Notes from the February 2016 Fans’ Working Group meeting

HullCityAN

After an 11 month hiatus, the Fans’ Working Group reconvened on Wednesday 24th February in the 1904 suite at the Circle. Here’s what was discussed.

In attendance:

  • James Mooney, marketing manager of Hull City AFC
  • Henry Crane, catering superstar
  • Jonathan Lee and Will Leaf, observing from Strawberry
  • Tony Conway (Senior Tigers)
  • Ron Black (Hull City Official Supporters Club)
  • George Machin (Hull boys’ league coach)
  • John Wilson (Away Direct)
  • John Watt (West Stand)
  • Geoff Bielby (Hull City Supporters’ Trust)
  • Andy Dalton (Amber Nectar ne’er-do-well)
  • Ian Waterson (City Independent)
  • Rob Harmer (Not 606)

Ticketing & prices

James Mooney noted that ticketing issues are now the “biggest thing we get feedback on”. The club was “informed” by the Stadium Management Company that self-service machines were being installed. JM expressed a preference for the ticket office being open on matchdays.

The SMC has a new Managing Director, James Deacon. He’s been in place for six months and has made “massive changes” in that time – many of which are restricting as the SMC made “big losses”. Mr Deacon also has plans for the stadium complex as a whole – witness the ongoing changes to the stadium reception. JM praised the work he’s done and hopes that another such change will be a revamp of City’s club shop.

Nonetheless, the decision to charge a £2 administration fee on tickets was a decision made by City, not the SMC. JM said that at its inception, it was thought the ticket office would remain open as an option and was done to drive more sales online. Of course, when the ticket office closed that made the £2 levy close to unavoidable for some.

JM confessed to “getting it wrong on away sales”, but stood by it for home sales – again, with the club desiring online ticket purchases (we were told these now constitute 88% of matchday sales). That £2 charge for away tickets had already been removed for season ticket holders, however when pushed further by the group, JM has agreed to remove it altogether in the future.

JM noted that although prices are up 36% on our last Championship season, gates are broadly similar, leading to increased revenue. 58% of current season ticket holders are full paying adults.

Tony Conway asked why we’d not seen much of a previous commitment to discounting unwanted tickets for matches. The club is planning something along these lines for those working in “services” shortly.

Offering discounted bundles of tickets is another thing the club wants to try during the promotion run-in. We were told this is easier towards the end of the season, whereas at the beginning it can detract from the value of a season ticket.

Finally, the club are planning major changes across the board in terms of tickets and prices for next season. It isn’t something they’re announcing or discussing yet, but it’ll be known before the month is out.

Arsenal & future kick-offs

City charging £26 for the forthcoming FA Cup replay is something that the club was bound by a reciprocal arrangement with Arsenal to do. Some fans in the North Stand (N4-N5) will have to be moved to accommodate a larger than usual away end that evening.

The date of this game (now announced) had caused a major headache, one that had apparently not begun to be solved before the first tie was played. At one point, a 5pm kick-off was mooted, though City and Humberside Police were not in favour.

So far, West Yorkshire Police and their counterparts here have not been in touch to try to spoil our trip to Huddersfield or Leeds’ visit here. JM promised that City will lobby on the fans’ behalf if required.

Birmingham

Geoff Bielby asked whether Birmingham had contacted City about a “Local Initiative” they’re running for their televised fixture against us, which makes a ticket far cheaper for their own fans than ours. This is something the FSF are opposed to on fairness grounds and are planning to make an issue of, as part of their Twenty’s Plenty campaign.

Birmingham hadn’t bothered to notify City about this, though JM did lend support to Twenty’s Plenty.

Away fans

JM expressed the cautious hope that one day away fans can be housed in the Upper West Stand, giving City fans access to the whole of the lower bowl. That wish has quite a few obstacles to overcome. A polite way of saying that Humberside Police are not entirely in favour?

Fans’ consultation

The government has expressed a wish and hinted at possible legislation to get football clubs talking on a formal basis with supporters’ organisations such as the Official Supporters’ Club and the new Supporters’ Trust. JM said that this is under review at Chief Executive level.

Reversing the rebranding

At present, many of the club’s social media outlets are incorrectly named, relics of Mr Allam’s failed attempt to rename the club. James Mooney said that these will not be changing; when pushed, he expressed a measure sympathy but said this was not his decision. We detect the hand of Ehab.

Being irredeemably sad enough to both notice and count, we raised the issue that a recent highlights video made zero references to “Hull City” or “City”, but contained 13 mentions (often amusingly out of place) to “The Tigers”. A quiet word with the commentator may be taking place. Rehabilitating the term “Hull City” is also planned – we’ll be keeping a keen eye out for that.

2016/17 kit

It will be stripes! Hurrah.

2016/17 badge

It will not be changed. Boo.

Sponsorship

City said that Flamingo Land have “done well from their tie-up” with City as sponsor, and both parties have been happy with it.

Goal music

At our last meeting, JM warned us that some peculiar people at the club want it. He was right. It seems that the hostile response to it will ensure it never darkens our door again. Unfortunately JM declined to name the guilty party who thought it a good idea in the first place…

Again, our thanks to James Mooney and Henry Crane for accommodating us. Any queries comments, please get in touch…

7 replies
  1. Jim
    Jim says:

    Why do the club talk about the SMC as if it’s some corporate entity dictating matters from the top of a skyscraper in Shanghai?

  2. Bill Baxter
    Bill Baxter says:

    Heard today that Executive/Premier Club (or whatever they’re called) prices are increasing next season between £200 – £350 so doesn’t bode well for general admission prices.
    The increases are based on “Championship football” so no doubt will increase even more if promoted.

  3. Chris Stern
    Chris Stern says:

    A lot of us in the Upper West Stand are very long time supporters ( it’s 50 years ago on Saturday since my first match v Southport FA cup 5th Rd won 2-0 both Chilton with a crowd over 38,000!) and we have had our seats for a long time. I’m high up right on the half way line. ( and a member of the we are the west stand chorus) I do not wish to move to the corner of the east stand! They would alienate a great many people!! Sone of them permanently.

  4. Exiled
    Exiled says:

    Well Chris Stern you will get to experience what those of us in the East Stand felt when moved to the North Stand….

  5. Bill Carson
    Bill Carson says:

    Fingers crossed for a big reduction in the cost of season / match day tickets for next season.. £545 (plus cup games, away games, transport) for an East Stand seat is pushing my budget to the limit.
    Pleased about the return to stripes.
    Love the light show but goal music is embarrassing.
    Time to move the away fans as, the huge blocks of empty seats plus the inconvenience to fans in the East Stand not being able to walk past the North East corner at the end, until the away fans are all out is a joke.
    Thanks for addressing all of the above.

  6. Jonty
    Jonty says:

    Good to see extensive female representation on the group. Women do go to football you know, City! A bit of gender balance might be welcome next time.

  7. HempholmeTigers
    HempholmeTigers says:

    As a Premier Club member (sorry if that offends…) I can confirm we’ve had official notification that next year’s prices are frozen regardless of Championship or PL status. Good news for once, hope the rest of the pricing follow suit.
    And if a female member of the group is required, just let me know.
    And I’m one of the rare singing West Stand species as well.

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