MSC / Club Meeting - 15 December 2011

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (AA) (Football Club CEO); Bob Asprey (BA) (Chairman of the MSC); Paul Ted Robinson (PR), Jason Roseman (JR), Jim Nash (JN) and James Groves (JG) (all of the MSC).

Number of Season Tickets, Memberships and Junior Lions Sold To Date
Current figures are as follows: Season Tickets 6,476, Adult Memberships 8,941, Junior Lion Memberships 1,618. Currently only 36 Half Season Tickets have been sold, and the deadline for these to be purchased is Boxing Day.

Any news on plans for West Ham away yet?
AA advised there is a meeting taking place at West Ham tomorrow (16th December 2011) to start planning for this fixture. Representatives from the club, including Ken Chapman, will be in attendance together with Lewisham Police. The main concern is working a plan to get our fans to and from the ground safely, however, the general concensus is that this fixture should have a totally different atmosphere and environment about it to when we last visited in the Carling Cup in 2009. AA is hoping that we shall get an allocation of at least 1,600 tickets and expects that the game will be a Saturday fixture with a 12.30 kick off and would expect all surrounding pubs to be closed on this day.

Any news on Dagenham and Redbridge away?
AA advised that following meetings, the club have been allocated 1,150 tickets which is the capacity of the away stand at the ground and this has now been confirmed on our website.  And it  will be a 1pm Kick off on Saturday 7th January 2012. Millwall are hopeful that tickets should arrive early next week (w/e 19/12/2011) and once received will go on sale to Season Ticket Holders first and then Members if any remain. This fixture has been made all ticket for the home fans also due to the clubs proximity to West Ham United who are playing away to Sheffield Wednesday on the Sunday.  However the Police are confident that they have the resources to Police this game better on the Saturday than move it to Sunday. The official website will publicise the best way to travel to the game, car parking etc closer to the fixture.

Cold Blow Lane Bar progress
Tables are now in place outside the bar area and the club are looking to get Carlsberg to provide us with large patio umbrella.  IF we are required to purchase them they are in the region of £5,000 each. There is still a lot of work to do in this area in order to develop the undoubted potential of this venture so that it is being used in terms of décor and activities that are undertaken around the area. BA urged the club to keep the forward momentum on this project. The Cardiff game saw face painters and selection boxes being given out for Junior Lions and the plan is for the club, MSC, MCS and JL’s to look at different activities to happen at each of the games to keep it popular.14/01/2011 will be the next ‘normal’ home fixture.

Lindleys have had a management change and improved what they do at Spurs considerably. AA is looking at meeting with them to look at what more can be done at Millwall and how this could improve the CBL Bar area with them etc.

Flags Progress
Flags have been ordered, however, no firm delivery date as yet. They have used the company whose details were provided by JG at the last meeting and opted for a blue background with a white lion.

Disabled Parking
The ground currently has 10 allocated disabled parking bays and 20 disabled fans are known to the club. Unfortunately there is no scope or space available to increase this number of parking bays and AA confirmed that on matchdays where Sky TV are present these spaces are unaffected. Disabled parking bays are allocated on a first come first served basis and looked after by Georgina at the club.  However there have been a number of occasions this season where spaces have been booked, but the supporter has not attended the game, leaving an empty space. PR raised the possibility of having a time frame with a deadline whereby if the supporter was not in the space it could be ‘passed over’ to someone else. AA advised that this wasn’t practical as drivers could well get stuck in traffic around the Ilderton Road area. However, persistent ‘no shows’ should not receive priority.  Disabled supporters will be reminded that it is important to let the club know if they are not going to use a booked space. Letters to all registered fans are sent out at the beginning of each season reminding them about the procedure for booking of spaces. There is also the facility for disabled fans to be driven into the stadium area to be picked up / collected before the driver of the vehicle parks locally. It is however realised that both inside and outside the ground for the Boxing Day game parking will be an issue owing to the lack of Public Transport.

Coaches
BA appreciates that Jess has been away from the office on sick leave recently, however, she normally provides Chris Prete of the MSC with an update of coach sales but this was not done for Leeds.  AA advised that recently staffing has been restricted, however Tina has access to this information so if the problem arises again we can contact her.

AA advised that there has been a number of issues recently on the coaches reported to the club by Kings Ferry  These concerns are very serious and relate to supporters removing the battery from the smoke alarm in the on board toilet in order to smoke. Kings Ferry are taking this very seriously and if it is ignored has the potential to threaten their operating licence and damage the relationship between the coach company and Millwall Football Club. As a result Simon Clayton has produced a set of ‘Rules’ for all supporters to adhere to, this will be countersigned by AA and BA. BA also highlighted that it has been noted for some recent away games that the 2 day priority period for Season Ticket Holders is not being advertised on the Website.  AA noted that this is primarily down to internal delays in getting on the official site between the ticket and press offices, however the priority period is being adhered to.  This isn’t too much of a major issue seeing as we are not selling out our away allocations with the exception of the recent trip to Crystal Palace.  However it is expected that the Dagenham game will be popular and it is anticipated an extended availability to Season Ticket Holders will be implemented.

Marketing
JN had been looking back through past minutes concerning the group discussion held by the club last season regarding marketing, and suggested that nothing had been acted upon. AA and BA commented that this meeting had been in January 2011 and was designed for short term initiatives to generate money for the club.However this aside JN has prepared a few ideas in order to assist the marketing / generate income for the club.  These include:

Dockers Stand - Selling the space on the back of the Dockers Stand which overlooks the railway line to Kent from London Bridge. AA advised that this is something that has previously been looked into, however realistically it is really only the corner element of the north stand that is visible to the railway. They are currently trying to get a main sponsor for this area, which will also advertise the football club. The economic climate, however, is making it very difficult to get new money into the club. Inside the ground they have appointed IMG and others to look at filling the available spaces around the pitch, however as yet no one has bitten. Of the pitchside advertisers 11 have paid in advance. Since Racing+ become shirt sponsor a number of other companies have also expressed an interest, whilst the club explain this is not available they generally invite them for a meeting at the club and show what other potential sponsorship ventures are available to them.

