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CUSG: December meeting minutes

Minutes from the December CUSG meeting

20 December 2019

CUSG Meeting Summary - East Stand Offices, 16.12.19

Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Geoff Weston (Supporters' Liaison Officer), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Billy Atkinson, Carol Wilson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC),  Dan McLennan, Matt Spooner (TheCumbrians.net), Barry Carter, Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Kate Rowley (CUSAT), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Ryan Blaylock, Kyle Sproat (unaffiliated), Andy Hall, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies – Jim Mitchell, Nigel Davidson (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Amy Nixon (CUFC)

The minutes of the last meeting were accepted.

All items on outstanding action list covered in agenda.

Simon introduced Ryan Blaylock and Kyle Sproat who attended this meeting as non-affiliated supporters.

CUFC Updates

Scoreboard – This had been installed before the Cambridge match. Andy said the media team were still learning to master the supporting software. The feedback so far was positive with displays becoming easier to read. Nigel explained the aim was to provide as much information as possible, including commercial advertising, with new features each game.

Home disabled shelters – logos for London Branch and CUSAT had now been affixed.

Safety netting – Nigel said a proposal had been put in to purchase the required netting, and was now dependant on the club's board.

Bar re-naming – Work was ready to start on the Tony Hopper Lounge. Large frames had been acquired, to fill with Tony's biography. A montage of photos were also planned for the lounge on a wall mural.

Ground maintenance – 'A' stand roof work was now complete. The part of the Paddock that had been closed was now open again. The scaffolding was to come down this week. Areas under the stand roof used by roosting birds had been 'boxed in'. There was new safety work required on a stairway (part complete). Aim to be open again for the Bradford City game. New advertising signs for the Cumberland Building Society would be installed.

Problems had developed with the PA system and new equipment is on order to be fitted – apologies for lower volume until this is done. Some new amps would need to be acquired. A new tunnel cover was being considered, to be sponsored by the London Branch with advertising from businesses over the longer term. 

EFL matters – A new chief executive Dave Baldwin had been announced today. A meeting last month in Birmingham had addressed the sorting out of financial rules for member clubs.

iFollow – The Newport game will require re-arranging for a midweek date. This will be streamed. The club had chosen not to stream the Bradford City game. No other games were being streamed over the holiday period.

Ticket initiatives – The club had nothing planned yet. Nigel explained they would very much like to do another game like '8kforMK' but the circumstances needed to be favourable. The club said data collection and following up the new fans would be a key area, something that could have been done better last time.

Events

With a new head coach appointed, there was momentum for another football-focused forum. The group agreed though that there also needed to be a forum for owners/directors. Andy Hall said Chris Beech was happy to do a forum but wanted to wait until after January when he would be very busy. CUSG agreed the club should aim for two forums – one during January for owners/directors and one in March for football staff.

Constitution

The group reviewed the CUSG constitution. Some changes were agreed including reducing maximum number of reps per affiliated group to two. This not to include positions such as chair, secretary/minute-taker and treasurer. It was also agreed to produce simple income and expenditure reports every six months.

Finances & fund-raising

The bank balance stood at £1,731.30 with no liabilities. £91.50 had been set aside for the prediction competition. Volunteers were identified for the bucket collection on Boxing Day. It was agreed that the funds would be raised for continuing the memorabilia project and bar refurbishment. Groups and the club would advertise this.

Terry had sent out a series of designs for the 1994-95 pin badges. The group discussed these, and settled on a design for a 30mm conjoined badge. 750 of these would be ordered. Thanks were given to Jane Jardine for doing the designs.

Matt showed designs for the planned CUSG logo. These would be considered before the next meeting.

Disabled facilities

The SAG and building control had been consulted. Progress was slow but was coming together on the Warwick Road End project. A price was needed for a bespoke ramp and a quote was awaited from a supplier. Barbara was awaiting a firm answer from the FSF on a grant. The bottom two steps of the WRE terracing could have to be removed over an approximate 14 metre length between two sets of yellow gates to accommodate a ramp.

