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.
- 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.
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.
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?
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.
It will be stripes! Hurrah.
It will not be changed. Boo.
City said that Flamingo Land have “done well from their tie-up” with City as sponsor, and both parties have been happy with it.
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…