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CUSG: TheCumbrians.net Q&A from latest CUSG meeting

Answers to questions brought to the latest CUSG meeting

1 February 2019

QUESTIONS BROUGHT TO CUSG MEETING ON MON 28 JAN 2019 BY THE USERS OF THECUMBRIANS.NET FORUM

  • No Group is made/forced to answer any question and does so at their own behest.
  • Some Groups have answered both their own specific questions and the ones that were marked ‘All in attendance’, others have answered just their own specific questions.
  • If a Group hasn’t answered their questions, a simple ‘No answer received’ has been written. This is in the interests of clarity within the CUSG Group.
  • TheCumbrians.net would like to thank all those who replied on behalf of those who submitted questions.

QUESTIONS FOR CUFC
NOTE - ANSWERS PROVIDED BY NIGEL CLIBBENS, EXCEPT Q4-7 WHICH ARE BY ANDY HALL.

Q1 - Are the board aware of a consensus from fans that they are traditionally seem to fail to invest and strengthen (and on occasions even weaken) our first team in the January window when in a positive position in the league?

Q2 - Do the board think this is fair and what can we expect for the rest of the transfer window to allay these fears?

Q1 and Q2 answered together

It goes without saying the intention is to improve and support the manager in every window – even more so when you are well placed.  Every supporter will also recognise not every new player is a success. The top priority is success on the pitch.    

The past is history and we I can’t do anything about that. 

I can only answer about my time here and I think that “failed to invest and strengthen” criticism is not factually correct as it is not supported by the facts.

If you look at the actual deals which were done:

In 2017 January and the remainder of the season 16/17 the deals were:

  • Out: McKee, Penn, Atkinson, Wyke (forced sale), Ellis (out loan).
  • In: O'Sullivan, Liddle, Waring, Proctor, Nabi, Tomlinson, Joachim, Bailey, Hooper, Ward.

McKee, Penn, Atkinson did not contribute any significant game time before they left – they were on the books but not in the team.  In that window, the budget was increased significantly by the board (despite being 99% in the August window) and the manager was supported to replace Wyke with Jamie Proctor a player from a higher division who is still in a higher division (the cost of that deal was remains by some way the largest since I came here).  Liddle has proved a first team starter every week since joining us.  In that window the club invested that is undeniable. Maybe more than it could afford – but it was done with the ambition to win promotion. Those players improved and the first team squad, but despite the investment and the improvement we didn’t make it.  That is history.

In 2018 January and the remainder of the season 17/18 the deals were:

  • In:  Campbell-Ryce, Gray, Nasedan, Stockton, Twardek, Rigg, Ellis (loan return), Hill, Bonham, Brown retained.
  • Out: George, Cosgrove (forced sale), S Miller (loan out).

Gray and George were like-for-like changes. Miller was a bit part player in the managers plans (made 1 start in the 9 games before he left on loan). Cosgrove had made a small contribution from nowhere (three starts) but having done was dropped and replaced by Stockton before he left. JCR, Nadesan, Twardek and Rigg were all additions.

Again on balance, the players coming in made the squad and team better.  The improvement may not have been as much as we all wanted but again, the club backed the manager, invested and there was a lot of deals done and the budget was increased.

To be crystal clear non of what I say is a criticism of anyone, players or manager or board.  Everyone made the decisions together in good faith, cash was spent and selected the players who were judged as the best we could get.  That’s football.  That’s now history and we learn and try do better.

That’s the past… the key is now and this window.

As SP said: 

“We still want to bring players in for a number of positions. 

“We certainly need more help in attacking areas, but we also have to keep one eye on our defensive situation as well.

“We know we must bring in the players for the current group, because they’ve got us into this unbelievably good situation.

“The one thing I can say is that I know we have the money in place to bring good players in. I’ve been promised that”

We signed Mark Cullen yesterday [Monday] and have other deals being worked on. [Since signed Grant, O'Hare, Thomas and Scougall.] 

Q3 - Do the club appreciate the opportunities cost by losing our better players and not replacing?

Of course.  The aim is to improve as I said.

Q4 - When is the next fans forum?

There will be a forum with the first team management staff in the coming weeks – to be arranged and finalised once the transfer window is out of the way. We’re allowing the manager to complete his January business before raising it with him. As stated at the last director press conference, club forums are generally held at the start and end of each season, we anticipate an April date for that.

