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CUSG: September meeting minutes

Update from the latest zoom call

29 September 2023

CUSG Meeting Summary - Remote meeting via Zoom, 25.09.2023

Attendance –  John Kukuc (Chair), Simon Clarkson (SLO), Terry McCarthy (London Branch), Nigel Davidson (EDI Rep/CUOSC), Alastair Woodcock, Kieron Bulman (CUOSC), Keith Elliott (CUSAT),  Sonny Kirkwood (Warwick Road Enders), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Philip Walker (South Lakes Supporters’ Club), Natalie Mason (Women’s & Girls’ Rep), Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)

Apologies –  Emanuel Boateng (EDI - PoC), Gary Wylie (LGBTQ+ Supporters)

John Kukuc welcomed Philip and Natalie who were attending for the first time.

  1. Club Update

Nigel C had circulated this prior to the meeting and it is included for download alongside this summary. Nigel C had attended the CUOSC members’ meeting as an observer, which he described as a great example of fan engagement and how a strong and active fan trust can make a positive contribution to a club and support good governance and safeguards. He gave credit to CUOSC for filling the room with members and spreading access to those would couldn’t attend in person via in-house stream.

Click HERE to view the club update in pdf format.

Fan Zone – Nigel C said this was continuing to go from strength to strength. Takings were increasing, he said. People were coming along earlier. Numbers at half-time were ‘huge’ he reported. Nigel C requested that people with different food offerings or entertainment options for the Fan Zone should come forward, as he was keen to expand what was on offer.

Sell-on figures from James Trafford/Dean Henderson had now been confirmed. Nigel C said they were nowhere near enough to cover the Purepay (PP) debt.  They will total close to the amount the Administrator attributed as the recoverable value of the debt (£1.1m) when he sold the debt to Purepay in December 2020. This means the sell-ons are less than half the current amount.

In response to questions why the club couldn’t contact Philip Day or John Jackson direct, Nigel said Mr Day was not a director or shareholder of Purepay. He said this had been referred to at a recent fan forum by John Nixon. Going back to May 2023, the club had been told by lawyers Mr. Day is not associated in any way with Purepay. As such, he is unable to provide any further assistance to 1921 regarding the outstanding loan. We were asked to direct any future correspondence regarding this matter to Purepay directly. The club has respect that and have done and dealings are solely with Purepay and lawyer to lawyer as requested by Purepay rather than via individuals like John Jackson.

Nigel C briefly listed some of the key elements of the proposed takeover and investment in the club by Castle Sports Group (owned jointly by Tom and Patty Piatak). Equity not debt, infrastructure improvements, long term view, money staying in the club, winning is priority, ‘act like owners’ approach, ‘no ceiling’ to where we can go, ‘let's own the north!’ (The rallying call issued by Tom at yesterday’s meeting).

Nigel C added that the Piataks were very complimentary about the staff at CUFC, after attending a meeting at Brunton Park recently.

John Kukuc said that one previous proposal for investment in the club had included a plan to cut staff numbers. He said he was happy that this was not part of the current proposal.

Simon asked about the appointment of a new head of coaching at the academy. Nigel C explained that a job offer had been made and accepted. An announcement would be made soon.

  1. Finance

Terry had circulated a summary of financial transactions between March and August. The bank balance is currently £1,801 of which £123 is ring-fenced for prediction competition prizes and payment for the shirt donation to Jigsaw.

  1. Raffle

Terry said a commitment was needed to support the raffle at 3 or 4 matches in order to sell tickets to supporters. John said he would volunteer and encouraged others to get involved. Simon reminded the meeting that online sales of tickets will be available.

Simon said he wanted to tie this in with the memorabilia project. A funding application is about to be made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF). The 12 month project if approved would start around Christmas, culminating in an exhibition at Tullie House in the summer of 2024 and would later go on the road around Cumbria. The majority of material will come back to Brunton Park. Simon suggested linking the raffle proceeds to fundraising for this project. A contribution of £5k is likely to be required with other external project partners also making similar contributions.

