RMC Fans Forum - 30.07.2016 MinutesPlease note there was no representation attending from the Thames Valley this year. Fans Forum Meeting Saturday 30th July 2016 Legends Lounge Attendance
Ben Mansford - CEO Paul Bell – Executive Director Katie Holmes - Head of Ticketing, Membership & Matchday Operations Derek Hughes – Superintendent for WYP Fiona HanleyIntroduction Ben welcomed everybody. Ben is the new CEO at Leeds United and was appointed on 20th June. Before coming to Leeds he worked as a trainee lawyer for Walker Morris for five years, he was a football agent for Fabian Delph amongst others. He came from Barnsley FC where he was CEO. Ticketing - Katie Holmes It has been a busy summer, we have sold 14,300 season tickets to date. This is the highest number of season tickets since 2004. The number of new applicants has trebled compared to last season. It the highest number of junior season tickets sold since 2004. Unfortunately, it is unlikely that we will reach the target number of 15, 000 season ticket sales by 31st July 2016. Season tickets cards have arrived and will start to be dispatched this week. It is a slow process as we check all cards to ensure that they are scanning correctly before dispatch. Membership Just over 10,000 memberships have been sold to date; cards will be dispatched this week. We have introduced a new International membership package. Benefits of this new package include 25% discount on the LUTV subscription and a £40 hospitality match discount voucher. A new benefit to all Members is ‘The Player of the Year’ Award; all members have the opportunity to vote and enter a draw for the chance to present the Members Player of the Year Award at the End of Season dinner. Match tickets Tickets are on sale for our first two home games. There will be two match categories this season, A and B, opposed to three categories. The Club will consider utilising the Football League (The EFL) ‘local promotion’ initiative for the coming season. A local promotion fixture allows a home club to introduce ticket discounts and special promotions up to four times per season whereby the discounted prices are not applicable to the visiting club. South Stand “Meal Deal Ticket” for adult match by match tickets will no longer be available. All tickets in the south stand will be the standard advertised price. The meal deal was actually a good deal as the meal deals in all other stands were more expensive. There will be no segregation this season (although the behaviour in this area will be monitored). We have sold a further 300 season tickets in the South Stand Lower. The end two sections in the Lower Tier towards the East Stand are the only available seats to purchase on a match by match basis. The Atalanta game we have sold just over 10,000. Questions asked at meeting Q - Linking up with family and friends A - KH - Let us know if you have any problems and we can arrange to assist you. Q - Travelling to away games is expensive. Would LUFC consider subsidising travel for fans travelling to away games? A - BM - West Ham has a season pass that costs £300 this includes travel for their fans travelling to away games. This is superficial as revenue is paramount for clubs who no longer receive a parachute payment. FSF meet with the FL on a regular basis to discuss matters that fans from various clubs have raised. As a club it is something we ourselves can raise with the FL. Ticket pricing is so difficult as its competitive. We have so many travelling fans that other clubs know this and charge a premium for the LUFC travelling fans. All these clubs are doing is pulling fans away from travelling. Q - Is there no way the FL can even out the amount of televised games for each club? A - PB - There are more people watching LUFC on TV than several of the Premier League clubs, however there is a hugh difference in TV rights income for example The Premier League clubs get one billion pounds for their international TV rights per annum shared between 20 clubs. By comparison The FL entered in to a new international broadcast deal worth $32 million deal for FL games, that revenue to be shared by 72 clubs. We are not happy with their decision hence why we have challenged them. It is well documented that we are unhappy with the unfair distribution of live TV games. For LUFC we incur commercial disadvantage when shown on TV as many of our supporters find it difficult to attend midweek games, we lose ticket sales, food and beverage revenue and corporate hospitality numbers are reduced. We also want to ensure that our season ticket holders get to attend as many games as possible and value from their season ticket. The FL has to be seen to be fair and equitable to the 72 clubs and we feel that four televised games at home are reasonable. We continue to debate this with the FL. Q - Why was the £5 added on to tickets if purchased on the day of the match? A - KH - It was introduced because so many fans turned up late to purchase tickets and we couldn’t cope with the walk