MSC / Club Meeting - December 2010

Present - Those attending were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Robinson and Ayse Smith (MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions And 1885 Current Totals
Andy reported that the Club had sold 6,716 season tickets, 6,832 Memberships and 1,339 Junior Lion memberships. The 1885 Club now has 1,208 members. Half season tickets are now on sale a number have been sold.

The 1885 Club
The 1885 Club was discussed including its stuttering performance and the club's latest promotion for it. It was recognised that the free book offer had annoyed some of the existing members but the club had to do something to try and sell the remaining memberships. It was discussed whether the Anniversary Dinner, for which 1885 members will have priority, should be amalgamated with the End of Season Dinner. MSC urged the club to organise two different events. Bob asked if there were any plans to maintain the 1885 club in some shape or form next season, having identified a group of supporters who will pay for 'exclusive' merchandise. Andy suggested that it was appropriate to ask the members that question.

Initiatives For Augmenting Home Attendances
A: Running coaches to home games. Bob suggested that the second half of this season would be an ideal time to have another look at giving this a try. Considering that Kings Ferry are based in Gillingham, it should be relatively inexpensive to run a coach from there and/or Dartford to the Den on a Saturday matchday. The last 6 Saturday home games were suggested but Andy's preference was to try one pilot. Andy undertook to get a quote in order to assess the feasibility of the venture. Bob also suggested that the optimum chance of success would be if it was organised by and tickets were sold by the club. The MSC suggested that they would contribute to underwriting the trial. Andy also said that he intends to hold a meeting with appropriate staff, MSC and other interested parties, in the new year, to brainstorm ways of augmenting home attendances.
B: Ticket prices for 16-21 year olds were discussed in the knowledge that several clubs in the Championship operate concessions for this age group. These tickets have been widely abused in the past and discontinued for this reason. It was agreed that consideration could be given to reduced matchday prices for this age bracket, which might further encourage supporters to become members.

The South Stand And The Palace Game
With the likelihood of the South Stand selling out for this match, and record numbers of supporters having their ticket 'loaded on to their card', Bob raised the issue of getting fans into the right blocks. Andy said that the club did not intend to purchase scanners, as they cost in excess of £1,000 and would be of only very limited value. The strategy will be to encourage supporters to arrive early if they're fussy about where they sit. Stewards' priority will be to get people into seats and out of aisles.

Purchasing Coach Tickets Online
This is now up and running and generally has been a success. The only ongoing issue has been the fact that when you buy a ticket online you are not told which coach you are on. This had caused confusion prior to the Swansea match, and some of the last to book were on coach one, away from their friends. Andy said he would take this up with Pru with a view to finding a solution.

Progress On Naming The East Stand "The Dockers Stand"
Further to numerous conversations Bob proposed that the East Stand be named The Dockers Stand, and that the perfect time to do it would be on Dockers Day, 5th February. Andy suggested that the proposal be taken to the Board by Pete Garston at the next meeting. MSC agreed make a contribution to the costs. It was agreed that time is very short to make this happen but we should go for it.

Tickets For Foreign Fans
There had been many issues with sending memberships to fans outside the UK due to problems with non-UK addresses. It is believed that these are now all sorted but it was agreed that from next season it would be reasonable to charge a higher fee for non-UK addresses, to ensure all costs are covered.

The Blue Bus Estimate And The Match Day Bin
It was noted that the bin had now arrived. The estimate to get the blue bus back to working order is work in progress.

The Palace Theme Song
The pros and cons of playing the Smokie song were discussed. Andy suggested the answer was probably yes, but it will be further considered in advance of the match.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.05 pm. The date of the next meeting is 20th January 2011.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - November 2010

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions And 1885 Current Totals
Andy reported that the Club had sold 6,459 season tickets, 6,715 Memberships and 1,306 Junior Lion memberships. The 1885 Club now has 1,192 members. Half season tickets are going on sale next weekend and a mailshot is going out advertising them to members. Half season tickets will start from the Leicester game. In answer to an MSC question, Andy said that the VAT rise in January will not be reflected in ticket prices but was unsure about its effect on shop merchandise.

The 1885 Club
There were plans to announce an 1885 dinner and dance event after Christmas and the club is currently hardening up on the venue. The Celebration shirt is still selling well and good sales are also being seen for the ordinary home shirt. Ray James (Club Head Of Marketing) joined the meeting with a club clothing catalogue, an example of a Centenary Flat Hat, which will be on sale in the shop from 28th November and a Centenary glass tankard which is currently retailing in the shop. Ray said that the 1885 Retro Shirts would not be available until after Christmas and the MSC were disappointed to hear this. He showed the meeting an example of the Retro Shirt and some were not keen on the badge that was included on this shirt. Ray pointed out that this badge was actually the first one known to be used by the club. It contained the club's initials. The meeting preferred a later badge which contained The Lion. Bob made the point that the 1885 initiative did not seemed to be co-ordinated with the Club's general marketing regime and Andy heeded this remark and hoped to improve this situation.

