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CUSG: March 2020 meeting minutes

Minutes from the meeting held on Monday 2 March

6 March 2020

CUSG meeting summary - 2 March 2020

Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Geoff Weston (Supporters' Liaison Officer), Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Dan McLennan, Matt Spooner (TheCumbrians.net), Barry Carter, Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies – Jim Mitchell (CUOSC)

The minutes of the last meeting were accepted.

All items on outstanding action list covered in agenda.

CUFC Updates

Ground maintenance – Issues with the supply of the protective netting meant they were yet to be delivered. The nets are approximately 12m high by 20m wide. They are made to order. Bad weather prior to the Morecambe game had presented major difficulties. Water had leaked significantly into the East Stand concourse prior to the game and had affected the disabled shelters. Despite one letter of complaint, Barry said the disabled supporters had been understanding and the club apologised for the inconvenience caused. Draining in the east side was overwhelmed which affected the Pioneer and the north east and north west corners. Wind-blown debris had impacted the electronic scoreboard, damaging some of the panels. The scoreboard had worked the day before the game, but on the day itself, it had become inoperative due to damaged cables. These had now been replaced, along with the panels. Issues had developed with the PA system due to water damaging the tannoy box amplifiers which gave an intermittent fault. This was subject to repair. Work on centre section roof of main stands (B, C, D) to start this week. New tunnel cover was awaiting manufacture.

EFL – there had been a meeting of clubs last Thursday. Financial and governance issues were discussed and debated. The report into the handling of the Bury situation was soon to be made public. The governance review of the EFL had recommended changes to the board, introducing more independent board directors. The six reps to be reduced to three, with three regional reps introduced. The clubs had voted against this proposal (Nigel C voted for the change).

Season tickets – The club had identified several options for special offers, and invited CUSG reps to discuss these. They included: offers to current/lapsed ST holders, 'Introduce a friend', small groups of new supporters joining together (3 or less), larger groups (more than 3) aimed at specific parts of the ground, and also students. A separate meeting would be arranged to discuss these at greater length. Message board reps to ask users for views on the areas/fans to target/offers.

Ticket initiative – A promo game was trailed at the fans' forum (and previously discussed at CUSG meetings in December and February.) The #GoodVibrations is the initiative with a 'Beech Boys' theme. A £10 adult offer for the Leyton Orient game on the 21st had been launched earlier today on social media. The club said they would be using new ideas for this scheme, building on last season's #8kForMK. Businesses had already been contacted and agreed to donate 600 tickets to schools and other outlets, with the help of the Community Sports Trust. 3,000 posters would be made available to advertise the offer. Some of these could be handed out at the Study Centre before Saturday's match. Others would be available via the ticket office. Extra meeters and greeters may be required on the day. The club supported the idea to encourage fans to send in photos of themselves in Hawaiian shirts to promote the offer, and would update a page on the club website noting the total number of tickets sold to date. Other ideas were ready to follow on. There were plans for live music before the game and possible sales of drinks outdoors in a marquee. Data collected from advanced sales would be used where possible to 'follow-up' with future offers/promotions. Cash turnstiles would be provided for on the day, if needed. The club said that take-up of online ticket sales was small with about 100 tickets sold this way for each home game, with most still in person.

Members from CUSG interested in giving ideas and support over the coming weeks were invited to do by the club. Several members said they would assist. All members agreed to promote it.

Other news – There would be a special 'double issue' programme for the Colchester and Newport games – at the usual price. A meeting with council staff and consultants to discuss opportunities for the local playing facilities plan had been arranged. Gambling advice and information supplied by the FSA had been put on the club website at https://www.carlisleunited.co.uk/fans/responsible-gambling/ . Posters will be on display within the stadium. A community trust 'day of action' was taking place on March 10. The EFL were releasing results of a community impact study for each club on the same day. This will be put on the website to highlight the work and the difference the Trust makes.

Events

The club would again donate prizes for the raffle to be held during the football management forum on the 20th. 48 tickets for this event had been booked to date. The event in Foxy's would use a table layout, to save time re-arranging things for the following day's game.

The club had received some criticism for 'not showing interest' in the 1994-95 reunion evening to be held in April. It was felt that the position should be made clear.

The celebration event idea was discussed many months ago. It was on the CUSG agenda in April 2019 "94/95 season anniversary". It was noted “one event was already being organised for Harraby Catholic Club. Andy suggested fans should work together to have one big event to mark it."

A CUSG event would have been a not for profit, part charity part CUSG fund raiser for reinvestment into the club, based on the Jimmy Glass night and other CUSG events.

At that point the Harraby event was being prepared independent of the club and it was unaware. Between then and November a meeting was held with the organiser.  In the November minutes it said

“1994-95 commemorative event - after consultation with other event organisers, this planned CUSG event had been scrapped. Another event was being planned in the city for the same purpose, on the evening of the last home game of the season. CUSG would seek to help support this event and potentially sell the planned 94-95 pin badges at it.”

