Meeting Report - July 2015

 

Meeting:

Fans’ Forum meeting

The 85 Lounge

Date:

Thursday 23 July 2015.

6-8pm

Present:

Nick Mernock (NM) Ruth Eardley (REA) Andrew Collier (AC) Martin Malone (MM) Dorothy Carlin (DC) Steve Jones (SJ) Lisa Vaughan (LV) Gary Evans (GE) Robert Eagleton (REA) Peter Dodd (PD) Kevin Smith (KS)

Club – Richard Kenyon (RK) Brian Doogan (BD) Mo Maghazachi (MMA) Christine Prior (CP) Christopher Clarke (CC) Jonny Cowan (JC) Gill Derbyshire (GD) Dan Alston (DA)

 

Apologies:

Robert Elstone, Jason Howard, Mike Rice, Bill Carr,

Welcome and Introduction

NM welcomed Gill Derbyshire to the meeting. Gill recently started at the Club as Head of Fan-Based Services and will attend the meetings going forward.

1

Actions from previous meeting

ACTION: MN to invite representatives from Kitbag’s design team to a future meeting.

RESPONSE: MN will bring Kitbag representatives to the August meeting.

ACTION: RK to consider communication re: Everton and Kitbag partnership.

RESPONSE: Club published story on evertonfc.com in July. MM stated that he felt there are still supporters who have unanswered questions and suggested that the original issue discussed at the previous meeting still need to be addressed.  RK will consider the production of further communication as the kit launches progress.

ACTION: CP & MMA to arrange timeline of promotion for the Fans’ Panel.

RESPONSE: The Fans’ Panel has now re-opened for supporters to join. CP and MMA are compiling a plan which will offer supporters the opportunity to join the panel approximately five times over the course of the season, mainly during international breaks. It was agreed that this is a worthwhile opportunity for fans to contribute to araes of interest to them

ACTION: JC to arrange the next meeting with the Branding project group.

RESPONSE: This has been carried out and JC will circulate new branding images to the wider group.

ACTION: CP to provide update on the behind-the-scenes tour with Sodexo.

RESPONSE: CP has arranged the tour with Sodexo at the Sunderland home fixture (1 November) and asked any members of the group who are interested in attending to contact her after the meeting. It was emphasized that this was a good opportunity to experience the catering facilities first hand on match day, and members were encouraged to take up this option

ACTION: Scores to be shown on the stadium screens at half-time and full-time on matchday.

RESPONSE: RK confirmed this will take place throughout 2015/16. It was reported this had been raised by a number of fans and the more regular score updates would be welcomed

2

Facebook

Dan Alston, Social Media Journalist, attended the meeting to offer support on setting up a Facebook account for the Fans’ Forum and promoting the Twitter account.

The group have previously discussed setting up a Facebook account for the Forum, as some members feel this would provide another communication channel to the wider fanbase.

The group discussed who would run the Facebook page and how it would be utilised and populated.  The group also highlighted the commitment to respond. PD felt a Facebook page was a big commitment for one member and the group wouldn’t want it to replicate information on the Everton page. The group discussed the content the Forum would need to produce to keep the page populated. It was accepted Facebook required a virtual real-time response rate   

Members of the group discussed other methods of communication, and found that the blogs and the webpage were the preferred choice.

MMA offered support in setting up a communications sub-group that can produce a content and communications plan for the Forum.

ACTION: Members of the Forum who are interested in joining the communications sub-group to contact CP.

The group will revisit the idea of a Facebook page in a few months’ time.  

3

Shareholders meeting

NM reported he attended a recent Everton Shareholders’ Association meeting and presented a Fans’ Forum update to the shareholders, which covered the objectives of the Forum and details of the initiatives suggested and considered by the project groups that have been delivered to the Club for consideration.

Topics of conversation included the Club’s relationship with Kitbag, away ticket allocation and the future election process for the Fans’ Forum.

Communication of the Fans’ Forum was also raised by the Shareholders. NM shared ideas that the Forum were considering to improve communication including blogs, an updated webpage and programme stories. It was suggested by members of the Shareholders’ Association that members of the Forum become a specific representative for the area of the stadium that they sit in to add direct accountability to each individual and to raise awareness with fans. NM reported the meeting was productive and began to open up future communication channels

As a consequence of this it was proposed that the Forum considered further establishment of communication links with other active fan groups. The issue was  discussed and it was accepted that an agenda item at the next meeting considered a supporters’ networking event with other supporter groups. The group feels this would be a good, informal way to build similar relationships and communication access with other fan groups.

NM also explained that issues around away match tickets and pricing, including work done by the Football Supporters' Federation were raised at the Shareholders’ meeting. This will be discussed further in agenda item 4.

4

Norwich City

SJ asked for information on the Club’s plans in relation to the Norwich City parachute payment that has been reported in the media. SJ suggested that the Club consider using the funds for fan engagement activity.

