Meeting Report - May 2015

by Matthew Gamble @Everton

Meeting:

Fans’ Forum

Date:

Thursday 28 May, 2015

6-8pm

Present:

Forum members – Nick Mernock (NM) Robert Eagleton (RE), Martin Malone (MM), Dorothy Carlin (DC), Ruth Eardley (REA),  Kevin Smith (KS),Peter Dodd (PD),Gary Evans (GE), Lisa Vaughan (LV) Andrew Collier (AC)

Club representatives –  Christopher Clarke (CC) Brian Doogan (BD) Mo Maghazachi (MMA) Christine Prior (CP) Ian Simpson (IS) Elaine James (EJ)

Apologies:

Richard Kenyon, Jonny Cowan, Jason Howard, Mike Rice, Steve Jones, Bill Carr.

Actions from previous meeting

ACTION: JC to feedback the possibility of developing equality, diversity and inclusion into matchday activity.

RESPONSE: This is ongoing and will be discussed in the next Club matchday meeting.

ACTION: Forum members to gather feedback from fellow fans on ‘The People’s Club’ phrase and provide feedback at the next meeting.

RESPONSE: The members of the Forum stated supporters they have spoken to feel positive towards the phrase and think it has a place in the Club’s history.

ACTION: RK to investigate why ticket discount vouchers cannot be used online.

RESPONSE: CP stated that at the moment we cannot issue individual promo codes ‘per Season Ticket pack’. Any online codes under the current IT system would be one generic code therefore could result in people abusing the system and purchasing more discounted tickets than they are entitled to. The system is upgrading in the near future and this issue with be raised with providers to try and come up with a solution that works.

ACTION: RK to update the Forum on conversations with Liverpool John Lennon Airport.

RESPONSE: This is ongoing and RK will be asked to provide an update at the next meeting.

ACTION: Forum to gauge feedback on what supporters think of the opportunity to personalise their seats at Goodison Park.

RESPONSE: REA asked the Fans’ Forum twitter followers about the scheme and did not receive a positive reaction.

ACTION: Fans’ Forum members to review submissions for the Fan of the Year and score their top five nominees. NM will compile the responses and announce the winner.

RESPONSE: The Forum voted for Hana Roks to receive the Fan of the Year award. The Forum stated they were happy to be involved in the process but would like the mechanic of voting to be reviewed next year to encourage more nominations from the fanbase. 

ACTION: Fans’ Forum to come up with a range of options for a more online presence e.g. Facebook page

RESPONSE: Item to be discussed further in AOB

1

Sodexo

NM welcomed Ian Simpson (General Manager) and Elaine James (Ground Catering Manager) to the meeting.

The group began discussing the range of food and beverage options available at Goodison Park compared to other stadiums across the Premier League.

Alcohol options were discussed by the group, EJ explained the Club are restricted on certain products they sell due to sponsorship deals however they continuously review the variety of options available to supporters. EJ informed the forum that products on offer can also be limited due to the equipment and space in the kiosks on the concourse, the power supply also causes limitations to what products can be stocked. Other products such as bitter, Wine, Bulmer’s and Crabbies have been on offer over the course of the season.MM enquired if cans of spirits and mixers could be sold on the concourse, EJ feels that the price of these products may be too expensive for the concourse but will investigate this further.

IS explained anything other than the traditional ‘Pie & Pint’ products have not had a history of selling well within the stadium. A pasta hut was trailed in the Park End but sales were minimal which resulting this being removed.

The group also discussed the issues with queuing, notably at half-time. GE informed the forum of the issues with queuing he experiences as a Season Ticket holder in the Main Stand and feels it is off-putting to people who want to purchase food from the kiosk. GE queried if alcohol sales can queue separate to food and non-alcoholic beverages and also feels there is space in the Main Stand to be maximized for beer stands. IS informed the group of the solutions the Club has tried to introduce over the years such as hawkers in the Park End and Family Enclosure but unfortunately this service was unsuccessful. IS also explained to the group the limitations they have when seeking permission from the licensing agency when attempting to install new equipment or solutions such as beer stands and hawkers, these can be considered health and safety risks to the licensing agency due to the amount of space that is required on an already narrow concourse area.

IS invited members of the Forum to take part in a behind-the-scenes tour to view kiosks matchday operation.

