MSC / Club Meeting - 24 October 2012

Those attending were Andy Ambler (Millwall Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), James Groves, Paul Robinson and Graeme Smale (all MSC).

Season Tickets, Membership And Junior Lions Totals To Date
Andy stated that the club currently have 6,103 season ticket holders, 4,461 members, 790 Junior Lions and since they have come on sale on November 18th 12 half season tickets have been purchased.
The MSC asked about the club’s policy regarding the coaching of Sunday League and Junior football teams and Andy replied that the response to this initiative has been positive with some schools approaching the club. To engage the interest of younger teams in coaching at Millwall is seen as another way of enhancing our younger support.

The Marvin Sordell Incident
This and related topics were discussed at length and the only outstanding issue is the MSC letter to the FA, which is ongoing.

Protocol Around The Players’ Tunnel On Match Days
The MSC reported that a club official had seemed very agitated particularly at the Leeds fixture about people around the players’ tunnel before the game. MSC representatives had to be around the tunnel to allow fans to make match day presentations but this club official had been heard to use unfortunate language in front fans who were to be involved in making presentations. Andy stressed that tunnel security and procedure had to be adhered to and that this procedure is particularly difficult when games are televised. He believed that the MSC party at the Leeds game had been taken through the reception area, which was not normal but understood the party had been told to take this route. Andy would take MSC comments back to those club officials patrolling the tunnel area to ensure that they are not too officious and certainly not offensive in the language they use.

The New Club Shop Catalogue
The MSC suggested that the fans should be more involved in the choice of the range of clothing sold in the club shop. The current offering was seen as safe but not that interesting only appealing to a limited section of fans. Andy responded that he had taken advice from a supporter who had made himself known to him at the last fans forum. This supporter was involved in retail marketing and had encouraged the selling of shirts with a small lion motive that could be worn a work or special social occasions. It was the club’s intention to e-mail a questionnaire to its members asking them for their preferences for the club shop and whether they wished to get involved in online shopping. Andy pointed out however that the stock in the shop would be limited by current space restraints.

What Happened To Millwall Brand Bottled Beer Sold In The Club Shop?
Andy stated that although this initiative was in the beginning welcomed, the idea was ultimately unsuccessful and due to its sell by date, the stock had to be sold off cheap. Fans could not carry crates on match days and it meant that they had to return to pick the beer up. This had proved inconvenient.
He had not given up on the idea and would look at other ways of marketing a product, which would be produced by a local brewery. Maybe it could be sold online and delivered or stocked in the SE16 Bar. A Millwall wine may also be looked at again. The MSC urged the club to use the local brewery at Greenwich if the idea of selling Millwall own brand beer is revamped.

MSC Liaison With Policing Authorities Before Away Matches
This idea had come via the Football Supporters Federation and was about encouraging visiting supporters clubs to liaise with Police in charge of crowd control at away venues. The MSC was lukewarm about the suggestion, as it did not know what would result from consultations that might benefit supporters. Indeed some Police Authorities might hide behind liaison with supporters clubs when bad policing had occurred. Andy thought this maybe a political initiative to show that the Police were trying to put effort into being fan friendly. He would ask the club’s Police liaison officers for their views and report back to MSC. In the meantime the MSC had been asked by Sussex Police to talk before the Brighton away game. This could be used as a fact finding exercise.

How Is The New Catering Operation Performing
Andy said that the spend per head had increased again and our ground had a very high spend compared with the rest of the country. The SE16 Bar was proving successful. MSC said there was still evidence that some kiosks were running out of some provisions and Andy asked these instances to be reported to him.

Results From The Recent Initiatives To Increase Attendances
Ray James and his marketing team were concentrating on improving attendances particularly for Tuesday night games. They recently leafleted London Bridge before the Birmingham game and attracted forty- three new fans obtaining their details for future contact. Some 66 students from a local university attended the Leeds game. Andy wants to get into the City office community and asked if anyone had any contacts in this area to arrange a corporate promotional offer to staff. The caterers are to offer a promotion at the Leicester game, which will entitle participating fans to get a free hot drink at the following Barnsley home game.

