CUSG Meeting Summary - Remote meeting via Zoom, 06.09.2021
Attendance – Gary Wylie (Chair, LGBTQ supporter), Simon Clarkson (SLO), David Brown (London Branch), Jim Mitchell, Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Barbara Abbott, Barry Carter (Disabled Group), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Terry McCarthy (London Branch)
Gary chaired this meeting as part of a new policy to rotate the role amongst the member groups.
Nigel Clibbens had supplied an update in advance via email. Click HERE to read the update.
The financial information in the update is new said Nigel. There was also a comprehensive summary of ticketing issues faced so far this season, with the system in place at Brunton Park. This had also affected other clubs using the same system. After system changes made by the provider, a simulation by a number of these clubs using the system reproduced no problems. The Hartlepool Papa John’s Trophy match had passed without a hitch.
Simon asked about payment via cash to get into certain parts of the ground. Some areas have this and some not.
Nigel said this will be looked at for the next fixture. He expected to be able to bring it in if needed.
Nigel acknowledged a problem with the turning off of TV sets in the East Stand concourse. This came about because family zone was closed in error and TVs were also turned off by mistake and this caused some TVs in the East Stand area to be turned off at the same time. He said this would be addressed for future fixtures.
Simon questioned what he saw as a lack of info about the Papa Johns Trophy game v Hartlepool.
Nigel said there was no intention to ‘play down’ the game. He said the gate on the night was one of the best for the PJT in recent seasons. Some catering issues had emerged due to a reduced service and pies selling out early (see NC update). Andy Hall said that social media coverage won’t change for PJT games due to the amount of negative responses from online fans.
Nigel Davidson reported that the My Club, My Shirt project was underway. He was waiting for some dates for photography at Brunton Park. 13 photos from the London Branch had been received. Andy said that the team photo would be a good opportunity for some of the fans featuring in MCMS to be in the photo and individually. The team photo session was still to be finalised. Nigel D and Nigel C had met with a representative from Anti-Racist Cumbria on Friday which had produced a lot of good ideas.
Gary stated that diversity is an important issue after reading some negativity about it online. David Brown backed this up strongly.
Nigel C said that the work of CUSG and the club is appreciated in the community. The stand taken on diversity around ‘taking the knee’ has attracted support. Andy noted that the reaction to TTK was more positive on Saturday.
Gary said that the club and CUSG can do huge work on this issue to help make a difference. There was still much work to be done, he said. His football team had got some negative comments before a recent match from opposition players.
Nigel C reiterated that action would be taken by the club if needed.
Andy pointed out that the ‘other side’ of this argument has to be understood first before trying to turn people around on the issue.
Keith gave an opinion that the ‘divide’ is partly generational. He said the teaching of the topic of diversity had changed radically in recent years, meaning the older generation had difficulty in understanding the issue in the same way that younger people do.
Nigel D stated that the ‘bigger picture’ with the whole issue was that the ultimate aim was getting more diverse fans into the ground and making it welcoming for everyone.
No expenditure since the last meeting. Balance therefore unchanged at £2490.71
Click HERE to see the finance report for March-August.
Simon said the pre-season game at Kendal Town was an excellent example of working together. A raffle/bucket collection in aid of former Kendal player George Melling raised £523.
Simon said that the recent football forum held at Brunton Park and streamed online had gone well. All the questions were answered. The panel were open and engaging and provided good quality answers. He stressed that none of the questions had been seen in advance by any of the participants. He said the event had been warmly and well received by fans. He said that the remote format could be retained for future events. This was backed up by Andy who said he supported the idea to keep the format for the foreseeable future.
Amy reported 1,600 viewers watching the stream live on the night.
The fiftieth anniversary of United’s famous win at Roma in 1972 was coming up next year. Simon, noting that there were several groups and individuals planning to mark the occasion, said a cohesive approach would be needed to do things well. He said it would be extremely unlikely that the club could get a pre-season friendly against Roma despite efforts to contact them and ask. The London Branch were planning a T-shirt for early November. Designs were being looked at. Fundraising in support of Stan Bowles was being linked into it. A meal/event in London was being arranged. A ‘Hit the Bar’ Special was planned for the end of the season to mark the anniversary. CUFC have a new deal in place to produce souvenirs in small quantities with a third party. Retro shirts are things they do as well as designs that can be added to many different items. Nigel C said the LB could work with the club and this firm to turn out a number of items. A celebration event at Brunton Park could be laid on quite easily compared to previously, as the club now ran the catering operaton in-house. Andy was planning to reproduce the programme from 1972. The CUSG would look at options for celebrating/recognising the event.
The London Branch were organising a Paul Parker event at the Civil Service Club in London. Publicity was on the club’s website today. All fans were welcome. The location is 2 mins walk from Embankment/Charing Cross stations.
Simon reported on a busy time in his first weeks in the role. Contact with other SLOs from other clubs had revealed a mixture of roles that they carried out. He hoped fans had seen a big change in info put out on social media. Salford City’s SLO had travelled up on the coach on Saturday. Keith Elliott had done all bar one of the away games, the other being covered by Simon himself. Being there and being part of the preparation has helped, he said. The presence of the SLO team could not help prevent the Hartlepool incident when seats were damaged, but they were on site to advise. Issues are being addressed and sorted quickly, said Simon. More was being done than ever before. The Sutton game presents challenges given the size of ground. Simon’s local knowledge has helped.
The catering panel has started giving feedback. Testing of pre-ordering option is in hand.
Nigel C reported that the dynamic of walk-up and ticketing has changed (irrespective of the ticket system). Sales in advance have reduced significantly since the return of fans. Walk-up sales on the day have increased significantly and more fans are coming closer to kick off. CUSG joined the club and all members condemned the action of a small minority of fans at Hartlepool who damaged the seats.
Simon said the meeter and greeter role would suit younger/female/diverse fans, looking good on their CV. He asked for help in getting volunteers - email firstname.lastname@example.org for futher details.
Disabled group – Warwick Road End platform: Barbara said bills were coming in. Structural engineer’s bill still to come for work inspecting ground under WRE. London Branch to consider extending their financial support. Barbara to make a funding application. The group were working now with people who can get the grants for the rest of the project. Club are committed to doing related work to support its construction and roll out. Although this project had taken about two years to date, the methodolic approach taken was ensuring it should be completed successfully.
CUOSC - Nothing to update separately from previous contributions. Face in the Crowd update is included in the club submission.
London Branch pin badges - full update for next meeting. Still being sold. Anyone who can help, please take a selection to sell.
Memorabilia – Simon to continue work but requested help. Keith volunteered. Barbara offered to donate a box of programmes.
Travel - Keith update. He condemned the Hartlepool incident. Younger fans are travelling this season and with good behaviour, he reported. The away trips had gone well so far. He said there were 60-70 new users on the CUSAT Facebook group.
Gary said he has the found role quite straightforward. He recommended it to others. Nigel C thanked Gary for stepping in. Terry McCarthy, Keith Ward and Nigel D or Jim to do the next three meetings as reps of their respective groups.
Simon said he would continue to pass on emails sent by individual fans to the email@example.com address to the relevant member group for them to answer direct to the fan concerned. The club will continue to take questions and answer direct to individual fans as normal (as detailed in Nigel C’s update). Club updates will cover the issues raised by fans in their questions as normal.
CUOSC are planning to take direct questions too, as part of a revamped engagement policy, to be announced soon. CUSG will answer questions about CUSG affairs. Questions from member groups to be asked at meetings unchanged.