Q5 - Why are the social media outlets are so chaotic? (two media people tweeting exactly the same as the club account etc), what purpose does this serve? It looks silly on twitter.

Far from being chaotic, it’s a method of getting club information out to different users. Not everybody follows all three accounts. We ask different groups and users to spread the word, so it would be remiss not to utilise our own accounts. Very few people have complained – some have unfollowed the two personal accounts, which they have found to be the best method if they have been bothered by it.

Q6 - Why after some games do we not see highlights advertised? The Northampton game didn’t see any posted. Yes, we got beat but I and I’m guessing many others would still like to watch.

It’s never deliberate. The highlights go up for us to prepare, usually, any time between 6.30pm and 10.30pm on the day, after the game. During that time on a Saturday night the media team is working on all of the other post-match stuff. That tends to conclude around 9.30pm. If the highlights still aren’t up by then, they have to be tweeted manually at 12pm on a Sunday. On rare occasions, neither of the media team is available to do that, for a variety of reasons. It’s on these rare occasions - when the highlights aren’t up on a Saturday night and the media team aren’t available on a Sunday - that advertising them falls through the net. You’ll have seen that after a defeat we change the wording from ‘highlights’ to ‘action’, or something similar, so we do advertise all games, win, lose or draw, as long as it all falls into place which, thankfully, it usually does.

Q7 - Why has the media man stopped posting about the match?

When this method of reporting the game first started – live tweet updates – it caused a lot of debate on the official account. People got extremely irate about their timeline being clogged up. At that point I created the cufckit account, which then took on the match day tweets. We were actually one of the first clubs to cover games in this way – we were told, when we had an EFL regional rep, who visited the club regularly – that they were watching us closely to see how it developed. As it took off, more and more clubs started doing it. More and more official accounts were used. The criticism then started to come our way that we should be doing it on the official account as well (it’s worth noting that over a very short period of time the official account went from 5,000 or so users to 40,000 – this meant that fan and user expectations from that account changed dramatically). That criticism grew, so we moved match day coverage to that account, and it has been a very popular move. Major incidents from the game still go on the cufckit account, but the actual coverage is now on the main club account, as requested by the fans.

Q8 - What is the current level of debt to EWM? It is a concern for supporters.

As I have said previously,  the club’s position is that the amounts owed to the club or by the club to any person or business  (whether its EWM or anyone else) are not disclosed except as required by the law in the accounts each year. This is normal practice for all businesses and football clubs. 

Having said that, it is more important, to be clear the overall total debt of the club remains at about £2m which is unchanged over the last four years (since 2015).  I have seen speculation total debt has increased, this is not the case. 

As a club we are stronger as a result of the EWM support.  We are grateful for it and it allows us to do things we could not otherwise do.  We would not be able to have the player group we have now or make the improvements we are trying to do including getting other players in.  So their continued backing for the club is surely to be welcomed and is 100% positive.   

Q9 - What is the succession plan for ownership? (Update from question asked at Directors Forum - May 2018.)

Unchanged.

Work together to build a successful, sustainable and viable club we can be proud of.  That way we will be a more attractive proposition for people who wish to invest and takeover.  New prospective owners will face less issues if they come in and have less cash to spend fixing things. They would begin from a better position and it would be less risk.   Faced with that opportunity, it is more likely to attract someone.  

In recent months fans will have seen the steps we have taken in terms of viability and sustainability and the improvement on the field.  We continue to work hard to do things that improve all aspects the club.  Like 8k for MK.

As has been said publicly at fans forums and reported in the media, the club remains available and the door remains open for people who are interested.

Q10 - Since the time when the original loan from EWM took place how much more has been borrowed? Perhaps more importantly how much (if any) has actually been repaid?

Same as Q8

Q11 - Part 1 - In a recent poll by Against League 3 the club was rated by fans as the 9th worst run in the country. How does the club/owners react to this?

We are aware that some people do not like the owners and their ownership of CUFC.

Q11 - Part 2 - What are they doing to improve this and fans perception of the club?