Annual Report And Accounts For Year Ending 30th June 2012
On the face of it the accounts show an increase in loss on operations to £3.95 million from £0.60 million the previous year. These figures have been affected by the lack of player sales this year together with a rise in player salaries as in effect the club is improving its squad and playing position.
Andy drew MSC’s attention to the big news that the Chairman was showing his solid commitment to the development of the club Millwall Holdings PLC has agreed an increased loan facility with its majority shareholder Chestnut Hill Ventures, John Berylson’s investment company, amounting to £20m until July 2015 to fund the club. The facility consolidates current outstanding loans of approximately £11.5m and provides the club with sufficient working capital to fund day-to-day operations and likely investment in the regeneration of the immediate area surrounding The Den over the next few years. Such investment and commitment should surely encourage Millwall fans to support the Chairman with higher attendances at The Den. The club has debt but it is owed to our Chairman and not an outside agency. With the advent of financial fair play some of this debt will have to be converted to equity investment in the future.

 Any Other Business
The MSC asked what the current ticket take up is like for the Brighton away fixture, which has had to be moved from Boxing Day to Tuesday 18th December to guarantee transport to Brighton’s ground. Andy replied that at present around 1000 tickets had been sold which of course would have been much higher for a Boxing Day fixture.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.05 pm. Date of next meeting Thursday 10th January 2013.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 24 October 2012

Present: Bob Asprey (BA) (MSC Chair); Andy Ambler (AA) (MFC CEO); Ray James (RJ) (Head of Marketing at MFC); Ted Robinson (TR) & James Groves (JG) (Both MSC Committee Members).

Season Ticket, Membership and Junior Lions totals to date? Half Season Tickets?
Season Tickets 6,089, Memberships 4,168, Junior Lions 729. BA noted that he has come across a club that re-launches their season ticket on a monthly basis, with the price reducing on a pro rata basis. AA advised that the club preferred to relaunch the season ticket only twice per season to create more impact. In addition to this, it was suggested that the scheme could reduce the initial sale of season tickets as supporters could wait to see how the season starts. He also reiterated that our season ticket holders should always get the best deal available as they pay their money upfront. Even the ½ season tickets are priced slightly higher than an annual one, pro rata. However, if someone approached the club looking to purchase a season ticket 'between launches', the club would look to do it for them. Full details of the Half Season Tickets are expected to be made available to supporters around the time of our home fixture with Leeds United.

The meeting then went on to discuss a 'price grading' system for ticket prices. Many clubs advertise ticket grading but this isn't always clear and transparent and the cheapest tickets are only available once or twice a season. AA said if the club went down this route it would be a simple pricing structure applying to certain games and pre advised to fans at the start of the season. If required, the club could then lower prices nearer to a game and combine it with offers for the general public, for members and for season ticket holders. Any grading could potentially be Cat A, Cat B and Tuesday night games at different rates. At the end of this season the club will possibly look at bundling up the last 6 home games into a cheaper package for fans in a similar way to how we did the season we won promotion from league 1.

Regional Supporters Groups Initiative
BA said that the MSC were sceptical about how this would work as there are already many existing groups of fans utilising each other for lifts etc., some existing Facebook groups, and speculating that the 'official' tag may put people off joining. The existing Official Club Facebook page seems to be unmoderated and content has been posted on there that shouldn't really be there. AA advised that this is run by a staff member and that there are processes available to be put in place for 'poor behaviour'. However, the MSC Committee were happy to see a trial take place and proposed that East Kent, particularly the CT postcode area, be used to start this initiative. It was felt that there is a sufficient number of supporters there to make it worth getting together. RJ agreed that a trial should be started in order to see how successful it can be. He would prefer to trial in an area where a committee member is present and the TN area was suggested. Nothing will be promised by the club to these local groups in terms of access to players or club officials in the same manner as MSC. Whilst it is appreciated that sometimes players do make ad hoc appearances at social events, this is usually when they have a connection to the event or people organising it, and they are not representing the club. The idea of the initiative is to provide the opportunity for groups to meet socially, to expand their social circle and to provide travel for each other, with a view to more people attending matches more often. The relationship between the groups and the MSC is for the MSC to decide. Ray agreed to work on a second issue of the discussion document and liaise with JG about how to proceed.

