The views in these blogs are those held by the individual blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton Football Club.
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When I walked into the Brian Labone lounge at Goodison Park back in January 2011, I wasn't sure what the next few hours would entail and I was pretty nervous.
This was to be my first Fans' Forum meeting and, while I was excited, I'm a pretty shy person and the thought of speaking in front of strangers gives me butterflies!
But I wanted to get over my nerves and help give my opinion and put forward ideas to help make our great club even better.
I didn't know much about the Forum before I joined or what normally happens during meetings. Unfortunately we don't get any say on transfers or tactics!
The Forum has been in its current guise since January 2011 and there are currently 10 fans on the board, plus our independent chairman Tony Bott. We are a very varied group with pretty much every fan genre covered - Season Ticket holders, FOREVERTON members, hospitality members, disabled supporters, parents, grandparents, supporters clubs and so on.
While there may be only 10 people at each meeting, we actually represent hundreds and hundreds of fans we go to the match with and interact with on a regular basis.
But we think that's still not enough.
‘Why not have different members of the Forum write a regular update to share more details on our recent activities?,' we thought. The result is this blog.
I thought the first blog should highlight some of the great things we have achieved and been a part of over the last two years. These include:
- Promoting the idea of £5 kids tickets for cup games, which was highly successful and then led to the also very successful £95 kids Season Ticket offer.
- Suggesting the ticket ‘print at home' feature which is now being rolled out to supporters.
- As a result of feedback from fans, we met with PGMOL general manager and former referee Mike Riley and his colleagues to discuss his work, past and present, and current issues concerning refereeing.
- Promoting the idea of rewarding our most loyal fans, which has led to events for supporters attending every game last season and the recent Fan Conference for those who have held Season Tickets for over 10 years.
- Recommending the change in evening kick-offs from 8pm to 7.45pm to encourage more families who may be put off by later finishing times.
- Presenting David Moyes with a memento to mark his 10 years in charge.
- Holding a meeting with chairman Bill Kenwright to discuss some of the key issues currently facing the Club - as well as sharing some of the stories we've collected over the years.
- Playing a large and significant part in the ongoing improvement in overall communication between fans and the Club.
Our latest task has been to choose four new members who will join the Forum this month and replace four of us, including myself, whose tenure has now come to an end.
We received a large number of applications from all over the world and it was really tough to narrow these down. We used a scoring system to judge each one and, from this, the four members were chosen. I'm looking forward to meeting our new members and I'm sure they will do a great job continuing the work we have started.
For those unsuccessful candidates or those who didn't apply, the message is: we still want your input and participation.
The forum is an open shop, so if you have any comments or issues you want to raise, either through the monthly meetings or maybe through a future blog, you can contact us here.
Looking back over the past two years, it has been a great experience and I've gained a great insight into how the Club is run.
I think we've built a great partnership with the Club, which will only make it better in the long run.
There are some pretty exciting and interesting things happening off the pitch, not just on it - and the future is not as gloomy as some would like to make out.
I've also made some new friends who I'll stay in touch with, and even had Steven Pienaar hold the door open for me at Finch Farm. Thanks, Steven!
One thing I haven't fixed though... I still get butterflies when I speak!