CUSG Meeting Summary - remote meeting via Zoom, 07.09.2020
Attendance – Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Geoff Weston (SLO), Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Dan Maclennan (TheCumbrians.net), Barry Carter, Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Gary Wylie (LGBTQ supporter), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Matt Spooner (TheCumbrians.net)
Nigel Davidson introduced Gary Wylie, based in North East. He was involved in organising the CUOSC Cup (since postponed due to COVID) and was keen to be a representative of LGBTQ supporters on CUSG.
This was before the statement by Boris Johnson on 9 September 2020 changing CV19 restrictions
Southend United match has the potential to be a test game with fans admitted. This was still unconfirmed as of the day of this meeting. The Cambridge away match is a specific EFL test game.
First home game with fans, without ‘test’ status, would be Barrow (October 3). There were no issues on the stadium license due to COVID restrictions. The club envisaged no problems with handling spectators under the current restrictions.
For test games like Southend, it was envisaged that only season ticket holders will be admitted.
ST holders were contacted today to arrange payment. They are being worked through stand by stand, not alphabetically.
Radio Cumbria are broadcasting on the Mike Zeller Show about the arrangements for crowds during the COVID restrictions. Nigel C, Suzanne and Andy were interviewed about the importance of adhering to the Spectator Code of Conduct and provided details of the matchday plan. No fixed stadium capacity has been set. The onus is on the club to comply with safety guidelines. Minimum capacity would be circa 3500. Season tickets sold to date: 1700+. The club expect to learn from the first round of games played with fans.
Dan Maclennan asked a question following publication of a photo of the director’s box at the Fleetwood EFL Trophy match.
Answer: Masks may not be mandatory at all times inside the stadium but will be required when entering or exiting. A final decision will be taken as late as possible and based on circumstances at the time. Social distancing was observed in line with the match plan for the game elsewhere in the directors’ box. Nigel C agreed the club needed to set an example when it came to following the guidelines.
Simon Clarkson question: How to prevent Barrow fans buying tickets?
Answer: Records are kept of individuals buying tickets at previous CUFC games. Tickets would only be sold to fans with a buying history. The game would be streamed live for away fans. No away fans will be allowed into BP for some time.
Question about fans testing positive?
Answer: Track and trace data comes from fans buying tickets. Names/addresses taken for all people attending. CUFC contacting fans sitting/standing nearby if a positive test comes up. Requires co-operation from supporters.
Question from Keith Elliott about fans being searched as they enter the ground.
Answer: Club has the right to search but this will reflect the current risks. We hope this means we won’t do this. Food and drink can be brought in to reduce movement or avoid queues inside the ground. Alcohol will remain banned. Fans must respect this loosening of restrictions
Terry McCarthy question: Will there be any third party monitoring activity outside the ground?
Answer: Not directly. However, CUFC are a ‘public interest operation’. The club will be under scrutiny.
Keith Ward question: Any car parking restrictions?
Answer: Available as normal in the supporters’ car park. Disabled parking in same area as usual. Two changes– entrance and exit to supporters car park will be via Stonyholme only. Disabled car park – one-way system with entry via Warwick Road entrance & exit via Pioneer Stand.
A strict vehicle movement lock down will operate pre and post match for a period around the stadium roadway until all fans have left on foot.
Simon Clarkson question: Any development in acquiring netting to protect spectators during pre-game practice?
Answer: Not acquired yet.
Terraces – as many turnstiles will be opened as possible. Some may not be usable due to social distancing considerations/ risk to operators. Fans will have to be patient getting in. All fans will be asked to get to the ground earlier, if possible. Smooth entry to the ground will have a positive impact on capacity. Late arrivals and break down of social distancing may lead to a reduction.
Bars – we are currently looking at pre-ticketing as they will have very reduced capacity (no ticket/no entry). The overall match day experience will be different. Bars are unlikely to be open at half-time. Social bubbles will apply in the Sunset and other bars. Six to a table maximum.