See answer to Q9 We are focused on working together to build a successful, sustainable and viable club we can be proud of.   By way of illustration here are just a few examples in my time of changes that have been made and how we are doing it:

  • Final resolution and closure of long standing issue over overseas investor identity and interest 
  • CUOSC director joined Holdings board
  • CUOSC directors playing a full part in the directing of the club and key decisions – representing the fans interest
  • CUSG group established and developed – to bring fans and club closer.  Directors attend and face questions and minutes published for all fans to see
  • Opportunities for questions and responses like this – including the detail provided
  • Fan appointed SLO
  • Huge change in the information provided to fans about the club – explaining decisions that are made
  • Hugely detailed information on club finances in accounts - https://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cufc-1921-accounts-2017.pdf 
  • Statement of strategic plan of the club - page 1 https://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/siteassets/documents/cufc-1921-accounts-2017.pdf
  • Monthly press briefings with 1921 directors – where there are no restrictions
  • Success of Cumberland Community Stand – community ticket scheme
  • Growth of Junior Blues scheme
  • Success of matchday “play on the pitch”
  • Success of Carlisle United Community Sports Trust and its work – is a real source of pride
  • Bringing in more football expertise with a Director of Football

We don’t get everything right and they is lots more to do but all the staff are doing their best and working hard at it.

Ref: http://againstleague3.co.uk/2018/12/21/top-10-worst-english-football-owners-revealed/

Q12 - Are there currently any other players in the squad who have appearance-based contract triggers like the recent Etuhu one? And if so, how far from triggering them are they?

No

Q13 - In NC last responses, he mentioned he can't do what he would like to, can he elaborate?

For example:

  • Be able to provide supporters with stadium facilities fit for purpose and up to modern day standards
  • Provide first team and academy training facilities fit for purpose and up to modern day standards

Q14 - Has NC ever considered his position?

I always reflect and consider.

Q15 - Does NC feel that a £21 walk up ticket is value for money?

We don’t charge £21 for walk up. 

It is £16-£19 (standing) or £19-£22 (pay of the day seating)

Being able to watch L2 football on the terrace as an adult for £16-£19 or in a seat £19-£22 as a walk up price is value for money IMO.

Buying in advance or on a flexicard (never-mind half season ticket or season ticket) which makes it even cheaper.

To compare prices, the ticket office did a simple comparison with 16 other L2 teams (not all 24 though):

  • Pre-sale seating CUFC is the second cheapest in L2 (behind Oldham £18). 
  • Matchday seating at £22 only 4 clubs in L2 are lower.

Again compared with other L2 clubs our prices are among the lowest.

Q16 - Could we have a breakdown of what that £21 covers and used for in a percentage in the club. For example 50% to team 10% stadium facilities.

Walk up ticket pre-sale seat is £19

VAT is 20% so income to club is £15.83

So 20% is VAT

Trying to attribute ticket income to specific aspects of the club in the way requested offers little insight except to demonstrate the relative scale of walk up income compared with the total cost club and other income sources. 

For illustration:

Q17 - Have the stakeholders/directors ever discussed not getting promoted while we have been in league 2?

No

Q18 - Have any of our last 3 managers been told by directors/stakeholders not to go for promotion or automatic promotion?

No

Q19 - Sheridan and Curle have alluded to the club being externally ran presumably by EWM, is this the case?

No

There has been changes to how decisions are made and but not who makes them.

Throughout the whole of the KC and JS eras and it’s the same now, the directors run the club.  Nothing significant has changed since John Sheridan joined us – things have continued on the path set in late 2017.

Certain day to day operational decisions can be made by me and Suzanne and as is normal other key significant decision are made by the 1921 board and others by the holdings board.  Eg Holdings appoint the manager and authorise material high value contracts and financial decisions including player contracts. This is very standard practice in clubs.

The club started to change how it worked internally from late 2017.  The reasons for the change was made clear to everyone (fans and manager and players etc) over many months.  Financially it was unsustainable to continue on the path of the previous years.  The Holdings board had supported increases in spending on players and other football costs to try and get promotion.  We didn’t get there, despite being close but having tried and failed that approach couldn’t continue and we needed to go down a different path. To be clear that is not a criticism of anyone, all parties agreed to that approach.

With the change in approach naturally came changes how the club operated for example: the level of internal controls, changes in responsibilities, different decision making processes and approval steps for key spending decisions.  How things used to be approved, assessments and business reasons for spending (especially players ) was changed and put under more scrutiny. But as well as affecting the club staff, it impacted on the manager and how deals were done. What used to happen and how decisions were made changed. 

But throughout the directors make the decisions not anyone else.  