up on day sales. We wanted to give a better service to our fans and to be able to deal with issues. We have reviewed the £5 add on and have decided to keep it in place for this season. BM Barnsley have brought a similar charge in albeit £2. It helps take the pressure off resources and gives us a chance to get to know our fans. We don’t use our CRM system to communicate enough with our fans. We need to make use of our database and encourage fans to book tickets online. It is the progression you will see in most clubs. It wasn’t brought in to as a money making scheme but as it happens it does generate money. We are going to review our ticketing systems over the next six months. Q - Invicta Whites. To get to a home game they set off at 6.30am and do not return home until 11.30pm this shows loyalty and dedication. Away games in the London area are the best games for them to travel to but because of the booking process loyal fans are not being treated as loyal fans. A - KH - Away game ticket allocation is so difficult because we have a10,000 plus members and 14,300 season ticket holders. There is an RMC benefit where you can guarantee a block booking of 25 tickets for one away game (local to you). RMC’s can also submit a group booking for home match tickets ahead of tickets going on sale. Details of these benefits will be sent to all RMC’s by Fiona Hanley. Q - Is there a scheme where we can allocate tickets in the family area for visiting fans? A - KH - There is not always the demand for this request. It is difficult to control and we would have to block off an area which we would normally sell at full advertised price. Match Day Experience - Paul Bell We are trying to make the match day experience better for everyone. In the Pavilion we are looking at working with Heineken to have a ”Fans Village”. We need to create something special and interesting for our fans and we will be trialling the “Fans Village”. If you have any ideas then please send them in Fans Engagement - Ben Mansford We want to have more fans engagement and we are looking having more fans forums and we are open to suggestions as to how we can do this. There are lots of good things happening, all four stands are sponsored this year and we have a shirt sponsor. We want LUFC to be the hub of the community. PB - Over the past few years we have had too much negative feedback which we want to change. Being a Championship Club and getting the high quality and number of sponsors we do is testament to the size of the club. It has been the most positive feeling at the club for a very long time. PB - Ben is having good communication with the media we seek to get great media exposure for some of the great initiatives we are undertaking, for example our agreement with Greenpeace. Greenpeace have never allowed anybody to use their logo on clothing before and we are privileged to have their brand on our junior replica shirts. We will use the clubs marketing channels to raise awareness of some of the great work that Greenpeace do protecting the environment. Q - Why do we never get email updates informing the RMC’s and supporters of what is happening within the club? A - This is one of the areas we are massively looking at improving. Q - Why don’t we sell Charlie Taylor if he does not want to sign a new deal? A - Charlie is committed to playing for Leeds. It is not open for discussion today. Q - Does Mr Cellino care? A - Yes he does, he wants nothing more than to win and get into the Premiership. The club is in a stable financial situation. The appointment of Garry Monk is a positive one; he is passionate and wants the club to succeed, he doesn’t like losing. He is the person calling the shots. Q - What is his stance on investment? A - BM - If there is anything definitive about investments then the club will comment. Q - How much has Mr Cellino’s hands been tied with GFH? A - Mr Cellino is here and he’s having a go. We can’t comment on GFH this is for board level. There is always going to be speculation about investors. Q - Will you be looking at reintroducing “Leeds on the Road”? A - There have been talks about how to improve communication between the fans and the cub. We are happy to do Question & Answer sessions but we do need to look at the structure of what we would do and see what works. Social media now plays a big role in communicating and getting information out there. Players and managers comment on travelling to away games so they know what their fans feel like when they have to travel to games. We are just starting to build up a relationship with Garry Monk because there are more mid week games being played it is more difficult to get a “Leeds on the Road” type event running without the input of players. Q - Have you any plans to go to away games and to sit with the fans in your casual gear? Doing this would bring you closer to the fans. The relationship with fans and stewards travelling to away games has been great A - BM - Match days are so emotive it would be difficult to do