Pioneer Stand – catering areas will be closed due to ‘pinch points’. Concession outlet likely to be in operation outside (e.g. Lakeland Steaks). The ZoneX areas outside club ‘footprint’ also have an impact on the capacity – even though the club cannot directly control what happens. Fans need to recognize if they increase the risk elsewhere it could affect ground capacity. Fans will be discouraged from moving about during the game or at half-time.
Entertainment – limited to pitch perimeter as the pitch is part of the ‘Red Zone’. No kids matches. Big screen could be utilised. No sound available on screen.
Income since last statement: £397.97
Expenditure since last statement: £1,229.04 (including pin badges and equipment for the club to facilitate streaming that will support both the analyst and the media team)
Current bank balance: £1,068.46
Simon Clarkson to acquire display cabinet for Foxy’s to showcase memorabilia.
Winner Richard Coughlin, prize: £45.75. Five runners-up winning £9.15 each
167 total sales including Blues Store.
None currently. An online fans’ forum was discussed. Needs to be an event open to all. To progress as and when manager available.
Simon had been contacted by members of the Kevin Beattie Foundation. They are walking from Brunton Park to Portman Road. Leaving on September 27. Will be some publicity in the local press. CUSG are supporting this event.
Geoff Weston SLO – Two volunteers have shown an interest in helping Geoff this season. Fans in Leighton Buzzard and Ireland had shown an interest in acquiring souvenirs and scarves. Geoff had sent them out at his own expense. Geoff appealed for more fans to get in touch. SLO twitter account and TheCumbrians.net messageboard are the main ways to get fans feedback. Geoff also reported several emails from Scandinavian Branch members. The twitter account will be important to supplement messaging from CUFC during current restrictions.
Disabled group – Asked about sales of season tickets to disabled supporters. Club said these were similar to last season. There would be some additional capacity for disabled fans due to no away fans being admitted during COVID restrictions which mitigates the lost space due to social distancing. There were no capacity issues at present. Barbara said she was awaiting responses from questionnaires sent to members.
The group’s aspiration remains to build the Warwick Road End platform. This has been difficult to progress during the COVID lockdown. The London Branch funds remain ring-fenced to support the preparation of planning documents.
CUOSC – Face in Crowd: Mock-ups have been received by CUOSC and are of good quality. The firm doing it have had further discussions with Nigel D. Mock-up of the sales website was shown on screen to the group by Nigel D. FSA initiative ‘Sustain the Game’ is being backed by CUOSC who will continue to promote it. Nigel D will be doing a longer piece on it in the coming weeks and will run it by CUSG before going public. Gary Wylie had been in discussions with Nigel D about under-representation of the LGBTQ community, which needed to be addressed. Carlisle REUnited fund total had reached £8,000. AGM was recently held online via Zoom, with 24 remote attenders. The plan was to hold members meetings quarterly from now on, most likely online for the foreseeable future.
London Branch – Sunset to be decorated before CUSG re-furbish it. The London Branch donation to support this has been ring-fenced. The branch are sponsoring goalkeepers Magnus Norman and Marcus Dewhurst. Extra LB funds are being provided for tunnel area improvements at Brunton Park. A Zoom account is being used to hold events, including pre-match and watch parties.
TheCumbrians.net – Further items of memorabilia have been collected by Dan. Access needed to Brunton Park for storage of these items. The club agreed to allow access at any convenient time.
CUSAT – Individuals had been asked to make donations. Keith & Susan Elliott are sponsoring a player. £290 has been donated to the MIND charity. Due to restrictions on away travel, the group are ‘in limbo’ with regards the organisation of away trips this season. They have more player shirts to sell off for charity. Positive feedback had been received from fans about CUFC communications during COVID.
Any Other Business
The club thanked CUOSC for agreeing to sponsor the fixture cards. CUOSC volunteers had offered to help with season ticket envelope packing at the ground.
Next meeting – October 19