The Progress Of The Share Issue And A PLC & AGM Update
Andy stated that he could not say much about this subject due to Stock Exchange rules and all being well the Club will issue a statement on Wednesday that will comply with Stock Exchange Regulations.

Regeneration Update
Andy showed the meeting a brochure, which is in the public domain, issued by a property group called Renewal. Renewal had spent 10 years accumulating land around The Den and was now keen to progress the scheme by obtaining outline planning permission. Andy continued that a renewal of the area will go ahead as Lewisham local authority was keen for it to be implemented. Renewal's brochure showed several uses on the land the company had acquired including extensive leisure facilities, residential, shops and offices. On the land occupied by the Club, there appeared to be space for a hotel and some residential use. Andy stated that the club must now fit around these proposals ensuring that its operation is not harmed in any way and that it obtains the most profitable uses it can. It was hoped that the Club could take an initial income from the development plus a future income stream via rents. He pointed out however that the Club's freehold was owned by Lewisham and that the Club only owned a long lease interest.
Andy said that he thought the regeneration would at present be likely to be completed within 7 to 10 years. Renewal had contacted the Lions Live radio show as it wanted to highlight its proposals to the fans. Andy was considering a right to reply.

When Will Fans Be Able To Purchase Coach Tickets Online?
Andy said he hoped this facility will be available by next Thursday (18th November)

Does The Club Have A Strategy For The Blue Bus? What Is its Current Condition?
Andy stated that it was the Club's intention to keep the bus going for as long as it could. Unfortunately at present it had broken down. Although the bus had a driver, it was suggested that a mechanic for it could be found by advertising the position to the fan base. The MSC indicated that it would spend some of its funds by helping the Club to rectify its current problem, a broken fuel pump and Andy will obtain a quote for the repair works. Andy would try to ensure a bin was situated close to the bus on match days.

Progress On Naming Stands And The Siting Of A Club Museum
The naming of stands and the provision of a Club Museum has been discussed several times before and has then been placed in the "future likely projects" category. However, supporters were asking about these initiatives again. Andy admitted that the hoped for association with the Port Of London Authority had not materialised and now suggested that Peter Garston in his capacity of Fan On The Board, should raise the Naming Of The Stands initiative at a forthcoming Board meeting. Andy felt that the museum would have to wait until after the regeneration project as he felt that this project would yield more space and a different configuration of facilities contained in and around the Ground.

MSC Funds Statement
A funds statement has now been sent by David of the Club's Accounts Department to Ian Toal, the MSC Treasurer and the two are now in negotiation.
Andy will investigate whether a bin could be placed by the blue bus on match-days.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 7pm. The date of the next meeting is 16th December 2010.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - December 2010

Present - Those attending were Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ayse Smith, Jason Roseman and Graeme Smale.

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions And 1885 Current Totals
Currently there are 6,449 season ticket holders, 6,297 members, 1187 Junior Lions and 1,159 1885 Club members.

The 1885 Club
The MSC has had recent dialogue with the club about the progress of this initiative as some 1885 Club members had expressed disappointment about damage to boxes enclosing 1885 memorabilia. The Club has said that the damage occurred in the delivery process to supporters' residences. Other fans have been very positive about the memorabilia and the 1885 Club in general. Indeed I885 Club membership is still increasing. After discussions with MSC, the football club has decided to include a page on the official site devoted to 1885 Club news and events . The 125 celebration shirt will arrive at the club shop on Friday and will be on sale to 1885 Club members exclusively from Sunday 26th September until Tuesday 28th and then the exclusivity will be extended to season ticket holders from Wednesday and Thursday. The shirt will go on general sale on Friday 1st October before the celebration match on 2nd October. The shirt can be ordered by telephoning the club shop but there is no online order facility available. The shirt will be in adult sizes from small to 4*XL and there is an initial delivery of 2,800. It will cost £45 with a 10% discount for 1885 Club members. The MSC Committee is keen to see the 1885 Club progress and in answer to questions, Andy said that there would be additional i885 Club merchandise including leisure shirts and caps. Indeed, there will be an 1885 section in the new football club clothing catalogue. Further an 1885 Club function is being arranged after Christmas and it is hoped that another will be arranged later on. For the celebration home match against Burnley, flags will be left on all supporters' seats and the Chairman of the Football League will be in attendance.