JN went on to discuss other areas of the ground, such as the concourses, which could be used to generate income on non-matchdays, such as programme fairs etc.  AA advised that this has not been done before at this ground, and he is interested in a potential real ale festival and see how that develops.

AA stated that now that the club shop has a license in place selling the Millwall ales, they are looking at selling the Millwall wine, currently available in the Executive Suite, as well

Events for Fans - JN discussed events for fans, for example recently Bryan King was on the pitch but then disappeared. Why not get a couple of old players together and do Q & A sessions with the fans after the game charging say £5 a head. AA advised that Bryan King then went in to the executive area and was with fans there. AA thought this was a good idea but would be difficult after a game.  Maybe it could be done in an evening and aimed at the ‘normal fan’. He went on to advise that towards the end of January Michael Calvin will be doing a similar evening to the one he did at the launch of the original ‘Family’ book, now that it has a recognised publisher and is being re-released with an additional chapter.

Marketing Department - 18 months ago the club didn’t have a Marketing Department and now things in this area are considerably better than they have been in the past. Michael & Daniel are working hard on a number of areas both matchday and non-matchday and the team are always willing to discuss with the MSC etc. In future will look at getting someone from the Marketing Team at the meetings to provide an update on what’s going on.

AA said that they have received a new bit of software from Teamcard which means they can examine the habits of fans, what time they enter the stadium etc so that they can use this to look at areas to expand income.

Development of Concourses - The recent improvements inside the Family Enclosure concourse have received very positive feedback from people that use that area. The club are looking to develop other areas in terms of painting, pictures, etc., to make them feel more welcoming.

Any Other Business

Fan Behaviour - AA advised that unfortunately following the Cardiff game recently this has to be brought up. There is CCTV footage particularly focusing on block 18 of coin throwing. Chanting relating to Gary Speed has brought press coverage and whilst AA managed to get the article in the Daily Mail tagged on the end of an unrelated story they were always going to publish something. Whilst AA acknowledges this is from only a tiny section of ‘fans’ it has consequences both in the press and for all fans. At this game there was one ejection from the Dockers Lower where a fan was sitting on the advertising hoarding refusing to move. Generally behaviour at away games has improved with the only known incident being the bottle throwing recently at Crystal Palace. The visit of Leeds in March 2012 will be a high profile game, potentially with more media interest than the visit of West Ham and statements from both the club and MSC will be issued publically before the game.

With there being no other matters to discuss the meeting was ended at 6.05 pm.

Date of the next meeting is 26/01/2012 at 4.00pm.

Addendum to Minutes of 15th December 2011 - Marketing Initiatives

  • As discussed at a previous MSC meeting and forwarded to the club via e amil on 28th June 2011. Support the Lions and win a million, using numbered programmes with a half time draw offering the variable number of tickets for the next lottery draw.
  • Greater use of the enclosed parts of the stadium including bar and toilet areas for Programme Fairs etc
  • Consideration being given to a ‘No One likes Us’ ringtone as there appears that there is no copyright infringement.
  • We have one of the most valuable potential advertising sites in London on top of the East Stand, passed daily by about 100,000 commuters.  Has the club realised it’s potential of an illuminated sign to one of the major sponsors of the Olympics?
  • Looking to next year's Olympics, there is going to be a huge opportunity for offering coach parking spaces, as it has already been acknowledged that this is going to be a major problem. Have the club been commercially aware of this? This could be incorporated with using bus transfer visitors to the Olympic venues, thus potentially making Millwall a global brand with the club shirts and other items.
  • We often see our old stars presented to the crowd, and then they disappear  Is it not possible to have some Q&A evenings with a group of old players?  From my knowledge, they love talking about their playing careers at Millwall.
  • Also in conclusion, a greater effort to traverse the divide that appears to exist between the fans and the commercial department.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 17 November 2011

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (AA) (Football Club CEO); Bob Asprey (BA) (Chairman of the MSC); Paul Ted Robinson (PR) and James Groves (JG) (both of the MSC).

Number of Season Tickets, Memberships and Junior Lions Sold To Date
Current figures are as follows: Season Tickets - 6,476; Adult Memberships - 8,655; Junior Lion Memberships - 1,561. Overall AA is very pleased with these figures as they show an increase over last season. Next week after the Bristol City game the half season tickets will go on sale. Some of the memberships sold are not used for Home Fixtures, they are purchased so they can travel to away games. This is an area that AA is able to get statistics on this. Last year about 100 ½ season tickets were sold, however it is hoped with how the home fixtures pan out after December with some high profile home games sales will increase.

The meeting went on to discuss attendances at games. Whilst membership is a cost effective way for irregular fans to purchase discounted seats, it does not guarantee a seat at all-ticket matches. AA is unaware of any complaints received from members who were unable to obtain a ticket for the West Ham game. The home supporters’ attendance for this game was in the region of 14,100.

It is anticipated that for the Palace fixture on 31/12/2011 they will be allocated the entire upper tier consisting of approximately 2,200 seats

How The Allocation for Palace Away Occurred and Is There Any Likely Future Change for Ticket Arrangements at Leeds Away?
AA advised that he went to Crystal Palace early to discuss this fixture, and since the allocation was released done everything that he could to try and obtain more tickets for our fans.  He has been in contact on numerous occasions with the Crystal Palace CEO and their Safety Advisory Group. Lewisham Police have also been in correspondence with their counterparts. The club has done everything they could think of to try and obtain more tickets, and at the same time documented this.

BA brought up an issue whereby an MSC statement, which has been placed on the MSC Website and released to the local press regarding the ticket allocation for this fixture, was rejected for publication in the matchday magazine by Hamish. AA advised that neither Hamish nor Deano have referred anything to him for consultation, however they may have discussed it with Ken Chapman. AA did advise that they do need to be careful what is put in the matchday magazine regarding views and opinions of ticket allocations/other clubs procedures, but will look into why on this occasion the statement was denied publication. JG showed AA a copy of the statement that was released, and on the whole AA was happy with it’s content.

Regarding the Leeds Fixture. This year AA advised that he did get close to having the voucher scheme replaced with fans being able to purchase tickets with no restrictions, however the recent visit of Cardiff did have an influence and put doubts around it. This season Leeds United are trying different methods and have moved the area in the ground where away fans are seated to see how this works. However the voucher system is one that is implemented by West Yorkshire Police and not the Football Club.