but it is something we will look into. KH - Our stewards insist on going to away games Q - What is happening with Thorp arch and Elland Road A - In an ideal world any club would want to own their own stadium. Given the opportunity we would love to have ownership of both. Q - It is disappointing that Mr Cellino was not at the meeting today. He needs to make an effort to communicate with fans and this would have been an ideal opportunity. A - Apologies that Mr Cellino is not here today. He did travel to Ireland for the pre season friendly and got involved with the fans that were there. Q - What are the benefits of being an RMC? We used to have a page in the programme where the contact details of all RMC’s were in there for fans to contact. A - When we send the minutes we will send through a list of benefits also. West Yorkshire Police - Derek Hughes Is in his 29th year with West Yorkshire Police and has been at Elland Road since 1988. Bryn Stokes the Football/Public Order Intelligence Officer, also present and is the eyes and ears for both WYP and LUFC fans. Some fixtures have been problematic for us. This season we have Aston Villa and Newcastle. We have to be mindful of the fans. Game Categorisation The police have no involvement in match fixtures. We look at the history of clubs Leeds played the season before. We make a categorisation assessment of the fixtures, there are four Silvers and one Gold and we would have a meeting to discuss our thoughts and views as to how we would see each game being categorised. We would then speak to LUFC and put our list forward. If we could not reach an agreed list we would then call a SAG (Safety Advisory Group) meeting where all parties present would try and come to a decision. Ultimately LUFC have the final decision if we were not entirely comfortable with that decision we could withdraw and refuse to send police to that particular game. Today’s game is a police free game. There will be two serials (14 police officers) present but not fully visible. The reason for this is we need to ensure that if there was any trouble that it would not spread on to the streets as this could potentially create a bigger problem. Newcastle could be a Cat C we are looking at the intelligence and history Last season there were 48 arrests and 86 banning orders throughout which is pretty good. We need to keep fans on our side, at the end of the day we are there to help so we need to work together. Hull away last season Why was pepper spray used on the Leeds fans? Can WYP not get involved with other police forces to advise them on how to handle Leeds fans? Leeds fans would like to know what happened and why. We are still waiting on a report on the Hull game from Humberside Police and as yet have not received anything. We have taken a formal approach to Humberside Police to try and find out why and what happened. Once we receive this we will get something out to the club and fans. 9th August 2016
Sheffield Wednesday travel bookingBookings for travel for our trip to Sheffield Wednesday are now being taken. This is an early start due to a 12.30 kick off Fares are £25 Adult, £20 U21's & £15 U16's
5th August 2016
Season Begins................Here we go again, dreams, aspirations and pure speculation. Thames Valley on Sunday will be rocking up into 'dat t'ere London' for the opener against the Hoops. Breakfast venue and beer tokens all prepared. Hoping for 3 points to kick start our promotion challenge and how nice was it to see the Bar-Codes got to the bottom of the league late Friday night. ................MOT
2nd August 2016
Fleetwood TravelThe bus for Fleetwood away in the League Cup is now sold out!!
1st August 2016
Birmingham and FleetwoodBookings for travel to Birmingham City at Elland Road and Fleetwood away in the League cup are now being taken. Please note that seats are now limited so please book early to avoid disappointment. New members are still welcome at TVW, please use the contact form to register.
29th July 2016
QPR AWAYWe will mainly be meeting up for this game at Paddington station at the Mad Bishop and Bear pub. For those that are unfamiliar with this watering hole it is located on the second floor of the station concourse. The intention is to meet at 10am and have breakfast and beer. Due to the early KO and most pubs not opening until 12noon this is the best place pre-match. We are likely to catch the train/tube from here around 11.45am. Those that require tickets from me must meet me at the above location. Any no shows will result in me selling the ticket on route to Loftus Road. Again I will organise group travel for the trains, those that wish to do this will need to email me in advance so we can arrange to meet before we travel on the day. The following train times are what we will be using to travel to London:
Swindon 08.26 Didcot: 08.45 Reading 09.02 Oxford Parkway 08.44We are planning to meet up after the match at another designated pub, details of this venue will emailed to members nearer the time.