RJ and AA said another market that we need to look at moving into is the tourist market. Every week there are a high number of tourists who want to attend games in London but are unable to do so at Premier League matches due to the tickets being too expensive or sold out. At the Birmingham Tuesday night fixture we has 50 Schalke fans attending, and at the Huddersfield game we have approximately 100 Americans coming due to the NFL game the following day.

The 6 for 5 Offer, London Bridge Leaflets and forthcoming Surrey Quays initiative
AA advised that the 6 for 5 Tuesday night ticket bundle had sold a total of four packages. Whilst this number is low, people saw that the club had tried an offer to encourage fans and to raise attendances. Regarding the London Bridge event, RJ advised that of the 5,000 leaflets handed out during the two sessions 43 tickets were purchased using the offer, and the profile and awareness of the club were significantly raised. RJ advised that they will look to try this initiative again, perhaps in other key areas of the fan base, such as Dartford. Surrey Quays event – RJ advised that the management of Surrey Quays Shopping Centre had approached the club and invited us to attend free of charge to look at ways of increasing footfall to the centre. On 03/11/2012 the club have secured an extremely prominent position at the entrance to Tesco's. The blue bus will be the main focus point, and the club shop will be selling merchandise and the ticket office will be selling tickets as well. In addition, at this event they will also be offering a one day only ticket and shirt bundle for the Barnsley match on 22/12/2012 whereby fans can buy an adult shirt, child's ticket and adult ticket for £60 or a junior shirt and the same tickets for £50. The club will also be offering a friend for a fiver promotion to season ticket holders for this game throughout November and December.

The New Official Site, Lions Player and Why Some Clubs have Extended Highlights and We Do Not
AA advised that following the switch to the new website template Deano Standing and his team have put in a lot of hours ironing out the wrinkles and ensuring the changeover went as smoothly as possible. Most clubs across the Football League, and some Premier League clubs all now use the new website provider, however, in general, the transfer across did not go well at all, which was why Millwall were one of the last clubs to transfer. The Football League admitted that they did not resource or fund the switch effectively but now promise to ensure that the new template will be more stable by the end of December. The bottom line, however, is that it provides a better deal for clubs like Millwall, as opposed to having to resource and fund on an ongoing basis an in-house team. Lions Player – The contract for this service runs until the end of the current season and the Football League are looking at the future of the service and how it can be modernised. Their research includes many fan surveys and discussions are ongoing. Currently there are around 1,100 Lions Player active subscriptions. On the subject of extended highlights, AA advised that our ones are done centrally from the DVD produced after the game. However, some clubs who have chosen to provide resources to edit and submit their own highlights, are finding that is very costly and most regret offering the service as they now have to continue doing so.