Any News On Plans for West Ham Away Tickets?
AA advised that at present there are no plans or news on this fixture, however he is hopeful that our supporters will get an allocation of at least equal to that provided to West Ham United.

What Are The Future Plans For Supporter Shareholdings In The Club?
There are currently 8,500 shareholders in the company following the recent share consolidation. This has reduced from about 43,000.  Approximately 75% of the shareholding in the company is within the board. Of the original football clubs that floated on the stock market, almost all of them have delisted from it with Tottenham proposing to do the same as well earlier this week. It will be asked at the forthcoming EGM if the shareholders are happy for the company to delist. If agreed, this could save the company approximately £100,000 a year in fees. Delisting from AIM would also make it easier for someone to invest money in to the club, or for the club to raise capital from other activities. If this does proceed, all the current shareholders will still hold their shares in the company, it will purely mean that there is not a market for them to sell on and they would need to use a third party broker to source someone who wants to buy the shares before a price can be agreed between them. However, it is appreciated that many supporters who bought shares did so for a different reason than an investor would do.

The South Stand Bar
So far to date feedback from this initiative has been good and Veronica has been speaking to supporters as they use this. The key to this is people need to know it is there, and indeed for them to use it on a regular basis so the project can continue to develop. There are now 4 picnic tables in this area. AA is hopeful that Carlsberg will be able to assist in providing us with the large pub garden style umbrellas, and if this is successful there will be no requirement for an awning to be built on to the CBL exterior. There is still a lot of work that can be done, providing it continues to be used including upgrading the concourse TVs in that area to plasma ones, patio style heaters possibly, draught beer, spirits etc, and more permanent ‘barrier’ surrounding the area to make it more appealing to the eye. There is also the scope to develop with activities being run in the surrounding area by the Junior Lions and the MSC to encourage families to use the area.

In addition to the bar area on Sunday’s game against Bristol City, the fixture is the Family Fun Day in conjunction with the Football League initiative and permission has been given for the Lions Centre to be open to supporters for a range of children’s activities. Given the location of the Lions Centre this may not have been available if the opposition where someone different.

Flags Above The Stands
The club have new St George’s Crosses placed on the Dockers and West Stands. AA said that the intention is to have a blue flag with a white lion on the two stands also. JG passed to AA 2 different quotes obtained and advised that these were for undefined artwork which is to be supplied and being unsure of the sizes required two options. It was agreed that the quote from ‘Flagmakers’ would be used whereby the Club and MSC would split the cost 50/50.  AA to give the marketing department the quotation in order for them to make contact and progress with an order.

Naming of Another Stand
Whilst not objected to doing so, there is no rush to name the other two stands and is not a top agenda item for immediate consideration.  During the naming process of the now Dockers Stand there was a number of discussions and meetings concerning it.

Michael Calvin is currently taking on a new project which will result in a new Millwall focused book and he has the Southwark News on board. Mike is looking at producing a book with the top 30 players that have played for the club of which he will interview them to find out what makes a ‘Real Millwall Player’. AA passed BA a copy of the article in this weeks Southwark news so that BA can make contact with Mike and we can publicise on our Website.

Possibility of MSC Police Control Room Visit?
There have been a few of these organised in previous years. Any control room visits would need the match commander’s agreement that they were happy for us to be in there during a match. AA to look at requesting potential dates on our behalf.

The Sending Out of Birthday Cards to Junior Lions
This was discussed and it is not the club who send out the card. The club collate all of the information from the database regarding Junior Lions Members and send it to a member of the Junior Lions Committee and they then send out the cards. AA is to ensure that the database provided also includes the Junior Season Ticket Holders as these are automatically Junior Lions Members. The database is subject to the correct details being provided at the time of joining, specifically address and date of birth. However if anyone specifically has not received their card they should contact Wayne on the Junior Lions Committee.

Update on Current Bans
Details of the two fans who were recently subjected to having Banning Orders placed on them were discussed. Both the concerned fans remain are in dialogue with the club. This discussion continued in more generic terms as the Home Office Report detailing football banning orders and arrests at football matches is due to be released very shortly. In recent years this has escaped the radar owing to the FA’s bid for the World Cup.

Any Other Business

Criticism of The MSC Badge
It has been noted previously that there has been some criticism of this season’s MSC members’ badge owing to the use of St George’s Cross. AA advised that he is happy with the badge, and indeed thinks the design is good. BA pointed out that it is ironic that the club flies the St George’s cross  and indeed sell similar badges in the club shop.

Doncaster Ticket Offer
It has been noted that the offer for MSC members to purchase tickets for £15.00 is not available on-line. Generally none of the ticket offers for members, Season Ticket Holders or Junior Lions are made available online. AA is unsure why, but potentially this may be owing to the system used by See Tickets. AA will look to discuss with Pru.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 18.15. The date of the next meeting is 15th December 2011.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 6 October 2011

Marketing Update
Bob asked Andy about the progress of initiating the list of MSC ideas for marketing in the club shop. Andy responded that most of the points on the list are being covered already but that he was now concentrating on marketing and the club shop. He had had a very constructive meeting with Decathlon (Junior Lions Sponsors) who seemed keen to stock the home shirt in their Surrey Quays store and would offer discounts for Millwall members. Their store would offer shirt printing while the customer waited, a service which could not be offered in our club shop as it was too small. Andy continued that he had looked at our shop and it was feasible to extend it to the rear to provide more sales space. A complete rebuild and repositioning of the shop could not be completed however until the proposed regeneration of the area is carried out.

On his recent trip to Macron (the club’s kit manufacturers) Head Office in Italy, Andy had discussed with them a range of products that they could produce including leisure wear with subtle club emblems that could be worn as everyday clothing rather that just at or around our games. He is aiming to get a bigger choice of higher quality articles in the shop. He has also has followed up an MSC suggestion to find a brewery to provide Millwall beer. The meeting with a local micro brewery recently went really well and it is Andy’s hope that the beer could be on sale in Executive areas and online via the shop. Currently the shop could not stock the beer itself due to licensing laws.