QUESTIONS FOR CUOSC

Q1 - In a recent poll by Against League 3 the club was rated by fans as the 9th worst run in the country. How does the club/owners react to this, do they understand why fans feel this way, what are they doing to improve this and fans perception of the club?

Jim and Billy and the CUOSC Board can only give their opinions on their reaction to this poll but obviously not those of all the Carlisle United Board members. 

We find the results of this poll upsetting because it is our aim that all fans of Carlisle United and the Community should be as one with the desire to improve “OUR” club.   This is far from the situation, however, which is understandable because fans have witnessed years of decline. Also, and importantly, we believe the club has failed to adequately communicate with its fan base and that, in our opinion, leads to isolation and resentment in certain quarters.

Since the club were faced with the potentially catastrophic prospect of relegation from the Football League a few seasons ago, there has been an upturn in the fortunes of club on the field. Carlisle United has risen in the league and a couple of seasons ago reached the playoffs. We realise we are still in League 2 and we all hope this improvement can be maintained and promotion can be achieved.

We do believe communication from the club has improved latterly through Nigel Clibbens and the Media Team, exemplified by their presence at the CUSG meetings where they honestly and openly provide information and frank responses to fans questions.

In our experience we have found that all the club’s staff, to their credit, are conscientious and work in a commendable manner to portray a positive impression of Carlisle United.

The positive changes can be seen in the club’s latest initiative – ‘8kforMK’- which is being supported by all CUSG member groups.

Finally, the CUOSC Board, along with all other fans, hope that this January transfer window portrays the club’s ambitions to progress.

Q2 - You stated in last month’s responses that "members wish for us to remain in the tent" however you admitted you haven't universally asked all members, how did you reach this conclusion?

We have mentioned being ‘in the tent’ many times in our regular briefings to members and we, despite asking for feedback, have had no adverse comments. Below, is Chairman John Kukuc reply (on December 25) to the same question.

The individual owners of Carlisle United were previously continually berated, both in the Media and by the fans for not inviting a Trust (CUOSC) representative, the club’s second largest shareholder, onto the Holdings Board. Nigel Clibbens was instrumental in bringing ALL the owners together and after several, initially very challenging, meetings a position on the Holdings Board was offered to CUOSC.

It was considered by the CUOSC Board that the majority of members would be in favour of accepting this offer. Billy Atkinson was subsequently elected, by the CUOSC Board, to hold this position

Billy Atkinson has found this position very challenging and, on several occasions, the Holdings Board has made decisions that he, as fans representative, was not in agreement with. But, as with any democratic Board decision, the majority vote is accepted by members and presented in accord.

CUOSC Board members have vigorously debated, on numerous occasions, whether the fans being represented on the Holdings Board is worthwhile and beneficial to our fanbase. The same topic has been discussed by Board members with other CUOSC members, although we admit not universally. There have been views represented on both sides of the argument however the majority viewpoint was that this is a position that the fans have sought for a long time and just because it’s difficult we shouldn’t just “give in”. I must add that to date no one has come into our pre-match surgery asking us to relinquish this position nor has CUOSC received any correspondence from a CUOSC member suggesting we quit the Holdings Board.

Q3 - At present members can come to you via email and surgeries yet collectively members only have one chance per year to ask questions via the AGM, do you feel this is acceptable? Because if members don't know what is being discussed how can they offer their thoughts?

We are in regular contact with all our members via the News & Star columns, emails, weekly briefings, social  and regular supporter surgeries. In addition, members, and fans more can contact us to ask questions through a range of different means or queries on email, social media or on a dedicated phone line.

The weekly email briefings include a summary of the minutes of any board minutes held.

We don’t believe there is support for a collective meeting now other than our AGM but we would certainly reconsider that if there was such a demand. 

Everyone can be assured that if any major decisions had to be made we would actively seek the views of all members and part of that process would be to call an Extraordinary AGM. Each member will be guaranteed a vote on any major change.

You have also suggested we are a clique – nothing could be further from the truth. The only thing most of us have in common is a love for the club. We are always looking for more diversity on the board but we recognise it is very difficult for people with young families to devote the time. However, we continue to appeal for new board members and are in talks with a couple of members who have shown interest.

Q4 - The London branch appear far more professional in their make-up, have you asked them for help or would you consider following their model?

The CUOSC Board admire the London Branch as an organisation and the way they conduct their business. We would like to think we have a good relationship with the London Branch and we believe we have the same aims and ambitions. Some of our members are in both organisations – indeed at least three of our board are in the London Branch as well.

