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Club News

CUSG: Minutes from the November meeting

Meeting notes from Monday

3 December 2021

Remote meeting via Zoom, 29.11.2021

Club News

CHIEF EXEC: Part one

2 December 2021

Attendance – Keith Ward (Chair, Scottish Supporter), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Simon Clarkson (SLO), Jim Mitchell, Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Gary Wylie (LGBTQ+ Supporters), Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies – Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel)

Keith Ward chaired the meeting.

Club updates

Nigel C had circulated notes already (click HERE to read the NC briefing notes). He specifically referred to some points in his update. He requested the support of the group for Food Bank and bucket collections coming up during December. CUOSC and CUSG will support.

On the club’s off-the-field operational performance, Nigel C said retail was performing at its best level since the play-off season of 2016/17. Walk-up income was the best since 12/13 barring one season.

The new in-house catering operation was now making a small profit.

Attendances – home crowds were above the 19/20 figures. They were the highest since 16/17. This excludes the opening home game which had discounted prices. Nigel praised fans for standing by CUFC despite poor results & league position. The general trend for gates in the EFL is down since the pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Club News

CHIEF EXEC: Part two

3 December 2021

Nigel C said the club was in a good position to support Keith Millen given its financial performance.

Fan behaviour - this had come under close scrutiny since the Hartlepool away match. The club had been sent a bill for damage caused to the ground at that fixture.

Incidents had occurred both in the city and in the ground at the Barrow match. He referred to his report for details. A coin was thrown at a director at the Harrogate game leading to a short “cooling off” ban being imposed. Nigel C discussed the effect of behaviour at the stadium and inside the ground to avoid detrimental effects on the club and team at a crucial time, reiterating comments he had made already on social media. He said he understood the frustrations felt by supporters, but there was a need to avoid chaos.

Jim Mitchell suggested CUOSC should raise the issue of fan behaviour. He acknowledged the fans right to protest, but warned against action which could physically harm individuals, affect the players and potentially lead to sanctions against the club.

Fan-led review - Nigel C said this is likely to ‘filter out’ some potential owners of clubs. It could change the ‘attractiveness’ of the club in future, changing the type and numbers of people who may come forward to invest in clubs in general and/or do take overs. 

Simon asked how the club would approach any demonstrations on Saturday? Nigel C said both he and Andrew Jenkins went out last time to meet fans. Nigel said the door is always open for anyone to come and speak to any person at the club and make their point direct face-to-face. He welcomed fans doing that and hoped fans would speak to the club. Nobody has asked to do that so far, the offer is there.

Club News

CHIEF EXEC: Part three

3 December 2021

He said CUOSC use their voice within the club to transmit the strength of feeling amongst fans. He said Billy Atkinson (CUOSC Holdings Rep) had done this effectively at a meeting on Friday. He said the fans’ message is getting through, especially from fans who feel they aren’t heard.

Nigel C said the Holdings board knows it needs to take steps to find an urgent solution to the ownership position and associated debt issues. He said this was happening. Information would be provided as soon as it was appropriate to do so.

Terry asked if fans with a banner on Saturday had been told that they would be banned? Nigel said the stewarding team and club doesn’t want to do anything that escalates things. Stewards were primarily concerned about pitch encroachment, not the display of banners. All banners need to comply with banners policy and comply with our safety certificate (including being fire resistant).

Simon questioned the detail of a 20% increase in the playing budget for this season in Nigel’s report. Nigel said that reflected the currently approved budget given to the football department from June. Nigel said he had told fans the playing budget was to increase in his September website update already. This was just more detail - nothing new. This was before any extra support for the January transfer window.

Jim had been in the Sporting Inn (soon to be renamed Murphy’s Bar) on Saturday. He was told the bar would be closed at 5.30 instead of 6pm as reported by the club. Amy said the club reported what they were told. The club would look at this. Closing time post-match was determined by usage.

The club are committed to further repainting, including in toilets in the West Stand. The work is ongoing. Simon reported improvements in bars with vinyl wraps being installed.

A formal reopening of the new bar was still to finalise due to Peter Murphy’s availability.

Match Previews

PREVIEW: Shrewsbury

3 December 2021

Roles and responsibilities

Keith [Ward] had appeared on ITV ‘Lookaround’ last week. He felt he hadn’t been properly informed about the nature of the piece, when others who had taken part had. Nigel said the club were currently talking to ITV about general operating procedures and ways of working.

This did not include anything related to its content or editorial line, just simple logistics, as followed by other media and ITV in the past. The club doesn’t always agree with what’s reported but never has or would seek to ban or stop any media reporting.

Nigel C suggested the more different people could speak on behalf of CUSG, not just the chair, the better, as it gives different voices, although that role is being rotated throughout the year currently.

Finance and fund-raising

Bank balance was £1910.53 (£562 ringfenced, including £448 from the London Branch for Murphy’s Bar refurbishment).

366 pin badges sold. 384 to sell. Profit nearly £300, so far.

Alastair suggested pin badges could be offered at a discount with Roma T-shirts, which were now being sold by the London Branch.

Click HERE for the Prediction Competition update.