CUSG had initially planned to hold their own event.  This was strongly supported by the club, having held discussions with those organising a separate event. CUSG had reluctantly decided against due to potential clash with this event being held independently in the Shepherd's Inn. The club was providing match tickets for the Stevenage game to players from the 1994-95 team as requested and were backing the event publicly, along with the CUSG.  

Finances/ Fund-raising

Bank balance stood at £1,942.03 with £91.50 'ring-fenced' for prediction competition. £180 had been raised via the raffle at the recent fans' forum.

There had been a delay in supply of the 1994-95 commemorative pin badges, which were being manufactured in China. The Scottish based suppliers said they should arrive by late March. The delay had nothing to do with the coronavirus outbreak. Assuming the badges don't arrive in time for the Leyton Orient game, promotion would be aimed at the April 4 home fixture with Port Vale.

Simon offered to organise the bucket collection prior to the Leyton Orient game. There would be an opportunity to use programme sellers to aid the collection. More buckets would be acquired.

Disabled facilities

Progress on the Warwick Road End project had rather stalled but would now be ramped up. Two potential surveyors had been identified. It was agreed that internal CUSG funds should be used for the production of drawings, the costs of which were estimated at between £200 and £600. A ring-fenced London Branch donation of approx £1500 to be held back for construction phase, where 'match funding' would be needed to qualify for grants.

Positive feedback had been received from fans at the Morecambe game, despite the issues caused by the weather.

Diversity

CUOSC had now publicly launched their CUOSC Cup diversity football tournament, to be played at Brunton Park on April 26. Funding was potentially available from the FSA. The next planning meeting was taking place on March 10. A meeting with Cumbria Pride was happening this week at Brunton Park. The club were making progress on ideas to promote diversity thanks to support from Maria Ryder of the FSA. The club were keen to promote campaigns against online abuse, following the recent death of Caroline Flack. Players get advice and training on issues such as gambling and use of social media.

Memorabilia

The next set of hangers for display of shirts in the ticket office stairwell area had been acquired. A meeting would be arranged with the club to progress this, and launch a drive for sponsorship to acquire plaques for each shirt.

Bars / players' lounge enhancements

The Sunset Suite was awaiting a quote from a painter and decorator. The club asked for any other interested parties in supporting the initiative to contact them. In return they would offer 'support in kind'. Once the re-decorating was completed, work could commence to update the displays and make the venue ready for transformation into 'The Glass Bar'.

Prediction competition

Latest standings:

Derick Armstrong 35

Ian Jardine 34

Simon Clarkson 33

Mark Temple 33

Dave Brown 32

Reps updates

SLO – Geoff reported continuing issues with contacting other clubs' SLOs. The EFL had suggested that clubs were not updating their SLO's details. The Cambridge United SLO had been proactive in contacting Geoff, however. Emails to both Colchester and Newport County had been sent and were awaiting reply. Matt Spooner offered to help with new SLO twitter account, which is @CUFC_SLO. Liberty Leisurewear had supplied new hi-viz jackets for Geoff and his meeter/greeters. The CUSG wished to register their thanks for this kind donation. A photo opp would be arranged for Thursday to promote this, with an article on the official club website.

CUSAT – Were taking a table at the 1994-95 reunion evening. The weekend trip to Macclesfield had been arranged, with the group staying in Sheffield over the weekend. A question was asked about Oldham Athletic. Nigel C replied that he thought it unlikely they would go into immediate administration due to the Bury situation last summer.

Scottish group – Asked a question about facilities for female assistant refs. The club said they were required to provide separate changing facilities, but these weren't always used. On occasion the gym facilities were used.

Disabled group – Barbara Abbott asked about coronavirus advice. The club said they were taking best advice supplied by the NHS. Hot water was not necessary for washing hands, only soap. The club had acquired a lot of alcoholic hand gels for use around the ground. The EFL were monitoring the situation nationally.

TheCumbrians.net – Asked a question about next season's kits. The decision about these was taken in November. Another city centre launch would be held on a weekend in mid- June. There had been a query about how much discussion there had been about the #GoodVibrations promotion with the CUSG. The issue of potential half-price match promotions had been discussed several times in recent CUSG meetings, and Simon had been given prior notice of the plan. Visiting fans would get the same offer.

Click HERE to view the answers to this month’s questions.

CUOSC – New look website had been launched this week. Would be used to promote the CUOSC Cup. A decision had been taken to accept a new board member, but due to unavailability would not be announced until time of next meeting on March 18. Others had indicated a desire to get involved below board level.

The next meeting to take place on April 6 2020.


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