Fans Liaison Committee – October 2005

flc

Car park lighting
The lighting outside the East Stand and on Walton Street carpark is inadequate, and with winter approaching this needs resolving. The club acknowledged this will endeavour to improve the lighting around the ground, the car park lighting is the domain of the Council, the club will inform them of the lamp failures.

Leeds ticket allocation
Leeds United have indicated they will allocate City 1,750 tickets for the fixture at Elland Road away on New Year’s Eve, though this allocation may be partially dependent upon the success of Leeds’ home fixture with Sheffield United on October 21st, Leeds could yet halve the allocation not yet out of the question. The club are strongly opposed to the police enforcing mandatory coach travel from Hull, although the respective police forces have decided upon this. With demand certain to outweigh supply, the chairman will be arranging a beamback for supporters at the KC Stadium on the largest screen the club can find and holding prices to about £5.

Public Address
It was suggested that the PA announcer shouting “come on, get behind the Tigers” prior to kick-off is unnecessary and just a bit naff. Attempts to involve the crowd in shouting a player’s surname after scoring a goal (“the scorer is Ben…..” fell rather flat, although it may be tried again in the future. A brief discussion was held on the atmosphere at games – after the equaliser against Millwall it was very loud, and the chairman feels there is no real problem with it. The away support given at Norwich was mentioned in glowing terms.

Away Direct
Difficulties with the Away Direct scheme were raised, with members wanting to arrange for family members/friends to get tickets next to one another at away fixtures. The ticket office will attempt to seat people together where possible and should use “common sense”, although where an allocation is likely to be filled this may not always be possible. Away Direct itself is considered a success. For next season, they club may examine a means of allowing supporters to deposit money into a fund for the scheme to spread the cost of away tickets.

The rash of all-ticket games this season is partially due to the habits of clubs with recent Premier League experience, for whom the majority of fixtures were all-ticket and sold-out. The club will attempt to communicate it earlier should all-ticket games become pay on the day.

Cup games
One fan had questioned City’s attitude to cup competitions following the disappointing first round League Cup exit at Blackpool. The chairman gave assurances that City will be taking the FA Cup very seriously, and that he feels a Championship club should aiming for at least the 5th/6th round. The cup competitions are potentially lucrative for the club and the importance of this will be stressed to the playing and management staff prior to the 3rd round game. Adam Pearson also commented that the side that lost to Blackpool should have been strong enough to win despite being short of a few first-teamers, and the players “highly incentivised” to win in cup competitions. Any monies made from a Cup run may be made available to the manager for team strengthening.

Concourse overcrowding
The thorny issue of concourses were again raised, with the problematic East Stand still very full during half-time. A queueing system similar to that at Carrow Road was mooted as an option, with barriers inserted to create more orderly and efficient queues, though it was pointed out that the concourses may be too narrow for this to work and that barriers may not be permitted under the safety license. The smoky atmosphere of the vomitories leading to the concourses caused some concern, though the club are not prepared to ban smoking on the concourses unless compelled to.

Section E1
Unrest in the North-East corner was discussed, with one steward claiming to have been threatened with violence in that section. The club are concerned about stewarding as it has such a high turnover, which makes training costly and often wasted. This brought us onto Millwall, where more hopeless policing was dejectedly commented up. Leaving aside the shocking treatment of innocent Millwall fans refused entry into the stadium, the antagonistic close-up filming of supporters by a police camera crew was deplored by fans and the club alike, with CCTV more than sufficient to identify any alleged wrongdoers. Pearson stated that any fans misbehaving should have been challenged and ejected at half-time if necessary and that filming in such a manner served only to inflame the situation.

A committee member will be invited into the match control room for an upcoming game to witness how operations are handled. The club’s relationship with Humberside Police is not the best at times, however there can only be one winner and it is rather depressing to see the police repeating basic operational mistakes over and over again, particularly when the bill they present to the club is so large – a tactic that police forces across the country are slightly more keen to stick to. Reading, happily, will be a non-policed game.

Miscellaneous

The superb half-time display by the Marines was commented upon, although remarkably Adam Pearson had received a couple of complaints about this. However, they are were praised by the committee and (joy of joys) will be invited to return for a rematch with Roary.

City have sold around 800 tickets for Southampton so far, a strong show of support given the average start to the season and lengthy journey involved.

Problems with the ‘Tiger Travel’ coaches to Crystal Palace were raised, with all three buses breaking down at some stage! The operators have been warned that they will lose the contract should this occur again, and an improvement has been noted. The club offered free travel to Coventry or Norwich to those affected who complained.

Problems with food running out recently have been dealt with. And did you know that City sell chicken soup? It came as a bit of a surprise, and it’s not advertised, but ask and apparently ye shall receive.

One member commented upon the lack of availability of programmes against Millwall, and wondered if fewer had been printed. This was not the case, and the club will seek ways of making them easier to obtain on a match day, possibly with pitch-side vendors.

Yellow stripes will be painted onto the steps near the disabled sections, to hopefully discourage people from the egress routes allowed for wheelchair users.

The club will aim to have the team on the scoreboard much earlier in the afternoon before kick-off.

The Sports Bar needs more stools, a big screen television and Radio Humberside on after the game. A Bar Manager will be appointed and these issues hopefully remedied. Use of the bar for televised international/European fixtures will be looked into, and will depend upon the likely demand.

A question was asked as to whether local bands could be featured on the pre-match music loop. Pearson responded that this is unlikely.

Complaints about the North-East fencing continue to be made, however the club are not going to alter their policy on this until they have assessed its success at a later time.

City’s “link-up” with Liverpool over youth team player Paul Anderson was mentioned. Although Peter Taylor is happy to foster a good relationship with Liverpool, this will never be to the detriment of City. The manager felt he had to let the player make a visit to Anfield once their interest was known, and the situation will be examined. In our favour is the fact that John Welsh is keen to become a City player permanently.

The Casino issue looks a little rosier, with the Labour Government now seeming likely to press ahead with their plans for “super casinos” and the Conservatives less likely to oppose it. Between 8 and 12 are being mooted and although Hull faces stern competition, the chairman is quietly confident we may get one. The development in Coventry created 5,000 new jobs.

The club has a significant sum of money at the manager’s disposal should he wish to strengthen the side during the season.

Lastly – the FLC will in future invite its members to take any major issues that arise for further discussions with those they represent. The key issues from this meeting were:

– the club is eager to fill the stadium as often as possible, although some fixtures are naturally less attractive than others. Without being unfair to existing season ticket holders, to what lengths should City go to attract new supporters? Should there be more kids-for-a-quid days? Should schools get blocks of free tickets to entice young supporters?

– how can away tickets be allocated in the future when demand outstrips supply? Assuming that Away Direct members have first crack at tickets, what should the remaining hierarchy of priorities look like? Should stubs from away games be taken into account to reward loyal travellers? Should the length of time a season ticket has been held for be taken into account?

Several players are out of contract this summer – Duke, Leite, Joseph, Edge and Price. Thelwell is on non-contract terms at present as he attempts to regain fitness.

 

Andy Dalton