We realise CUOSC could improve as an organisation and are striving to make that happen.  We are in dialogue with London Branch members and welcome their contributions, which can be helpful and challenging. We must also reiterate that we also welcome any assistance that is and can be provided by all fans. The CUOSC Board do not intend to stand still but continually evolve.

Q5 - Why did you change your constitution to remove the time limit a person can be on the board for?

Our constitution was not altered. A side policy concerning Board Membership Policy was modified to remove the 12 continuous year rule. This was done by a vote of members at an AGM and with the full backing of Supporters Direct. We should note that the old rule only applied to continuous membership of the board and anyone stepping down under that rule could return after a year or more away.

Q6 -Can you explain what Jim and Billy do on a daily/weekly basis? (Club related workload/tasks)

Firstly, Billy and Jim are non-paid directors of the Club. Their roles are part-time ones.

Amongst their aims are to:-

  • Help the Club to operate as effectively as it can
  • Try to ensure the Club continuously recognises just how important fans are to its success

Of course, in addition to Jim and Billy, the Club has another 7 directors on its boards.

In terms of specific things they do, these include: -

  • Attend board meetings and participate in all their decision-making
  • Meet regularly with the CEO to discuss Club/fan matters
  • Contribute to Club decisions taken between board meetings
  • Participate in forming the Club’s stance on EFL policy proposals
  • Take part in meetings on issues such as investment possibilities, the stadium and options for the future and Club finances/funding
  • Participate in directors’ press conferences and fans forums
  • Feed back to the Club issues raised by fans e.g. ticketing, catering, stadium problems
  • Involvement in the appointment of the manager and contractors
  • Help to publicise Club initiatives

Jim is also chair of the trustees of the CUFC Community Sports Trust

QUESTIONS FOR LONDON BRANCH

Q1 - Have you offered to help the trust in anyway?

Q2 - Would some of your board members consider joining the trusts board?

Q1 and Q2 answered together:

If requested the LB would consider helping any of the supporter organisations associated with Carlisle United. To date no formal requests for help have been received from the trust. It is important to note that the LB is not actively seeking to influence any other supporter organisation.

A number of LB members are and have been members of the trust. The LB would not object to such persons being elected to the trust board. Such a decision would be one for the trust and not the LB. Although some members of the LB live in Cumbria, the majority of members live outside of the county and the logistics of being actively involved in the management of the other supporter organisations would be problematic.

The LB is committed to working with the other supporter organisations for the benefit of all CUFC supporters. This commitment is evidenced by the fact that 2 LB members (who now live in Cumbria) are members of CUSG.

QUESTIONS FOR DISABLED GROUP

Q1 - Why didn't you answer last month’s questions?

Q2 - Do you feel embarrassed putting your name/groups name asking companies for help for a £40 lock?

Q3 - What is the purpose of the group, apart from a list of disabled supporters?

Q4 - Decisions have been made without consulting members/committee. Why was this?

Q5 - You stated it was a mine-field working out who is available for a free carer ticket with pip and universal credit. Why was it a mine-field? The EFL have a standard and universal credit doesn't come into it, why didn't you ask for help?

No answers received.

QUESTIONS FOR SCOTTISH GROUP

Q1 - Why didn't you answer last month’s questions?

In short the answer to this is simple . The guys got the questions to us late as they were busy and the time of the year was the problem . Christmas etc Work and family commitments were all ahead of them on my timeline. By the time the new year came around and I had time it was too late .

I have them all if you still want them. But the main one i saw was were you elected ? No is the answer but when we started the group again NC asked if anyone would come and there was silence and a couple said you used to do it in the past with the old supporters club can you do it? so I said ok I will do it. So I was volunteered rather than elected.

Q2 - Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses? (There is only one correct answer)

Don’t want to fight either but would have a go at eating one duck instead which would be a challenge.

Q3 - Why is there not much more effort from all Groups to raise funds? Perhaps (if agreed) each Group could set itself a simple target for fund raising each year.

Fundraising is something that is something that is needed but it also is a chance to pull together and there is some stuff coming from the group soon.

Q4 - Why do all groups feel they are so poor on the Media side (negligible promotion of matches), and what steps CUSG feel they could do to help improve it?

We have a Facebook group for ourselves but not everyone is on and will start Twitter soon.

