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Supporters Consultative Group Meeting Minutes - Wednesday, October 29th

12 November 2014

Please read the meeting minutes from the latest Supporters Consultative Meeting on Wednesday, October 29th...

Wednesday, 29 October 2014, 6.30 p.m.
Alan Berry Building, Coventry University, Coventry



Pat Abel - PA
Jim Brown - JB
David Busst - DB
Ian Davidson - ID
Darren Davies - DD
Adam Dent (Advent Communications) - AD
Mark Hornby (CCFC) - MH
Chris McGrath - CM
Tynan Scope (CCFC) - TS
Jonathan Strange, Chairman - JS


Steve Barnett
Steve Brown 
Tim Fisher
Sandra Garlick
Kevin Heffernan
Jan Mokrzycki
Kev Monks
Pat Raybould 
Mark Sorbie
Ray Stephens
Ravinder Singh Takhar
Steve Waggott
Peter Ward 

1.Chairman’s Introduction

We welcome Sandra Garlick and David Busst as regular members of the group.  Other members of the Stadium Forum will, with due notice, attend future SCG meetings on a rotational basis. Sandra will reconvene the Stadium Forum, of which she remains chair, as and when necessary.  David, with particular reference to Sky Blues in the Community, and Sandra, with reference to stadium matters Ricoh or otherwise, will make important contributions.
It is also a pleasure to welcome Mark Hornby for the first time. He is the football club’s marketing executive with responsibilities over a wide range of issues.  
You should by now have seen the minutes to the last meeting. The extended delay to their publication is unprecedented. I am grateful to Chris for taking tonight’s minutes at short notice. 
You will be aware that Nick Connoll is leaving the club in the next few days. He sends everyone his very best wishes. We thank him for his enormous help and wish him well in his new post with Jaguar Land Rover. 
Whilst it would be ideal to publish minutes within a matter of days, we need to be realistic about the huge amounts of time and effort involved. The important thing is that minutes appear on a consistent basis, I suggest approximately midway between meetings. If there are matters of immediate significance, the chairman can then exercise his discretion to issue an interim statement as I did two months ago. Last month it was a case of juxtaposing the desirability of such a statement with the need for PR about the boardroom development.
Whereas the Coventry Observer ran an informative article about boardroom representation, yesterday’s piece by Simon Gilbert is the only primary reference to the SCG yet to have appeared in the Coventry Telegraph. The Telegraph has only ever sought to contact the SCG in the wake of a now long-since resolved spat within the group. We would all expect Mr Gilbert and his newspaper to be acquainting readers accurately and properly about such a crucial means of public access to the community’s football club. 
This has also been a month of considerable achievement for the SCG: in establishing regular representation at board meetings, securing the involvement of the Stadium Forum, over match-day ticket costs, the price of beer, the Family Zone and the re-establishment of school ticket initiatives. 
I have been in correspondence with Liz Cooper of ACL about attending SCG meetings as in the past. We agreed that it would be more beneficial, as the SCG has already been doing, to convey the group’s comments via Steve Waggott to the regular ACL meeting which takes place a few days after most home games. Please continue to let me have your comments and suggestions surrounding each match.
Mark Sorbie is away at the moment but there are important issues to be addressed about disabled supporters’ needs and facilities at the Ricoh. Mark will continue to raise these with Tynan and Karen and I will ensure that these are itemised on the SCG agenda on Mark’s return.

2.CCFC and Current Concerns

Tim Fisher gave a telephone update on the Ricoh situation:
-committed short to medium-term to Ricoh, but long-term to building new stadium
-needing to manage risk and have control if the new stadium build overruns. We don’t want to be in the same position as before with the landlord having the whip-hand.
-Council/Higgs have not provided the information necessary for the owners to make a commercial decision
-the deadline is 8 November for submitting a conditional bid
-cautioned that it might not be in the club’s interest to make a bid for the 50% if it meant being exposed to liability of an unsustainable huge mortgage. The owners will not expose the club to the risk of default of debt with the further administration and points reductions that would ensue.
-CCC disclaims any further responsibility although it remains the lender
-Wasps have not returned any of Steve Waggott’s calls since initial meeting
-clarification needed over whether pre-emptive right of veto had passed from CCC to Wasps. Council were claiming commercial confidentiality in not declaring this. Any further changes to JVA?
-TS added that it had been reported that the 50% sale to Wasps had been completed by CCC but the Council were claiming commercial confidentiality 
 -JS asked if there were any mechanics that could be invoked to force the parties to come forward with the information needed over the veto etc. TF advised that they are seeking legal advice about this. It just required a straight-forward conversation with Coventry City Council, the Alan Higgs Charity and Wasps, but there was no sign of this happening.
-Wasps have taken on the £13m loan from ACL that is owed to the council. He doesn't know if Wasps have re-financed the loan or have just become a borrower to the tax payer. 
-continue to push on land agreement over the new stadium site
-interest repayments simply roll-up and TF would be surprised if AVRO seek any immediate interest. The club is cash-flow positive for the first time in 15 years.