Smoking Areas
The MSC Committee pointed out that the barriers to the East Stand Smoking enclosure had to be removed due to overcrowding at the Watford game and also the barriers behind the South Stand were not removed quickly enough with exit from the South being impeded after the game. Andy responded by saying that dealing with the smoking ban was a bit of a problem. The ban is imposed by a Football League directive and is not the law of the land as stands are open fronted. He suggested that having smoking only areas in stands was possibly a way forward and asked the MSC to contact the Football Supporters Federation, as he knew other clubs were having problems. Perhaps the FSF could lobby the Football League to change the directive to allow smoking areas. Andy was also a bit frustrated by the law about drinking in view of the pitch. Rugby fans are allowed to do this so he could not understand why football fans were not allowed. He suggested that MSC should speak to the Supporters Federation about this issue as well but acknowledged that it would require a change in the law of the land for drinking in view of the pitch to be allowed.

Official Club Coaches
Andy said that the club had written to apologise to the coach travellers who were affected by the coach driver who seemed to lose his way on the homeward journey from Nottingham. He said that Kings Ferry was aware of the problem but all their coaches were fitted with satellite navigation and are in touch with base. Also due to their shift patterns coach drivers are sometimes Police or fire personnel. Andy pointed out that despite the problems, the coach was only 20 minutes late. In answer to MSC questions, he said that he would contact Simon Clayton to see whether the Head Steward could be given a club contact telephone number for major incidents and additional keys to the club car park could be given to coach stewards.

Stewarding
The MSC asked why the pitch invader at the Watford game was not removed more quickly from the pitch and why he seemed to initially be allowed back into the crowd. Andy replied that it is very difficult to prevent an invader once he is determined to run on. The man on Saturday was in the army and ran on for a dare. Andy praised Neil Harris for directing the invader away from the Watford player and back into the Stands. The Police eventually dealt with the incident. The referee reported the incident but said Millwall had dealt with it efficiently. Andy emphasised that pitch invasion and the throwing of missiles can only damage the club. MSC pointed out that empty bottles are not being cleared from around catering areas quickly enough and are still present at the end of games. Andy said he will look into this.

The Share Consolidation
The MSC Committee had discussed this issue with the Club and indeed had issued its own statement. The major problem concerned the non compensation of fans who are losing share fractions, which they had bought for value. Andy saw that supporter shareholders were emotional about their holdings but said that he could not see what a Club making heavy losses each year could do. It unfortunately could not compensate fractions or pay brokers fees. The fact is that for a Club of this size, there were just too many shareholders and it was very expensive for the Club to communicate with them. The Club had passed a resolution at the last AGM to allow it to trade for the next year, as its debt to equity ratio was too dangerously high. The Club had to do something about this and the consolidation seemed the only way forward. Andy further pointed out that share fractions could be donated to The Lions Trust or Help For Heroes. Also supporters completely deprived of their shareholdings could receive a certificate from the Chairman thanking them for their financial help. The aim of this consolidation was to reduce the number of shareholders from 43,500 to a more manageable 8,000. The majority of the company's shares (over 80%) are held by only 20 shareholdings out of 43,500 individual shareholdings.

Any Other Business
The Lottery---Has been dropped by the Club because it was not covering its costs. Something may replace it in the future. Andy will investigate whether a bin could be placed by the blue bus on match-days. There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.25pm. Date of next meeting 11th November 2010.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - April 2010

Present - Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson, Jason Roseman and Graeme Smale.

Season Ticket, Junior Lions And Membership Totals For The Current Season And Season Ticket Renewals For Season 2010 / 2011 And The Membership Numbers Of The New 1885 Club
The number of season ticket holders for this season is 5146, members this season is 6328 and current Junior Lions amounts to 1422. The current number of season tickets purchased for next season is 4,600. 357 fans have currently bought membership for the new 1885 club. Andy said that he hoped season tickets would be sent out to supporters by mid to late July. Bob asked Andy again for information from the club accountant concerning the splits between numbers of junior and senior season ticket holders and junior and senior members. He also sought a swift resolution to the matter of MSC funds from previous seasons so that the supporters club has a clear perception of its financial position for the next year.

Stewarding And Crowd Control
Andy stated that due to some fans having access problems through the turnstiles, the Club had checked its machinery and 14 power packs had been replaced. This should improve any access problems. Andy also stated that supporters having difficulties getting through the turnstiles with what they believe are valid tickets will now not be asked to queue again but will be let into the stadium with a phone call then being made by a steward to the ticket office to ensure the validity of their entry. Andy warned however that season tickets would be checked to ensure those who purchase on an instalment basis are maintaining their payments. Andy continued that the club is adopting different stewarding policies to ensure that gangways are kept clear particularly in the South and East Stands for the big attendance games for the remainder of the season. Andy said he would investigate the reasons why there are large queues for West Stand access, which have been evident outside the turnstiles for the last few home matches.

