Meeting Report - March 2015

 

Meeting:

Fans’ Forum

Date:

Thursday 26 March, 2015

6-8pm

Present:

Forum members – Nick Mernock (NM) Robert Eagleton (RE), Martin Malone (MM), Dorothy Carlin (DC), Ruth Eardley (REA), Steve Jones (SJ), Mike Rice (MR),  Kevin Smith (KS),Bill Carr (BC),Peter Dodd (PD),Gary Evans (GE) Jason Howard (JH)

Club representatives – Richard Kenyon (RK) Christopher Clarke (CC) Jonny Cowan (JC) Paul Eddy (PE) Brian Doogan (BD) Christine Prior (CP)

Apologies:

Andrew Collier, Lisa Vaughan.

Introduction

NM introduced himself as the new Chairperson of the Fans’ Forum and welcomed new members to their first official meeting.

1

Kitbag

Kitbag representative Mike Needham was unable to attend and will attend the next meeting. RK presented a March update in his absence.

Kitbag have used independent company Feefo to survey customers who have made an online purchase since December. The survey was split into two areas, focusing on products and service. The results of the survey have been encouraging and the Club and Kitbag will continue to proactively ask supporters for their feedback on both areas.

Kitbag are currently working on developing the collection service and should have progress to announce in the coming months.

New products will be in store over the next few months including Harry Catterick and Pat Van Den Hauwe books, a range of t-shirts using the 2015/16 Season Ticket campaign design ‘We are Chosen’. In addition new products will be introduced to the babywear and junior leisurewear ranges.

Members of the Forum queried when the 2015/16 kit will be available. RK offered assurances that the kit reveal and on-sale dates have been brought forward and the exact dates will be confirmed shortly.

2

Constitutional changes

NM discussed last season’s review and proposed some changes to the current structure.

NM feels that the bi-monthly meetings are not frequent enough as some members are only meeting for the first time two months after joining the Forum. To allow the group to make positive progress NM proposed meetings should be monthly, moving forward. All members agreed for monthly meetings to be reinstated. Members only meetings will take place on an ad-hoc basis.

ACTION: CP to circulate new meeting dates and add to the Fans’ Forum web page.

NM also proposed that new members are recruited for November 2015.

All members agreed and the recruitment process will be discussed at a future meeting.

3

Project groups

The Forum expressed their desire to work with the Club on the following projects in 2015:

  • Supporters’ Clubs
  • Away Fan Initiative
  • Branding
  • Matchday experience
  • Supporter events

Each project group will have a main point of contact from the Club who will meet with them on a regular basis. Membership of project groups has been added to individual biographies on the Fans’ Forum web page. This item will remain on the agenda for every meeting to allow members to update the rest of the group on their progress.

 

4

Premier League Fans’ Survey

CC presented a detailed overview of the recent Premier League Fan Survey results.

The extensive survey was coordinated by Populous on behalf of the Premier League and was completed by 1,100 Evertonians. DC confirmed she had received and completed the survey.

The Club view the survey as a unique opportunity to measure the results against peers and competitors across the Premier League. The survey is held in high regard and many of the questions asked as a part of the survey have direct links to the Club’s strategy.

Overall, the results of the survey were positive, with the Club placing 1st or 2nd in 15 areas.

CC explained that the survey questions came under two categories; Matchday Experience and Attitudes towards the Club.

SJ asked how the Club are rewarding matchday stewards for coming 1st for the 6th consecutive year. The Forum offered praise for the stewards.

ACTION: RK to feedback how the Club rewards stewards for continued positive Fan Survey results.

JH requested that the Forum invite areas of the Club that saw their placing fall in the survey to future meetings in an attempt to see if the Forum can provide feedback to help them improve.

CC gave details of the area of the Club that placed lower than previous years. Food and drink was one of the areas that had decreased compared to previous results. JH requested that Sodexo are invited to next month’s meeting to discuss further.

ACTION: CP to invite representative from Sodexo to next meeting.

BC and MM stated Crabbies Original was no longer available from ground catering outlets and stated that this always proved popular.

ACTION: RK to find out why Crabbies Original is no longer available from kiosks.

Communication with supporters had positive results. SJ asked how we communicate with the supporters who have no access to email or internet, and suggested the Club should use Supporters’ Clubs more frequently to give their members information at group meetings.

 

5

Away ticket allocations

RK explained that the Club changed the policy for away tickets last season so the priority went to Season Ticket Holders who had been to previous Barclays Premier League fixtures.

The Club will review this at a meeting in coming weeks and RK offered the Forum members the chance to attend if they wished to offer feedback on the process. PD,MM,DC,SJ,BC all registered an interest in attending the meeting with Club representatives.

PD stated that the current policy is the fairest and suggested changing it again could cause upset. The general consensus from the group was to keep the process as it is.

REA informed the group that she struggled to purchase an away ticket last season but has been able to build up five credits in 2014/15, so the option is there to supporters who wish to build their purchase history.

6

Disabled Supporter issues – Dynamo Kyiv

MR informed the group of his background working in stadium access for disabled fans across Europe for a UEFA CSR associate partner (Centre for Access to Football in Europe).

