CUSG meeting summary - 29 June 2017
Attendance: Simon Clarkson (Chair - London Branch), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Ian Jardine (London Branch), Barry Carter (CUFC Disabled Supporters), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Amy Nixon (CUFC), Andy Hall (CUFC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Phil King (CUFC)
Apologies: John Kukuc (CUOSC), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Kate Rowley (CUSAT)
Minutes of the last meeting were approved.
Phil summarised the two pop concerts held this month at Brunton Park. Both events went smoother than last year's Rod Stewart concert due to learning from last year. There was a larger police presence than originally planned due to the recent terrorist attack in Manchester. The Olly Murs concert was the busier of the two. The UB40 concert was attended by an estimated 3,000 fans.
The club will get a guaranteed minimum income from the events, which are regarded as 'risk free', from a business point of view. The only negative feedback concerned the queues for the bars, which will be looked at and improved upon for future events. The club were hopeful of further concerts to be staged next summer.
Since both concerts, the pitch has been re-seeded once again. This would have happened even without the concerts taking place.
The Open Day on July 9 was likely to coincide with the new kit launch. The club were confident that the kit would be ready to go on sale on that day, without offering any guarantees. Pre orders would be taken. Teaser photos were expected to be put online this week, as the club had already taken possession of sample kits. The focus of the Open Day was going to be players and the squad training.
Signing sessions would be held, but would need stewarding. Volunteers would be sought for this. The event would also provide an opportunity to seek out volunteers for work around Brunton Park later in the month.
Simon revealed that another Legends evening was in the diary for Friday, September 1 at the Old Fire Station. 50% of the tickets would be sold by CUSG groups. The maximum capacity in the venue is 200. A raffle would be held and catering would be provided.
Ground inc. bars and catering
Phil reported that the catering survey had largely reinforced existing issues. There was a plan to double the service points in the Paddock South hut, and to improve service in the Warwick Road End. The entrance to the Sporting Inn and Legends to be improved, thanks to World Group who had offered to do the work.
For the planned Sunset Suite refurbishment, there was an estimated financial 'gap' of £10k-£15k. However the club would use the resources they had managed to secure to do as much work as possible. Lighting, ceilings, decorating, flooring, wiring, TVs, air conditioning and furniture were all part of the upgrade, with furniture the biggest issue, cost-wise. Volunteer painters were likely to be needed to do adjoining corridors and doorways. This work needs co-ordination and Nigel D for the club and Simon would liaise over this.
A new safety officer had been appointed in Tim Wordsworth and a follow up meeting would be arranged with him to discuss issues collated from fans. Items to be discussed included where flags could be placed in the ground. Ideally, CUSG felt the Waterworks End should be reserved for home flags and banners only. The option of transferring between the Paddock and Warwick Road End during a match, which had been ceased on police advice would be re-visited. A supporter had contacted the club about establishing a 'singing section', something which had been tried but not worked in the past. The club were keen to improve the atmosphere on match days and would liaise with this supporter and other fans to come up with a solution.
Nigel C was asked about relocation and said 'Blue Yonder' had gone away but historic stadium issues remained.
At the EFL AGM, some rule changes were considered, and the EFL will be putting their TV rights out to tender. It was agreed that the fixtures for the coming season were more attractive than last season, especially over the holidays. There would be a home game on Armistice Day which might provide an opportunity for another Forces event, although an earlier date may be more advantageous, given the events in London that weekend. The club's caterers were looking at possible future outdoor 'Fan Zone' facilities, which had had a mixed reception when laid on over past two seasons.
Some dissatisfaction was reported that the club had applied the special discount for standing season tickets but not seated. The target figure for standing season ticket sales was not quite reached but the club applied the discount anyway. The club's main aim this summer was to attract new standing season ticket holders. Overall, sales were up by about 25%
The document the club had produced was ready to be circulated around the various groups for comment. The charter focused on fan engagement but also had over many other policies detailed. Simon would circulate by email this week.
The disabled supporters group had now held their first full committee meeting. Barry reported over 50 members had signed up to join. The club offered use of the Study Centre for potential meet-ups with disabled supporters of opposition clubs during next season. Nigel D to liaise with Barry regarding contact details for disabled fans at other clubs. Andy encouraged the disabled group (and other groups) to supply content for the new look club website. For next season, a dedicated steward would officiate in any disputes regarding allocated seating for disabled fans, and would proactively oversee the issue of allocations. Barry would be able to use the coming OPEN Day to hand out membership details. The access report for Brunton Park was still outstanding from the council.
Michelle reported a bank balance of £2,020.21 with no new liabilities. Nigel C summarised for the group the process the club has to follow to comply with Salary Cost Management Protocol (SCMP) rules from the EFL. The club has to submit an estimated figure for income and costs in June. 55% of 'income less costs' can go on player wages, plus 100% of 'football fortune' income. However professionals aged under 21 do not count towards 'player costs'. The EFL check that clubs are not going over this limit. At Christmas another return has to be sent, which can use actual income figures from the season to date to update the full year estimate. In practice this means many clubs have more money available for player wages from January. CUFC were operating at 99.4% of permitted SCMP levels going into this January 2017.
Due to the absence of some group representatives, a decision on this was held over. Simon said he would carry on in the role, if that was the consensual decision of the group, however he requested that some of the current Chair duties be re-allocated.
Any Other Business
Alastair reported that CUOSC wished to appoint new board members and requested some help from the other groups to spread the word about the need for fresh faces. It would be possible to use the club website to advertise for new board members. Nigel D similarly requested help in finding new meeters and greeters for next season.
The Open Day would provide an outlet to advertise for these roles. A question was asked about the forthcoming Stan Bowles testimonial match between QPR and Bournemouth. The club had previously committed to send a signed shirt as requested by the organisers.
The club are looking to recruit a stand-by PA announcer on match days. A request was made to announce the number of away fans when the crowd figure is read out during each match.
To arrange in the first week of August.