The FLC convened on Monday 2nd August for the first meeting of the season. Amber Nectar’s intrepid representatives were there…
Match categories and ticketing
The categorisation of matches this season was questioned. The chairman feels that the higher price for Category A games should be viewed as the standard price, with the lesser prices for Category B games acting as a discount for less attractive fixtures. At present, the difference is only £1, although a £2 gap between price bands was considered to make the discount more noticeable, and may be implemented in future seasons.
The prices for away fans have been set to mirror the South Stand prices. The rules for the League, clarified in June and effective for this season, state that the facilities of each stand is no longer the sole criterion for pricing, and that the view of the pitch must be considered. Although City would like to have made the away prices closer to those of the West Stand, this would have meant an unfair rise in cost to supporters in the South Stand.
The high cost of Wolves tickets was raised. City are to be housed in a stand down the side with prices similar to those of Wolves’ costly Main Stand.
Leeds United away – the rules state that visiting supporters must be given 10% of the total capacity, however this can be over-ruled at police discretion. Millwall have refused their 950 allocation, and City are still awaiting confirmation from Elland Road of theirs, which will almost certainly not exceed 1,700. Leeds are unhappy at the prohibitive restrictions placed upon them this season in response to difficulties with the home fixtures against Millwall and Cardiff last season.
East Stand fence
the contentious new fence being erected at the away supporters’ exits was debated at some length. The club have reluctantly decided this is the best way of preventing minor incidents at full time when both sets of supporters flow from the north-east end of the ground. The police’s attitude to holding back away fans (“yes we will, oh, sorry, out you all go”), which is clearly the most sensible approach, does not instil confidence in anyone, therefore this appears to be the best option for the time being. It will be a semi-permanent structure which the club intend to use only when required. It will not affect lesser sporting events at the stadium, and as it will be gated, can hopefully be left open before matches and at low-profile games.
Replica kit pricing
A question was asked about the possibility of a discount if the whole playing strip was bought rather than just a shirt; as the shirt is already cheaper than in previous seasons, and can be bought with a 5% discount for season ticket holders, this is not likely to be introduced.
Away Direct scheme
Away Direct – some supporters complained that monies for Sheff Weds and Wolves was taken from bank accounts too early, and at the end of the month. This will be reviewed, and the club will aim to take money only 1-2 days before tickets go on sale to passholders, and wherever possible in the first few days of a month rather than at the end. This will be extended to season ticket instalments, which will again not be taken out on the 28th of the month. It was also noted that some people are having to return the first two away tickets of the season due to holidays, which brings them close to the 3-tickets per season limit. The club will exercise common sense on this issue, anyone requiring assistance should contact the FLO.
Car park egress
Difficulties with exiting the Walton Street carpark were again raised. This is being examined, although the sheer volume of traffic means that a wait of some sort is largely unavoidable.
The pre-match music was mentioned, with varying opinions. Some consider it too loud, some too quiet, others were content with it. The volume is the same throughout the stadium as there is no facility to alter it for different stands. It was also noted that the 27-minute pre-match loop is becoming a little jaded, and may be altered slightly in the coming weeks. Predictably, no consensus about what to actually play was reached! The last few songs before Tigers Tigers Burning Bright will probably be retained.
Beer supplier change
Following a supporters’ vote on the official website, the beer sold is to be Worthingtons and Carling this season. New multi-dispense units are being fitted to the Sports Bar and the East Stand, which the club hope will cut down on waiting times. Back-pack units are also being looked into – the club are anxious to be given the go-ahead for these. Only 24 unsold passes remain for the Sports Bar.
The new City magazine was discussed. At present, an anomaly exists in subscriptions, with a commitment for six months actually costing more than individual purchases, albeit including a free wallchart. City are very enthusiastic about the project and are determined to make it a success. Once sales rise to a certain level, cuts to the price may be feasible, although at present the profit margin will be low, and does not have sufficient scope to include a wholesaler’s cut to aid distribution.
Rules on cameras in the ground – images of the game are exclusively the domain of Sky Sports and the print media. However, the club is keen not to be overly authoritarian on this issue.
A leak in the South Stand roof has been identified and repairs are being carried out.
The team will be flying to Plymouth in late-August – however, as it is only a small provincial airport the aeroplane will not be large enough to accommodate any supporters, and a larger craft would require them to land at Exeter instead.
Some supporters expressed disappointment at not being able to vote for the new home shirt. It may be the case that the next shirt will be plain amber, to freshen it up, although no decision will be taken for some time and it may be opened up to a vote. Both kits are selling very well, and the away shirt is proving particularly popular.
Litter bins for the stadium were mentioned, as the stands can become quite dirty at half-time. Unfortunately it is not as easy as simply installing them, the club must obtain permission from a safety aspect, but this will be hopefully be in place shortly.
A revamp to the mechanism for selecting the Player of the Year is to be undertaken. One possibility is that of having a quarterly vote to be tallied up at the end, to take into account more fully the contributions of players early in the season which may be overlooked with just a single vote in April. New ways in which we can cast votes will also be examined, with SMS and internet polling a possibility.
Nothing will be happening in the immediate future with regards to stadium expansion, although it has not been forgotten. Much depends upon the decisions taken at national Government level about casinos in this country.
A complaint about overzealous stewarding was made. The claim that City are being monitored for excessive standing was emphatically refuted. Stewards will be asked to employ a degree of common sense during games, which has largely been the case to date.
City’s credit card was mentioned – it was launched six months ago and has several hundred active users.
The Millwall home match has been brought forward a day to the Friday evening, a decision that wasn’t welcomed by Millwall but was on police advice due to Hull Fair.
Could fixture cards be included with season tickets next season? A good idea, depending on when City have the cards printed – they were not manufactured until fairly late this summer due to the number of fixture changes that were likely. 20,000 of these were printed. Also, there were a number of concerns about tickets in the post – it is often quite clear that tickets or season passes for City were within, which has worried a few people. These will be distributed more discreetly in the future.
City are continuing to invest in the facilities at North Ferriby United – the pitch, floodlights and training ground are all being upgraded, and City are very happy with the reserve team venue it now provides.
The new training complex was discussed – this is a long-term project that the club feel will provide a benefit for many years, and final completion may be some time away. Nonetheless, the chairman is happy with the progress being made.