Responses to the National Press
BA brought up this subject. He felt that with hindsight MSC had got it wrong to not respond formally to stories in the press which were untrue and indeed ignorant and defamatory. The argument being that there is no guarantee that it would have the desired effect and sometimes it can just prolong the agony. AA advised that the last two weeks since the Bolton game have been horrendous and he has been dealing with the media who have treated us very unfavourably and in order to get things right he has needed to be controlled and subjective and it is difficult to get it right. Unfortunately the timing of it happening was followed by the events in Serbia and football as a whole has been seriously sidetracked by the race issue. The club felt that the interview Danny Shittu did with Sky Sports was the right thing to do following all of the adverse press. The only newspaper which contacted the club before their report was published was the Sun, via their reporter, Jiggins. The Sunday Times article was a hatchet job without the real facts and the Independent came out of the blue. However, after complaining to the Sunday Times a letter was received acknowledging our issues and providing a basis for moving forward with them. AA was pleased with the way the club responded to the Independent, and their editor's response with along with AA's and another fans' letters also being published. The club have also received confirmation from the PCC that they have received a number of complaints and are investigating. AA said that during this period he has attended conferences with Leaders in Sport, the FA, the PFA, Professional Players Board Chairman and the Football League, where the issue of social networking in football was raised. Everyone has been sympathetic to the position the club found ourselves in, and at the same time were glad it was not them in this situation. It is being debated by the organisations for the need of a league wide Social Media Policy that all players sign up to. AA said that on balance he felt that the club had done well in its actions and responses to all areas of the press.

The Quince Garcia Film
BA raised concerns that this film appeared to have been made and is already being quoted. AA advised this film was still work in progress and Quince will be back to finish filming at the Huddersfield game. Whilst the Southwark News ran a big piece on this it did all come about before the Bolton incident, So far nothing has been done with club staff or players, however, Marc Elliott is dealing with this aspect. The project is primarily 2 short films for publishing on YouTube to hopefully go viral and can only be a good thing for the club as it has cost us nothing. AA will be speaking to Millwall For All and hopefully see copies before it gets released.

Regeneration Update
The SLP ran an interesting piece regarding the regeneration and its effect on the MCS. The club then followed this up with a letter to MPs to make sure that they understood our stance surrounding the Lions Centre. The Lions Centre has 17 years left on the lease and is an integral part of the club and it was always hoped that the council would look at MCS and MFC together and find a way forward together. Whilst Renewal are committed to building a Sports Facility, it is questionable whether this facility will ever come to fruition due to the costs and timescales. The MCS has been in place for 27 years in the community and the council have to look at this as it shouldn't be taken lightly and work to the benefit of everyone. Ultimately the threat is that our MCS will not work if the proposals go ahead. Whilst we will continue as a club to put pressure on the council and the Mayor, as yet we haven't threatened any fan pressure, however, if needs be we will go down this route in conjunction with the MSC. AA agreed to keep the MSC updated.

Quiz Night
Jess Newman has organised for a team of the club staff to attend.

Any Other Business

  • Smoking – There have been more complaints regarding smoking and the lack of a smoking area in the North West area. Owing to it's situation there is nowhere to put a smoking area and the nearest smoking area is in the South West area. Notices are to be put in blocks 4,5,6 to say this.
  • Wembley Stone– BA advised that the MSC now have a stone being placed on Wembley Way and we have also purchased a replica for display. Initially Arry's Bar was considered as a viable option for it to go being the MSC Members Bar. AA thought that it would be best on the outside so that more people could view it and take photos of or with it. It was thought that an area by reception might be better suited. The MSC will discuss at their next committee meeting.
  • Family Enclosure – there have been yet more complaints received about swearing and poor behaviour in this area. It was proposed that the MSC discuss this at our next monthly meeting and then work with Deano / RJ at ways we could improve this area for families.
  • Crystal Palace – One fan, a season ticket holder had been arrested following entering the pitch during the recent away fixture.

With no other business to discuss the meeting was closed. Date of Next Meeting: Thursday 22 November 2012 at 4pm.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 13 September 2012

The following attended the Meeting. Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson, Graeme Smale (Both MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lions Totals To Date
Currently there are 6,064 season ticket holders, which is 400 down on last year’s final total. Memberships stand at 3,669, some 8,500 down on last year’s final figure and there are currently 647 Junior Lions compared to last season’s final total of 1400. Andy said that he hoped and expected the figures to rise throughout the season. The season ticket total may increase with sales of half season tickets around the Christmas period. The membership numbers had been affected by the lack of the West Ham fixtures this season and the Junior Lions figure may be boosted by the forthcoming funday. The figures demonstrated an obvious need to investigate measures to increase home attendance and that is why initiatives such as regional supporter groups are being considered.

