first few men’s games. Perhaps an opportunity to choose an anthem/song for BCWFC over some of the more traditional ones. We could ask fans for their views.
Digital season tickets
General understanding of reasons for this. Some supporters felt the wording was a bit harsh when trying to apply for physical card, which should be reviewed. There is a commitment to continue to offer physical cards to ensure being fully inclusive.
Seat/stand changes for TV games
Club confirmed that WSL rules require fans need to be visible for TV games. Lower Lansdown capacity is only 4,000 so the Dolman has to be open due to the TV cameras/gantry being in Lansdown. Existing ticket holders in Lansdown do not need to be moved for these games.
Fans Forum 2023/24
No date set yet, however, club have said there will be one. We advised it would be great to have player presence, as none have attended previous events due to timing/scheduling. Looking to do more open training sessions to build rapport with fans.
Home games in pre-season/cup competitions
Club explained there were no pre-season home games recently that fans could attend because of the scheduling disruption caused by the World Cup in July/August & international break in September. Next season there should be a home pre-season game fans can attend. Club still to confirm venue for home games in cup competitions.
Club confirmed that there will be press conferences before games where possible, which may be virtual.
The Heritage & Archive group are keen to capture regular things from matchdays to continue to build the history of the women’s game. We will send over a list of things required. We advised that current iteration of team celebrates 25th anniversary in 2023, whereas club advised that first iteration was formed 50 years ago. Club open to ideas on how to commemorate.
We asked about matchday bus services for home games, especially for those with late kick-off times on Sundays. Club are looking into this & will get back to us with an update.
If you’d like to contact the Supporters Club & Trust about issues affecting City Women fans, please contact our City Women Fan Representatives by email: firstname.lastname@example.org