In the second part of the September update from chief executive Nigel Clibbens he discusses more of the current issues at Brunton Park.
Progress to improve all aspects of catering is continuing within existing resources – 1921 has no club funds for any significant new investment, so everything we do needs to be self-financing by cost savings and efficiencies made elsewhere, off the field, by 1921.
This adds challenges, but we are not letting it hold us back!
Many initiatives and changes have been successfully implemented, which is encouraging. The support of John Watt remains a big part of what we are doing.
Contactless payment option is now installed and available, and will help to speed up the process.
A new APP for click and collect ‘at-seat ordering’ has been trialled and tested at Orient and Salford, pending going live. This should improve the offering and speed of service, and reduce queue times. The ‘live’ date will be confirmed in due course. This investment again needs to be self-funded.
A lot of learning points are being identified after each game, especially on order quantities – which is all being learned totally from new. That means we are still getting stock-outs, but they are reducing.
Fan feedback on the catering is generally ok, and improvements are being recognised. I accept there are ongoing issues, which we are working through, and we still have a long way to go.
In the medium-term, we need fan spending on catering to create profits for 1921 board to reinvest.
Ticket software issues have been suffered in early season home games, especially relating to scanning tickets, which then impacted on the whole ticket system. I apologise to fans who have been affected.
The issue has only hit match day, at peak use, when the system is used intensively. It is totally beyond the club’s control and has affected all other clubs in the UK using the same system. The ticket system provider accepts responsibility.
We have been working together with fellow clubs to resolve the problems with the provider. All of us are very concerned and frustrated. Previously, over many years, the system has operated almost flawlessly – so this is completely out of the blue, for an established system.
We initially had some limited intermittent problems v Colchester, but had a total ticket system failure before Orient at 1.30pm, as soon as the gates opened and scanning commenced. We were unable to sell or scan tickets until after kick-off. These issues have not affected non-match day sales. The reporting of attendances are fully accurate.
A multi-club test of system changes was successful last week, and Hartlepool in the Trophy again passed without any problems. The system failed totally again just before kick-off v Salford on Saturday, in the middle of the rush, and did not work until after kick-off. Up to that point it was faultless and working as normal.
System changes have been made by the provider after every single recent home game to fix it, and we have been assured at every turn that they have fixed it. This hasn’t been the case. We continue to do everything within our power to resolve it and have been in an almost daily dialogue with the provider, and with the other clubs affected.
It is impossible to change ticket system provider to an entire new ticket system at short notice, mid-season, so we have no choice but try to work together to get through it, to get it working asap and manage any failures in the short-term.
We have implemented contingency plans as needed, but I unreservedly apologise for anyone affected. Sorry.
I thank fans for their patience when faced with the disruption. It is not an acceptable situation, but I hope fans now understand the issue and what is being done about it.
On a separate note, contactless payment option for match tickets is now implemented.
Ifollow/ Season tickets
Circa 897 fans subscribed for the midweek Port Vale game away, but just 287 for Salford.
1,763 season tickets issued so far compared with 1,921 in 19/20, the last season before the impact of Covid.
In the final part of the September update there will be a further financial update.