Philip indicated a desire to sell tickets amongst his group.

Nigel suggested the title of the raffle should be the New Year’s Raffle rather than Winter raffle. This was agreed. Terry said the draw would be made on January 4.

Terry said he planned to use the same company that printed tickets last year. It was agreed to order 10,000, using the same template as last year and just change the details. Terry said he hoped to launch the raffle on November 6. He wanted a minimum of 3 ‘teams’ for each game where tickets will be sold. Friday October 20 would be the deadline for submitting prizes, which he hoped local businesses, the club and CUSG groups would contribute to.

Nigel D said that the next members fans’ forum/CUOSC members meeting could be a good place to sell tickets. The university theatre was a potential venue for such an event with a capacity of approximately 180.

  1. Fan behaviour

Nigel C said there had been a general improvement in fan behaviour recently, but standards needed to be maintained. He reiterated the club was operating under an FA Fan Behaviour Action Plan. He was grateful for the support given so far by CUSG groups with their positive messages promoting the effort to encourage improved behaviour at games. ‘Keep supporting us’, he urged.

John made reference to incidents that occurred during the Derby County game on Saturday. Nigel C said the club couldn’t sell 400 tickets to Derby fans because they needed to operate a wider segregation zone which needs to be maintained between home and away sections. Fans sitting closer together has created problems at games in the past.

Philip reported missiles thrown from the Derby section into section 5 of the East Stand. He said drinks bottles had been thrown and questioned whether the stewards had adequately dealt with the incident.

Nigel C said stewards had intervened. He admitted that vapes are a problem. Stewards can’t physically search everyone for them, and they are easily thrown at games.

Simon asked if away fans could all be put into the Waterworks End?

Nigel C explained that EFL regulations say ‘equivalent accommodation’ must be offered to home and away fans. There are a small number of uncovered seats in the Waterworks but these are not ‘equivalent’ to the covered East Stand or West Stand seated areas.

Nigel hoped better match day equipment such as new CCTV cameras would help deter and detect more incidents. This was a priority for the near future, along with new bodycams, which Nigel D thought can help deter bad behaviour amongst supporters.

Kieron offered to help in this area as he works on the railways with ‘visual support aids’ as part of his job.

  1. Memorabilia

This had already been discussed but Simon said he hoped a decision on funding would be made before Christmas.  He said his ‘vision’ for a long term home for some of the memorabilia collection would be in a small museum within Brunton Park.

  1. EDI Update

EFL Code of Practice on EDI - Work continues on this important piece of work ahead of the assessment in October ‘23.

Meeting with the EFL this week ahead of final submission at the end of October

EDI & MH Working Group

The latest meeting of the equality, diversity and inclusion/mental health working group was held last week. We have widened the group to include a couple of external members. So going forward Stephen Dunn from Cumberland Council and Jayne Ann Clark from Cumbria Pride/Outreach Cumbria will be present. These group meetings, all feed into the EFL’s code of practice assessment and help us develop the EDI & MH across the club.

Wellbeing Through Football - project continues and new events to be announced soon.

Ongoing projects

Tullie House - see raffle update, but significant involvement from EDI.

Neurodiversity – ongoing. Meeting with all groups again soon.

EDI calendar - completed to date for 23/24. Big push around Black History Month. Emmanuel and I are meeting this week to discuss options for how we will be celebrating this.

 Wheelchair accessible area - ongoing.

Disabled Supporter’s Group - ongoing. Expressions of interest for Disability Rep to go out. Been a little delayed due to the Code of Practice work.

Restorative Justice - further work with Remedi to come in conjunction with Suzanne Kidd. ND and SK are meeting with Remedi this week in Penrith.

Remedi also did some steward training pre match on Saturday which was really useful and well received.

Match Days/Stewarding - EDI continuing to attend Steward Supervisor Briefings. Very interesting and informative and I will be feeding in from an EDI perspective going forward this season. I will ask for agreement from the safety officer to show you the briefing document so you can see the amount of planning that does go into this. This will have to be kept within CUSG though.

