Remote meeting via Zoom, 04.04.2022
Attendance – Terry McCarthy (London Branch, Chair), Gary Wylie (LGBTQ+ Supporters), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Simon Clarkson (SLO), Nigel Davidson, Jim Mitchell, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Barbara Abbott (Disabled Group), Emmanuel Boateng (EDI – PoC), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Apologies – Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Barry Carter (Disabled Group), Kelly Dixon (EDI – Women Supporters), Rev Alun Jones (EDI – Faith Group)
Terry McCarthy chaired the meeting as London Branch rep.
He gave a welcome to the new groups represented. Emmanuel introduced himself and outlined the objectives of CUSG membership.
Simon asked what terminology should be applied to his group? Emmanuel said ‘People of Colour’ summed up the group better than ‘Black and Brown’ but that labels were not a major issue.
Terry noted the interest in Alun Jones’ comments at the previous introductory meeting. Alun was unable to attend this meeting.
- Club Update
This had been circulated by Nigel Clibbens earlier today and are included separate to these minutes.
Simon asked about the average gates for this season (which are up on recent seasons).
Nigel C explained nothing was materially different about the make-up of attendances including the number of complementary tickets issued.
Simon commented that iFollow might have pushed gates down which makes the figures more impressive.
Nigel C said that various factors affect iFollow numbers. It was difficult to form a view on the impact of iFollow streaming on gates.
Nigel C said the increase to 4899 average will not make much of an impact on forecasts for next season. The recent jump in gates may not be sustainable over the longer term. Forecasts need to be prudent and realistic.
Simon asked about the possibility of further ticket promotions in the remainder of the season. Nigel C replied that it was not viable to do one at very short notice (a week or less). You would usually need five weeks’ notice but with the agreement of the opposition club, this can be shortened. The EFL also have a rule about such promotions that needs to be adhered to. The timing, as ever, has to be right. It was important, he stressed, to know the status of Paul Simpson so as to ensure good gates for rest of the season. He said there was a widespread desire, both inside and outside the club, to keep Paul Simpson. The issue was whether it could be made to happen. He reiterated that Paul didn’t want to talk about a new contract until the team is safe.
Nigel talked about the potential for a fan meeting room to be created for pre-match ‘events’.
Terry asked Nigel C if he visited the Tranmere Rovers fan zone on Saturday? Nigel C said he had and found the facility to be warm and welcoming with a big screen.
Simon said that Tranmere were progressing a £1.3m project to replace the marquee with a permanent structure. He said about 30% of the required funding was coming from supporters.
Nigel C said the club were continuing to look into various options for upgrading the existing fan zone outside the West Stand entrance. Money is the major barrier (capital to fund it). Andy stressed that marquees soon degrade due to inclement weather. Most clubs with fan zones were now looking at more permanent solutions.
Nigel C talked about a potential ‘shipping crate’ bar that could be set up quickly on match days. Barbara asked about the cost of acquiring such a bar? Nigel C said a ballpark estimate was £10k, but it would need further information to get a more accurate figure.
Barbara suggested the CUSG could fund-raise to meet the required target.
Nigel C said he would find out the total costs before any commitment might be entered into. CUOSC had already committed some of its Carlisle REUnited funds to support the fan zone project.
Click HERE to read the club update.
- Finances and fund-raising
Financial info had been circulated already and a full report is included separate to these minutes. Terry reported that more money had been banked since the last meeting from the proceeds of the raffle at the manager’s forum but the bank balance was now lower. Money had been spent donating to the ticket donation scheme for the Northampton game and £300 had been put towards Murphy’s Bar for improved signage. Filing cabinets had been bought in bulk to house the memorabilia collection for £20. These were now housed in the East Stand offices. Terry reminded the group that there were still pin badges to sell.
Click HERE to see the CUSG accounts.
- Events and projects
A lot of this item had already been covered in the club update. Vinyls displaying images from May 8 1999 were in preparation for installation in the Sunset Suite which is to be renamed the Glass Bar. These should be installed in the next few weeks, reported Simon.
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion
Update from EDI Officer Nigel Davidson:
MCMS has now finished at Tullie House. I collected the images last week and dropped at the club for NC to decide where to display them.
