CUSG Meeting Summary - Remote meeting via Zoom, 19.10.2020
Attendance – Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Geoff Weston (SLO), Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Dan Maclennan (TheCumbrians.net), Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Gary Wylie (LGBTQ supporter), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Geoff Weston (SLO), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Matt Spooner (TheCumbrians.net), Barry Carter (Disabled Group)
Simon did the introduction. He reminded those in the meeting that news is happening fast at the moment and things could change by Friday and the release of the minutes.
September minutes - nothing to raise.
Interviews with Nigel Clibbens - two more to publish on the official CUFC website this week. Nigel suggested fans refer to these for the latest updates re: COVID-19/Project Big Picture and related issues.
Nigel said the PBP plans were 'never close' to being agreed by clubs. There had been a big reaction in the media, however. Short term money and long term restructuring are the two separate issues, he said. The EFL have drawn up an emergency fund for clubs in serious hardship (£50m). Not all clubs are in the same level of danger. Clubs with transfer or 'add on' income are generally coping, for now, including CUFC. EFL are looking to 'buy time' and can fund the League 1/League 2 shortfall. The Championship is the big problem. For that they will need to deal with the EPL. There was a lack of detail in the rescue package shown to CUFC.
The club usually get two EPL solidarity payments of £232k in August and £232k in January each season. For this season the club have got these payments in April and October. The next payment won't be due until August 2021. The EPL was planning to save money via Project Big Picture, in terms of reducing the size of the EPL to 18 clubs and scrapping parachute payments.
CUFC have no further plans to use the Job Retention Scheme (furlough). There would be issues with accessing it as CUFC's prime activity is ongoing (playing football). Ticket office has reduced activity but elsewhere it is 'business as usual'.
Question about definition of games played 'behind closed doors':
Answer: No spectators are allowed. There are no hard and fast rules beyond that. There is NO rule saying 'Only employees/directors' can attend. The club has to use its own discretion in who to allow in.
A question was asked about ground maintenance work. Nigel C said only emergency measures could be carried out at present. There was no money available for anything else. Some work around the ground had been carried out during the summer.
iFollow - 744 paid subscribers for the Colchester match. This was the 2nd highest behind Bolton for League 2 games on Saturday. 265 home promotion codes had been given out to season ticket holders. This was the 4th lowest total in League 2. Promotional codes are to be scrapped in favour of email addresses in order to get free access. Half of League 2 clubs are under 300 home subscribers per match. Andy offered thanks to fans for their response.
The CUFC website is doing well during the pandemic. Andy reported 400k unique users & 2.1m page views for this month so far, pro rata.
Bank balance at £1,068.46 is unchanged from last month
94/95 badge sales - 211 sold so far, the majority through the club shop. Terry reminded the meeting that the break even point is 294.
Group agreed a new push is needed to get more sales through the club shop in particular. The club agreed to help promote them again. Terry requested any members of the group to come forward and offer to sell a batch.
The manager’s forum was still to organise online. Amy suggested this could be done on Youtube with new streaming equipment. Dan said it would be better to put a deadline on the questions and get them in advance. A limited Zoom meeting could be held to cover some questions. A live event would be tricky to schedule as Chris Beech is tied up a lot. It was agreed to pre-record questions and answers and show the final edited video via Youtube. To publicise from date of publication of minutes. Options for how fans can submit their questions would be considered. More details to publicise via social media.
Click HERE for details of how to submit your question to Chris Beech.
Geoff was absent from the meeting. There was nothing specific to note re Meeters and Greeters, due to lack of crowds at games.
Not much activity at present, reported Barbara. Unable at the moment to make much progress with plans for the Warwick Road End platform. Simon advised the London Branch may not be able to ringfence their pledged cash for ever and can't guarantee it beyond the end of the season. Efforts would be made to progress the plan for a professional to draw up detailed plans for the platform.
Carlisle REUnited - total stands at over £11k. £2.5k of that is from Face in the Crowd sales. There are currently just below 200 cutouts sold. This figure is the highest of all League 2 clubs using Face in the Crowd, including Bradford City. The next deadline is Thursday midnight for the Morecambe game next Tuesday night. The club were acquiring cutouts of playing 'legends' and they are coming in this week. CUOSC have plans to acquire up to four 'legend' cutouts themselves, and the London Branch confirmed they would be purchasing four 'legends' as well. FITC has done well due to social media and club website publicity, said Nigel D.
A piece of medical equipment identified by David Holdsworth will be purchased with CRU funds and publicised as soon as the plans are finalised.
Diversity and inclusion - ideas for this are being developed with the Football Supporters' Association and will be discussed with the club. The FSA are putting a podcast together about diversity/inclusion and this would include two supporters of CUFC, said Nigel D.
Sustain the Game campaign - a letter will be sent to the local MP and an offer of help had come in from David Clark to raise this campaign in the House of Lords.
Alastair reported interest from a supporter in potentially changing the club's nickname. Andy said the club officially recognise 'The Cumbrians', 'Blues' and 'United' as nicknames. CUOSC will run a social media poll to identify the most popular, and any alternative nicknames fans may want to suggest.
Funds remain ringfenced for refurbishment of the Sunset Suite. The LB are sponsoring three players this season. New financial support had been made to improve the tunnel area at Brunton Park. In addition, academy equipment for the club was being paid for. The 'virtual pub' Zoom sessions were being held on matchdays and were proving popular. The Jon Colman book 'Bolt from the Blues' launch event was held via the LB Zoom account.
Nothing specific from the messageboard to report. Memorabilia - more boxes of items with Dan. Some very rare programmes were now added to the collection, pre 1950s stand fire. These would be brought down to the club soon for storage. The CUSG instagram page was being promoted via social media.
Keith sent apologies. CUSAT members are happy with current progress on the field. Wanted to pass on their thanks to Chris Beech and the players.
Any Other Business
Poppy appeal - marked at the Newport County game on November 3. Team captains will carry wreaths out on to the pitch. The 'Last Post' will be played over the tannoy system. Poppy armbands will be worn by players.
Next meeting - November 30 (online)