Monthly Meeting, The Rising Sun, 21 Ashton Rd, Bristol BS3 2EA
Wednesday 5th April 2017, 7.30pm
Board Stuart Rogers (SR, chair), Marie Day MD, Terry Hamlin TH, James Nicholls JN, Jon Watts JW, Trina Watts TW
Members Diane Rowland DR, Wendy Rowland WR Sean Takle ST, Rob Bailey RB, Reg Coombs RC
Bristol Sport Adam Baker ABr, Mark Kelly MK
Police Liaison Julie Hayward JH, Dave Walker DW
Apologies Jon Darch JD, Mike Adams MA, Miles Hendy MH
- Supporters Club & Trust bar
The Club have decided against using structural plans and are going straight to Lancer Scott to assess the job. This will be done by 28 April 2017. It now looks possible to create more space by knocking through into the old kitchen. The bar is staying and a cellar will need to be created. The main challenges are a lift, fire exits and access to toilets. in parallel we need to get contractors in. JN and SR will visit the site again with MK before the game on 8 April 2017. TW and ST are contacting local tradesmen for site visits to assess the likely BCSCT obligations of flooring, ceiling and decorating, plus furniture. The deal put forward by JD will be agreed in parallel, although no work will be commissioned by BCSCT until that is in place. [action – MK to advise new plan by 28/4/17, SR and JN site visit on 8/4/17, TW and ST to contact contractors by 24/4/17]
- End-of-season awards, Hall of Fame III
It was agreed to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the final game of 1976/77 and induct the remaining 9 members (who are not already in the HOF) of the promotion winning squad. We re-affirmed the intention to hold the presentations after the final home game on the Lansdown concourse. If the Club is in a relegation position after the Brighton game, the event will take place on the pitch before kick-off. This has been approved by the COO and Head Coach. Video footage can only be used if the presentation takes place before the game.
Votes for the player of the year awards has surpassed 1,800 and a shortlist of the supporter of the year will be drawn up for the players to decide the winner. [action – MA, to circulate draft a brief script for the event and invite players by 15/4/17, JD to produce shortlist for AB for supporter of the year when the vote closes on 15/4/17, TW to order awards, AB to retrieve top goal scorer shield from JK at Aston Villa, ST to arrange return of supporter of the year shield from the Grieve family]
- BCFC website working group
This user acceptance test group has met 4 times to assess the new website design. Contractually, some areas will still need to be pay per view in line with other clubs for live footage etc. The live date is on course for 1 July 2017.
- Legal and police
West Midlands Police (WMP) solicitors have agreed to respond in full to the claim by 28 April 2017. They are now in receipt of all proof of attendance by the claimants. Our own solicitor left the law firm at the end of March, so we have been assigned a new one. This should have no material impact on the case. JH and DW report a discernible change in approach by WMP to policing at the Aston Villa game, possibly as a result of this and other claims made by football fans nationally.
20 banning orders are in place and 3 supporters received prison sentences following the game at Cardiff. The final game against Birmingham is a category C and will be policed, not least because the travel restrictions also in place due to the Bristol 10K event taking place that day and the early kick-off. 6 people have also been arrested as a result of a fight at a recent Bristol Rugby game. [action – SR to chase for a response from WMP and bring the outcome to the next meeting on 3/5/17]
- Fan opinion on playing matters
The Chair asked the question “Should the Club & Trust canvas fan opinion on current playing matters such as the role of the Head Coach?” Responses from those present can be summarised as it being right to give members and the wider fan base an opportunity because in their experience discontent with the current position is very widespread. It was not unanimous and the challenge was whether we are asking the right question regarding that single issue or whether we should be questioning the wider business model, the recruitment process and the measures of success applied to the role.
The chair also reminded the meeting that the two guiding principles used when challenging the Club previously were that an argument should be evidence based and solution focussed. Having spoken to the COO of Bristol City FC earlier and with other officials present, there was little to support that even providing the evidence of a fan survey, would sway the board from an entrenched position to retain the current Head Coach. In short, they won’t take into account supporter opinion, which is very disappointing. So, the decision was not to survey fans or make a statement at this point in time.
A related bit of context to the above conversation was that 9,100 (65%) had already renewed their season cards within the first 2 weeks. This came as surprise, given a lot of online comment suggested that many did not intend to renew. RB made the point that the early renewal date, the short window and the tone of the communication around losing your seat was quite threatening rather than encouraging. In response to a question about non-internet users, AB confirmed that the hierarchy for communications is first email then telephone and then a letter.
- Members surgery
200 season ticket holders relocated from the Lansdown Stand to accommodate the 600 new family member seats feel they were not consulted and in the same way other fans were around the ground about moving. MK and AB accept that this was due to a tight timetable on that decision and that ideally more consultation would have taken place. [action – the Club to widen consultation on any future changes]
- Atyeo Statue
The new name bands are being manufactured now and will be available to collect within the week. The work on the statue plinth will be done in the two weeks’ home game-free window before the last home match on 7th May. Fans will be able to view the completed names at that final match. A final reconciliation of the monies received and expenses has been done by JD, with a provision made for the final work required to complete the statue and tidy up the plinth during the summer. We expect the amount to be handed to the Club to be just under £37,000. [action – MA to oversee the work]
Appeals for stories have been made online via us and the Club’s media channels. It has not yielded many responses. MA has designed and printed a leaflet for distribution before the last 4 home games, help is need to distribute those. MK has agreed to place some leaflets in bars and restaurants around the ground. [action – MA and MK to arrange distribution]
- Accounts update
Good progress on all fronts with HMRC finally accepting our tax status in writing after a lot of pushing from us. The 2015 audit file needs to be in the hands of JN and the auditor to progress and 2016 will be due as well. [action – JD to pass 2015 file to JN by 15/4/17. JN to convene with auditor to complete the audit before the end of the season]
RB, as a new attendee, challenged the Club & Trust to be more outward focussed and communicate successes and activity, especially on match days. This was welcomed and acknowledged and a brief conversation took place around the availability of willing volunteers on matchdays to fulfil that need.
- Next Meeting – Wednesday 3 May 2017