The Thomas Graham prize, which was won recently then kindly donated by Mick Martin from CUSAT to the Ukrainian community in Carlisle, has now been handed over to Ukraine rep Alla Stoica. Thanks to Andy Hall for arranging for the ball, which was part of the prize, to be signed by the players. Alla is going to organise a raffle for the prize and once she has worked out exactly how it’s going to work, she is going to let me know so we can publicise across all channels to ensure we raise as much as we can for the DEC Ukrainian appeal.
ARC have given us a proposal for a workshop on Antiracism. There are costs attached and I am currently looking to see if the FSA, through the Fans for Diversity Fund, can cover some costs there.
I’ve met recently with several people from different communities including Women’s Panah and PiNC and there are other awareness training options there which we could make use of. I will follow up in the coming weeks.
Many other items on the agenda to press ahead with including Rainbow Stripes with Pride in North Cumbria.
Nigel D advised not to worry about the names of the new EDI groups. He said it was better to get on with the work and the names would fall into place.
Gary asked about the potential for a meeting with ‘Kick it Out’? They had an equality charter to discuss. Nigel D agreed to liaise with Anwar Uddin over this.
- SLO Update
The SLO ran a fans poll to choose the music for the team to walk out to at Brunton Park. The winning selection saws a return of an old favourite – our very own club version of one step beyond by Madness.
Feedback from fans on ways to improve the atmosphere at Brunton Park indicated that a positive would be the addition of some more flags for the Warwick Road End. Again, via a social media poll, options were considered, and choices made.
Before the Rochdale game, the Sporting Inn was renamed Murphy’s bar and the SLO hosted the event marked by a special appearance by the legend himself, Peter Murphy. Special mentions for contributions to the project go to Myke Nixon framing, Carlisle Glass and HH Reeds but so many others also played their part. Funding was provided by the London Branch, CUOSC and the Club.
I was privileged to compere the fans forum with Paul Simpson. The Sunset Suite was busy and around 2000 fans viewed the event via a live stream.
Resilience has been added to the meeter and greeter team with two new fans helping when available.
The fan zone is becoming very popular and feedback from fans is helping to shape this going forward. General issues raised by fans are continually relayed to the club and feedback provided to fans.
As relationships develop with other SLO’s, the team led by Keith Elliott for away games can provide our fans with good quality and specific match information that we hope enhances their day out.
Simon revealed that he continues to develop and share information for visiting fans via the SLO network. Nigel D reported the potential for extra match day ‘meeters and greeters’ via a contact he had at Anti-Racist Cumbria.
- Chairperson/constitution review
Terry outlined the process for appointment of a permanent Chair.
The groups were reminded they could sound out potential candidates and nominate people if they so wished, from inside or outside their groups.
Terry agreed to draft the wording for re-advertising the position. CUSG to be responsible for publicising this. The club would support with re-tweets if necessary.
- Group updates
Disabled group – Barry had been in touch with a grant specialist. Barbara said the Warwick Road End project would need more money than can be acquired from the FSA.
LBGTQ – Gary had met with LGBTQ fans to set up a social media group. The name was still to be decided.
Scottish supporters – Had a question about the kit for next season? Nigel C replied that the supplier would again be Errea. The kits had been selected & sorted before Christmas. They were now in final approvals before manufacture.
Keith said the coffee available in the Paddock was of poor quality/taste. It was suggested Keith should contact Peter Johnston of John Watt to discuss this.
CUOSC – The CUOSC Cup had been arranged for Sunday May 1. A maximum of 18 teams would be taking part. Interest from several teams already. Nigel D and Ross Parkinson (Unita Fortior) were working on this project. CUOSC’s manifesto was being put together and would be released in draft form to members at the next members’ meeting which was being aimed for the end of the season. The CUOSC Player of the Season vote was under way.
London Branch – Now that the refurbishment of Murphy’s Bar is complete CUSCLB have released the £448 previously ring fenced for further spend on this project. These funds are now available for CUSG to spend on other projects.
The branch donated £250 to the Ticket Donation Scheme for the Northampton game.
CUSCLB are currently working on a special edition of Hit The Bar to mark the 50th anniversary of the club's victory v Roma in the Anglo Italian Cup The branch will be sharing the information gathered for this publication with the club for their own commemoration of this historic event. CUSCLB would like to place on record their thanks to Nigel Davidson for his help and support with this initiative
LB member Craig Milne organised a Walk and Talk event prior to Saturday’s game at Tranmere. Carlisle United and Tranmere fans participated in the event in support of Talking Heads.
- Any Other Business
Next meeting – May 16 (Keith Ward to chair).