Meeting Report January 2016

 

Meeting:

Everton Fans’ Forum meeting

Date:

Thursday 28 January 2016

Venue:

Brian Labone Lounge, Goodison Park

Present:

Forum members –Robert Eagleton (REA), Ruth Eardley (RE), Lisa Vaughan (LV), Peter Dodd (PD), Steve Jones (SJ), Bill Carr (BC), Jason Howard (JH), Gary Evans (GE), Kevin Smith (KS), Anne-Marie Harper (AH), Jeanette Sammon (JS), Lewis Owen (LO), Mike Rice (MR).

Club representatives – Brian Doogan (BD), Mo Maghazachi (MM), Christine Prior (CP), Richard Kenyon (RK) Gill Derbyshire (GD), Alan Bowen (AB).

Apologies:

Nick Mernock (NM)

Introduction

REA welcomed new members of the Forum to their first meeting.

REA offered apologies for NM who was unable to attend the meeting in Nick’s absence REA will chair the meeting.

1

Twenty’s Plenty campaign

Dave Kelly (DK) attended the Forum to update the group on the work being carried out by the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF) on the Twenty’s Plenty campaign.

DK thanked Forum members for the invitation to the meeting and provided background on the campaign and an update on the FSF’s recent meeting with the Premier League.

DK updated the group on the achievements of the campaign, which started in January 2013 and stated there was still progress to be made.

DK confirmed upcoming meetings with the Premier League and other stakeholders where away ticket pricing would be an item on the agenda.

The group and DK discussed affordable ticket pricing for away fixtures, the genesis of Twenty’s Plenty and complimented Everton on the recent reciprocal deal with Newcastle United. 

The group thanked DK for his attendance.

 

2

Accessibility update

AB updated the group on the status of the accessibility audit that has been carried out at all Premier League clubs. The audit was carried out in October and the Club will soon be presented with the final report.

The report is shared with the Premier League and AB will devise a proposal of changes and timeline of delivery for the recommendations made in the audit. AB confirmed the Club is committed to becoming fully compliant with the accessible stadia guide and will work with Everton Disabled Supporters’ Association (EDSA) to continue to improve the matchday experience for disabled supporters.

LO queried why clubs are not already compliant with the accessible stadia guide and AB explained that the guide has previously been labelled as a recommendation, leaving individual clubs to decide what changes they make to their stadiums. AB stated it has been a challenge to decide on the level of changes to make as the Club has been in discussions over a potential new stadium for a number of years.

The group discussed the effect the changes may have to the capacity of Goodison Park. AB confirmed as a part of the audit the Club will need to create additional wheelchair spaces and 75% of wheelchair bays need to be in elevated positions in various areas of the stadium. This will potentially result in displacing Season Ticket holders.

AB confirmed he will continue to discuss the changes and improvements with the group once he has reviewed the findings of the report. The Club will also continue to consult with EDSA throughout this process.

3

Advertising

RE queried who was in charge of the advertising on the LED perimeter boards in the stadium. RK confirmed LED advertisements are sold through a third-party company who ensures the content displayed satisfies advertising criteria and does not result in any commercial conflicts of interest.

4

Sodexo

RE asked if the new Sodexo General Manager could be invited to a future meeting. The group has had discussions with Sodexo in the past and RE believes this would be a good time for the Forum to offer further feedback to Sodexo.

ACTION: CP to invite Sodexo representative to future meeting.

GD, Head of Fan-Based Services, informed the group she attends the Sodexo pre-match staff briefings and works closely with Sodexo general manager and ground catering managers to ensure supporters are experiencing the best service possible. LO stated the card payment service at the kiosks needed to be promoted as this service is not widely known by supporters.

GD invited the group to support the matchday observations carried out by the Fan Based Services team.

ACTION: GD to arrange mystery shop at upcoming fixture with members of the Fans’ Forum.

5

Foodbank appeal

GD informed the Forum she has been working with representatives of the Everton Supporters’ Trust who have asked for the Club to support the Food Bank appeal they have been working on alongside Liverpool Football Club supporters.

The Forum stated they are happy to support the Food Bank appeal and that this is a natural extension of the work carried out for food banks by Everton in the Community, including the recent Blue Box appeal in December.

The group discussed volunteering at a permanent drop-off point for food items in the Matchday Hub. The Forum also discussed various ways to support and raise awareness of the appeal.

Forum members suggested working with local businesses on County Road and potentially displaying posters in stores to encourage people to purchase an additional item of food to donate to the appeal. Promotion in the matchday programme and messages on stadium screens were also discussed to promote the initiative.

ACTION: Members of the group who would like to represent the Forum on this initiative to email GD.

6

Project groups

BC shared details of the upcoming Fans’ Forum quiz night taking place in the Winslow Pub on Tuesday 9 February.

The group began to discuss the Four Pillars strategy that the Club operates and RK stated he would welcome any member of the Forum to join in the Four Pillar meetings that take place at the Club.

ACTION: CP to circulate summary of Four Pillars to the Fans’ Forum members.

LV stated that she would like to start a retail project group that the group have been discussing.

ACTION: Members of the Forum who are interested in being involved in the retail project group to email CP.

7

Fans’ Forum schedule

CP stated she is going to write a schedule of meetings for the Forum which will incorporate all monthly Fans’ Forum meetings and project group meetings.

CP will contact the new members of the Forum with summary of the project groups so they can join the existing groups.

ACTION: CP to circulate full schedule of meetings for the Forum and contact new members regarding project groups.

AOB

Carlisle fundraising

The Forum recently set up a fundraising page ahead of the FA Cup fixture against Carlisle United to raise funds for the Carlisle Community Trust to support those who have been affected recent floods.

RE confirmed the group are currently £1,000 off reaching the £7,500 target. MM confirmed NM has also carried out interviews with CityTalk, Talk Sport, BBC Cumbria and Radio Merseyside to promote the fundraising and will also be interviewed by BBC Radio Five Live on the day of the game.

RE informed the group that she has been contacted by Carlisle Supporters’ Club who would like to meet the Forum members on the day of the fixture.

Season Tickets

GE asked about Season Ticket prices for 2016/17. GE also queried if the Club will be making any changes to the concession categories that affect Junior supporters.

RK informed the group that a wide-scale survey has been carried out through a third party, engaging with 6,000 supporters across various stands. The Club is finalising prices and categories and will share the details with supporters shortly.

The group discussed rewarding loyal Season Ticket holders and incentivising new Season Ticket sales. The group felt incentivising new Season Ticket holders makes commercial sense, but this would need to be balanced with rewarding loyal Season Ticket holders.

Everton Collection

SJ asked for an update on the Club’s conversations with the Everton Collection. RK confirmed conversations are ongoing.

Manchester City refunds

MR thanked the Club for the match ticket refunds for the Capital One Cup semi-final fixture against Manchester City. MR stated this was appreciated by travelling supporters who experienced difficulties travelling to the league fixture due to traffic congestion.

The group raised the poor matchday experience at the fixture, especially those supporters with accessibility issues. MR stated he has received numerous complaints from disabled supporters who were involved in incidents at the Etihad. Forum members who attended the Cup tie also stated they were concerned about the safety of Evertonians leaving the stadium.

 

ACTION: MR to liaise directly with GD to resolve issues that were raised at the fixture.

Junior School Supporters’ Clubs

LV thanked the Club for tickets for the Swansea fixture for the Junior School Supporters’ Clubs. LV stated the feedback from the children was great and children in the school who have never been interested in football or supported other teams are now talking about Everton. LV believes the initiative is beginning to encourage children to become Evertonians.

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