The MSC asked about the shed / shop set up for selling Millwall kit in the car park initially at the West Ham home match and Andy replied that this was also going well with match day business and also providing a stimulus for online sales.

Andy said that he would order the sign funded by MSC, for the South stand. This stand will say Cold Blow Lane and will be bounded by a blue lion on either side.

The MSC enquired about the flags flying over the East (Dockers) and West Stands, Andy said that the main sponsor did not want to advertise using flags so the MSC suggested that the cross of St George should be retained over the Dockers but flags having a white Lion on a blue background should be produced for the other flag polls over the Dockers and the West. This would involve the production of at least four flags and it was hope that a Millwall supporting company would be able to manufacture them. Andy also said that he thought he may have found a poster company to advertise on the back of the Dockers stand facing the main railway line into London Bridge. The club’s name could be advertised as part of this process.

Ticketing Initiatives
Some fans have enquired as to why ticketing initiatives such as one season ticket holder bringing a friend for a cheaper price are not available on a match day and have to be booked in advance. Andy stated that a ticketing initiative could be available on the match day so long as it did not reduce membership sales or prove unfair to club members. Initiatives such as kids for a quid were feasible on match days and are available for certain allocated matches. It really depended on the initiative. Buying before the day of the match is good for ground management as the club knew what attendance to expect. In answer to an MSC enquiry as to whether new members were allowed to jump the queue for available tickets at the West Ham home match, Andy stated he was not aware that this happened and has certainly received no complaints to the club about it.

The Caterers
MSC were sorry to bring this subject up again but was depressed to hear the caterers were running out of items again and particularly non perishables like water. Was there a communication problem between the kiosks and the stores because sometimes it appears that this items are available but not in the right place at the right time? Andy explained that the caterers like everybody, had been cutting staff but this should not affect their performance and he would bring the issue of selling out of items on match days to their attention again.
 
Improvement To ‘Arry’s Bar
The bar is currently undergoing redecoration and has been improved by the scrapping the old screen for viewing televised games. This screen has been replaced by three televisions sponsored by MSC. Michael Kestor, the club’s technical expert believes he can improve the picture quality of the televisions still further. It was agreed that two displaced pictures should be placed on the wall alongside the middle television to balance things aesthetically. Andy thought the bar would look much better when it opened for the next home game.

The New Bar At The Back Of The South Stand
Andy hoped to have this open for the Ipswich home match on 29th October. Some re-designing of the toilet facilities needed to be carried out and new plasma televisions were needed around the bar. He hoped he could strike a deal with the micro brewery mentioned above to provide barrelled beer in the bar. Following representations made to him by George Lampey, an MSC Committee member, the blue bus will remain in its focal point in the car park and will not be moved into the bar area. Andy thought that the Junior Lions may be able to organise an inflatable play area for drinkers with children on the edge of the concourse area in front of the bar.

The Regeneration Plans
These will be discussed at a council public hearing on Thursday 13th October so that Outline Planning Permission can be granted. Andy thought that the granting of outline permission will be very significant for the club. The decision to recognise the club’s importance in the area and to allow it to operate and expand alongside the regeneration proposals was documented by the local authority earlier this year and Andy thought that the regeneration will give the club a significant shot in the arm. More potential fans will be brought into the area, transport facilities will be improved and the proposals will make The Den a much more pleasant sporting venue to visit. He thought the granting of outline permission will be the prompt to get things going but could not see much happening for 5-7 years.

Any Other Business

  • This Season’s MSC Badge - The club has received a limited number of complaints about the Cross Of St. George on the new badge. These complaints surround a perceived association with far right political groups. MSC replied that a number of fans have expressed approval of the badge and there was no thoughts of politics when it was designed. The club flies the Cross Of St George over the Dockers Stand and it seemed that some were trying to indulge in politics themselves just to stretch a point.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 18.20. Date of next meeting 17th November 2011.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 25 August 2011

The following attended the meeting. Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Jason Roseman, Laura R, Paul Ted Robinson, Chris Prete and Graeme Smale (All MSC)

Visit To The South Stand And ‘Arry’s Bar
The meeting commenced with a visit to the South Stand where the club is proposing to open a new supporters’ bar before home games. The bar would open at midday and close an hour before home games commenced. The bar would be accessed via entrance doors into the stadium and would occupy a section of the lower south concourse and an external area behind the stand covered by an awning. Lindleys, the club’s caterers will run the bar, which will occupy two service counters. Plasma televisions will be placed in the new drinking area. The bar will close at 2pm to allow fans to dissipate and take their seats for the game. It is proposed that the bar will relieve the numbers in ‘Arry’s and address pub closures that have occurred in the area around the ground which have left fans with very limited places to drink before a home game. The MSC thought that this initiative was positive and was in support of the proposal propounded.

The meeting then moved to ‘Arry’s bar where the MSC had received complaints about the quality of the picture on the big screen. It was decided that the MSC would fund the purchase of two 50 inch televisions, which would operate together with the big screen and be placed on the two flank walls.
Andy will supply MSC with the exact amount to be paid for the televisions. He will also discover whether the projector for the big screen in the Bar could be improved. The club will take the opportunity of the introduction of the new televisions to redecorate ‘Arry’s. Andy thought ‘Arry’s could be improved and opened by the West Ham game on 17th September and that the new bar in the South could be available for the Burnley home game on October 1st.

The club had spent a significant sum of money redecorating the ground this summer and now want to move on to re-decorating the concourses. MSC suggested that murals could be included in the redecorations and would advertise for local professional artists who may be interested on the MSC website. Andy thought local schools could also get involved. The MSC agreed to meet the cost of signage for the CBL Stand. The sign will read Cold Blow Lane and cost in the region of £3,500 to make and put in place.

Season Ticket, Memberships And Junior Lions Totals To Date
The season ticket total is currently 6,175, Memberships stand at 7,900 and there are 1349 Junior Lions.

Plans For West Ham Including Ticketing And Media Strategy
Andy stated that West Ham has been given a 2,000 ticket allocation for the North Upper. He continued that some Millwall members would not be able to attend as there were only 1000 tickets left. The maximum attendance for this match will be 16,000.

