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Coventry City Supporters' Consultative Group Meeting Minutes - Thursday, July 30th

5 August 2015

Please read the meeting minutes from latest Supporters' Consultative Group meeting...

Coventry City Football Club
Supporters’ Consultative Group Meeting
Thursday 30 July 2015, 6.30pm
CCFC, Ryton Training Ground

M I N U T E S

Present

Jonathan Strange (JS), Pat Abel (PA), Sandra Garlick (SG), Karen Bennett (KB), Kieran Crowley (KC), Peter Ward, Chair (PW), Steve Waggott (SW), Daren Davies (DD), Robert Tidmarsh (RT), Steve Brown (SBr), Steve Barnett (SBa), Pat Raybould (PR), Mark Hornby (MH), Jan Mokrzycki (JM) (part),

Apologies

David Busst, CJ, Ian Davidson, Chris McGrath, Ray Stevens, Tynan Scope, Jim Brown, Rav, Kev Monks, Kevin Heffernan, Dale Haywood, Michael Garlick

Introduction

The Chairman opened the meeting by thanking SW for arranging the venue and thanking those present for attending and meeting the challenges of travelling to Ryton, explaining that the usual meeting room at the University had not been available

Minutes of Last Meeting

The Minutes were taken as read and agreed as a true and fair record

Matters Arising

None

Issues Log

PW advised that Ian Davidson had taken over the Issue Log as agreed at the last meeting, but unfortunately was unable to attend.  With the support of MH, ID has brought the Log up to date as far as practicable, although aware that there may be issues/queries still be added.  PW advised that he would ask ID to distribute the Log asap.   [Since the meeting ID has informed PW that he sent PW the updated Log on 14 July by email; PW will distribute, with a covering note apologising for the delay and asking the group to forward any outstanding issues]

Additional issues received by email since the last meeting were raised

• JS drew attention to some lengthy correspondence from Lee Kinder, too detailed to raise each and every comment/suggestion, but he would pick out the salient points at AOB
• DD noted the concerns about the size of the new retail facility and the risk of queues due to its size, especially for the collection of season tickets at the first match and in the event of a large cup tie etc.  KB explained some of the problems regarding the processing of tickets due to the extension of the early bird period, and advised that the bulk of season tickets had now been distributed.  KB noted the concerns of ticketing for big matches.   KB advised that the ticket window at the stadium will continue to operate for match day sales and ticket collection, and that there will be no ticket sales in the shop on match days.  SW advised the ongoing aim to increase the proportion of on line sales, noting that Liverpool FC sell 97% of their tickets on line.   SW advised that merchandise sales through the retail outlet were ahead of expectations.  He also advised that ACL had been asked if box office facilities could be shared, so far without positive response
• DD asked for clarification for the change of Coventry City Ladies to Coventry United.  SW advised that this was due to funding arrangements that had been made with Coventry United
• DD asked whether Block 11 would be opened to home fans.  SW advised that meetings had taken place with the Safety Advisory Group on a number of issues, and stated this highly unlikely given Health & Safety concerns and cost implications
• DD asked for an update on payment by instalments.  SW advised that the Club were still working to secure a Consumer Credit License in the wake of the Administration.  Some discussion took place to explore other options for payment by monthly instalments where the offer of credit could be avoided.   SG gave examples of some professional organisations that provide such facilities to consumers by outsourcing to licensed financial institutions, and SG will forward details to SW
• DD provided an overview of Manchester City’s merchandise offer, raising the suspicion that Nike had given Man City some exclusivity on the use of “Sky Blue”.  SW will take this matter up with Just Sports, advising that the CCFC/Just Sports arrangement is a different business model
• PW, on behalf of Chris McGrath, asked if additional signage had been installed at the Ricoh in response to Tony Mowbray’s comments at the end of last season.  SW to cover in his update

Family Zone and JSBs

PR advised that her volunteer army plus MH had met recently to discuss Family Zone plans for the new season, given the change of location at the stadium.  PR advised that the zone would continue as previously, but with some new initiatives added.  These would include a Post Box for kids to write to players and the Manager, and a raffled Match Day Experience where a family would watch the warm up from the dug outs etc

MH advised that some 900 JSBs were currently enrolled which was more than we had at the end of last season

PA raised the issue of how best to penetrate the senior schools, and put forward the suggestion of a higher age category of affinity membership to target the teenage population.  PA gave the example of Arsenal’s Young Gunners, which focussed on the 12-16 age group

SW advised of a previous meeting with Councillor Kershaw, and Paul Green, Head Teacher of Lyng Hall, when a youth population within the City of some 21,000 youngsters had been identified.  Councillor Kershaw had left the issue with Paul Green to lead, but nothing positive has yet ensued

