Fans Forum Resumes Work
In a very welcome return to club-fan communication after the management restructure, the CAFC Fan's Forum (FF) resumed last night at the Valley. Below I will detail matters that were of possible interest to our Members.
I was impressed that Michael Slater attended and with his approach, he contributed throughout, and I hope he can spare the time to do this in future meetings as I think it is a very valuable level of contact and is much appreciated by all concerned. Steve Bradshaw new COO also impressed me, and we look forward to meeting with him again next week. Finally I was also impressed with the committment shown by the representatives from each group who give up their spare time and talents to do this sort of thing, they set a great example to all of us about the things we can do to help our club be a success.
The meeting was concerned with operational matters, and although perhaps a little shorter than it might have been, was an excellent new start for the Forum pretty much intact - although I have to admit it was my first meeting so perhaps others can say how it differed from previous occasions. I was somewhat disappointed that potholes in the car park weren't mentioned though (just kidding).
The meeting was in one of the exec boxes overlooking the pitch, it was open and relaxed, and the club Chairman and new COO seemed to welcome ideas and contributions, with the latter already well briefed on matters CAFC.
Player of the year was mentioned, and will be organised again by the FF in the form of Addicks groups - Bromley, NWKA, and others. I offered to discuss CAS Trust assistance with POTY although I think the FF has it quite sown up and are very well organised.
Communication was touched on with FF members, and supporters groups not necessarily wanting to attend the FF, and attempts are being made to update the Official Site. All groups are apparently welcome to attend the FF with a proviso of 50 paid members, AGM, etc. But I can imagine there are exceptions one being CAS Trust, although we have had many public meetings and endorsements etc so I guess we count.
I touched on groups and I asked for more concerted approach for supporting them from the club with guests, this provoked some enquiry regarding how the current set up worked and what problems were occurring. The consensus was we need to support our groups as much as possible, and I hope the club will address this opportunity to support our grass roots, particularly fledgling and declining groups that might need that bit extra.
Season tickets were on the agenda and I believe there will be price rises across the board, benchmarked against comparable clubs and our rivals, with a discount scheme as previously, all to be announced soon. I made some suggestions re ticketing - namely free ticket vouchers for any match for Season ticket holder. Free cup ticket vouchers are impractical, this might be a way round that. No one mentioned the absence of the first 11 as being a factor in our cup turnout and result however.
The club are concerned with improving queues at kiosks and are trialling a new system in the North Upper shortly. I brought up Brighton a few times as a role model for us in terms of match day experience and sell out crowds, SB seemed very open to this with annual reviews. I'm not sure how much the club feel can be done to improve attendances and the other issues, but I think this is one for development.
Policing and Millwall and Crystal Palace home and away games were mentioned, the early kick off is seen as key to the next derby match. I suggested more dialogue and communication, and voiced concerned about the situation which appeared to be spiralling a bit, they were clearly concerned and surprised to hear some things that went on. There were many contributions and comments about the Palace away game, and concern about an element of our fan base reference was made to older 'in their 40's types'. I raised the view that the policing had been over the top with better results achieved by a loud haler, and even just holding away fans back for a period, instead of the ‘kettling’ approach which seemed be very counterproductive. I don't know how much influence our club can have on police in another area though.
Barnie Razzell - interim Chairman, CAS Trust wwww.castrust.org
Don't forget to join CAS Trust www.castrust.org/join/member