MSC / Club Meeting - November/December 2008
Held at the Den - Thursday 27th November 2008
Present - Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson, Mark Holland, Sam Masson, Ayse Smith and Graeme Smale (all MSC)
New Ticket System
Andy confirmed there is now a shortlist of two possible suppliers of the system to be installed in time for next season. Visits were made to Wembley, Wasps/Wycombe Wanderers, Southampton, Derby, Preston, West Ham and others. Features of the new system should include the introduction of season tickets which can be renewed on line, on line renewal of memberships, and on line and phone purchase of match tickets. A large amount of capital investment is involved and it is hoped that this will approve at the next board meeting on 19th December.
The way the system is implemented will be fined tuned by involving a group of supporters to discuss and review its capabilities and suggest any necessary improvements. Bob welcomed the progress on this project.
The Complimentary Tickets for ST Holders Promotion
It was agreed this promotion had not been a success, mainly due to its limited publicity. Different alternatives were discussed and it was agreed that a similar promotion would be run but with far wider publicity. Maybe for the forthcoming Tranmere Rovers match on January 17th.
Ted had suggested that 2 complimentary tickets, should be offered to 20 Season Ticket holders by means of a public draw. Those not wanted would be allocated from a reserve list. This may be tried in the future.
Bob asked whether the club intended to run a coach to the FA Youth Cup match at Hillsborough on 11th December. Or indeed whether there would be any space available on the team coach. The answers were no and no and so the MSC undertook to run a coach themselves. Andy agreed that Billy Neil would co-ordinate. The team were going by the VIP coach with a very early morning start.
Millwall Supporters Club, The Junior Lions And The Millwall Community Scheme
Andy said the club is looking for a closer relationship between the three groups, and particularly between the Community Scheme and the Junior Lions as MCS should be a recruiting ground for JLs. JL member numbers are very low and a more co-ordinated effort is required. Bob attended the most recent Junior Lions Committee meeting, and this invitation was reciprocated, but MCS are not enthusiastic about activities on Saturday matchdays, when traditionally JL hold their meetings.
ST Holders and Members
Andy confirmed that there are now 4,100 ST holders, and 3,007 members. There had been a take up of just over 100 for the Mid-Season Ticket. The Half-Season Ticket will be launched in December. Bob suggested that members should have their £12 membership fee deducted from the price, to encourage existing members to 'trade up' and Andy agreed this was a good idea.
Delays at the Turnstiles
Bob reported that there have been delays at the turnstiles for the West Stand at the South end. Complaints had been received from some ST Holders who had missed the start of games whilst waiting in queues. Some had suggested an ST holder only entrance. It was agreed that it was more appropriate to solve the problem, and ensure that all the turnstiles are open and the turnstile stewards are efficient. Andy agreed to ensure this occurred by speaking to the Stadium Manager Colin Sayer.
It was noted that catering complaints were almost non-existent this month and this coincided with the team performing well. The kiosk behind block 3 is still not open, mystery shopper visits will be done during the Bristol Rovers match to ascertain whether it is required
Millwall at Leyton Orient
It was noted that more than 2,700 Millwall fans travelled to Leyton Orient but there were no serious issues. Some fans complained because the two Millwall sections in the stadium were kept separate.
Monthly Membership Draw For Prizes That Money Can't Buy.
The draw was made and will be announced at the Bristol Rovers match.
Andy reported that the sound system is not yet sorted but the TV picture is.
Naming A Stand
It was agreed that a list of four possible names, not all ex-players, would be agreed and then a poll taken later in the season for the fans to decide.
Tannoy System In The South Stand
Bob reported that the system did not seem to be working. Andy agreed to ascertain whether the problem is caused by a fault or incorrect operation.
Reserve Team Fixtures
The crowds that have attended the recent evening youth cup games have been good. Bob asked whether some reserve team games could be moved to the evening. Andy said that reserve games were played on weekday afternoons to reduce costs such as floodlighting. However, Andy agreed to speak to Kenny to ascertain whether he would consider playing a reserve game as an evening fixture.
Discounts On Tickets For Home Cup Games
Andy confirmed that membership discounts could not be offered on ticket prices as the prices had to be agreed with the opposing club.
Forthcoming VAT change
Bob asked how the club were approaching this. Andy said that this would be reflected in items sold in the shop by price reductions but ticket prices would not be reduced in order to stick with 'round pounds' and not slow down access to the stadium on matchdays. The VAT reduction will be reflected on special ticket packages for some future home fixtures.
Bob asked for clarity on refunds on tickets when the holder is unable to attend the match. Andy stated that this is dealt with by the provisions of the club's customer charter and was common to all FL teams. Refunds are not given on the day of the match. This is common practice in theatres also.