It has been agreed that any media statements from both clubs will be co-ordinated by the Police but unfortunately a West Ham Director had already broken this agreement. Closer to the game Kenny Jackett and Paul Robinson will be commenting on the match from the Millwall perspective
Andy pointed out that the MSC would be asked for its view on the game, crowd control and policing. The media will be looking to project its own slant on things and he advised that the MSC should select someone to represent it who can get a decent message across. Bob said that he had been contacted by Sports Tonight TV, a new venture headed by Kelvin Mackenzie, which involved ex Talksport’s Mike Parry running an online football show. Bob asked whether Andy knew anything about this group but Andy replied that he did not.

The meeting then moved on to discussing the Leeds away game, which is to take place on Saturday 3rd December at 12.30pm. Jason asked whether Millwall could change the ticketing arrangements so that fans did not have to get their tickets from Woolley Edge Services. He suggested that tickets could be issued by postal applications only. Andy said he would put this idea to Leeds to ascertain whether the Police would accept it.
He must pass any ideas through Leeds so that Leeds can contact their Policing authority. Andy expected that Millwall will be allocated 1,400 tickets for the game as in previous seasons.

Feedback On The Club Shop And Catering
The MSC had provided Andy with a list of suggested items and improvements for the club shop. Andy had run through this list and some of the items on it are or will be sold in the shop. The question of whether the club could sell its own named beer has been looked into but most breweries were quoting too much money for the project. Andy was seeking a micro brewery looking to build its business. The MSC suggested the Meantime Brewery in Greenwich. The MSC would send contact details of this brewery to Andy. Andy said that any beer sold through the shop would have to be an online purchase as the shop has no licence. He continued that the shop was undergoing a revamp and indeed the staff was getting some sales training. But this could not hide the fact that the shop was too small and in the wrong place. When Andy first came to the club, as an exercise, he asked a few commercial operators whether they would like to take over the running of the shop but they were not interested. The machinery to print on shirts is too big to house in the shop and had to be placed off site. That is why shirt printing could not be carried out immediately.

The meeting then went on to discuss the in stadium catering and as expected the fans were complaining about the price rises. The MSC reported that the caterers had run out of stirrers in the South Stand at the Forest game. Andy said he noticed that the caterers had increased the size of a portion of chips since the club had passed complaints on to them but MSC said this had not satisfied some fans. Catering will no doubt appear on the agenda several times this season. 

Away Travel Coach Manifests
Simon Clayton, the club’s security officer, is looking at preparing a list of people actually travelling on each coach for away trips. He is currently discussing the matter with Pru Buckley in the ticket office and hopes to have something in place for the next away game at Birmingham.
Andy will return with the result of these discussions.

Policing At Southampton
The MSC is to complain about the Hampshire Constabulary and how it handled policing at the Southampton game. Female fans making their way back to coaches were apparently battoned by Police and several fans received dog bites in disturbances after the game. It seemed that a large proportion of the fans injured were innocent bystanders having nothing to do with any disorder that had occurred. Andy said he knew little about the incidents after the game but thought that the tone of the Policing had changed when a limited number of Millwall fans had tried to get to the Southampton supporters after Southampton scored. The Police thought they had escorted the trouble makers away to the station directly after the game but evidently some had remained outside the ground. He asked the meeting to remember that the Police would be more sensitive to disorder after the recent riots. He advised MSC not to make a general appeal for witnesses on its website as some may fabricate stories. Any complaint should be supported by solid evidence of those that had been unjustly affected by poor policing tactics. Andy said that the right way to proceed was to make a complaint through the Football Supporters Federation and not via the football club although he would look through the evidence that the MSC had accumulated if MSC asked him too. MSC could not understand why all the fans attending the match were let out together when the Police had viewed some trouble at the game.

The Fans Forum
Andy said that he hoped the fans forum could be confirmed for Thursday 15th September and would speak to the Chairman and Manager about it.
The Chairman and Manager would have to be on early as John Berylson had another appointment that evening. Andy Ambler and maybe a Police Officer could answer questions in the second hour. The MSC quiz night has been arranged for 12th October.

Any Other Business

  • The Blue Bus - Has now been repaired and is fully operational. It had a problem with its fuel pump.
  • In Stadium Betting - The club had found a lot of difficulty finding an in stadium operator for this season as operators are now moving away from football stadium locations preferring internet betting.
  • Frank Whipple - Millwall’s oldest known fan has died at the age of 103. The club are liaising with the family and will send a delegation to attend his funeral. His death will be noted in the Barnsley home programme and it is hoped the West Ham programme will contain a feature on him.
  • The Replica Kit for 2012/13 - To avoid late delivery of the replica kit for next season, Andy has decided to visit the Directors of kit manufacturers Macron at their headquarters in Bologna on 12th September. It is hoped that this meeting will aid a better business relationship. Andy aims ideally to have next season’s replica kit on sale in the shop at the last of this season’s home matches against Blackpool.
  • The Club’s Associated Charities - Andy said that the Football League’s charity for 2011 /12 is Help The Hospices and Millwall had a link with Demelza House. Andy was aware that Ian Toal was liaising with the press office for a Findlay Cooper fundraising event.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 6.20pm. Date of Next Meeting - Thursday 29th September 2011. 

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 28 July 2011

The following attended the meeting, Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Chris Prete, Jason Roseman, Paul Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Ticket / Memberships And Junior Lions Totals
Andy informed the meeting that currently season ticket totals are 5,950, memberships 4,300 and Junior Lions 775 members.

Marketing Of Team Shirts
Andy said that he was disappointed that the shirts had not been delivered to the club as scheduled but was hopeful of a number being available for the Charlton pre season game. The club are working closely with Macron to resolve the issues. The MSC shared his disappointment as the club was losing money particularly not having children’s shirts in the shop before the school summer holidays.

Andy thought that Macron may be growing too fast.

And he felt it may be necessary to visit the company in Italy to strike up a proper business relationship with its management.

The MSC were also disappointed with the way the season ticket holders points bonus was announced. Whilst this is a good deal for ST holders, it was omitted from the shirt price announcement and so the impact was lost. Millwall’s shirt is the most expensive of the team shirts made by Macron.

Andy thought that the fans were getting a fair deal and would be keen to come back to use their discount on the second purchase.