The Club’s Reaction To The Apparent Poor Policing At The Sheffield Wednesday Away Match
Andy said that the club was aware of reports after the Sheffield game of fans being directed on to overcrowded trams and that tram windows had been smashed. He continued that he was also aware that the MSC had contacted the Football Supporters Federation and that statements had being taken from fans alleging poor policing. To date the club had received no complaints from travelling supporters and he was awaiting the findings of The Football Supporters Federation.

The meeting also discussed the progress the FSF’s complaint about poor policing after the Southampton away game last season. Two people had been found guilty of disorder but no case was proven against two other fans. Since there were Police proceedings outstanding against these two supporters, the club was obliged to ban them for 16 games last year. Now that no case has been found against them, the club has offered to give them 16 free home matches this year. The Southampton police complaint is still outstanding but the charges against the supporters had to be resolved before the complaint could proceed. Andy went on to talk about the ticketing situation on other profile matches this season.

Talks with Croydon Police have not been positive. It seems that the club will only be offered 2,600 away tickets and not the 4,000 allocation given in season 2010/11. He would try to have a word with Lewisham Police to see if they could persuade Croydon to increase the allocation but he did not hold out much hope.

The Boxing Day fixture at Brighton has hit a big snag. Brighton’s AMEX stadium is only really accessible by train or park and ride buses. Trains are not operating that day and arranging a Boxing Day park and ride service is also proving difficult. The fixture will be difficult to move due to the congested Christmas programme and discussions are ongoing with Brighton and the League to seek a resolution.

Andy moved on to Leeds away and here he is convinced that the Woolley Edge ticket pick up system will be in operation again this season. The results of the Hillsborough report will mean that the Police will be hyper cautious. The Police are also still smarting after Leeds won a court case for over £ 1 million in overspent Police charges. Andy wondered whether the MSC could exert any pressure or establish what supporters want to do given another Woolley Edge scenario. Andy urged that the supporters should not boycott the game as this might lead to the Elland Road fixture becoming home supporters only on a regular basis. Andy thought the Cardiff fans would be subjected to the same treatment.

Stewarding In The Family Enclosure
The MSC asked about stewarding in the family enclosure and the incident at the Middlesbrough home game where a fan was ejected for foul and abusive language. Andy said that the family enclosure was an area that is more sensitive to swearing due to the presence of families with young children. The fan ejected had been involved in a continuous tirade of foul language towards a linesman. The linesman and the fourth official had asked for more stewards to be deployed in the enclosure and the fan was ejected as his swearing continued. The club is always very wary when the match officials ask for extra security or for actions to be taken. Failure to comply will result in unfavourable references in the referee’s match report that could lead to FA sanctions. Fans often claim that people are ejected for swearing but it is the continous and vitriolic foul language that causes problems. The fan in question has been suspended.

The New Catering Operation
Andy was happy with the re-branding exercise. The caterers have done what has been asked of them with the new signage and the fitting of the CBL Bar. He thought it was too early to comment on the success of the new venture and would give it about another two home matches to settle down. Peter Garston was going back to the group of fans who carried out the original tasting for the new venture to ascertain their views on progress. The club had sent out its own secret shoppers and Andy admitted that the chip portions were too small and this had been passed on to the caterers. The MSC identified a couple of kiosks that seemed to regularly run out of some provisions due to the popularity of their locations. This was true of for instance a popular South Stand kiosk. The MSC asked whether stock could be provided so that the popular kiosks did not run out. Andy said that stock provision at kiosks could be increased but was obviously limited by storage facilities at the ground and the amount of stock the caterers brought with them on match days. Andy would look at the stock records for the kiosks which regularly ran out of provisions.