The Procedures For Running Club Coaches To Away Fixtures
The Club will discuss and settle a procedure with the MSC for running coaches for away games next year in the closed season. Andy is keen to introduce the ability to purchase coach tickets online. Billy Neil must sort out the procurement and management of the coaches. However, there appeared to still be issues with coach stewards. The club will produce a set of guidelines to clearly demonstrate the behaviour required when travelling on official coaches. These guidelines are necessary as they reflect current laws. Before discussions are carried out, Andy asked the MSC to contact the Football Supporters Federation to collect the latest ideas regarding the management of official fan transportation

Ticketing
Andy confirmed that the software has not been installed which will show the purchase histories of individual supporters. He argued however that this software was not completely necessary and that the new ticketing system as it stood was adequate for club / supporters needs. Any new software might not be seen for some time. The MSC raised the point of a supporter who had chosen to stay in the former East Stand Family Enclosure Area rather than move to the new West family enclosure. He wanted to take advantage of the Earlybird Discount, which claimed that season ticket prices were being frozen for the fifth successive year. Although prices have not altered in the new West Family Enclosure for next season, he wanted to bring 2 new children to Millwall and remain in the East. Under current pricing policy the fan would have to pay an additional £62 for the new under 12 supporter and an extra £57 for the junior under 16. He believed he was being treated unfairly. Andy said he would investigate his situation. Andy also said he would investigate another MSC question as to why matchday tickets in the West Upper / Lower are the same but there is a difference in season ticket prices for the two areas.

Catering
It is proposed to arrange a summer meeting with the club / caterers to discuss past performance and the way forward. For this meeting, the MSC understood that a South Kiosk had run out of plastic lids for hot drinks and had also run out of food at the Gillingham home fixture. The West Upper had only one kiosk open and a kiosk in the East had also run out of food. Andy stated that he had no record of the South kiosk running out of food. Indeed, food had actually been thrown away after the game due to over provision. He said that all kiosks will be open in the West for the next home game and would look into the provision of food in the East Stand. Andy continued that he was generally happy with the caterers, as catering at sporting venues is a difficult task and food sales could fluctuate quite markedly throughout the season. The suggestions that the caterers could sell bottled miniatures and meal deals are to be taken up at the forthcoming catering meeting.

The 1885 Club And The 125 Year Celebrations
The MSC said that the 1885 Club had not been marketed well and membership was difficult to obtain online. The fans did not know what membership of this club entailed. Andy countered by highlighting an online advert, which talked of a commemorative box containing a scarf and other memorabilia, a chance to have a dinner with a player or the Chairman and entry into special prize draws. Andy continued that 1885 Club details had not been sent out with season ticket applications because the details of the club had not then been finalised. The MSC representatives still emphasised the need for better marketing. Andy admitted that there was a need for another 125 Year Celebrations meeting and asked Bob to attend.

Any Other Business

  • Additional Bar Space On Matchdays: This is currently being investigated by the club but is some way from fruition
  • Graham Ferguson Lacey: He has sold some shares back into the market and probably bought by City Institutions.
  • Club was fined for the player on pitch me lee at Wycombe to the tune of £2,500. Andy thought a personal hearing was necessary and had been productive, as a maximum penalty of £25,000 could have been handed out. Wycombe were fined £3,500.
  • Pre-Season Friendlies: Andy went through the list of currently arranged games. There is no tour this year but so far games have been arranged at Crawley on 10th July, AFC Wimbledon on 16th, Stevenage on 24th and Dartford on 27th. A testimonial game for Neil Harris is to be arranged.

There being no other business, the meeting terminated at 6.40pm—Date of next meeting 20th May 2010

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - February 2010

Present - Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ayse Smith, Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (all MSC)

Current Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lions Totals
Currently there are 5,123 season ticket holders, 5,946 members and 1,402 Junior Lions

Any Progress On Opening The Community Centre And It's Bar On Matchdays
Andy said that he thought the club and the community scheme were moving closer together. He is to attend a meeting of the trustees next Monday and was also hoping to be voted on to the community scheme board. In the absence of Lou Brackpool, the former community scheme director, Dave King is doing an admirable job as her current temporary substitute. Lou has moved on to join the Football League Trust and will prove a useful contact for our community scheme in the future. Further, the Junior Lions Committee is now seemingly working well with the scheme and it is vital to develop and strengthen this link, as youngsters involved in community scheme activities should provide a base for JL membership. Andy hoped that the community centre would hold events for younger fans on matchdays and that it's bar will be utilised. He would try to encourage this and would ask the community scheme board to investigate the lease and licensing situation to ascertain what could be done before Saturday home games. Andy stressed that the community scheme is not cash rich and is in fact in the red. The scheme is given cash to perform its duties but must spend the cash on specified activities. It is not allowed to make a profit and save it.