There were no complaints reported about the match day experience from disabled fans. However games were typically reaching capacity so the WRE facility was needed.

Memorabilia

Twelve hangers had been purchased and were now displaying shirts in the stairwell area leading to the ticket office as the initial first stage starting point towards having 24 on show. The shirts had recently been tidied up and the group agreed the display should now be extended with plaques added to show the correct season for each shirt and displayed in season-by-season order. 12 more hangers would be acquired for this purpose asap.  Ideas for linking the display shirts to social media for promotion to create added interest are to be developed.

The club's commercial department had offered to seek funding from sponsors (like United for Business) to frame the shirts. Some fans had also offered to sponsor frames. The group agreed that we would seek financial support for framing selected shirts as and when it was needed. The plan remained to put other framed shirts in bar areas and corridors. The commercial department also had offered 15 old frames that could be re-used.

Communications

CUSG Instagram and Facebook accounts had been set up but not yet used as we are awaiting the new logo to be selected. A website that could be shared amongst groups could be set up but might be six months away as more discussion was needed on how best to utilise it. CUOSC would stick with their own website which was currently being revamped prior to a re-launch. A marketing strategy for CUSG would be needed.

2019 review and 2020 targets

During 2019 CUSG has been involved in a number of events / initiatives, the highlights of which were:

+ Organising and hosting 2 fans forums.
+ Organising and hosting ‘An evening with Jimmy Glass’.
+ Marketing and sale of 500 ‘Jimmy Glass’ commemorative pin badges.
+ Polling supporters for suggestions for the renaming of the bars in Brunton Park.
+ Facilitating a number of improvements to disabled facilities at Brunton Park.
+ Facilitating the collection of and display of club memorabilia in the Sunset Suite.
+ Formalizing a process whereby fans can put questions to the club (and other supporters groups) and receive timely answers.
+ Facilitating the collection of and display of the club's replica shirts from the last 30 years.
+ Appointing a Supporters Liaison Officer.
+ Organising a 2019/20 prediction competition.
+ Setting up an email account.
+ Raising (via bucket collections at forums) £344 for the charity Jigsaw.

In the pipeline are the following:

+ Construction of new disabled fans viewing area in the Warwick Road End.
+ The marketing and sale of pin badges to commemorate the 1994/95 season.
+ In conjunction with club staff the planning and overseeing of the refurbishment and renaming of 3 of the Brunton Park bars.
+ Setting up CUSG Facebook and Instagram accounts.
+ Developing a CUSG website which will hopefully act as an umbrella website for all supporters groups.
+ Bucket Collections at the Boxing Day game against Bradford City and the Leyton Orient game on March 21st, the proceeds of which will go towards the refurbishment and renaming of the Brunton Park bars.

Thanks are due to Nigel Clibbens, Amy Nixon and Andy Hall for their help, support and advice.

CUSG Prediction Competition

Based on the League Tables at 19:00 on Sunday December 15th the top 3 places in the Prediction Competition are held by:

39 pts Simon Clarkson A
32 pts Dave Croxford
32 pts Ken Hullock B

A full listing of scores for all entrants will be published with the minutes of the CUSG February meeting.

Date of next meeting

It was agreed to move the date of the next meeting back from January 27 to February 3 due to the Forest Green game on the 28th and the closing of the January transfer window that week. There was a discussion about using Skype/Facetime/Whatsapp to allow people to contribute to these meetings remotely.

Group updates

London Branch – Ian Jardine had stepped down as Chair and had been replaced by Simon Clarkson, who would fill the role until next year's AGM.

TheCumbrians.net - Answers to the monthly Q&A can be found HERE

CUOSC – gave an overview of their members' meeting, a summary of which can be found online at https://www.facebook.com/notes/carlisle-united-supporters-club-cuosc/members-meeting-december/3014363271907710/

Next meeting – February 3


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