CUSG meeting summary - Pioneer Stand offices, 1 July 2019.
Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Geoff Weston (Supporters' Liaison Officer), John Kukuc, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Dan McLennan (TheCumbrians.net), Barry Carter, Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Andy Hall, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Matt Spooner (TheCumbrians.net), Amy Nixon (CUFC)
The minutes of the last meeting were accepted.
All outstanding items to be covered in agenda.
Club Charter – Copies of this had been circulated prior to the meeting. Nigel explained there was an EFL requirement to publish this annually. The Club had committed to discussing it with supporters groups. Simon noted a change to the telephone number would be needed. Barry was happy with parts pertaining to disabled supporters. It would be published on the Club's website.
Season tickets – After a slow start to sales, numbers now were approaching those achieved last season.
Kit launch – Had been very well received. Excellent sales had been totted up. The mint green away kit was particularly popular. There had been just one quality issue (badge peeling) up to now and the offending shirts should be returned to the Club to resolve any problems.
Ground maintenance – the pitch had been 'skimmed' and re-seeded. The Hibs friendly would be the first test of the new surface, with the recent weather conditions helpful. Some work had also been done on the training pitch.
The SAG structural survey had been completed. The Club were now working through a list of items to address. Exterior painting was being carried out. Programme of works under way for rest of ground – this would be ongoing (right up to the start of the season and beyond). Stadium cleaning supported by an external contractor to be carried out before Hibs match.
The capacity of the ground has been set following review as per Green Guide recommendations. The Club will continue to accommodate 4.7 spectators per square metre in the Waterworks and Warwick Road End. There would be a reduction to 4 spectators per sq metre in the Paddock (in line with SGSA guidance). As a result of this change total capacity would thus be approximately 17k – representing a small total reduction.
Electronic screen/scoreboard – Following a survey of ground conditions, costs had gone up significantly. The ground under the Waterworks was a mixture of cinders and concrete – a legacy of the original Waterworks terrace. Thus a long supporting column would need to be sunk. The Club were looking into the possibility of siting the screen on the side of the Neil Centre. This would mean having to use a smaller screen which would reduce advertising revenue and impact commercial viability. A meeting this week had been arranged to discuss a way forward.
EFL – John Nixon had been re-elected unopposed by League 2 clubs as their representative. A deal to stream Bank Holiday fixtures had been struck. CUFC had voted against this. Home clubs retained an option to veto BH fixtures from being streamed. An internal governance review was being carried out following criticism from some Championship clubs about the new TV deal. The EFL Trophy (previously sponsored by Checkatrade) was still unsponsored for the coming season. Additional Premier League clubs were now taking part. A 'launch' for the new EFL season was taking place at the City Ground in Nottingham on July 30. CUFC were asking for a volunteer to attend from the fanbase to represent the Club. London Branch to see if they could find an attendee from members living local to Nottingham.
EFL survey – the Club had been advised by the EFL they had not enough respondents from amongst CUFC fanbase to get representative feedback.
Programme – Andy said a full programme was coming back for next season, at 48 pages and costing £3. Last season's 'fold-out' format made a small profit - the first profit for many seasons.
Events – actual attendance so far during volunteer week was disappointing. Geoff had been hoping for a larger turnout based on promises to take part, and was still hopeful of increased attendance later in the week.
Fun Day – A series of attractions had been booked for the Fun Day on July 20. Laser quest, police vehicles, fire engine, Pirelli Formula 1 simulator, Reay's team coach and a 'books for kids' promotion would all feature alongside the inflatable 'Carlisle Challenge' that CUSG volunteers would look after, as well as running a raffle. A player signing session would take place and the event would be housed alongside the training pitch.
Simon said he was seeking out individuals to run 'CUFC themed' events in the coming year.
A manager's forum was being planned before the start of the season but was dependent on availability of Steven Pressley. Date and details to be confirmed next week. Likely to be in first week of August.
Finances – £1,564.28 in the Bank account. No current liabilities.
Jimmy Glass badges – All 500 had been sold. Profit made was £568. There had been no time to source more before the end of the season. Ideas to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the 94-95 season would be discussed. One idea was to produce badges featuring both home and away shirt colours from that season.
Memorabilia – Club still trying to source torsos to display shirts. Would continue to enquire over availability. The CUSG wishes to acknowledge other items of memorabilia that had been donated. For the time being there wasn't enough finance available for professional displays of these items.
Disabled Group latest – Barry had met with Mark Waller, stadium assistant. Alarms had been tested and lights fixed including disabled toilets in the Pioneer Stand. Plans for a disabled facility in the Warwick had been progressed by the group. The group would do a presentation to the Club to outline these. It would take a fortnight or so to prepare this. The disabled group committee had done a walk around the ground to check sight lines. It was noted that Barbara Abbott was attending this meeting as a representative of the DSG. The plan was to apply for an EFL grant to cover the cost of the planned facility.
Naming of bars – The Fun Day would be used to take ideas from supporters. Dan offered to source a 'long list' of potential names in time for the Fun Day.
Nigel said there was no firm commitment yet to repeat the '8kforMK' style match promotion in the coming season, but the Club was keen to do it, if the right circumstances came about.
SLO – Geoff reiterated his efforts to promote volunteer week which would be ongoing. Meeter and Greeters would attend the home friendly games. He would begin dialogue with clubs who would be playing CUFC in the opening league fixtures soon. He had five volunteers to help him out this season, and more flag wavers would be needed, although he had one potential volunteer for that role. Key objectives for the coming season were to get more regular SLO representation at away games and more awareness of SLO with fans (Club to establish SLO page on website). In addition, the visibility of the SLO jacket would be looked into.
London Branch – were happy to turn over their regular prediction competition to CUSG. Terry would make enquiries about this and progress it.
CUOSC – Volunteers organised by CUOSC had begun the season ticket packing task today and completed more than half of it. Six volunteers had taken part. Several more days had been set aside, but likely all tickets would be enveloped by tomorrow. For the AGM on July 21, three existing board members would need to stand down by rotation. Two had decided to stand again with a third yet to confirm.
John Kukuc explained that an email sent by Jim Mitchell, the 1921 Board rep, to a member had not apparently arrived in his inbox. The issue had been exaggerated and there was no technical problem at CUOSC's end.
CUSAT – were acknowledged for again sponsoring the fixture cards which were going out with season tickets. CUSAT had committed to running a bus to Ross County although it was not yet fully booked. This bus would leave initially from Penrith.
TheCumbrians.net – Dan reported that the usual early summer downturn in traffic on the messageboard hadn’t occurred, this was likely due to the steady stream of news so far. There was a plan to revive a regular podcast for the coming campaign.
Click HERE to see the questions and answers posed on behalf of the fans at the July meeting.
Any Other Business
Dan had a further batch of old programmes which he had catalogued, to drop off with the Club.
Next meeting – August 12 at 6pm.