Departure Times Of Away Coaches
The MSC had been asked to mention the departure time of coaches to away fixtures. These coaches have been getting to grounds very close to kick off times. This did not allow supporters time for a drink or to settle before the game started. This was also true of the Junior Lions coach, which used to leave some half an hour before the official coach but was now leaving at virtually the same time. Andy said that he thought the coach company itself decided departure times and that there was not any great Police control. Obviously if the Police wanted to give the Millwall coaches an escort into an away ground then this had to be borne in mind when considering departure times but he thought that this would be allowed for by the coach company.
The Junior Lions departure times were probably dealt with by the Junior Lions and they should be consulted over this matter.

The Sale Of Away Tickets
The MSC asked if the sale of away tickets is delayed when the ticket office manager is away because she is the only person who can set up the sale procedure online. Andy said that that was not the case and that the sale of the Hull away tickets was only delayed due to problems at Hull.

Arrangements With The Jimmy Mizen Foundation For The Charlton Home Game
Andy said that the club had been in discussions with the Foundation about arrangements for an Anti-Knife Crime Event to be held at the Charlton home match on December 1st. This event will replicate the successful campaigns held at both the home and away fixtures between the clubs in the 2009/10 season.

Any Other Business

  • Andy handed out a paper that had been prepared by Ray James (Head Of Marketing) concerning the establishment of local supporters’ groups and asked MSC to come up with an opinion and suggestions.
  • The progress of setting up the new official website following the League’s change of website partner is continuing slowly. Clubs that have already migrated to the new site are experiencing significant problems and are now regretting migration.Millwall is one of five clubs that have retained the old website and will not migrate until the teething problems are resolved.

There Being No Other Business, the meeting ended at 6.15 pm. Date of next meeting Thursday 25th October 2012.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 2 August 2012

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Ray James (Football Club Head Of Marketing), Bob Asprey (Supporters’ Club Chairman), Paul Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (both MSC).

Current Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lion Totals
Ray stated that currently season ticket holders numbered 5,778 compared to 6,262 this time last year. Memberships are at 2,284 compared to 5,000 last year. Junior Lion under 16s season tickets total 390 currently compared to 567 this time in 2011 and under 12 season tickets 667 now compared to 523 last season. Andy / Ray believe that the current downturn in numbers will be rectified when the season gets underway and the Olympics has finished. The difference in membership figures can also be explained by the absence of the West Ham fixtures this season.
Ray continued that the club had changed signage around the ground above the turnstiles.

The Design Of The Team Shirt
Bob stated that he was disappointed that the supporters had not been involved in the design of this season’s team shirt. He pointed out that the design of the centenary shirt had supporter involvement and had been very successful and popular with the fans. Fan involvement is surely something the club should consider, as the supporters are the purchasers of the shirts. Andy countered that very few professional clubs included fan consultation in the process of designing their team shirts. It is normally the case that the shirt design is not disclosed until a specified launch day. He continued that he did not think that design by committee was a good idea. The design of this season’s shirt was considered by the club to be a departure from the norm and quite innovative. The shirt was not a replica of other team’s training top but a new and unique design of a first team shirt. Early indications suggest that the shirt will sell well. It was now receiving positive feedback in spite of the initial negativity shown by some supporters. The MSC suggested that maybe three choices for the 2013 / 2014 season shirt should be put up for a fans’ vote but again Andy was not keen on this idea as shirt design really had to be sorted out by September for the next season. Andy suggested that the MSC could consult the fans on what they would like to be included in a shirt design and the club would come back to the supporters’ committee if such input were to be included. As far as the club was concerned, Ray was happy that delivery deadlines had been met. It was proposed to launch the away shirt at the first game at home to Blackpool.

Progress On The Club’s Regional Supporters Groups Suggestion
Ray said that progress on this initiative had slowed as his department had been concentrating on Official Website problems following the League’s decision to change the website provider. Currently the League Clubs were experiencing significant operating difficulties as they tried to migrate to the new provider. The club was still committed to the plan of regional fan groups as these could engender support in their areas and maybe set up members travel schemes to games. These groups should be affiliated to the Millwall Official Supporters’ Club and contact with the football Club should be via the MSC. Bob stated that the MSC was already drawing up terms to allow any proposed group to affiliate with the MSC. Andy met with some members of the fledgling Millwall supporters group in Ireland on the club’s pre season tour and was impressed by their commitment. Whilst wishing to encourage supporter groups outside England, he thought this initiative was really about establishing English regional supporter groups.
The idea will be developed later in the season.

