Please read the following meeting minutes from the Coventry City Football Club Supporters' Consultative Group Meeting...
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Coventry City Football Club
Supporters’ Consultative Group Meeting
Wednesday 28 January 2015, 6.15 p.m.
Alan Berry Building, Coventry University, Coventry
M I N U T E S
Jim Brown - JB
Steve Brown - SBR
Moz Baker (for Jan Mokrzycki) – MB
Adam Dent - AD
Ian Davidson - ID
Chris McGrath - CM
Pat Raybould - PR
Tynan Scope (CCFC) - TS
Ray Stephens - RS
Jonathan Strange, Vice Chairman - JS
Peter Ward, Chairman - PW
Robert Tidmarsh - RT
Mark Hornby (CCFC) - MH
Kieran Crowley (CCFC)- KC
David Busst - DB
Peter Ward, as the incoming welcomed everyone to the meeting. He introduced Mick Garlick, a member of the Stadium Committee. He invited the Immediate Past Chairman, Jonathan Strange, to address the meeting.
Immediate Past Chairman
JS thanked members for their support over the last twelve months, and also expressed his gratitude to the directors and representatives of the football club and Advent. Last year was enormously significant for the SCG and its relationship with the Club, and one in which the SCG continued to enhance its profile and representativeness.
JS dispelled any lingering misconception that the December SCG meeting was scheduled purposely for the same day as the board meeting. It was not until well after the October meeting - certainly not at the September one - that anyone could formally provide indications about the venue or time of day - even the month - of the board meeting. The board meeting, at one stage scheduled for 27 November, was not finalised until 24 November. Members had been notified of the December SCG meeting a fortnight earlier.
The Chairman’s direct responsibility to members is as members of the SCG, not as members of other organisations they may represent. No agenda item can automatically override unforeseen and complex considerations of accuracy and propriety. A few days after the meeting, members received a report on the board meeting as was intended. The main item on the agenda was actually the appearance of a special guest, Nick Eastwood.
JS wrote formally to Ian Davidson on 10 December about his outburst at the SCG meeting, suggesting that all those present – fellow members, two young guests and representatives of the football club and Advent – would appreciate an apology and an assurance that there would not be a recurrence.
JS warmly commended Peter Ward as elected chairman. The duties involve an arduous degree of responsibility, time, care and thought and entirely transcend any vested interests. No one is better equipped to fulfil this role and JS urged the SCG’s full support.
PW continued, saying that the most significant event in the past 12 months is the return to the Ricoh Arena. Likely that we will be there for the next 3-4 years PW believes the SCG has the opportunity to up its game by once again focussing on improving the supporter experience and working hard to win the fans back.
He was pleased by the positive relationship that has developed between the Club and Wasps, and the apparent willingness of Wasps to listen to the wishes of football club supporters.
TS endorsed these comments, adding that it would be good for the SCG to come up with new ideas for the club as this kind of input had tailed off due to the move to Northampton. He said the SCG members are the eyes and ears of the club, and he will do his best to act on feedback from the fans where matters can be improved by the club.
JS said that the group had raised its profile in the media but was finding it difficult to encourage supporters to utilise email@example.com. There is local coverage in the Coventry Observer and we are continuing to seek the interest of the Coventry Telegraph.
SBR commented that no matter what was discussed by the SCG, the dire state of the football on the pitch is driving fans away.
Whilst agreeing with SBR’s observation about the quality of the football at present, JB said the SCG has a role to play and should take a long term view.
PW concluded by saying that he would give the group his undivided attention and encourage SCG and the wider base of supporters to help the club through these difficult times.
Minutes of the last meeting
ID asked to clarify a note from the last meeting concerning discussion about the SCG posting a thread on Sky Blue Talk. ID said the note this could be misinterpreted, and wanted to ensure that he had no intention of criticising Sky Blue Talk; he was cautioning against the possibility of unnecessary and drawn out debates on line.
The minutes were accepted as a true and accurate record.
Uneven Surface outside stadium - no response from ACL.
Tannoy system – inconsistent and poor quality in many areas – no real improvement
Filthy tables the family stand have now improved
Nothing to report
PW asked DB if he would like to give an update on Football in the Community at a future meeting. DB agreed that this would be a good idea and would organise something for the next meeting.
Matters for discussion
MH confirmed that there have been improvements in the lounges and the concourse
JSB’s/Family Zone will be receiving a PlayStation 4. Also received a speaker system and microphone paid for and donated by CCFC. They were trying to get a hall for the youngsters to play 5-a-side, but there were health and safety and cost issues. They will keep trying.
ID said that a number of questions that had been raised had yet to be responded to. TS said these would have gone to Steve Waggott. He asked that any questions be sent directly to him, KB and MH. They would then be filtered to the right department.
PW suggested he set up a document to track issues and questions raised. There will need to be clear separation between customer services issues, and questions of a more strategic nature. The document would be sent out to all group members for their input to be added. The document could then be reviewed at each meeting, and then posted on the website as an integral part of the meeting notes, thus giving the mass of supporters clear visibility of issues being raised by SCG and resolved by the appropriate party. This was put forward as a proposal and agreed.
MB said that the SCG needs to re-launch itself as to what it is about. The group was set up to improve the match day experience for the supporters and to work with the club on any ideas they may have to introduce to the fans. It is not for the SCG to become involved in any of the off the field issues.
JB said that in his opinion, other than during the Paul Fletcher era, the club had never been as transparent as it is now. He suggested that Tim Fisher and Steve Waggott be invited to a meeting once a year. In exceptional circumstances 2 or 3 times.
SCG Public Statements
ID suggested that before the Chair/vice Chair made any public statements all members should be contacted first. PW said that this would be unworkable as often they would be contacted by local media asking if they could be available to give a statement in the following 10 minutes, making it impossible to contact all members.
PW promised to keep the group appraised of any media contact as soon as practically possible.
PW apologised for the mis-communication and confusion about what had been discussed at the December Board meeting, attended by himself and JS. The statement that the Club issued was factually correct, and he was disappointed by the level of suspicion and mis-understanding that ensued, largely as a result of the Board meeting and SCG taking place on the same day. He assured the Group that this would in future be avoided, and that proper briefing and feedback would continue to be provided at the earliest reasonable opportunity.
Any other business
PR thanked everyone for their support for the JSB Christmas Party. She had received some fabulous donations from the players. The Tombola made £300 for the kitty to use for the season.
JB advised that the next Legends Day would take place 21 March (Doncaster Rovers)
JB advised the matter of Share Certificates is still ongoing. This would be put on the list and passed to TF.
JB advised that no details had been publicised by the Club about the Under 21’s match v Sheffield Utd. As the club historian he needs this information on a timely basis. KC acknowledged, and will take responsibility
JB reminded the group of a discussion at a previous meeting about the Trust sponsoring the team sheet. At the time it was thought that the SCG could do this to raise its profile. SBR reported that nothing more happened after the discussion.
Date of next meeting:
To be arranged.