The CAST board were grateful to have a brief meeting with Thomas Sandgaard last Friday - 26th March
- We were able to update him on the successful fundraising for the Seb Lewis memorial mosaic at The Valley and to stress that this was a fan-led project which should come to fruition this summer.
- We sounded him out on whether he would be interested in any sort of vehicle for ongoing supporter financial contributions to the club – perhaps in exchange for guarantees that “heritage” issues like club colours, name etc would not be changed. We explained the Foundation of Hearts model whereby Hearts supporters have contributed over £11m in the last decade. Thomas was not keen on this at present. He said it was “not out of the question” but that he first wanted to “get through this difficult phase of stabilisation”. He also stressed that he was very aware of the traditions of the club and that he had no intention of alienating supporters by making changes that threatened those traditions – “I’d be shooting myself in the foot”
- He said that we should not be too apprehensive about change, and that he would only introduce changes if he thought he could thereby bring about a better experience – eg Valley Pass TV. He reminded us that he is very patient and that he wants to take things one step at a time. He wants “to give fans a good experience” and he knows that “if things are not going well fans won’t be happy”
- We asked about formal engagement with supporters which is an EFL requirement and which has been on hold for over a year. He said that the key to this was the appointment of the Fan Liaison Officer which he hopes to bring to a conclusion “in the next month or so”. He said that nearly two hundred applications for this voluntary post had been received – “both from long term fans and from much younger fans”. He said the person appointed would liaise with the club and supporters and would advise him on how best to engage formally with fans.
- We informed him that the FSA had produced a code of conduct for ticketing for 2021/22 which we had shared with the club. He encouraged us to continue to feed back fan views on ticketing for next season to Wayne Mumford.
- We broached the idea of a fan-led event at The Valley if possible later this year – maybe in conjunction with unveiling of the Seb Lewis mosaic. Thomas supported the idea.