Following some positive discussion and brainstorming, RT volunteered to form a SCG Sub Group in order to establish a Youth Forum, the purpose of which would be to penetrate the 14-18 age group and develop a value proposition to attract this demographic to attend matches.  SBr asked RT to reach out to Nick Robinson and CJ who would provide a valuable input.  RT to follow up and report back at next meeting

In parallel, PA to follow up with Paul Green to resurrect the previous dialogue and if possible arrange meeting with SW
CCFC Update

SW advised his delight having secured the services of Tony Mowbray.  It had taken a little longer than anticipated due the appointment of TM’s preferred support team - Jamie Clapham and Mark Venus

On the football side, SW advised that player recruitment was ongoing, the most recent being the acquisition of Adam Armstrong on loan from Newcastle.  Further discussions are in progress in search for strikers and quick wide players

JM asked if any players would likely go out on loan.  SW advised that the squad was still light in numbers, given the content of young blood and the Club’s commitment to fulfil U18 and U21 fixtures

SW gave an overview of the recent restructuring to reduce administration costs in order to invest more into the squad, thus creating a more football lead model.   Cuts have been made to both the number of full time employees, and the levels of remuneration of those remaining

SW advised that to reach the budgeted revenue targets, and meet the Football League’s salary management protocol, it is necessary to sell a further 1000 season tickets.  SW advised that the Football League will be monitoring the walk up attendances, as the playing squad budget has been based on average home gate of 11,000

This and the restructuring, leading to only five full time administrative employees, was creating a major challenge

SW advised that the publishing of the match day programme has also been moved to an alternative outsourced model, whereby the club would receive a royalty as opposed to profit on magazine produced in-house.  He advised that the sale of programmes is becoming increasingly more difficult in competition with in line media

SW went on to discuss the relationship with Wasps.  Whilst he was pleased with some of the positive initiatives that had been accomplished, eg new pitch, new retail outlet in East Stand etc, he outlined some unease concerning a number of fixtures where Wasps had withdrawn hospitality facilities, and in one case a significant amount of car parking space.  Such clash of events in key areas of the stadium complex on CCFC match days would have a negative impact on badly needed revenue streams

New Stadium Update

SW explained that for these reasons he was hoping the plans for a new stadium could be accelerated, advising that the search for an appropriate site were ongoing

Board Meeting

SW advised that there was likely to be a Board meeting in September to which SCG would be invited, further details would be advised asap

AOB

JS put forward some questions received in correspondence from Lee kinder
• Does the Club advertise regularly the eligibility criteria for concessions?  MH confirmed that this is done, advising that some Twitter feeds had been initiated earlier  the same day
• Is the Club aware of the high abuse of disabled and carer tickets?  KB advised the Club are aware, and are addressing the issue by colour coding of tickets
• What has happened to the various bus services that supporters’ groups used to arrange from some of the outlying areas to/from the Ricoh?  It seemed that these had stopped on the move to Northampton and not been reinstated.    This initiated some discussion and reference to SCG’s former proposals for an integrated travel plan, whereby, working with local bus and coach operators, and rail too in the near future, public transport could be incorporated with match tickets to offer a composite and attractive package.  DD volunteered to explore further, discuss with the groups that had run coaches previously, and revert with potential ideas for further discussion

JM asked SW to clarify the position of Sisu in respect of CCFC maintaining a position of financial self-reliance, if revenue  targets could not be reached would Sisu continue to inject funds ?  SW advised that if the club reached a short-fall in funds, Sisu are committed to supporting CCFC and making it a success, but at the moment, the club is running under it’s own stream and is self-sufficient. SW went on to say the club have resisted selling any players this summer to bring in funds

JM asked if there was likely to be a fans forum with Tony Mowbray.  KC advised that discussions are in progress with BBC CWR for such a forum in the near future with Thursday, August 13th a possible date

PA thanked SBr for arranging the removal of ribbons as requested previously

PA confirmed ongoing commitment to Tickets for Schools, subject to confirmation of ticket pricing from KB.   PA to meet David Busst and KB off line and plan Tickets for Schools campaign

SBa raised his concerns regarding the high profile marketing effort of Wasps and the effect this may have on CCFC support, should potential supporters be persuaded to follow Rugby instead of Football.  KC acknowledged SBa’s concerns and said the club currently do a lot of the community work and marketing events which Wasps have done since their move to Coventry, noting the Home Kit Launch at Caludon Castle School. KC admitted the club have to shout about the events they do a lot more and make people aware of the club’s community activities

JM suggested that the future structure of the SCG be revisited and discussed further at a subsequent meeting

Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday 08 September (prov) – venue tba


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