The Funding Of The Youth Academy
The decision of the club to establish a class two youth academy represented a £2 million pound project over the next four years. Several new coaches had now been employed, the academy is to be based at Eltham College and is being set up to allow the club to find the best young talent and to obtain the largest compensation if another club purchases an academy youngster. It will have a large part to play in the future of Millwall hopefully saving the club significant funds as academy players step up to the first team. Andy is therefore very keen for supporters and hopefully local businesses to endorse the academy and provide funds to support it. A dinner is being arranged in the near future to raise funds and the importance of the success of the academy will be emphasised to supporters in an awareness campaign where contributions will be sought.

The Progress Of The Surrey Canal Regeneration
Andy attended another meeting last week about the regeneration scheme and it is obvious now that the scheme will go ahead due to the money that has already been spent on the project. The landscape around the ground will therefore be significantly changed over the next five to ten years. The club must take advantage of the new homes that will be brought into the area, the enhanced environment and the improved travel communications to increase crowd attendances. Land uses have been generally established but there are still some issues to be overcome to ascertain how much the club will gain out of the redevelopment. Andy thought that the regeneration would not yield anything like the profit that was initially suggested for both the club and the developers. But the most important battle has been won to establish the club at the heart of the regeneration.

The New Pitch
The pitch base and surface has been re-laid early in the closed season and is now settling down nicely to be fit for the first game on 14th August. The lighting rigs have arrived and will be commissioned next week and these will aid the condition of the pitch in areas that are lacking sun in the winter months. The length of the pitch has been reduced to 110 yards to fit in with the Championship guidelines. The pitch length had been increased for the club's foray into European football and never reduced again for League action until now.

The South Stand Bar
Lindley's has completed the refurbishment of the stadium kiosks in preparation for the re-branding of the catering operation for the new season. Lindley's has also promised that the refurbishment of the Bar will be completed by the first League game on 18th August. The Bar will be housed in the South Stand concourse and under a big external canopy. The bar will have 2 plasma TVs. It is hoped that the bar will remain open after the Blackpool home fixture.

The Official Naming Of The Barry Kitchener Stand
The stand will be officially named at the first home match against Blackpool on August 18th. Deano Standing is liaising with Barry's daughter Nicole who is completing a bike ride ending at The Den in celebration of her father's life and to raise funds for cancer research. The family hope that the occasion will be a happy one moving on from the period of mourning.

The Fans Forum
A date of Thursday 13th September was suggested for the early season fans forum and Andy is to ask Kenny Jackett / the Chairman whether this date is suitable for them. It may be that Scott Fitzgerald will attend to update and include the fans in the progress of the Academy.

The Redecoration Of The Blue Bus
This has been mentioned a few times but there is no specific plan to redecorate the bus as a good deal of money has already been spent on repairs. Andy recognised the significance of the bus at fetes and public events and Bob said that the MSC would contribute to any redecorating programme. Andy suggested that the MSC liaised with the bus driver who seemed to be suggesting redecoration ideas and the plan established after this liaison can then be discussed with the club.

Lions Player
The MSC said that supporters seemed to be confused as to the amount of annual subscription and why this has been increased. Fans were also keen to see an improvement in the service with extended highlights from away matches, which occur on other club's player programmes. Andy stated that the club had no real input into Lions Player as a separate company ran it. He would enquire about the extended highlights facility.