Andy was then asked whether he thought the club’s marketing department had a good working relationship with the club shop. The goods in the shop seemed to some to be unattractive and limited.

He responded that the marketing department worked closely with the shop. Alan in the shop was given a big say in what stock should be bought in as he had a wealth of experience in what Millwall supporters would and would not purchase.

He continued that if MSC thought stock was limited, perhaps the committee could provide him with a list of items which it thought should be on sale.

MSC agreed to do this and have subsequently done so.

Andy said that the club had not engaged in online ordering of home shirts whilst stocks were low, preferring to deal with the fans face to face. The away shirt will go online as soon as it arrives.

The meeting then moved on to the club’s attendance at four local summer fetes and this was judged to be largely successful.

The New Price List For The Caterers
Andy showed this to the Committee and there were some unwelcome price increases. Alcohol had increased significantly, mainly due to rises in government taxes. MSC stated that the fans would be very unhappy and asked what would happen if the club stood up against these price rises. Andy replied that if the caterers were not allowed to charge the higher prices which they thought were necessary then they would look for the club to subsidise the lower prices. The club had made sure that prices at Millwall were the same or lower than other local clubs prices.

On the new season’s price list there are some meal deals and the caterers are to reintroduce Pukka pies. MSC thought this would be a popular move but had reservations about the price. Andy also added that a portion of chips will be larger this season after last seasons complaints from the MSC.

Coach Manifest
The MSC has requested that a manifest be prepared of travellers names on each coach for away trips. This was considered important if ever a coach had an accident.

Andy said that such a list was not a legal necessity and the current list of coach seat purchasers was deemed adequate. Subsequently, he said he would ask SEE360, the ticket system provider, if a report can be produced.

Personal Purchase Histories
Andy was asked again about the progress that had been made on providing a personal purchase history for each member.

Andy said that this would require a significant change in software and he could not see the benefit that such a change would produce.

At present he could interrogate the system for purchasers on an individual game basis and he considered this adequate.

If the MSC wanted to use any information gained to set up an away travel club, Andy stated that if in the unlikely event he wanted to sanction such a club, the members would be taken from existing season ticket holders. People who merely went to more away games would never take priority over a season ticket holder.

MSC Funds And Club Projects---The Cold Blow Lane Naming
Andy said he believed it had already been agreed at a previous meeting that the signage would be paid for with MSC funds, but confirmed that was the club’s position. Further, the club had spent a lot of money during the close season on better facilities and repairs in the stadium.

The 1885 Club
Andy said that the club had decided to continue this initiative by carrying on with the monthly draws.

The marketing team saw some value in the Club and it was alive but treading water whilst a new direction could be found for it. The MSC said it would like to be involved in the decisions about its future, and that they considered the club still to be an opportunity.

Any Other Business

  • The Blue Bus---Its gear box had broken and Andy was in the process of getting repair quotes.
  • 'Arry's Bar---Ted said he was again getting complaints about the unclear large screen and suggested that the club might like to obtain quotes for a few separate flat screen TVs to be placed around the bar. Andy said he would get quotes.
  • A 'Bar' Behind The South Stand—Andy would talk to MSC about options for this at the next club meeting.
  • An Addition To The Sales Department---Leanne had joined the club's sales department. Her husband is a Millwall fan.
  • The First Televised Game This Season---Will be Bristol City at home. The date of this game has changed from 19th November to Sunday 20th at 1.15 pm
  • Fans Forum---Intended for the 8th September—Andy will check with the manager and Chairman

There being no further business, the meeting ended at 6.45pm. Date of next club meeting Thursday 25th August.

   MSC / Club Meeting - June 2011

Those in attendance included Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Ray James (Club Head Of Marketing For Part Of Meeting), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Jason Roseman, James Groves, George Lampey, Paul Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (all MSC)

Season Ticket And Membership Totals To Date
Andy stated that to date 5,600 season tickets have been sold together with 1000 memberships. Pretty good for this time of year.

Feedback On The Complaints To The Caterers
The MSC sent the club a list of customer complaints at the start of the closed season regarding the practice and pricing of the in stadium caterers. These complaints included too small portions and re-use of returned food. Andy stated that he had shown the caterers the complaints and thought the collection of complaints was a useful exercise. The caterers have taken the complaints on board Next season portions of chips should be improved and they will be selling Pukka Pies. More staff should be on duty but due largely to Government taxation, the price of beer will rise. Andy will send the new season catering price list to MSC as soon as he has it.

The Official Site And The Announcement Of Away Friendly Pubs
The MSC had noticed that the information given by the Millwall Official Website regarding friendly pubs at away games was sometimes inaccurate. The suggested away pub for Coventry for instance was some distance from the ground. Andy responded that the information contained on the club’s official site regarding away ground pubs was based on information provided by the away club and the Police. Andy would inform the press office, who researched the information for the site of the MSC comments.

The Introduction Of The New Season Team Shirts Into The Club Shirts
It is proposed that the home shirt will be officially revealed to the press and public on 4th July and the away shirt will be revealed on 8th July. It is expected that the shirts will be on sale by the last week of July. Bob Asprey will e-mail Ray James in July to ascertain whether delivery of the shirts for sale is on target.

MSC Funds And Club Projects
It was decided at the last meeting that the MSC funds held by the club should be used for agreed projects that will benefit the fans. Andy was asked to draw up a list of suggestions which he still has to do. In the meantime, the club will obtain a quote for a sign for the Cold Blow Lane stand the cost of which it was agreed, would be supported by an MSC contribution.

The New Club Shirt Sponsors
Andy said that he was pleased to obtain such quality sponsors in the current poor economic climate. The main sponsors are Racing + an established racing and sporting paper. The sponsorship deal is for three years. The paper will feature more Millwall related news and articles. Andy said credit should be given to Ray for this deal. The second sponsor is The Sasco Sauce Company which is based in Kent and whose Managing Director is a Millwall supporter.

