Fans Liaison Committee – February 2006


Official Coach Travel

An issue was raised pertaining to the official coaches that had travelled to Luton. After arriving very early for the match (“too early” in the view of the local constabulary), supporters were frustrated that they were unable to disembark on police orders, meaning they were kept aboard for 45 minutes. The frustration of this was added to by the fact that City fans were clearly walking the streets close to them, and that the communication by the on-board stewards were deficient. The club will examine ways of training the stewards to increase their ability to deal with situations and liase better, and information about delays and service station stops will be more clearly given out.

Smoking In Vomitaries
The thorny issue of smoking at the stadium was again raised. With more clubs banning the habit entirely from the ground and complaints about the smoky atmosphere on the concourses being added to by smokers gathering in the exit gangways, there is increasing pressure on the club to declare the ground a No-Smoking stadium. Some fans have been seen smoking in seats which the club are plainly unprepared to accept.

Lower Admission Prices
Most people were broadly supportive of the club’s decision to lower matchday admission prices for the upcoming Plymouth and Crewe fixtures. However, the club acknowledges that these have not been universally popular among existing season ticket holders, particularly newer ones. However, their view is that the benefits of holding a season ticket far outweighs the benefits of two discounted fixtures against two of the lesser attractions in the Championship, and note that it will boost support for two vital fixtures and the potential long-term gains in terms of possibly creating more regular fans are considerable.

Leeds Fixture Change
The club are unhappy with Humberside Police’s dismally predictable decision to enforce a midday kick-off for the Leeds United home fixture. It is frustrating given West Yorkshire Police’s letter of commendation about our conduct at Elland Road (which recommends a full allocation and no travel restrictions the next time we travel there, and was not seen fit for publication by the local newspaper), and presents the club with a number of unwanted difficulties. From a commercial perspective, the club will lose revenue in terms of corporate activities, sales at the kiosks will be lower than usual and becase greater segregation than usual/necessary may cut the capacity. City are intending to give Leeds a full allocation of 2,500, possibly 3,000 and a beamback to Elland Road is likely once they sell out.

On a wider scale, the club are still pushing for the introduction of a national task force to oversee police operations at football. Costs are being hiked up to ridiculous levels and a number of clubs are suffering disproportionately to their competitors. About 10 clubs in the Championship support this stance.


Miscellaneous

To ease the flow of supporters exiting the stadium, the chairman has agreed to look into the possibility of keeping the Arena open until beyond 5pm. Also, the club will investigate the feasibility of opening the steel doors on the concourses after the match so that fans can walk right the way around the stadium. Stewards will be reminded that supporters gathering in the exits and causing an obstruction and impeding the view of others should be discouraged.

The food kiosks by the pitch that serve fans in the East Stand will be rolled out to the South Stand.

The club intends to introduce a new home shirt every season from now on, and designs for the 2006/7 shirt will be available soon.

Dennis Wise and the match referee did not make a great fuss over the incident by the East Stand at the end of the Coventry match, although it has been reported to the FA.

Those wishing to purchase season tickets with the greatest discount will have until April 15th to do so. Prices are being held firmly in check, with large number of fans eligible for a pass at 2005/6 prices and some may even be reduced. A pass costing £100 will be available for Under 7s. Matchday admission prices for children will be frozen or possibly reduced. The club is very eager to build upon the existing base of 11,500 season ticket holders (excluding 1,000 Premier Club members) as we attempt to progress in the Championship.

A 12-month payment plan will be introduced for season ticket holders with a £12 administrative charge in conjuction with the existing 4-month payment plan.

The new paved area close to the creche has made a useful difference, and the club are now intending to cost some replacements for the low posts that prevent vehicular access through some areas because of their awkward height and low visibility in a crowd. The police have been informed about the preponderance of horseshit that their beasties deposit around the stadium, though whether that’ll translate into a manure-free utopia is anyone’s guess.

A question was raised about ownership of the new training facilities. The chairman stressed that these are an asset of Hull City and not the Stadium Management Company.

Three-year season tickets will again be available to purchase this summer. Saturdays-only passes are not an option the club is considering.

A complaint was brought about the speed at which the kiosks were operating at half-time in the West Stand, with a suggestion that the difficulty has arisen not as a consequence of understaffing but poor organisation.

Away fans are being sighted in the West Stand on a semi-regular basis. This is clearly against club policy and where possible those discovered to be away fans will be moved to the North Stand.

Music after a goal was raised (again), and unanimously opposed (again).

Your humble note-taker observed that Jon Parkin is ace.

A fans’ forum is being planned for the end of the season, at which the manager and chairman will both be attending. An Open Day for the summer is being prepared, along with various events coinciding with school holidays at which younger fans can meet the players.

Finally, the chairman spoke about the club’s plans for the summer with regards to player recruitment. He expressed concern that his recent utterances had been interpreted as an indication that City will be bringing in “household names” this summer to boost the squad. At this stage of the club’s growth this is neither possible nor sensible. Instead, the policy – which is that of the manager, not just the chairman – is to bring in players with Championship experience, who can add to the side their knowledge of playing and succeeding at this level. The club will slightly increase its wage bill next season in line with increased turnover, and this will fund 4/5 signings in key areas. The chairman was keen to stress that although they may not be “famous” players, he does not want old players seeking one final glorious pay day, the club’s ethos has always been to sign young, hungry players with plenty to prove and hopes that we will not be disappointed if we are not seen signing ex-Premier League stars.

The next meeting is on Monday 6th March 2006. The two main topics for discussion will be:

– pre-match music, what should it consist of? Does it matter what is played in the run-up to kick-off?
– Smoking: should the Circle become a no-smoking ground? Should a smoking area of the concourse be introduced? What should be done to balance the interests of smokers with those of the non-smoking majority?


Andy Dalton