Matters Arising


ID spoke about the length of time it took for them to be released after the last meeting. JS said there were exceptional circumstances last month which would not recur. There was a need to find someone to take minutes who was independent of the club and of Advent. TS suggested action points at the end of the minutes which could be referred to easily by all members. 
SCG statement on London Wasps at the Ricoh Arena
It was decided this wouldn't serve any purpose. JS congratulated the SBT on the statement about the lack of consultation.

3.Match-day Ticket Costs

The club had responded to the SCG’s concerns and reduced them
Cost of Beer
Consequent to DD’s research, the club had successfully sought a price reduction from Compass
The Safety Advisory Group
At the last meeting it was suggested that the SAG should have a representative on the SCG. JS was grateful to Barry Butterworth, SAG chairman, for a helpful meeting about this. The SAG meets only three times a year and an SCG member would only have access to some parts of a meeting directly relevant to the Ricoh Arena. The SAG’s function is merely to issue the safety certificate, based on the recommendations of the safety and security bodies and emergency services. Barry Butterworth suggested, however, that he might consider logical and persuasive suggestions to be put to the relevant services. 
Encouraging fans to buy tickets
Steve Brown to be asked whether SBT had carried out its survey into ticket buying habits. 
Printing tickets at Home
TS will take this up with Karen Bennett.
Family Zone
JS delivered Pat Raybould’s written report. MH reported nearly a thousand JSB’s, six times more than at the same stage last season.
Dirty Seats
JB didn't notice any at the last game
Tannoy System
This has improved
Disabled Parking
Special agenda item to be put forward with Mark Sorbie at a future meeting 
Share Certificates
Lionel Bird’s request still being pursued
CCFC Mobile Retail Outlets at the Ricoh
These are being satisfactorily established

Items for CCFC Board Meeting:

This will be attended by JS and PW. There will be an exploratory process to the first meeting. Hope to discuss the developing ownership situation of the Ricoh Arena and matters of the club. Two possible agenda items will be the reconfiguration of the seating and combined travel and match tickets. JS said that he would present a paper to the group for their comments prior to presentation at the board meeting. 
Ideas, Suggestions and Feedback:
The SCG are getting more responses, partly due to the appearance of the SCG column in the match-day programme. This is encouraging and it is hoped responses will continue to increase.  

4. Any Other Business:

TS said that two out of three members of the football club would attend the SCG on a rotational basis: Tynan Scope, Mark Hornby and Karen Bennett
MH said the match-day Q&A will continue.
JB reported that uneven surface between East stand and underpass had tripped up a supporter  
ID said the cheaper tickets and £30 family tickets are a great initiative.
ID had asked whether those season-ticket holders who had paid a premium on the East Stand would receive a refund for moving to the North Stand. They would.
Steve Barnett had suggested that London Supporters Club members could reach out to Wasps supporters about mutual concerns and arrangements. ID said that the adverse response to the move of ground from Wasps supporters on social media might preclude this. TS pointed out that there had been no such relationships over Cov Rugby.
Kev Monks had reported his gratitude to TS and his staff and those of Ricoh Arena/Compass for the quality of the hospitality at Preston game 

Scoreboard Substitutions

Away team substitutes were not shown on the large screen. MH replied that to be able to do this they would have to make slides up for every player in every team. This could mean approx 30-35 slides per match. This would be difficult with the small resources they have. MH to look into normal typing of the names.

ID asked if it would be possible to have announcements in the concourse before the start of each game and also before the second half starts.

CM asked if the smoking ban covered electronic cigarettes as he has seen someone smoking one at a game. TS said that the stewards would be asked to be more vigilant.

ID asked if there could be confirmation of the upcoming FA Cup game date asap as CCLSC needed to book train tickets.

JB asked about deals for the game against Worcester. It was confirmed that both clubs had to agree to any price deals.

JB had questions about the Wasps deal. Would we still be able to use the Legends Lounge as this seemed to be out of bounds for the past few games? TS said that even if the Legends Lounge is available the FPA will not be there as membership of the Lounge has been sold out and there was therefore insufficient space for the FPA. However, the FPA would be accommodated in other lounges. It was confirmed that all of the club’s archives are in a safe place. Justine Hewitt, ACL Facilities Manager, will come back about the Legends Lounge photos (A4 size.) TS apologised that the photos are in fact with ACL.  The club have asked if the photos can be put back up. There has been no response to this question. 

PA asked at what age a child can attend a match unattended. This was confirmed as 14. In the past, all Coventry primary schools have taken part. Half the secondary schools in the city have also been involved but, unfortunately, sales have as yet been less successful. A special effort will be focused on new initiatives with secondary schools in and around the city. Already, for one match, Rugby School has sold sixty tickets. She thought it would be a good idea to get representatives (agents) from the Diamond Club to visit local schools. She also suggested that they devise a scheme for marketing themselves in schools. David Busst has also offered to help.

DB said that he would be happy to make a future presentation about Sky Blues in the Community. 

Date of next meeting: To be confirmed.                  

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