The Football League AGM
The MSC asked for clarification of the new UEFA fair play financial rules that the Football League agreed to adopt at its recent AGM. Andy said that the clubs had agreed unanimously to adopt these rules in principle and it was hoped that they can be developed and approved by the beginning of season 2012/13. This action has been taken, as there is a realisation within the game that clubs simply cannot continue to live beyond their means. At present Championship clubs currently owe some £800 million in debt in total and a club like Plymouth, which is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, is sending shock waves through the game. The Fair play rules will restrict players’ wages by linking those wages to a percentage of a club’s turnover.
League Two Clubs already operate The Salary Cost Management Protocol whereby players’ wages are linked to 55% of turnover and League One Clubs have agreed now to adopt this form of cost management as well. It is understood that to be part of turnover, an investor must buy equity in a club rather than make loans. This will provide the clubs with more financial strength and reduce instances where an owner of a club departs suddenly leaving the club with loan debt. An agreed definition of turnover must be found before season 2012/13 but Andy thought that with the realisation that player wages just cannot keep on rising, it was in the interests of all clubs in the Championship to work together. The issue of parachute payments from the Premiership will also prove a difficult matter to resolve but further financial restriction brought about by a decrease of funds from the next TV deal will add another incentive for an agreement to be reached. Millwall is currently in a healthy position as regards debt and the club is being managed so that it can adhere to the Fair Play conditions. Punishment for failure to meet the conditions is also to be decided by the Championship clubs. Another result of the League AGM was that a Millwall suggestion to end the multi-ball system was successfully passed.

MSC Input Into The Summer Fetes
Ray James said that he saw the summer fetes as an important way of stimulating more membership and season ticket sales. He said that the club was planning to be present at the Bermondsey Fete on Saturday July 2, the Danson Park Festival on Sunday July 3rd (subject to agreement with the organisers), the Lewisham People’s Day on Saturday July 9, the Dartford Festival on Saturday 16th July and the Downham Celebrations on Saturday July 23rd. Kenny Jackett has confirmed that two Millwall players will be attending each festival and will be prepared to undertake signing sessions.
Ray will be at two of the events including Bermondsey and other members of the marketing team will be present to cover all the events pushing memberships and season tickets. MSC and Junior Lions representatives will be handing out membership forms. Two members of the club shop will be in attendance at each event selling items mostly having a value of under £10 and the community scheme will also be involved. A competition will be run across the festivals for a winner to be drawn to have his picture taken with the team squad. Since the meeting, the club have been informed that due to late notification, it will not be allowed to attend Danson Park this year 

Marketing Initiatives To Increase Home Crowds
The MSC had noticed that Crystal Palace had had an intensive summer scheme to increase season tickets. Andy / Ray thought that this billboard campaign would not have much effect and pointed out that Palace’s fanbase has been affected by the opening of Brighton’s new stadium with its much larger capacity than the Withdean. Ray thought that Millwall’s plans to increase the membership database thereby obtaining e-mail addresses, advertising in local papers and attending the summer fetes will prove more beneficial.

Any Other Business

  • The Regeneration - Is still moving on. Millwall has objected to Renewal’s outline planning permission on a few grounds and is trying to establish that future development uses planned by the club are not replicated in other areas of the regeneration.The club has won an important victory however as Lewisham has recognised in a planning document that the club is an essential and longstanding use in the area around which the regeneration should be planned.
  • This Summer’s Tour Of Ireland - One is being planned but at present nothing has been resolved. It is hoped that the team can play clubs like Shelbourne and Bray but these fixtures may be affected by the early European games for the Irish clubs.
  • Team Strengthening - Andy said that the club are aware of the need to replace Morison with a striker capable of scoring goals at Championship level and a second younger striker.Transfers take time and the fans should be patient

There being no other business the meeting ended at 6. 10 pm---Date of next meeting 28th July when a fan behaviour and Policing and Stewarding meeting will also be held

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - June 2011

Present - Those attending were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson, Jason Roseman, Chris Prete and Ayse Smith (All MSC Committee).

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions And 1885 Current Totals
Andy stated that there were currently 6,565 season ticket holders, (only 1 sold since the last meeting) 7,159 members, 1,228 1885 Club members and 1,426 Junior Lions. At the date of the meeting 201 "Super Saver" priced season tickets for 2011-12 had been sold for next season. Andy explained that unlike previous years, when the instalment plan was only available after the 2 stages of "Super Saver" and "Saver" season tickets had ended, it will now be available after the "Super Saver" promotion is over (which ends 16th April) enabling fans to buy a "Saver" Season Ticket with instalments. He also added that where possible and appropriate the club will continue to come to an arrangement with those fans that may have a bad or no credit rating or do not meet the criteria for credit from the credit agency used. He added that prices have to go up but they are trying to make some areas of the ground more affordable to fans. Proof of age will need to be supplied for those applying for concessionary prices, ie 16-21 year olds. This will help to enable members of those ages to afford matches when they reach that age group and also try to stop the system being abused by others.

Fallout From Middlesbrough and Stewarding / Policing
The club submitted a report to the FA on Monday 28th February and is awaiting a response. Bottled beer is now banned from the Dockers Stand and the West Stand nearest the away end. 2 people were arrested on the day, the person dragged away from the linesman at the Dockers lower stand and the person who threw the bottle from CBL upper. QPR match - Steve Tanner is refereeing the game against QPR. Most will remember him as the referee who allowed Sheffield Wednesday score while we were still celebrating a goal back in 2006. The club do not expect there to be any problem with him refereeing this game. The League's charity for this year, Marie Curie, will be selling daffodil pin badges at this game.

Leaving By South Bermondsey Railway Station After The Game
Jason and Ayse complained that Millwall fans were being held back at South Bermondsey station while the away fans were being taken straight on to the trains. Andy said that the police are saying that the hold ups are because of normal problems with the platform and they reserve the right to implement this policy wherever they decide it is necessary.

Catering Issues
Ayse reported in detail on her investigation of the catering in West, CBL and Dockers stand, supported with photographs. She also put forward the list of complaints received from other supporters. Ayse supplied the schedule and photos to Andy. He said he will investigate this further by sending his own "Mystery Shoppers" in and then contact Lindleys the caterers.

The Fan On The Board Election
It was decided that there would not be an election as there was only one other person who applied for the post but he was excluded as he did not meet the terms of reference. Therefore Pete Garston will now commence another 3 year term.