Q5 - Given that the first opportunity to implement will most likely be this August, is there anything being done behind the scenes by CUSG to look to create a singing section within Brunton Park in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at home games? - (Lincoln City, for example, haven’t looked back since they went down that road and there plenty of other clubs attempting to engage directly with fans in exploring options.)

Simon in particular is very keen on a singing section and it has been discussed. Where to have it may be an issue so maybe CUSG can do a vote.

QUESTIONS FOR ROUTE 66

Q1 - Why didn't you answer last month’s questions?

No answer received.

QUESTIONS FOR CUSAT
NOTE – QUESTIONS ANSWERED ARE THOSE FROM THE MEETING ON MON 17th DEC 2018

Q1  - Could we have the income/expenditure for the last 5 seasons, along with the amount of money that you have donated to the Club?

CUSAT  is an independent fans group not official to the club, income and expenditure are confidential between CUSAT and the coach provider, to reveal coach price quotes publicly would jeopardise our good working relationship .We sponsor 2 players and also this seasons fixture card and also bought a lens for the media team , these are some of our recent sponsorships with the club.

Q2  - How many people have you banned from travelling each season for the last 5 seasons?

No people are banned.

Q3  - How does your insurance work, to cover any postponements etc? How is it passed onto travellers?

We do not have any insurance for games that are called off , so any losses incurred we would have to meet ourselves as we do with say second coaches with small numbers on board for a long trip.

Finally if I could add CUSAT is an independent group run by volunteer fans , other people / groups also run coaches to away games.

QUESTIONS FOR THECUMBRIANS.NET

Q1 - It was stated that a rant occurred at the last meeting, in terms of what the group stands for, this wasn't placed in the minutes. Why was this?

The ‘rant’ was more of a plea for the Group to start stepping up to the plate in terms of getting stuff done, as opposed to being happy to turn up every six weeks. Some items for discussion seemed to be on repeat with little movement occurring. Stagnation, to us anyway, was the key word. We go to the meetings in our own time, to represent our users, and felt that having now been to several, that nothing seemed to move with any pace.

Whilst it was barely mentioned in the minutes of the last meeting, we’re pleased to report that as a consequence, if you read the set of Minutes these notes are attached to, you’ll see the Group has started to get people to take ‘leads’ regarding the likes of fundraising, event planning and communication, which should hopefully lead to a more structured approach to making CUSG a worthwhile meeting. This is exactly what was the rant was about, so we’re happy to move on from it.

Q2 - You considered leaving the group, what would it take to do this?

We didn’t consider leaving, we said we’d consider our position within the Group if we didn’t change begin to occur. By change, we mean stuff getting done as opposed to be continually discussed on loop. As mentioned in the previous answer, steps have been taken to hopefully make CUSG more structured and organised.

Q3 - Why have members suddenly been banned?

We try to operate a traffic light policy; however a serious issue could result in an instant ban. It all depends on the scope and severity of the incident. We will always try to open dialogue with anybody who is in the position of becoming aware to us for something on the forum.

As Moderators, we also see far more than the forum, having people contact us through both our email and Twitter account, occasionally this can be grounds for a ban if it is on either the personal or nasty (sometimes both) side.

Q4 - What is your policy towards personal insults on the site?

We would prefer there to be no insults flung around, however it sometimes happens. Every user has a different threshold when it comes to personal stuff. Some don’t like it, others can almost revel in it, and some are genuinely not bothered in the slightest. That’s part and parcel of both the forum and life. Heavy insults, including unfounded ones, will be removed almost immediately upon being noticed. If any user doesn’t like something that’s been said, we encourage them to report it to ourselves for removal.

Q5 - Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses? (There is only one correct answer)

One horse sized duck, pan fried afterwards with a nice redcurrant sauce.

Q6 - Why is there not much more effort from all Groups to raise funds? Perhaps (if agreed) each Group could set itself a simple target for fund raising each year.

As mentioned in the last set of questions, and since acted upon at this meeting, the Group has now got people in place to look at various avenues for potential fundraising, whilst noting that several Groups already do their own.

Q7 - Why do all groups feel they are so poor on the Media side (negligible promotion of matches), and what steps CUSG feel they could do to help improve it?

We don’t feel we are! We only use Twitter, and mainly as a retweet service to keep a library of all things Carlisle United that occur. In the mid-term, we’re hoping to expand our website more, with more features, and from next Season we’re looking at a Monthly Podcast, having trialled a couple of episodes the other year.

