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CUSG: May meeting minutes

Minutes from the May CUSG meeting

24 May 2019

CUSG Meeting Summary - East Stand Offices, 20.05.19

Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Geoff Weston (Supporters' Liaison Officer), John Kukuc, Jim Mitchell, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Dan McLennan, Matt Spooner (, Barry Carter, Julie Phinn (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies – Kate Rowley (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Terry McCarthy (London Branch)

The minutes of the last meeting were accepted.

Action List

All outstanding items to be covered in agenda.

CUFC Updates

Ground maintenance – Currently in progress was a series of surveys of the stadium, including structural and electrical surveys required for the normal annual SAG (Safety Advisory Group) stadium licensing process. The Club was having to review its ground capacity with the aid of the 'Green Guide' (a safety advisory document which contains calculations and guidelines for stadium capacities).

The Club is also considering a further 'fan week' for voluntary work, likely to be first week in July. Volunteers who take part will qualify for complementary friendly match tickets.

The new electronic scoreboard is being dealt with by the Club's commercial team.

The Jimmy Glass beer can be sold within the ground – ABM have given go-ahead. London Branch to progress – will be taken off action list. CUSG agreed to promote this.

Season ticket sales are picking up with the best day yet for sales recorded this week. Over 1,000 have now been sold. Deadline for reserving seats is at end of this week. Early bird prices are available next week.

The logos for the disabled shelter are awaiting design specs from London Branch.

Disabled toilet doors/locks – have been checked by operations assistant and are ready to go.

EFL – are looking to recruit a new Chair and CEO. New League 1 reps will be needed as both existing reps are from relegated clubs (Walsall and Scunthorpe United). Position as sole League 2 rep (held by John Nixon) is up for re-election by the 24 clubs in L2. New Sky TV deal for EFL will outweigh a reduction in solidarity payments from the Premier League due to a cut in their own TV deal. iFollow will be discussed at EFL Annual Conference (Portugal, June 5-7, Nigel to attend on behalf of CUFC). There is a debate at present about whether clubs retain all their own streaming income or if it is to be shared out amongst clubs according to a formula.

A question was asked about the recent local football day at Brunton Park, sponsored by Longhorn. The Club do not benefit financially from it. It is a community event that the Club is happy to support.

Events – Family Fun Day to be announced soon, will be on July 20. It will be linked to the Fleetwood friendly on the same day. Players will meet fans, as usual. Attractions tbc.The Club invited CUSG to operate the inflatable 'goal' attraction on the day. CUSG agreed to do this. A flag waving demo would also be staged, using the extra large flags acquired by CUFC earlier this year.

Finances/ fund-raising – £1405.75 in the bank as at May 14. Pin badges have all been sold. All costs from the Jimmy Glass evening have all now been covered.

Manager's pre-season fans' forum – waiting for fixtures to come out so a date can be fixed. Nigel and David Holdsworth also expected to attend alongside manager and other football staff.

Disabled facilities – Barry has met the operations assistant at Brunton Park to discuss requirements for extending places for disabled supporters. He is taking suggestions from within his group regarding potential plans and is organising a tour of the ground for them. Paddock facility on hold for the moment.  The Warwick Road End was being looked at as a potential alternative location. Club confirmed it was awaiting DSG to decide. Ambulant members of the DSG had asked about slippery steps within the ground. These will be re-painted in the close season to provide more grip. Julie Phinn was attending today due to a request made and Barbara Abbott had also requested to attend a future CUSG meeting, to represent disabled fans.

The Club reiterated that it is offering disabled supporters the chance to move from disabled areas into seats behind the Pioneer disabled area at no extra cost to their season ticket in the disabled area. This will help provide more spaces within the ground for those who can't use seated areas.

Memorabilia – Club has asked a supplier to provide mannequin torsos to display the old CUFC shirts. We are still awaiting the 'missing' shirt from the 02-03 season. Simon was hoping to procure a display cabinet to help show memorabilia in new areas of the ground, to include the Sporting Inn. Dan has catalogued the collection of old programmes and acquired a plastic container to store them. Club offered to keep them at Brunton Park.

It was agreed to seek to display the programmes in supporter areas. Club to look at large display boards.

Naming of bars – It was agreed the Fun Day would provide an ideal opportunity to take suggestions for new names. Sunset/Sporting Inn/Legends and Sponsors' lounge all potentially available for new names.

New kit launch – Due on 22/23 June in the city centre. Retail replica and playing kit has been delivered.

Group updates

SLO – Geoff reported the EFL had officially recognised him as the Club's new SLO. He now gets regular updates from them. As well as sending old shirts and match balls to fans based overseas, Geoff attends the Thursday pre-match day staff briefings at the ground. He takes youngsters around the ground as part of Cumberland Community Ticket Scheme. Geoff will be getting more support next season from assistant SLOs who will attend away games when Geoff isn't available. Geoff had a volunteer available to wave the big flags CUFC have acquired on match days. He requested more vests and coats for match days.

CUOSC – Addressed again the question about lack of updates from EWM about their long term intentions. Jim stressed CUOSC continue to probe but EWM will only announce anything when they are ready to do so. CUOSC again offered to help with season ticket stuffing/ distribution this summer. The Club indicated that STs will be available to collect on the day of the Hibs friendly. Afterwards they will be posted.

CUOSC had been approached by Workington Reds to publicise last weekend's charity match that benefited the MNDA charity supported by Tony Hopper's family. An email was sent out to all members to publicise this.

The Club's acquiring of the Family Excellence award from the EFL was raised. Nigel explained that two 'mystery' families visited the ground during the season and tested various aspects of the Club's match day offerings. All interactions with the Club were tested, including Club shop offerings, stewarding, catering, information available over the phone and online. The Club confirmed it had achieved 6th place in League 2 and 26th of 63 awarded the status in EFL overall. The Club made clear that they continue to value feedback from families on their match day facilities and service.

The Club had also just received independent mystery feedback from EFL on 'away fan experience'.

CUSAT – Keith explained that CUSAT do ask their members for questions for these meetings via Facebook. Someone had texted him to ask about a rumour that a North East consortium was about to make a takeover bid for CUFC. Nigel said no approach had been made and no evidence there would be. – had agreed to sponsor the Penrith friendly. This was being funded by the admins and some of their friends.

Click HERE to read the latest replies to questions submitted via the messageboard. 

Scottish supporters group – asked about the Park View partnership. Some had suggested this wasn't benefiting the Club. Nigel explained that CUFC had been contacted by the Park View school at Chester-le-Street to organise a tie-up. Previously, those involved had worked with Gateshead and Berwick Rangers. PV players all wore CUFC kit, paid for by them and CUFC had first opportunity to give PV players a trial. In addition some PV players had trained at the Academy this season and played for the full Academy team. Those players who had gone to Sunderland and Hertha Berlin on trial had been assessed by CUFC staff first. The tie-up did not cost CUFC financially, it was in fact financially beneficial and widened the net of potential new recruits. CUFC Park View age group teams had both won their respective divisional titles this season. The Club stated they saw PV as commercial partners as well as in football.

Any Other Business – The Club confirmed the current position with friendlies organised to date. Hibs home 09/07, Penrith away 13/07, Chester away 16/07 and Fleetwood home 20/07. Dates to fill are 23/07 and 27/07. A rumour about a friendly with Hearts was denied by the Club.

CUFC said they would support two bucket collections in aid of CUSG fund-raising for fan initiatives next season.

Next meeting – July 1 at 6pm.

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