Meeting Report - October 2015

by Matthew Gamble @Everton

 

Meeting:

Fans’ Forum

Date:

Thursday 24 October 2015, 6-8pm

Venue:

’85 Lounge, Goodison Park

Present:

Forum members – Nick Mernock (NM), Jason Howard (JH), Dorothy Carlin (DC),  Kevin Smith (KS), Bill Carr (BC), Peter Dodd (PD), Gary Evans (GE), Lisa Vaughan (LV), Andrew Collier (AC)

Club representatives – Richard Kenyon (RK), Brian Doogan (BD), Mo Maghazachi (MM)

Apologies:

Christine Prior, Paul Eddy, Robert Eagleton, Martin Malone, Ruth Eardley, Steve Jones, Mike Rice

Introduction and matters arising from last meeting

ACTION: CP to arrange interview with Alan Bowen in upcoming matchday programme regarding stadium improvements.

RESPONSE: RK confirmed an interview with Alan Bowen has been conducted and will be in the Manchester United matchday programme. This will address the issues raised by fans through the Forum in relation to expenditure on ground maintenance.

ACTION: Set up meeting date for the communications sub group.

RESPONSE: Meeting has been set for Thursday 1 October 2015.

1.

Fans’ Forum Recruitment

NM opened a discussion about the recruitment of the next cohort of Fans’ Forum members.

It was agreed that the next round of recruitment for the Forum should ensure the intake of members seeks to enhance the skillset and knowledge of the group. The criteria has been identified and to specific roles are:

  • Knowledge of disability and access issues
  • Knowledge of female supporters' issues
  • Knowledge of social media and communications

Following the last meeting NM began to draft the ‘invitation to apply’ documents but feels the Forum need to consider the mechanism for application in light of issues raised following the previous process.

LV felt that the interview process could be simplified. BC suggested that rather than an interview process there could be a practical challenge that recreates some of the issues faced by the Forum. GE disagreed and stated that a shortened interview process with a selected group of Forum members would be ideal to validate the information provided by applicants.

JH suggested the group consider expanding the opportunity to join the Forum to fans who don’t have a Season Ticket or club Customer Number which was the process last time. The group agreed that the next round of recruitment should be open to a more diverse group of people and no limiting factors should be in play. 

NM suggested current Forum members should also have the opportunity to re-apply to become a member once their term had finished.  The group discussed the merits and agreed this should be the case as ultimately they will have to go through the process against other candidates and specify they have served on the forum previously. LV summarised that the wider fanbase will vote to make a decision on who represents them. 

NM talked through the current mechanism of prospective members answering competency-based questions in the first instance and discussed how this should be structured going forward. Overall it was felt that this part of the process should be as inclusive as possible and fans should be asked how they could add value to the Forum. 

RK confirmed that an independent body will manage the election process again allowing the fan base to again select who represents them. 

BC suggested that the group consider a buddy system for outgoing members to work alongside the incoming members.  The group agreed this would be a good idea if the outgoing members are willing. 

RK confirmed the Club would be on hand to help the Fans’ Forum create awareness of the opportunity.

ACTION: The group to consider the process over the next few days and feedback any further ideas.

ACTION: NM to draft ‘invitation to apply’ documents following feedback with the aim of putting invitation out early October.

2

Season Ticket product and pricing

RK informed the group that the Club are currently looking at Season Ticket pricing and product for next season. 

RK asked the group for feedback on the current price of Season Tickets and supporter expectations in terms of pricing for 2016/17.

The group unanimously agreed that the Club did well on the pricing of its Season Tickets for 2015/16.  Prices were generally met with approval from the fanbase and GE suggested that there was an expectation that prices may increase for next season. 

The Fans’ Forum commended the Club on the Season Ticket prices for young people. NM suggested that the Club could help young people further in the step up to an adult Season Ticket by introducing a bridging category. This would ensure the financial jump would not be as drastic for young people who will be either moving into higher education or part-time / full-time work.  

JH asked whether the TV money would make a difference to the Club’s approach to pricing for 2016/17. RK confirmed it is certainly a consideration but the same TV money is going to all clubs in the Premier League and that in itself would be a consideration. 

RK asked the group how they would feel about pricing each seat according to the quality of the view. As Goodison is a historic stadium, there is a variety of quality in terms of sightlines but these Season Ticket holders in inferior seats can sometimes pay the same as fans with the best sightlines. RK asked the group if they believed this differential pricing would be a fairer way of pricing season tickets. 

The group discussed the merits of this with KS arguing that some fans that have sat in the same seats for a number of years because they offer great sightlines would not be happy with an increase based on how good their seats are, however those with poor sightlines would benefit from a reduction. These ‘differential pricing’ methods are used in the entertainment industry, especially in theatre / concert venues.

The group agreed this area would need a lot of thought and the Forum was keen to stay involved in the process.

RK confirmed a Half Season Ticket campaign is being finalised and he would keep the group informed on Season Ticket product and pricing as the season continues.