ACTION: CP to arrange a tour of the kiosks on a matchday once fixtures are announced.

2

Fan Engagement 2014/15

CP discussed the fan engagement events and activities that have taken place throughout the course of the season and the group watched a short video that outlined the work in this area.  The Forum stated the ‘Blues on Tour’ events were their fan engagement highlight of 2014/15 but also felt there were a lot of activities mentioned that they were not aware of, they feel more can be done to promote the positive work the Club is producing in this area. 

MM praised the work done by the Club on social media, particularly the recent ‘Chosen Tuesday’ activity that took place alongside Season Ticket campaign. MM feels supporters appreciate the personality behind the @Everton Twitter account compared to other accounts across the Premier League.

3

Racism inside Goodison Park

REA reported to the group that she had been contacted by a supporter who would like to report racist behavior that has taken place at Goodison Park.

CP asked REA to contact the supporter and ask if she can share their information with her and Dave Lewis (Head of Stadium Safety) who will investigate this matter further.

4

City Talk

KS enquired if the Forum could feature on the Everton radio show to discuss the work they are doing within their project groups. KS feels this would be a good way to communicate with other supporters and also an opportunity to share details of how fans can offer feedback to the Forum.

ACTION: CP to arrange a slot on the Everton radio show for the Fans’ Forum.

5

Fans’ Panel survey results

CC presented the group with a document summarising the results of the recent Fans’ Panel survey regarding the Away Fan Initiative.

The Forum project group had shortlisted the questions to gather feedback and the findings will help shape and inform ideas for next season’s plans.

The results were positive overall with suggestions for areas to improve for next season. 75% of those who completed the survey were aware of the Club’s activities as a part of the Away Fan Initiative. In general, the Club is well regarded in supporting travelling Evertonians with 71% scoring the Clubs work as “good” or “very good”.

The travel stewards received wholly positive feedback with supporters commenting on their friendly and professional approach. It was commented how it is reassuring to see an Everton presence at away stadiums.

Ticket discounts were popular amongst those who completed the survey, comments regarding the reciprocal arrangements for both Newcastle and Swansea were positive and further discounts for the fixtures against Chelsea and West Ham were well received by supporters.

Giveaways proved the least important aspect of the Away Fan Initiative for those who responded and this should be considered when planning activities for 2015/16.

The ‘Blues on Tour’ trips were positive amongst the supporters who had been on the trips. Supporters did feel that the free coach travel is a positive for away supporters and is hassle free but some commented on how they cannot currently benefit from this as they do not live locally. Work needs to be done in this area to make the trips more accessible to all supporters.

The Away Fan initiative project group will discuss this feedback further in their next meeting that is taking place on Thursday 18 June.

6

ForEverton membership

CP asked the Forum to support with gathering feedback on the current ForEverton membership package.

The following information is to be gathered and sent directly to Nicole from the Marketing team.

  • What added benefits would you like from a ForEverton membership?
  • What branded gifts/giveaways would you like as part of the membership?
  • Would you be interest in a membership package that would include a one-year subscription to the Everton magazine?
  • How should the benefits differ between a Season Ticket and a ForEverton membership?

ACTION: Forum members to send feedback on ForEverton membership directly to the Marketing team.

The group felt this would be a good topic of discussion for the next Fans’ Panel survey.

7

New Stadium

The group stated they feel there is growing concern amongst the fanbase regarding the proposed opportunity for a new stadium. Many feel that supporters have begun to doubt the opportunity. Members of the group feel that comments made in a recent blog by Robert Elstone have been interpreted in a negative way by some supporters.

The Club explained they are continuing to work on this opportunity. The programme piece was merely stating that there’s lots to do and we will only proceed if it’s right for the Club. However, our interest and work on the project still very much continues.

8

New Kit feedback

The group offered positive feedback for the kit reveal and the BORN campaign.

LV and REA stated their disappointment in the price increase on baby kits and queried the reasons why. MMA stated both the baby and infant kit prices have increased by £5 to £35 and £40 respectively. A mistake online means the baby kit was showing as £40 on evertondirect.com - this is currently being rectified. Kitbag have contacted the small number of supporters who had pre-ordered either kit online and they have informed them of the error. The £5 increase is due to production factors.