Plaque at the site of the Old Ground
Bob reported that there is no trace of the old ground in Cold Blow Lane and a supporter had suggested there should be some sort of recognition there. Andy agreed this was a good idea and it was agreed that the MSC, the Lions Trust and Pete Garston would jointly progress this with Lewisham Council.
125 Year Anniversary
MSC asked what plans the club have for this anniversary, and suggested that the fans should be involved in shirt design, etc. This was deferred until future agendas as the anniversary falls at the start of the 2010-2011 season.
Date of next meeting - Thursday 8th January 2009.
MSC / Club Meeting - September 2008
Held at the Den - 4th September 2008
Present - Andy Ambler (Club Chief Operating Officer), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Mark Holland, Sam Masson, and Graeme Smale (all MSC)
Monthly Membership Draw
The draw was made and number 2,967 was chosen. Andy stated that the result would be displayed on the big screen at the Hartlepool home game on 6th September. The prize is a VIP trip to the training ground.
The replay facility is broken and so no replays are possible. Andy is looking for a cost effective remedy. The bulbs in the screen are also expensive and require changing frequently.
Season Tickets and Memberships
Currently there are 3,934 season ticket holders and 1,742 memberships. ST numbers are down by about 10% on last season and this can be partly explained by the credit crunch, and the effect of three poor seasons. It is expected that more memberships will be sold during September. The effect of matchday discounts on the day has yet to be assessed.
The long queues at the CBL Stand Ticket Office before the Huddersfield game were caused by 2 staff absentees for whom cover was not found. This should not reoccur.
Ticketmaster are in the final year of their contract and it will go out to tender. Fans will have input into precisely what service is required. Meanwhile, Andy and Charlie are due to visit others clubs to assess their systems.
All ticket office staff are to receive further customer care training. Furthermore, a Commercial Manager is still required to head up these operations.
Andy confirmed that the stewards on duty at home games all have the appropriate qualifications for the tasks they are required to undertake.
In response to a complaint from a fan, it was established that a female steward is not required to search a lady's handbag. A female steward IS required for physical searches of female supporters.
The only complaint had been regarding the non-availability of veggie burgers. It was agreed that they are on the menu and SHOULD be available. On inspecting the menu boards it was apparent that they are not entirely accurate, and that one of this season's successful innovations, bottled cider, was not even shown on it. The new meal deal was not advertised either. Andy agreed to ensure that the menu boards were updated for the Hartlepool match.
He also said that Lindleys would be conducting their own customer satisfaction survey on Saturday and the club will continue to send its own mystery shoppers to check on prices and service.
It has not been possible to prevent the Junior Lions from competing with the club on away travel. However, Bob asked Andy to let MSC know if there was a danger of there being no club coach to any Saturday away match. It is an objective of the MSC to ensure that coach travel is available to every match, and so a financial contribution could be made to make all trips viable. It was noted that the club has agreed to underwrite coach travel to all midweek away matches
The lack of a PA system in 'Arry's is an ongoing issue and MSC will consider making a contribution if the price is right. Andy agreed to get quotes.
It was confirmed that the MSC paid a third of the cost of the new flags.
Naming The Stands
Andy stated that a few board members were lukewarm to this suggestion but it may be possible for the fans to vote on a shortlist. Bob pointed out that as Harry Cripps and Barry Kitchener are already recognised within the ground, it is almost inevitable that Terry Hurlock would be the fans' choice.
Andy agreed to take it back to the board.
Shirts and Badges
Bob asked whether it was intended for fans to be given a chance to be involved in the design of shirts and badges for the forthcoming 125 year anniversary. It was agreed these would not be designed 'by committee', but Andy agreed that fans could choose from a small selection of designs.
Andy agreed to provide good notice in advance of any further e-newsletters from the club. Furthermore he agreed that it should be possible for the MSC to send their own e-newsletters using the club/membership database.
Leeds United Home League Tickets
Andy said that the arrangements are the best deal the club could get and stressed that the tickets would be taken off sale 72 hours before the game. Leeds will only be given the top tier of the North Stand. The fans have six weeks to buy their tickets.
The Club Shop
Some fans have complained that they had been turned away from the shop at 2.55 on a matchday. Andy confirmed that the shop should remain open until 3pm on a Saturday home matchday.
MK Dons Ticket Promotion
Andy said that as part of a Football League initiative to increase away fan numbers, the Club has teamed up with MK Dons to offer away fans a deal whereby each full paying adult will be allowed to take an under 16 for £1. This will be reciprocated when we play away to MK Dons. The club are considering opening up the lower tier of the North Stand for this fixture as a family area.
The Blue Bus
Needs a new compressor but should return for the next home game.
MSC Complimentary Ticket Initiative
This initiative, received from a supporter, concerning improving the targeting of complementary tickets, was discussed at some length. Andy liked the idea but it was agreed it needed further consideration and would be discussed at the next meeting.