3

Matchday planning

RK confirmed the Being Memorable on Matchday team at the Club had met to discuss the planning of themed matchdays.  The next two are Retro Day (v Aston Villa) and Christmas (v Leicester).  The group were asked for their feedback and suggestions to celebrate the two themes.

The group suggested ‘retro-style’ images of the current first-team squad to commemorate one of the most played fixtures in the league and a legends game to take place in the build up to the game.  The group suggested ‘retro’ activity in the Fan Zone to show young people what the matchday experience used to be like and asking the Club’s catering partner Sodexo to consider retro pricing to drive fans into the stadium early.

RK invited a Fans’ Forum member to attend Club planning meetings especially in relation to the ‘Being Memorable on a Matchday’ pillar and the ‘Being a Club’ pillar. NM confirmed that this would be an opportunity the Forum would be pleased to take up.

ACTION: Forum to consider which members of the group would like to attend, this may be due to availability to due time of meetings, etc.

RK also asked the group to think about ideas for half-time entertainment. The group discussed various ideas including utilising ‘Retro Day’ to showcase previous half-time activities. PD stated that he always appreciates activity that includes opposition fans and a challenge that can either be changed over the course of the season or every season. PD suggested that the Club could do dizzy penalties, pitching an Everton fan against an opposition fan. 

The Fans’ Forum agreed unanimously that the coaching of children at half time is a good idea.

BC suggested having guests on half time is always appreciated by the fans but maybe they could be interviewed as well as making an appearance. The group added this would be a good idea.

ACTION: RK, BD and MM will investigate the possibility of half-time interviews with immediate effect.   

4

Project group update

NM wanted to thank everyone that worked on the first ‘Do you Know Your History’ quiz night.  The feedback on the event has been very positive and fans are already asking when the next event will be held. 

Events Project Group: The project group has reviewed the feedback received from the quiz night as well as exploring other events. A second quiz night is set to take place on 13 November and the group will work to promote this event to the wider fan base in the coming weeks. 

Away Fans Project Group: The project group has had positive feedback on Blue on Tour and wish to ensure the initiative is bigger and better for the 2015/16 season.  The project group has selected the away fixtures at West Ham, Norwich, Sunderland and Crystal Palace as Blues on Tour games and will begin to plan the offer for the each fixture. The project group has suggested refreshment vouchers for fans and giveaways provided by the Club as a number of fans would already have the t-shirts/merchandise from last season.

The project group is also considering a mechanic that allows other away fans to enjoy some of the benefits of the Blues on Tour initiative. For instance, identify a venue large enough to allow access to other supporters’ clubs. 

BC and JH have asked the Club to continue conversations with club partners to offer support to away fans in a similar way to Coral.  RK confirmed the partnerships team have already been in discussion with club partners on this issue.  

Branding Project Group: The project group is seeking to put some time in the diary.  Phase one of the stadium branding project has been really well received and the group will update on the second phase at the next meeting.

Communications Group: The newly formed group will have its first meeting on Thursday 1 October.

Memorable Matchday Project Group: The group will set up a meeting with the Memorable Matchday coordinator and will feedback at the next Fans’ Forum meeting.

Programme Project Group: The programme has been well received by fans and the group will meet in the next month to discuss future improvements and feature ideas.  Feedback will be provided at the next Fans’ Forum meeting. 

5

Member Engagement

In CP’s absence MM explained that CP and CC, as part of the ‘Being A Club’ pillar, are benchmarking other sports and customer focused organisations on how they interact with their customer base to identify various best practice. 

The Forum were asked to identify good practice from other organisations over the coming months.

ACTION: Forum members to feedback in upcoming meetings.  

6

Smoking in the Park End

There have been a number of complaints from fans on Twitter regarding smoking in the toilets in the Park End. The block of toilets have been identified and RK confirmed the Club would look into the matter at the next home game.

JH commended the Club on the stance it has taken to smoking and said there are only isolated incidents occurring which are becoming few and far between. 

7

Away Match credits

Fans have been in touch with various members of the Forum to ask why attendance at away Capital One Cup games are not given as away credits. 

RK explained that Matt Kendall will be invited to the next meeting and will provide a response as to the reasoning behind away credits and the Capital One Cup. 

PD stated that currently home attendances at Cup matches count as an away credit and this will help fans build up an away credit history and the Forum looks forward to welcoming Matt to the meeting and exploring the current process.  

The Forum commended the Club for the pricing for the upcoming Capital One Cup fixture with Norwich City. 

8

AOB

1.1 Active Blues

The Club’s charity, Everton in the Community, have set up a programme called Active Blues and have asked if the Fans’ Forum can help to promote it.  MM explained the initiative is targeting men aged 35-50 in 8 different sports activities in North Liverpool, all free of charge. 

ACTION: MM to send PDF of Active Blues poster for Fans’ Forum to promote on social media and other channels.

1.2 Derby meeting

A meeting of Supporters’ Groups, in preparation for the Merseyside Derby, will take place at The People’s Lounge at Goodison Park on Tuesday 29 September at 6pm.  The group agreed that BC will represent the Forum at the meeting.