Fans Liaison Committee – January 2008

The Fans Liaison Committee convened on Wednesday 16th January, ending the disturbingly Masonic sounding practice of meeting on the third Thursday of each month. Chairman Paul Duffen was in attendance, the first time since October, the last two gatherings were catering and stadium operations themed so he made way for specialists in those fields, but tonight saw a return to the open discussion format with City’s head honcho. The following topics were raised/fat chewed…

Board of directors
Little is known about the boardroom structure of the club, and it was asked who does what. Duffman explained that he along with James Craddock and Andy Dawson are executive directors , Russell Bartlett and Martin Walker and non executive directors, simply because they have other businesses to run on a day to day basis. The chairman failed to elaborate just how much say the non executive directors have in the running of the club, or what their financial stake in the club is.

Visual presence
After the topic was raised at previous FLC meetings, the club are looking to increase the clubs visual presence throughout the city and local suburbs. As an update the chairman said the club are in discussions with their brewery (Coors) to have some branding put into their 85 licensed premises, beer mats with City fixtures on, that kind of thing. Advertising on buses was discussed but the marketing department don’t feel this is cost-effective.

Hull City also want to increase the amount of club branding in the stadium to make it look “less civic”, this will include a redecoration of the Circle restaurant and having club logos on the kiosks that are removable for when the stadium is used for rugby.

Article duplication
There was a complaint that articles in the matchday programme are often recycled City magazine pieces, in particular player interviews which are sometimes duplicated word for word. This complaint was noted.

Kit design
It was asked if the supporters could have greater input as regards the design of new kits. This has happened in previous years when fans were shown 4 designs in the programme that supporters could then vote for, the rather lovely 1999/2000 kit (striped Avec shirt with red IBC sponsor logo) was chosen in this manner, though that excellent choice was countered the following year when the kit supposedly chosen was dishrag yellow and had white underarms (if you voted for that monstrosity, you are deserving of a kick in the cock). The chairman said the club are happy to have collaborative input from fans in principal, but this isn’t always practical given the timescales involved, not to mention that the kit manufacturer themselves have a big say on the matter. The current supplier, Umbro, generally have kit templates that are then tweaked to suit the club they are for, if you compare the current City shirts with Everton’s for example, the design is identical, only the colours, club crests and sponsors logos differ. In that regard, there isn’t that much room for fan opinion, so no matter how much Hull City Online users want it, there won’t be purple hearts and yellow moons on the shoulders of future kits.

Surely though the fans could have some input on whether we have a plain amber or black and amber striped shirt? Paul Duffen noted that when we have a striped shirt, plain shirt enthusiasts grumble, and when we have plain shirts, those who favour stripes raise their voice in protest. “Whenever the club has polled fans on the plain or stripes preference, the vote is roughly 60-40 in favour of what we haven’t got at the time” mused Duffman. It is likely then that the club will alternate between stripes and plain shirts with each redesign, “so we’ll be in striped shirts next season then” said one FLC sleuth. Apparently so.

All Tiger Travel coaches should be equipped with a TV set and a toilet. There was no TV on the coach to Southampton apparently. I presume there was a toilet onboard, though that may not have stopped some Tiger Travellers having pee-stained pants.

FA Cup
Some feel that we don’t take the FA Cup seriously and field ‘weakened’ sides (i.e.. we start Sam Collins) and wondered what the chairman’s take on this was. Duffman acknowledges that a few team changes were made for the 3rd Round trip to Plymouth but feels that those changes should be viewed in context, the cup tie was our fifth game in fifteen days and some players needed a rest. Phil Brown felt the side chosen was strong enough to progress, and despite a horrid start to the game City did play competitively, “we won the second half 2-1″ said the chairman quasi-apologetically. From his point of view, as the man in charge of the purse strings, the revenue generated from a cup run is much desired, but the club also need to think about the players and it is “important to rest weary players”.

Hot drink temperature/Cardboard sleeves
You’d be amazed at how much time football fans and club officials can spend discussing little bits of cardboard, not my idea of fun like, but nonetheless… At the Charlton game a coffee was bought for a young girl sat in the West Stand, the unsheathed plastic cup was too hot to hold she dropped it, spilling boiling liquid on her thighs. Not good.

There was an investigation into this and it turns out that the hot water dispenser at the kiosk where the coffee was purchased was set at the wrong temperature and water from it was far too hot. This was changed and all other dispensers checked. Also, the club started giving away cardboard sleeves with hot drinks so that holding plastic cups full of heated liquid is more bearable. The West Stand FLC rep says that the girl’s family are upset that they have had no correspondence from the club, a bit churlish perhaps since the club have taken action. Maybe they want Paul Duffen to personally crochet one of these…

While on the subject of hot drinks, someone suggested having hawkers with hot drink filled backpacks. These already exist (apparently), and that nobody knows about them tells the chairman that they’re useless, so they may be dispensed with.