Away Coaches And Subsidies
The MSC protested about the draconian measures that Millwall fans will have to endure to attend the away game at Leeds again this season. Once again the fans will have to go to a designated point to exchange vouchers for match tickets before the game. Andy said that this scheme had been instigated by the West Yorkshire Police and had nothing to do with either Club. Other clubs such as Cardiff City were sometimes faced with similar impositions. Andy said that it made no sense to impose similar restrictions on Leeds fans travelling to The Den as the Metropolitan Police did not insist on such measures and to restrict the number of away supporters attending The Den would only harm the Club financially. Bob and Andy would prepare a statement closer to the game to explain why the measures have been imposed again this year. The fact is that Millwall either went along with the restrictions or it was likely that the West Yorkshire Police would insist on no away fans being allowed to attend the game. To make attendance easier for Millwall fans, the club is to subsidise coaches to the game so that coach seats would cost £15 and 75 seater coaches will be chartered to carry as many as possible. Subsidies will also be available for the trip to Carlisle, which will cost £30 and the trips to Yeovil, which will cost £15 and Huddersfield, which will cost £25 per seat. Additionally, if supporters use the coaches for Yeovil AND Huddersfield, they only have to pay £25 for both trips. Bob expressed concern that the Carlisle trip might be under subscribed but Andy agreed that the coach would not be cancelled.

MSC Funds
Andy was happy for the club to give a breakdown of membership and ST numbers between juniors, adults and seniors. Further, he agreed to a system of quarterly club updates on the position of MSC Funds throughout the financial year. He said he would discover whether the full cost of printing membership forms had been debited to MSC. Finally, he agreed that the club should notify MSC of all charges it is making against MSC funds. This was important as certain items appear to have been charged to last year's accounts without the knowledge of MSC. Andy will chase Nick Evans for outstanding information and will return to Bob.

Ticketing
Andy stated that the software to identify individual supporter's ticket purchase history is still being developed. He also said that when a member buys a seat from the Ticket Office before a home game, the member should be given a paper receipt to identify the seat he has purchased. If a ticket is bought online then the purchaser will have the option of a paper ticket or the seat being put on to the membership card with a receipt. Andy would ensure that members purchasing at the Ticket Office would be given receipts detailing the seat purchased. In answer to a question regarding the forthcoming Charlton match, Andy said that Charlton expected between 2,200 and 3,000 of their supporters to attend the match at The Den and the lower tier will be opened if necessary.

The 125 Year Celebrations
Andy stated that the celebration team shirts were now being developed and that the gift boxes for 1885 club members were now being produced, which would contain memorabilia of this special occasion, No shirt sponsor has as yet been found. Season Ticket Holders are to be given until 15th April to become a member of the 1885 club, which will entitle them to attend some club organised events. The cost of membership to this club, which would only have 1885 members, would be £45 for adults and £25 for juniors.

2010 /2011 Season Ticket Prices
Andy stated that for the fifth year running there would be a freeze on season ticket prices provided purchases were made before April 15th. Prices would then increase for purchases made after this date. Matchday prices will be discussed after the end of the season. There is also a need to discuss membership prices for next season.

'Arry's Bar
Andy agreed to advertise the fact that 10 year olds and over are now allowed into 'Arry's AFTER games and to complete the necessary signage. This fact will also be advertised in the Family Enclosure.

Any Other Business

  • A complaint has been received that there are no paper towels in the Ladies Toilets in the South Stand---This will be rectified.
  • Colin Sayer is still having discussions with local health and safety representatives about a smoking area for the West Stand.
  • Meanwhile, no smoking posters have again been placed in the toilets
  • A spate of bottle throwing on to the pitch has been occurring at recent matches in the West Lower. This can only mean that Millwall will be hauled up before the football authorities again so it has been decided to pour drinks into plastic glasses again for kiosks serving this area.
  • Attempts will be made to arrange a meeting to discuss matchday catering before the forthcoming fans forum.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.05 pm - Date of next meeting 25th March 2010

 

Millwall Supporters Club, c/o The Den, Zampa Road, London SE16 3LN  -  phone: 07895 022 325  -  email: info@millwallsupportersclub.co.uk

 


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