Women’s and Girls EDI Rep - Natalie Mason joins us this evening for the first time. We have a lot of great stuff in the pipeline for Natalie and I to work on and I will let you know what this is and when as soon as we can.

Nigel added that he had chats with Patty Piatak about EDI matters. Says many positives came out of yesterday’s meeting.

Nigel reported that from the EDI/Mental Health/Sustainability working group, it was planned to split off Mental Health and Sustainability into separate groups. Natasha Mellier(?) could be a candidate to represent sustainability within the CUSG. He made a request for Natasha to attend the next CUSG meeting, which there was no objection to.

Nigel C thanked the groups for promoting the EDI supporter survey that is currently live. 600+ responses have come in so far.

  1. SLO Update

At home games, our meeters and greeters are kept busy with a variety of activities around the ground including supporting the pre match community groups who get a mini ground tour before the game. We are delighted to have expanded the team this season with Alicia becoming our first regular female meeter and greeter. Another new team member will start at the next home game. As our crowds grow and areas like the fan zone become increasingly popular, the team needs to keep evolving.

We have a minimum of 20 different grounds to visit this season and with the big travelling support, it is important to get good quality information to our fans. Keith goes to the majority of away games and between us we deal with a lot of queries from our fans on social media. The value of close cooperation was demonstrated very well during our visit to Lincoln. Temporary coach drop off and pick up points a long way from the ground presented challenges for our less abled bodied fans but we had tremendous help from the Lincoln SLO team and the Police to mitigate a lot of the issues. That would not have happened without a matchday presence from the SLO team.

Fan behaviour continues to be a concern and as part of CUSG, the SLO team fully support the action plan drawn up that attempts to eradicate inappropriate behaviour by a very small minority of our fans.

We have continued to help the newly formed South Lakes supporters club based in Kendal, as they develop their structure. Part of that growth was an invite to this meeting with a view to CUSG membership. If you are a fan living in the area, give them a look up.

We are actively involved in dialogue about fan issues. General issues raised by fans to the SLO team are continually relayed to the club and feedback provided. So as to represent the views of you the fans, please get in touch.

We are always on the lookout for more meeters and greeters, so please get in touch if you would like to join the team. As a thank you for helping you will receive a complimentary match ticket.

  1. Group Updates

LGBTQ – In Gary’s absence, Nigel D said that a lot of work was needed to set up an LGBTQ+ supporters’ group, which he hoped to help with.

Scottish supporters – Keith had been unable to attend yesterday’s CUOSC members meeting but planned to watch the video of it later.

CUOSC - Kieron praised the people who put the meeting together yesterday. There had been some technical issues with the meeting video that was sent out to members but it was now sorted and the vote was under way. 440+ votes had already been cast in the first hours of the vote going live. Wednesday tea time is the deadline.

Simon reported that the weather had damaged the Face in Crowd display near the Warwick Road End turnstiles. Nigel D said that this had now been removed. Simon said he would like to see the FITC done again, with an indoor setting and this could form part of the NLHF application.

London Branch - Dave Brown, chairman, met Tom Piatak and family on Saturday. Tom had agreed to meet members in London on a future visit.

CUSAT – Keith echoed others in praising the organisation of the CUOSC members meeting yesterday.

Womens Group -  Natalie will work with Nigel D to put together an update in future as part of the EDI section.

South Lakes Supporters  - Philip reported 50 members had now joined. The group had only been going for 8 weeks. He thanked Simon and Nigel C for helping out. Simon said Kendal schoolchildren tend to end up supporting Morecambe and Preston North End. Philip said he saw Kendal and the surrounding region as a huge growth area for CUFC support. Right now Preston North End promote their games in the town and Morecambe snap up kids from the area for their academy.

Philip said more American tourists are visiting South Lakes since COVID, and thought they could be persuaded to visit Brunton Park.

There was agreement to add Philip to the CUSG as formal representative of the South Lakes supporters’ group.

  1. Any Other Business

There was no other business.

 Date of next meeting

November 6


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