Sports Bar
Previously people not drinking firewater could not obtain a hot drink in the Sports Bar, now they can. Betting slips are readily available in the Sports Bar now but many people can’t find them, could the bookies have a branded board somewhere in the room so you can clearly see where the slips and pens are located. The match highlights shown on the main stadium screen, could they be shown on the Sports Bar tellies? maybe, the FLO will look into it.

Beer Prices This won’t be popular but the price of ale will be going up as from the Blackpool home game (9th February). From then a pint will set you back £2.80. The club’s brewery pushed for these price increases at the start of the season but the club resisted and has even subsidised the cost of lager since then, but this can’t go on so you’ll be paying 10p more if you fancy a pint.

The club plan to order plastic glasses with the club crest on, that will look ace and err, not unlike Amber Nectar’s pint glass logo. No greater flattery than plagiarism eh?

The previously suggested idea of pre-ordering beer and receiving a voucher redeemable at the beer kiosks has been rejected as unworkable. The club are open to suggestions of how to fast track the purchase of ale on the overcrowded concourses but feel this is administratively difficult. One bloke wouldn’t take no for an answer and went on and fucking on about this, saying such a scheme worked at the theatre, aye, the East Stand concourse and the bar at Hull Truck are uncannily similar. Groan.

Ticket Price Offers
Where the recent ticket price initiatives such as the ‘Buy two, get one free’ and ‘Six pack’ drives well subscribed to asked one Tiger National? The take up was in the hundreds and not thousands but nonetheless the club view the drives as successes. Someone noted that if child tickets were bought as part of the six tickets for the price of five offer and the West Brom game was one of the six games chosen, then the Kids For A Quid scheme for the West Brom game would have meant paying more for a WBA game ticket as part of the six-for-five offer than if you’d paid on the day for the Baggies game. The club had identified this pricing contradiction and refunds were offered to those who had the West Brom game as part of the Six Pack. Clear on that? Nah, me neither. 2,600 young ‘uns took advantage of the Kids For A Quid offer.

CRM system
The club have a meeting scheduled for 20th February to discuss the implementation of the Customer Relationship Management software, which will assist the club when it comes to discerning who is most deserving of cup or away tickets when there is a high demand. The system is due to go live in March and will allow the club to build up a profile of each supporter and grade them based on ticket and merchandise purchases, this information will be used when issues of ticket priority arise.

Big screen
The evenings most ludicrous question came from some Hull City Online meff (as usual). “Why does the big screen show the game being played?” Duffman was flummoxed by this question, and no wonder, what do they want it to show? Ready, Steady, Cook? Al-Jazeera news? Idiots.

As the screen’s operators get further through the instruction manual they’ll be looking to add new features and make incremental improvements, more replays are planned for a start. Someone asked for the score and clock to be made bigger so it’s more easily readable from the South Stand, this will be done.

Londesbrough Street Walkway
The footbridge is covered in tods. Dogtods, hosstods, walrustods, it’s a veritable festival of faeces and no laughing matter for people who value their trainers. You know what the club’s response is already, that tract of land is the Council’s responsibility and this will be added to the list of things the club have asked the borough to sort with little expectation of it actually happening.

The search for the Golden Fleece…sorry…the old Hull City railway plaque is still to bear fruit.

The stadium Founder Members plaque that was in the West Stand reception area has been relocated, but fret not, it still exists.

The club is pricing up child sized urinals and hopes to have them in place by the season’s end.

Can we play a pre-season game abroad? In Antwerp maybe! Duffman will consider it but the manager’s consent is needed.

Some TV’s have been moved to the East Stand concourse, the club removed a fair few to discourage people standing about where folks are queuing for beer, the bookies or a slash, but they was a little too zealous and some have been put back in.

Though it was brought up at the catering meeting, the point that there is never enough balti pies was raised yet again.

Some new lights have been installed outside the ground in the south/east corner, and the club continue to harangue the Council over the need for better lighting near the Anlaby Road flyover. The club have written to some people who park in the stadium perimeter bays and attempt to drive through crowds of people just after full time. A condition of holding a perimeter parking permit is that they wait until 15 minutes after the game has finished to let the crowd dissipate somewhat. Stewards will take the license plate numbers of those breaching these terms and if they persist after being warned, the parking permit will be revoked.

The Football League have recognised and praised the club’s work to build and maintain a good relationship with the supporters.

The man of the match text votes count for just the match voted on and are not tallied up for any end of season award, but the club would consider it if there is a groundswell of support for it.


Les Motherby