Playing on a Friday Evening
We play Crewe on the Saturday before Christmas, a day which is notorious for poor crowds. The club are considering bringing the match forward as has been done in the past. MSC was unenthusiastic.
Date of next meeting 9th October 2008
MSC / Club Meeting - January 2008
Held at the Den - 17th January 2008
Present: Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Operating Officer), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Mark Holland (MSC), Ted Robinson (MSC) and Graeme Smale (MSC Secretary).
Apologies were received from Stewart Till (Football Club Vice Chairman).
Provision Of Away Travel
As a result of complaints from members, the MSC had been asking for a guarantee that the club would provide a travel option for all non local away matches. The club agreed with this in principle. Several options were suggested and discussed, and it was agreed that the club would provide a coach with a subsidized ticket price of £12 to each of the forthcoming midweek away matches at Cheltenham, Huddersfield and Yeovil.
Fan On The Board Election
Bob outlined the timetable for the forthcoming election process, with completion in late April. Andy agreed to provide rooms for interviews and for a question and answer session for fans. Options were discussed regarding the distribution of ballot papers, with a view to avoiding the costly and time consuming method used in 2006. It was believed feasible for ballot forms to be downloadable, and available from reception, the bus on matchdays, etc. with completed ballot papers being checked against the members database. The club agreed to publicise the election through the usual channels, including the club e-newsletter.
Matchday Stewarding and Policing
Following previous complaints regarding matchday stewarding and ejection procedure Bob had previously asked if an MSC representative could visit the Police Control Room during a match, and also the stewards' briefings, and this was agreed. It was also agreed that in the event of any ejections the interviews can be observed. This was organized for the home match against Tranmere Rovers. The club are also doing 'mystery shopper' type visits to check stewarding and catering standards.
Andy reported that following a complaint received from a disabled supporter, the disabled seating area had been reconfigured to allow wheelchair fans to be placed next to their seated helper. This should alleviate the stewarding issues in this area.
Andy stated that most stewarding issues concern drinking in sight of the pitch, and smoking. These are two universal ground regulations which the club are obliged to enforce in common with all other clubs. In both cases warnings are given to fans. No-one has yet been ejected for smoking.
The Family Enclosure
Options for relocating the Family Section were discussed but no realistic alternative was found.
The Lions Directory
Bob reported that whilst this was not an MSC project, it had run into difficulties and was seeking the club's help in rescuing it. Despite widespread agreement that the Directory was a good idea, it had not developed in the expected manner and most potential advertisers were national companies rather than small businesses. The income is insufficient to cover the costs already incurred. Andy suggested an entirely open and honest approach, to contact and apologise to each of the businesses concerned asking them to honour their promises in return for future advertising the club could carry in the programme or on the Jumbotron, and/or an electronic version of the directory which could have minimal production costs. This plan was agreed.
Andy had been unable, so far, to confirm a date with the Chairman for the next Fans Forum. Bob urged Andy, if an imminent date cannot be fixed, to commit to a date, even if it is a few weeks away.
Advertising On The Back Of The East Stand
Yes this old chestnut, but the first time it's been raised since the departure of Ken Brown. Once again Bob asked the club to consider advertising the stadium and club name on the back of the East Stand which was visible from the main line railway track which runs out of the City and into the Kent Suburbs. Or selling the space to the highest bidder. Or both. Andy reported that there was an issue with the trees on the embankment, but that advertising opportunities were being looked at inside and outside the ground, including illuminated dot matrix style displays. If a sponsor could be found it would be more likely to come to fruition.
Updates On Injured Players
In the light of updates provided by other clubs, the MSC and Pete Garston have been asking for this for some time. Andy reported that the club now had a new physio in Bobby Bacic, and that regular injury reports would now appear online and in matchday programmes on a monthly basis.
The number of complaints had improved drastically since Christmas, an ongoing issue being the kiosks behind block 2. Also, the provision for the upper tiers only cup replay had been very poor, and contributed to a member of staff being assaulted. The veggie burger issue was believed to have been resolved.
Locks, Lights And Hot Water
MSC had passed on to the club complaints about the non provision of these in the ladies toilets in the East and West. It was reported by the Stadium Manager that these are now provided in all toilets.
Leeds United Raffle
Ted informed the club that MSC intended to raffle a VIP day out for 4 at the Leeds United match, including a signed Richard Shaw shirt, and that they didn't want to conflict with any club fundraising activities in any way. This was agreed.
Lions Live Radio Show
Bob reported that George Lampey was working hard on this and the show is going from strength to strength. George, Ted and Graeme continue to run the show along with SLR's Dan Davies, and Mark Holland has made it available by podcast. Recent guests included Stewart Till, Paul Robinson, Barry Kitchener and others. Andy agreed to continue to support the show and facilitate the securing of players and/or directors for future programmes, including himself!
Next meeting - Thursday 21st February
Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den,
London SE16 3LN -
phone: 07895 022 325 - email: email@example.com