RK informed the group that the funds go back into the distribution and redistribution formulae so the figure received by each club will not necessarily be the figure quoted in the media. The Premier League will also use the funds for good causes.

NM informed the Forum that this matter was raised at the Shareholders’ meeting and ideas around discounted away tickets to support the Twenty’s Plenty campaign were discussed. NM also informed the Forum that Dave Kelly, who is an official on the FSF Executive Council would like to attend a future Fans’ Forum meeting to discuss the FSF Twenty’s Plenty campaign and welcomed the group’s thoughts on the proposal. Members of the Forum felt that such a contribution would be better served in the future once other Premier League clubs announced what they were doing about ticket prices and this is further considered by the FSF. Members had read the articles around the parachute payments and also wanted to see what further responses the club received in relation to prosed reciprocal arrangements. It was explained that all responses had not yet been received

NM stated he will respond to Dave Kelly expressing the group's views.

5

Gift Vouchers

RE reported that gift vouchers were not available in Everton Two on his last visit. RE stated it is unacceptable to sell out of gift vouchers and enquired why the store could not operate a gift card system similar to one used by most modern retailers. The group agreed that this should be raised with Kitbag so that it does not recur in the build-up to Christmas, which could impact sales.

ACTION - GD will pick this issue up with Kitbag moving forward.

6

Everton Transfer Policy

SJ requested information on the Club’s policy regarding communication of player transfers and specifically asked if the Club would consider a communication piece to end current speculation regarding first-team players.

RK explained if and when there is anything to report, the Club will do so through the official communication channels. RK also explained the way the Club prefer to conduct our business. It is not the Club's style to speculate on our players or players of other clubs through the media.

7

Pre-derby meeting

CP informed the group that the Club will hold a series of external meetings in the build-up to the Merseyside derby. The meetings will include representatives from both clubs, supporters’ groups and Merseyside Police representatives. The aim of the meeting is to improve communication in the run up to the fixture, and CP invited two representatives from the Forum to attend.

ACTION: Forum members who are interested in attending the meeting to notify CP.

8

Fans’ Panel

CC presented the group with the results of the recent Fans’ Panel survey regarding ticket pricing and matchday experience at Goodison Park.

Ticketing

  • 49% of Evertonians surveyed believed ticket prices were “about right”. When comparing prices at Everton versus the rest of the Premier League, 75% thought prices were cheap - “quite cheap” (65%), “very cheap” (10%).
  • 45% of supporters stated that there should be a larger saving when buying a Season Ticket compared to buying 19 Premier League match tickets. 48% felt the balance between the Season Ticket price and match ticket prices was about right and 8% thought the price gap should be narrowed.
  • 73% of supporters felt it would be a good idea to differentiate pricing within a stand based on the quality of the seat. For example, seats with a post obstructing a part of the pitch should be cheaper than seats with a unobstructed view, and seats near the corner flag should be cheaper than seats on the half-way line.
  • 37% of supporters stated they would be interested in a rolling monthly Club membership (in the style of a gym or television package) which included all home Premier League matches.
  • 65% of supporters were aware of the Season Ticket prices for children, however, this increased to 87% for supporters who attended with children.

Matchday Experience

  • Respondents rated ease of finding their way around the stadium (9/10), friendliness of staff (8/10) and cleanliness of the stadium (7/10).
  • The majority of fans return to Goodison Park on a regular basis to see the Blues (92%) and because it’s “what they do” (60%).
  • On average, Evertonians rated the level of buzz and excitement around the ground 30 minutes prior to kick off as 6/10, with 68% stating they would enter the ground earlier if this was improved.
  • The most supported initiatives to help generate noise and colour in the stadium were introducing banners (63%), flags (62%) and scarves (42%). 

AOB

Accessibility 

LV raised issues around accessibility for disabled supporters at Goodison Park. LV informed the group that Amy Wilson (EDSA) attended an Away Fan Initiative project group meeting and access around the stadium was raised. PD informed the group that last season he injured his leg and had to be moved to ambulance seating. He informed the group that his experience was an eye-opener on how difficult it can be for disabled football supporters.

LV asked if the Club is doing all it can to make the matchday experience the best it can be for disabled supporters. CP informed the group that she and Gill Derbyshire will be meeting with Amy in the coming weeks to discuss improving the matchday experience for disabled supporters. After the initial meeting, the Club will commence wider consultation with EDSA.

RK felt that some of the adaptations required were of a nature that they should be dealt with immediately, and he would pursue this

Supporter request

KS informed the group a supporter has contacted him who is trying to collate lyrics to popular Everton songs from the 1980s. He has provided a brief outline of the songs and will forward them on to the group for any help they can provide. RK also suggested contacting the Everton Heritage Society who may be able to assist.