Away Travel & Coach Manifests
Andy confirmed that the coach manifests are not a legal requirement. Andy is to make sure the system is updated so that everyone travelling on the coach is listed by name, not just put under the name of the person who bought the tickets. The Hull Away game - Andy stated that because of the early KO the club would subsidise the coaches charging only £15 per seat instead of the normal £25.

Fans Forum Dates
The fans forum is pencilled in for 7th April, as the chairman will be here for the Leeds game so would be a great date to do it. This has subsequently been confirmed. Player Of The Year Vote And Presentation - although the Leeds game will have the bigger gate, it being such a busy game could also cause problems with getting to the fans to get their votes, so it has been decided to do the Player of the Year voting at the Preston Game, which will be on Sky and is a 5.20pm KO.

The Hornshay Street Club
Andy stated that if the club were to pass their health and safety inspection and given the license for a further year that he would be happy to direct away supporters with children there, along with the possibility of the Junior Lions meeting there before the game. He may also be happy to promote the social club on the Official Website.

Teamcard Marketing
Andy has already contacted Teamcard about the advert for a rugby game that coincides with a Millwall home game which was sent to all Millwall members. He was assured that there would be no more competitive advertisements.

Money For The Blue Bus / Dockers Sign
The Blue Millwall bus is now fixed and the total cost was c.£600. The MSC is to investigate the cost of getting new seat covers and an internal makeover. The Dockers Stand signage cost £3,840. Andy will look into the cost of a similar sign for the CBL Stand.

Any Other Business
Watford OAP Ticketing: Andy stressed that although Millwall and several other clubs charge a concession OAP price for people of 60 years and over, many other clubs have a policy of 65 years and over. Millwall can only sell away tickets according to the away club's policy. The Dartford FC Open Day: Complaints had been received from fans who were not happy that Tony Craig was the only player present at this event, which was advertised as having players in attendance. Andy went on to explain that it was a community scheme initiative, they had taken the blue bus down there and that Dartford FC had called thanking Millwall for their co-operation and that it had gone very well and was a great day. The club had received emails thanking everyone for the event.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.18 pm. The date of the next meeting has been rearranged to 7th April 2011

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - April 2011

Present - Those attending were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson, Jason Roseman, Graeme Smale and Ayse Smith (All MSC Committee), and for part of the meeting John Berylson (Club Chairman).

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions And 1885 Current Totals
Andy stated that there are currently 6,815 season ticket holders, 7,201 members, 1,232 1885 Club members and 1,436 Junior Lions. The Junior Lions' number has not been included in the membership total given above. Andy continued that some 2,300 season tickets had already been bought in the first tranche of season ticket sales for next season and the second phase of sales was commencing in ten days time where there is a facility to allow tickets to be purchased on an instalment basis. Andy said that already the club has 400 new season ticket holders.

Stewarding At The Cardiff Game
The MSC enquired about how the Cardiff fan was allowed to fall from the upper tier of the North Stand and why was he not ejected before the accident occurred. It was felt that if this had been a Millwall supporter he would have been ejected at the first sign of poor behaviour. Did this incident give credence to the view held by some of our fans that away supporters undergo softer stewarding and Policing than those following the home team?
Andy said that the Cardiff fan had written to the club to apologise for his behaviour and Cardiff had banned him for three years. The Cardiff supporter had been warned about his actions but almost immediately Cardiff scored and he fell over in the ensuing excitement. Cardiff had bought their own stewards to work with Millwall stewards and it was one of their stewards that had warned the fan prior to the accident. Andy categorically denied any favourable treatment of away fans and pointed out that away supporters suffer arrests and ejections in the same way as home ones if poor behaviour is persistent.

The Holding Back Of Millwall Fans After The Game At South Bermondsey Railway Station
Andy stated that this occurs if it is thought necessary by the Police Commander in charge of policing the home game. It is not a club decision although the club will make representations to ensure that the Policing authorities are fair to our fans.

Catering Issues Reported To The Club By The MSC
The MSC has reported several incidents of what it considers to be bad practice in match day catering inside the ground. These incidents include small measures of foods like chips, over pricing of foods and possible re-use of returned food. Andy thanked MSC for collecting the information. Hard evidence is very useful to take back to the caterers. A series of mystery shopping is taking place over the next few games by volunteers and a full report sent to the caterers for their observations. The club are making their own checks and take the problem very seriously.

The Fan On The Board Election
It was decided that there would not be an election as there was only one other person who applied for the post but he was excluded as he did not meet the terms of reference. Therefore Pete Garston will now commence another 3 year term.

The Arrangements For The Player Of The Year Vote
This will be carried out before the Preston game and fans will also be able to vote online. To allow the vote to take place three trestle tables will be required in the car park. Andy agreed to ensure these were provided. The winning player will be announced on the pitch before the last home game against Swansea on April 30th and also at The Player Of The Year Dinner on May 3rd. The MSC will require a table at the dinner to include the proprietors of The Coach and Horses Pub in Bexley, who sponsor the MSC Man Of The Match Awards each season, and the winners of the MSC draw for attendance at the Dinner.

The MSC AGM
This year's AGM is to be held on 20th April in 'Arry's Bar although the venue is to be confirmed. Andy stated that refreshments will be provided as they were last year.

Official Site Not Advertising The Full Two Days When Season Ticket Holders Are Allowed Exclusively To Purchase Away Tickets
The MSC had noticed that the Official Club Site was not giving season ticket holders full notice of the two days that they have to purchase away tickets before they go on sale to members. Andy said he would investigate this to ensure that notice is given as promised.

Sign For The Cold Blow Lane Stand
Now that a sign has been placed on the Dockers Stand, the MSC wondered whether a similar sign could be made for the Cold Blow Lane Stand.
Andy said the club was looking in to having the Stand sponsored and was hopeful that an announcement could be made before the start of next season.

Any Other Business

  • Stadium Improvements - It is envisaged that any stadium improvement will take place around a regeneration of the surrounding area. It was vital that any regeneration scheme allowed the Millwall ground to be used as a top class football venue. If due to the progression of the club, improvement were necessary before a regeneration scheme then of course these would be carried out.
  • The Bin At The Blue Bus - Has gone missing again but will return at the next home game

There Being No Other Business, the Meeting Ended At 5.10 PM - Date of next Meeting Thursday May 5th 2011.

 

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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