Match Previews

MATCH UPDATE: Shrewsbury

3 December 2021

Events and projects

Simon said he had picked up some events ‘by default’, including the fans’ forum with the manager. He asked if this could be organised for straight after the January window? Andy said this would be in the hands of Covid.

The club wanted it in-person, if possible. Nigel stressed that the ‘timing’ would be crucial and was the key consideration, not having a forum. The club were mindful of new Covid developments and the fixture schedule. The club wanted fans to be present. 

Barbara suggested a small event with Keith Millen and Gavin Skelton might be preferable for supporters. Nigel agreed to consider that.

Memorabilia – this was ongoing with items going into bars.

EDI

Nigel D had sent an update before the meeting (click HERE to read the update). More than 30 people from the black and brown community of Carlisle and Cumbria had attended the match on Saturday. Nigel D would be attending a ‘Rainbow Stripes’ event in Workington on Wednesday. He would also be attending an online volunteering event hosted by the FA on the same day, providing an EDI perspective.

Nigel’s plans for supporting #HerGameToo had been questioned recently, with a suggestion that it was ‘divisive’. Nigel said the women’s voice needs to be heard. Women had been telling him this. Nigel D knows of people including some who attended on Saturday who don’t feel as comfortable attending matches as long-standing supporters. They are not always keen to attend on their own.

The #HerGameToo initiative will address this. Women of Watford is another project that is looking to expand nationally to encourage women to attend games. Nigel D stressed that the projects to encourage women to attend and get involved in football are fundamentally inclusive.

Club News

MANAGER: We want to keep the momentum going

3 December 2021

SLO update

Simon acknowledged improvements in the catering at Brunton Park including the ‘Food Hub’ outside the West Stand and the introduction of the cashless app (click and collect). There had been an increase in social media activity by the SLO team. Keith now uses the SLO account on twitter.

Simon had recently attended an SLO webinar. This had been useful and CUFC were flagged up during it for good practice. The EFL used CUFC as a good example to follow re: a team approach to the SLO role.

Group updates

Disabled group – the final architect’s drawings had been submitted and the group was awaiting approval, pending application for a grant to complete the project.

LGBTQ+ – Gary had met with people from the LGBTQ centre in Carlisle. He had met someone who wants to get involved with CUSG – he works with LGBTQ CUFC fans. Gary had agreed to work with him to help build the group up. A webinar was coming up which Gary was hoping to attend, work permitting.

Simon offered to share any resources from the EFL on LGBTQ+ matters. Nigel C stressed that reaching out to groups like this was central to what CUFC are doing. Gary reported a mostly positive response to a tweet sent by the club on Saturday, promoting the #RainbowLaces campaign.

The group discussed ‘taking the knee’ and Nigel D brought up the possibility of the practice being replaced by something which symbolised all discrimination and taking a stand against it.

Andy said that ‘taking the knee’ is specifically about racial discrimination. There could be a danger if this is re-framed as all forms of discrimination, that it would alienate the players. The group agreed that the players should be able to continue ‘taking the knee’ if they wish to.

Interviews

MANAGER: There's a couple of knocks

2 December 2021

CUOSC

Ownership/debt – CUOSC recently put out a long statement which reiterates the process to date and explains their position. The process is ongoing, and the CUOSC Holdings rep Billy, continues to be at the heart of it.

There was a long discussion about ownership. Issues of information, the time-taken, progress and communication coming from the shareholders and its effect on fan relations and club progress were raised in strong terms. 

Representatives felt it was damaging and called on the club to address it as soon as possible. They called on Nigel to convey their views to the shareholders and directors.

Nigel D pointed out the power of CUOSC’s shareholding plus the voting rights attached. Nigel C stressed that CUOSC are not standing in the way of succession.

Fan-led review & CUOSC questionnaire – CUOSC welcomed the final report from Tracey Crouch MP on behalf of the government. The proposals would, if implemented properly, help to improve the game in this country. The proposals broadly mirror the results of the ‘Future of Football’ questionnaire. Both will help inform the manifesto for the future of CUFC which CUOSC are working on.

Shirt amnesty – CUOSC had been in a dialogue with a supporter and the club over this. They will help promote it. Billy Atkinson and Carol Wilson had agreed to store the shirts at Upperby. They will be distributed via EDI groups from the local area. The support of all CUSG members was sought for this initiative.

Jim was in discussion with Nigel C about remaining use of Carlisle REUnited funds. A potential project to fund had been discussed and would be finalised soon.

London Branch

‘Roma 72’ T-shirts are being sold. 105 had been delivered, and had nearly sold out. 110 more were being ordered. They were being sold at Brunton Park and online. Each shirt costs £17 with £2 going to an Alzheimers charity in Cumbria. Mugs and other merchandising to follow in 2022.

Equipment for the academy had been purchased recently. A goal of the month competition was being sponsored plus women’s team sponsorship.

CUSAT – Keith Elliott had provided a brief update prior to the meeting. CUSAT gave their continued support to Keith Millen and the team, and wanted to support CUFC into a safe league position.

Next meeting – January 10


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