9

Fan promotion images

RE asked what the Club’s procedure is when taking images of supporters in the stadium and using them on advertising without the knowledge of the supporter.

CP  explained the following information is stated in the Ground Safety rules and regulations;

1.11 The Club may from time to time create images and/or audio- visual video footage of Ticket Holders attending the Stadium. The Club owns all rights in such images and footage and shall be entitled to use the same for the purpose of: (i) promoting the Club and its commercial partners; and (ii) any other commercial activity, provided such use does not intentionally harm the reputation of the relevant individual whose image is used.

10

Everton Heritage Plaque

AC asked if the Club has made any progress with discussing the possibility of a heritage plaque being incorporated into the expansion works at Anfield football stadium. AC had raised this at a forum meeting earlier in the season but is yet to be updated, he asked the Forum for their consent in taking this idea forward on behalf of the group. The group confirmed they are happy for AC to progress with this idea.

11

Live streaming events and U21 fixtures

REA asked what the Clubs plans are to live stream fan events and U21 fixtures next season. The group feel as events are growing in popularity this gives an opportunity to engage with the supporters who have been unsuccessful in their application to attend and international fans. REA stated supporters have also contacted the Fans’ Forum via Twitter asking for the group to raise this point.

CP stated that the Club are committed to live streaming fan events on a more regular basis in 2015/16. Live streaming U21 fixtures is being looked at for next season but this is likely only to be done when the fixture takes place at Goodison Park. Thus is due to problems with the network at the Merseyrail Community Stadium where the  majority of U21 fixtures are played.

12

Away Match Tickets

Members of the group queried why when purchasing away match tickets the supporters who purchase first seem to be issued with the ‘worst’ seats.  CP explained when we receive our away allocation they come with a strict selling order from the club. When we are confident that we will sell out of the full allocation we will check what seats are in the centre blocks and start allocating the tickets from there.

If we don’t take the full allocation we are not always guaranteed to get the ‘best’ seats first. All supporters have their own idea what are the best seats, some like near the front and some prefer towards the back so it can become difficult to accommodate supporters’ personal preferences.

13

Travel Stewards

CP asked for feedback from the Forum on the Travel Stewards that were put in place as a part of the Away Fan Initiative last year. CP feels the team of stewards have been a positive addition and have a good relationship with travelling Evertonians. The Forum agreed that the travel stewards should continue for next season. The Forum stated it would be good to promote the team more to travelling supporters so they are aware who they are, where they can be found and how they can assist them.

14

New Club Mascot

CP informed the group that she had been exploring the possibility of a new Club mascot and has discussed this with the Junior Fans’ Forum. CP confirmed there are currently no plans to stop using Changy on a matchday but other options will be considered too.

CP explained a mascot is a great fan engagement tool to have, especially amongst the junior fanbase and the group discussed the benefits a mascot can bring. CP also outlined the challenges the Club have faced when introducing new mascots in the past.

The group stated they had no initial issues with the idea of a new additional mascot.

AOB

1.1  Project groups

NM asked for each project group to give a full update at the June meeting, outlining how their project group is developing, findings from their work done so far and also a timeline for delivering results.

 

ACTION: CP to add project groups to the agenda for the next meeting.

 

1.2  Trophy display

The Forum asked if there was an update on the progress with accessing the Everton Collection. The group then continued to discuss the Stadium Tour and MMA outlined the improvements that have been made to the tour as part of the review this season. The tours are now more interactive with video footage and key photo opportunities.

ACTION: RK to update the group on discussions with representatives from the Everton Collection.

 

1.3  Everton Browser

CP introduced the Fans’ Forum to the Everton Browser app which was launched in 2014. CP asked the Forum for their permission for the Club to use the Fans’ Panel to seek feedback on the app and also invite members of the panel to be a part of a number of focus groups that will take place over coming months. The Forum confirmed they were happy for the Fans’ Panel to be contacted regarding Everton Browser.

 

1.4  Facebook

The Forum continued discussions around setting up a Fans’ Forum Facebook page. The group feel this will be a positive step in communication with other supporters and a further opportunity to share updates on their work. CP suggested seeking advice from the digital team on content that can be communicated on the page.

ACTION: CP to invite members of the digital team to the June meeting to discuss Facebook.