MR has received complaints from disabled supporters who attended both the Dynamo Kyiv home and away fixtures. The Club installed a raised platform in the Park End stand for the home fixture so that the view of wheelchair users was not blocked by the higher than usual advertising hoardings.

MR stated the efforts were not sufficient as this only extended to one third of the stand, leaving other wheelchair users unable to see. MR felt that the information provided for disabled supporters ahead of the trip to Ukraine was not substantial enough. The wheelchair users at the away fixture had no allocated space within the visiting section and many were not aware until they reached the Stadium. MR asked the Club to review the communication they provide to travelling disabled supporters.

ACTION: CP to meet with Club representatives to review this process and update MR.

7

Supporter Events – Blues on Tour

DC praised the ‘Blues on Tour’ events that have taken place throughout 2014/15 as part of the Away Fan Initiative. DC travels with Hans Tours Supporters’ Club but has been at the ‘Blues on Tour’ venues for both the Burnley and QPR fixture. DC stated she thought the QPR trip was the best event yet and praised the effort from staff in putting the event together.

DC queried how supporters are invited as she knows supporters who never receive the emails to attend the events. CP explained supporters may not receive emails for various reasons, including incorrect information held on the system, emails from the Club reported as spam and/or supporters unsubscribing from Club emails. CP confirmed this has been discussed internally and the Club are looking at a communication piece for supporters to encourage them to sign up to Club emails, check their accounts and make sure they are subscribed to receiving offers to supporter events.

ACTION: CP to update Forum members on communication plan for supporter events at next meeting.

CP discussed how the Club’s official betting partner Coral have wholeheartedly supported the activity, providing some of the funds for supporter coaches at two of the chosen fixtures. JH asked if any other Club partners would sponsor next season’s events as the members would like to see the successful activity continue in 2015/16.

ACTION: JC & CP to set up meeting with Partnership department to discuss future involvement in Blues on Tour events.

8

Smoking area

CP informed the group that the Club introduced a smoking area in the Park End at the Newcastle fixture to reduce the ongoing issue with smoking in the toilets. The area was used by 140 supporters and will open again at the next fixture. Dave Lewis (Head of Stadium Safety) wishes to extend this to other areas of the stadium but there are issues to be addressed.

JH stated as a Park End Season Ticket holder he approves and commented that it has improved problems he has previously observed in the Park End toilets.

9

Fans’ Panel

JC presented the Forum with the results of the first Fans’ Panel survey that was distributed on Friday 13 March.

The Fans’ Panel were asked a series of questions relating to prices of the Europa League home fixtures. The results showed that the two main drivers to attend Europa league fixtures were to support the team and watch European football. A small percentage of the respondents did not attend due to price but would consider attending another fixture if the team progressed.

The group discussed how often the Fans’ Panel should be contacted. The majority of the group stated there should be no limit but they should only be contacted when feedback is required.

10

StubHub

NM asked what the Club’s plans are in relation to their deal with StubHub. He explained that he believes supporters have concerns regarding the amount of money tickets can be sold for. The Forum asked if the Club can cap the ticket prices on StubHub.

RK stated that the prices often quoted in the Media are ‘asking prices’ and not what the tickets are actually sold for. Neither the Club or StubHub set the prices on the site and we encourage supporters to set the prices sensibly. Often tickets go for less than face value and there are very few that are significantly above face value over the course of a season. RK noted that the fact that these tickets are showing on the site means they remain unsold.

NM stated that he would like the Forum to discuss this topic again at the end of the season.

11

The Everton Collection

SJ asked for an update on the Everton Collection. SJ is passionate that the Collection should be on display for supporters to view.

The Club is in ongoing talks with representatives from the Everton Collection and will continue in their efforts to gain greater access of the collection.

RK advised that he will inform the group of any updates in due course.

AOB

1.1  Goodison Granites –AC

AC could not attend the meeting but asked the Forum to discuss if the Goodison Granites project should be extended.

The Forum stated that the granites remain popular amongst the fanbase but the location of the next phase would need to be given due consideration before they were to go on sale.

ACTION: Forum members to decide if there is another location around Goodison Park for a future phase of the Goodison Granites.

1.2  E-ticketing – REA

REA stated she experienced difficulty when trying to purchase her Season Ticket seat for the UEFA cup games via e-ticketing. PE stated that there are two options when you log in: home ticket and Cup tickets. If you select the Cup ticket option your seat will automatically be reserved in your basket. PE will investigate if there have been any issues with e-ticketing.

1.3 Ticket pricing – PD

PD asked for an update on the Club’s position regarding the ‘Twenty’s plenty’ campaign. RK insisted the Club is committed to making ticket prices affordable for supporters, and this is evident in the 2015/16 freeze across all Season Ticket prices and other initiatives relating to price.

The group discussed the pricing of away tickets across the Premier League and the Forum highlighted positive feedback that they had obtained from their own network of supporters regarding the reciprocal arrangement agreed for the Newcastle fixture. CP informed the group that only a small number of other Clubs from across the Premier League expressed an interest in entering a reciprocal ticket deal with the Club when these plans were put in place at the beginning of the season. Forum members stated that if any future ticket discounts were given they should be on a reciprocal arrangement.