CUSG meeting summary
East Stand Offices, 28.01.19
Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Geoff Weston (Supporters' Liaison Officer), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Jim Mitchell, John Kukuc, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Kate Rowley, Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland, Greg (West Cumbria Travel), Barry Carter (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Matt Spooner, Dan McLennan (TheCumbrians.net), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Andy Hall, Amy Nixon (CUFC)
The minutes of the last meeting were accepted.
CUSG Structure and posts
Three defined roles were discussed. They were as follows:
Simon Clarkson to take on communications, Matt Spooner to do fundraising and Terry McCarthy to fill events post.
The aim of fundraising and events are to generate additional funds for the Club, over and above the activities of the constituent groups. The aims of these activities are to help fund fan-focused projects at the Club, such as improving disabled facilities and improving the quality of the catering facilities and public toilets.
A new fixture board had been installed, and had already generated positive feedback. Jenny Anderson and the board sponsor had worked together to sort this out.
Ground maintenance issues continued to crop up. Nigel explained small issues were being sorted out on a daily basis but the bigger issues that required significant funds would take longer. A structural survey of the ground would take place in May/June as part of the annual Safety License process.
Safety team would be doing an assessment on February 8 to calculate impact on capacity of the planned improvements to disabled facilities in the Pioneer Stand and Paddock.
Nigel explained that the MK Dons fixture was selected for the #8kforMK promotion due to the importance of the game and the date. It was an idea that had come from club staff. Dan praised the Club for the simplicity of the pricing on offer. The CUSG were fully endorsing the campaign and would work collectively to promote it. Posters had already been placed in various businesses around Carlisle and beyond – these had generated publicity on social media to help spread awareness. Some fans who couldn't attend the game had offered to pay for others to attend. The Club were in the process of organising this and would ensure all tickets paid for would be given away, using contacts from the Community Trust. Jim said that ticket staff had already reported healthy sales for the MK match. John Ireland requested some help from the Club in organising coach travel from West Cumbria, given the problems with public transport due to the Northern Rail strike. The catering requirements for the match were discussed. John Kukuc reported improved service in the catering huts. ABM were preparing for the game and were right behind the project. Kate reported ongoing concerns about 'Staircase 5' which was still being closed during games. Geoff as SLO would take this matter up with stewards.
iFollow – it was re-iterated that there was one game to come which would be the home fixture with Notts County.
Radio Cumbria – Jim raised the issue of claims made in the broadcast on Saturday. This concerned a candidate for the position of manager who had allegedly been told the playing budget would be cut for next season. Jim said CUOSC had been present at all board meetings and other less formal meetings and the budget had not been fixed for next season. CUOSC rep Billy Atkinson had been present at all interviews with managerial candidates and the issue of budgets for next season had not been discussed with them.
Nigel said discussions take place all the time with many factors changing like gates, commercial income, retail income, and which division we are in. Different scenarios are considered. No final budget decisions for next season had been made at board level, however he stressed the need to focus on the positives at the Club, and support the team in its current good run of form.
Previous manager John Sheridan had apparently indicated that concerns over the budget had been a factor in his decision to leave. Jim said it would be inappropriate if CUOSC weren't involved in discussions and decisions over budgets. He added that while budgets were always being discussed as a matter of course, no decisions on next season's budget had been made.
Finances - £351.16 was still in the Bank. No change from last meeting.
Barry reported that matched funding had been secured for the replacement shelter for home supporters in front of the Pioneer Stand. The Club would order and install this asap and get cash off the disabled group when the work was done. Purchase and installation of 'radar' locks was in hand. The London Branch had helped with funding for this.
The regular questions from messageboard users had been circulated. CUOSC indicated they had answered their questions prior to the meeting. Due to the volume of questions, some 'filtering' had taken place, as before. Answers would be emailed to Dan and can be read HERE
Supporters' Liaison Officer
Geoff Weston had been liaising with SLOs at other clubs. He requested more matchday coverage. It was suggested social media was the best way to reach out to younger fans, who rarely bought the match day publication. The Club's official SLO twitter account was being utilised. Geoff was due to attend an EFL training course on February 7, together with John Halpin.
Ongoing publicity for the memorabilia campaign was reported by Simon. Billy Rafferty was donating the match ball he scored a hat-trick with against Cardiff City in 1976. Another media piece was due this week about a letter sent by Bill Shankly in the 1950s.
CUOSC – The ZING! Concert was considered a success, although several people who had bought tickets had not attended on the night. The profit from the event which would benefit the Academy, was over £500. CUOSC were using Facebook to promote the #8kforMK campaign, spending a small amount on 'boosting' an advert that included the Club's campaign poster. This was being aimed at people who had an interest in football and who lived within a 40km radius of Carlisle.
CUSAT – Asked about the situation with the planned electronic scoreboard/ display. Nigel said he was waiting for contract and planning permission. One complaint had been received about catering in Foxy's.
TheCumbrians.net – Dan reported increasing traffic levels since the team's good run began, with 200-250 posts a day on average. A Q&A session was being organised with the help of Andy Hall at the Club.
West Cumbria Travel – would ask questions about supporters' transport issues before liaising with the Club.
Scottish supporters – reported good feedback about the new manager Steven Pressley. Asked about the next forum, which was being organised for March.
London Branch – reported that nearly all of the 600 Jimmy Glass T-shirts had been sold. This would mean a £600 donation could be made to the MNDA charity. The LB wanted to present the cheque before the end of the season and would liaise with the Club. Stressed that further profits being generated by the Branch would be made available to the Club. Jimmy Glass 20th anniversary pin badges were being planned. Groups were asked to request badges from the LB to sell on, the proceeds of which would be returned to the LB and used to make a further donation to the MNDA. In addition, a Jimmy Glass beer was being planned. Nigel offered to enquire if this could be sold in the Club bars. Thanks were passed on to Geoff for helping to organise sales of T-shirts at MK Dons and Crawley. Darren Edmondson had been in touch to request help in financing projects to benefit the youth academy.
Simon explained the original idea to organise a special Jimmy Glass anniversary match was being dropped due to the level of risk and costs involved. Instead it was hoped to invite Jimmy to attend the End of Season Awards dinner on May 5. Other people who took part in the match, including referee Frazer Stretton would be approached. A plan was discussed to have a further event the following day, on Bank Holiday Monday where the whole game could be shown, ideally at Brunton Park. This would be progressed by Simon.
Any Other Business – None
Next meeting – March 11