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CUSG: Minutes from the February meeting

23 February 2017

Minutes from the February meeting of CUSG

CUSG Meeting Summary - February

Attendance - Simon Clarkson (London Branch-Chair), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans' Rep), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
 
1. Ground
 
Strong pledges of support from Club commercial partners and sponsors have been generously received.  The furniture planned to upgrade the Sunset was not to be 'gifted' and so a cash requirement was identified. The possibility of another 'crowdfunding' project was discussed but with two recent efforts, it was thought this would struggle. The idea of donors having their names on wallpaper or plaques was discussed. The money in CUSG's account was earmarked for helping disabled supporters, so could not be used.  CUSG to consider ways to help bridge the cash gap.
 
The scoreboard still had an intermittent fault. It works but then stops without warning.  An electrician had been contacted to see if a permanent fix could be made, as the cost of hiring specialist help from Ireland was prohibitive. It could not be established definitively if the fault stemmed from last season's floods.
 
A query was raised about season ticket holders being moved for Saturday's match against Portsmouth. Nigel said he had no information that this was likely to happen, but a system was in place if required. There was a possibility of opening the Waterworks if demand from Portsmouth justified it although this currently appears unlikely based on sales forecasts from Portsmouth.
 
Routine maintenance and repair issues were discussed and the Club agreed to fix them.
 
2. Awards Dinner
 
A plan was discussed for a new award to be presented by CUSG. The idea that had the most support was for an 'unsung hero' award to be initiated, with nominations from supporter groups. An idea for a 'home grown' player award was also discussed.
 
3. Investment Update
 
John Kukuc for CUOSC stated that the group had been more involved in recent discussions/negotiations, which had been very challenging. Jim Mitchell echoed these thoughts.
 
Nigel added: 

"In my view, in the last two or three weeks we have finally made significant headway in getting answers to our outstanding questions.  I think CUOSC and the other shareholders have been able to dig deeper into the detail and gain more insight into the ideas and plans the investor has in mind.  That has been most welcome for everybody and has brought us very close to being able to decide whether to do a deal or draw a line and move on."
 
A lengthy discussion followed about the issues with investment and some of the reasons for the time it has taken to get to this point. Nigel explained he thought communicating to supporters via the CUSG group was important to the club.
 
4. Equality
 
The group formally recognised the new disabled fans' group that Barry had set up. There had been several meetings already, and progress had been made.
 
The club's disability access audit was due to be renewed soon. The new group would be able to help with it.
 
Three different projects had been identified, two of which could be completed before the end of the season. 1- Covering of away disabled section at the Waterworks End. 2- Improvement and altering of disabled facilities at front of East Stand. 3- Extension and cover for existing Paddock facility. The last of these would be more expensive and involve more disruption so would need to wait until close season. Matt Spooner at World Group had agreed to provide materials free, so only labour costs would need to be met.  Thanks recorded to World Group
 
The meeting approved expenditure of up to £500 to complete the first two projects.
 
The longer term aspiration to install a lift and introduce raised wheelchair access in the East Stand was discussed. This could qualify for external funding. Several sources for this had already been identified. The club would look into the costs and complexities of such a facility, pending an application for funds.
 
5. Finances
 
£350 had been raised via a raffle from the Legends Evening at the Old Fire Station. The balance at the bank was £2,340. A few pin badges remained unsold.
 
6. Events
 
The former players evening at the Old Fire Station had been successful. Good feedback had been received. Another event was already pencilled in for September. Date to be arranged when next season's fixtures come out.
 
CUOSC had had to postpone the Race Night scheduled for February 10 because of a lack of advanced ticket sales.  This was unfortunate because all races and horses had been sponsored. Future events like these need to be promoted with the assistance of CUSG groups. CUOSC had made tentative plans for another Quiz Night.
 
The Keith Curle evening prior to the Leyton Orient game had been well supported and well received. Ex players had been in attendance and took part in a 'Legends' match the following day. £265 was raised for the Great North Air Ambulance.
 
7. Club Song
 
Was being played before each home game over the PA system. Copies were being sold in the club shop.
 
8. Meeters and Greeters
 
Nigel Dickinson was happy to administer this. A bigger pool of volunteers would be needed. It was suggested that younger people could be targeted. Any voluntary work like this would boost their CV. A free match ticket would be provided for each helper. Over 18s only. Groups to put out further appeal for help.
 
9. Any Other Business
 
CUSAT enquired about sponsoring another player now that Mark Ellis had gone out on loan.
 
Keith Elliott on behalf of CUSAT asked for help from the club after Wycombe charged them £40 for parking two coaches at the weekend.

There was another complaint about the supporters bar at Wycombe not allowing visiting fans in. Nigel to take up these issues with Wycombe.
 
Nigel reported on the recent EFL meeting in Walsall he had attended. Feedback on the Checkatrade Trophy would be sought from fans. CUOSC to help with this via their members' survey. Rules on 'home promotion' special offers had also been looked at and were due to be made fairer.
 
It was clarified that CUFC are invitees to CUSG meetings. There had been questions raised about the composition of meetings by London Branch members. Nigel was the sole CUFC rep at this meeting. There would be further invitations to supporters to attend as individuals, if they didn't want to join any of the constituent groups.
 
Keith Ward attended this meeting and would arrange a get-together with Nigel to help establish a proper Scottish supporters group.
 
Jim reiterated that the crowdfunding money was available to support Keith Curle.
 
A question was asked about the fans' rep role, which had been discontinued this season. Nigel said at present he could not see what additional benefit that would now bring given the role of CUOSC and the development of CUSG. If there was new evidence it would bring something extra then it could be looked at.

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