Q8 - Given that the first opportunity to implement will most likely be this August, is there anything being done behind the scenes by CUSG to look to create a singing section within Brunton Park in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at home games? - (Lincoln City, for example, haven’t looked back since they went down that road and there plenty of other clubs attempting to engage directly with fans in exploring options.)

This is certainly something the Group could look into, and we’d be happy to sort out a dedicated login if it took off to anybody involved, and also promote via our Twitter feed.

QUESTIONS FOR CHAIRMAN

Q1 - R66 and some CUSAT reps haven't attended for a while, when is it decided when they are no longer invited to attend?

Attendance at these meetings after a day at work, especially that involves a long journey is not always easy, so it is accepted that apologies sometimes need to be sent. Both groups were represented by two reps at the meeting this week. A second rep who lives in Carlisle for the R66 group will help improve likelihood of attendance. Attending a meeting is not practical for everyone and there will be rare occasions where circumstances change at short notice that leave groups unrepresented. We would never look to prevent a group from sending reps as we want CUSG to be as representative of the fanbase as possible.

Q2 - Regarding the minutes, why is it that the club answers are in the minutes but others aren’t?

That was just a one off as we deliberated with the process going forward. We felt that as important as the answers from the club are, the text dominated the minutes. Going forward all answers to questions posed will be published on the fans section of the official site and hyperlinked in the CUSG minutes. We hope this keeps the minutes streamlined and records all the Q&A’s in one place for reference.

Q3 - Would you reconsider your decision to leave your position in the event that a replacement doesn’t step forward?

We’ll see. I do feel that rotation of position in any role is vital.

Q4 - Why do some groups have different amount of reps attending meetings? How is this worked out?

We agreed that we need to have a broad spectrum of representation. Putting aside the minute taker and chair, the attendance per group is capped at two. Of course, some attendees are members of more than one group but the minutes should make it clear the capacity that they are in attendance. As with the earlier question, there are availability issues on some occasions and some groups choose to only send the one representative. The main thing for me is active contribution and accountability from all in attendance.

Q5 - What is the aim of the group?

Advised to see page on official site - https://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/news/2017/july/cusg-constitution-2016/

Q6 - Would you rather fight one horse sized duck or one hundred duck sized horses? (There is only one correct answer)

CUSG was not set up to fight but rather to work together in support of the club. However, one horse sized duck should be easier to fight – you’ve only got to win the one battle rather than a hundred.

Q7 - Why is there not much more effort from all Groups to raise funds? Perhaps (if agreed) each Group could set itself a simple target for fund raising each year.

All groups do their own individual fundraising to donate funds to the club in the form of sponsorship or to support projects. CUSG have raised funds from the sale of pin badges and raffles at events including the legends evenings at the OFS. This income has funded improvements to disabled facilities at BP and the framing of the memorabilia. What CUSG could no doubt be better at is working collectively. Conscious of the lack of coordination in this area, we have now appointed a rep to a fundraising role.

Q8 - Why do all groups feel they are so poor on the Media side (negligible promotion of matches), and what steps CUSG feel they could do to help improve it?

The main constraint is time. We are all volunteers. The various supporters groups have different platforms and methods of communication. This is much better than it used to be. There are Twitter and Facebook accounts, newspaper columns, newsletters and a fanzine. The memorabilia project has generated some excellent PR for the club and CUSG. We are all right behind the 8kforMK campaign and will be contributing heavily to this publicity. We would be keen to understand any specifics of what fans would like to see from supporters groups in the media. We have now appointed a rep from the group to lead on communications.

Q9 - Given that the first opportunity to implement will most likely be this August, is there anything being done behind the scenes by CUSG to look to create a singing section within Brunton Park in an attempt to improve the atmosphere at home games? - (Lincoln City, for example, haven’t looked back since they went down that road and there plenty of other clubs attempting to engage directly with fans in exploring options.)

This proposal has been discussed with the club at previous CUSG meetings. We would welcome a fan to join CUSG who feels passionately about this proposal. Offers have been made before in this regard but never taken up. The location of a singing section would need to be fully debated but we agree that anything like this that enhances the atmosphere on a matchday is to be encouraged. We would encourage proposals that we can make to the club, so please get in touch if you would like to get involved.


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