Any Other Business

  • The Club Attendance At The Summer Fetes
    The fetes went very will particularly the one at Danson Park where the Community Scheme was asked to attend various local schools.
    Attending fetes like Bermondsey, Danson and Dartford serves to heighten the profile of the club and advertises the summer soccer schools.
  • Access To The Ground
    Andy said on the plus side the Silwood Estate path had now opened but Bolina Road was due to close for 4 years to accommodate construction works for Crossrail.
  • How much Discount Does A Season Ticket Holder Get On The Purchase Of This Year's Team Shirt?
    Andy stated that he believed a season ticket holder would receive 500 Team Card points if he purchased this year’s team shirt. He said he would check this information and come back to MSC if he was incorrect. Incentives are now to be built around Team Card to encourage future use.
  • Finding A betting Partner For The Club|The search is continuing and if a partner is found it must fit in with the League’s partner.
    The way the betting industry is developing, it is doubtful whether the betting outlet chosen will have a presence in the ground on match days but bets will be laid by mobile phone contact.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 7 pm. Date of next meeting Thursday 13th September 2012

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 21 June 2012

The following attended the meeting: Andy Ambler (Football Club Chairman), Ray James (Club Head of Marketing), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Laura Romitelli, Jason Roseman and Graeme Smale (all MSC Committee Members).

Season Ticket, Memberships And Junior Lion Members Totals To Date
Andy stated that currently 5,588 season tickets had been sold for next season. At present some 730 memberships have been sold together with 128 Junior Lions memberships. These totals are a bit disappointing but are expected to pick up as the summer goes on. It is possible that the European Football Championship and the forthcoming Olympics are currently distracting people.

Fan Representation / MSC Regional Groups
Ray said that the club was looking at ways of further engagement with the fan base to encourage lapsed season ticket holders and members to return to supporting the team. He was therefore trying to encourage individual fans to organise supporters groups in their local areas. These groups could host meetings in their areas to discuss the club and encourage support. The club could on occasion send players or Directors to attend these meetings to strengthen the fan groups' links with the club. The groups could for instance provide communal transport for Millwall fans in their areas to attend matches. Initially Ray was looking at setting up groups in Kent, the traditional heartland of Millwall support but would ultimately be keen to establish groups across the country where Millwall fans were based. The MSC said that a fledging supporters group in Ireland, which had formed to get more information and news about the club, had already contacted the Committee. Whilst being supportive of the idea, the MSC saw some problems if the individual supporter groups were allowed to set up too many points of contact with the club. There were already signs that some fans, who were keen to set up websites or gain inside information, were contacting players on Twitter. Safeguards were needed to ensure that only contacts that were beneficial to the club were established and that those who wished to cause problems or to destabilise the club were not allowed in. Andy was clear that the Official Supporters Club would remain as the main vehicle of fan representation and any proposed new fan group would have to work in association with the MSC. The players were constantly warned about the use of Twitter and only established, reliable and proven contacts would be allowed access to players and club officials. Ray said he would send more details of his proposals to MSC.

Initiatives For Increasing Crowds
The MSC handed the club a list of ideas eminating from the Irish supporters group mentioned earlier that were designed to improve fan relationships with the club and encourage higher attendances. These ideas ranged from grouping more attractive home games with less attractive Tuesday night fixtures, offering discounts on season tickets for introducing new fans and stocking higher quality and more varied merchandise in the club shop. A number of these ideas had been discussed before but Andy / Ray welcomed the suggestions and said they would reply to them. The meeting went on to discuss behaviour in and around the family enclosure. The success of the family enclosure is vital to the club as this area is designed to encourage young and future support. The club had now lost the Football League accreditation for the family enclosure due to the swearing and bad behaviour of some who sit there. Andy thought that the loss of the League accreditation was somewhat unfair as it was based on a couple of visits from assessors throughout the season and the enclosure had won an award the season before last. Nevertheless, supporters must realise the enclosure is an area where sensitivity to bad language and poor behaviour is hightened and stewarding will reflect this. Andy added that it might be that the current enclosure is too large and its size needs to be reduced. The club was reviewing the situation.

MSC And The Summer Festivals
Ray stated that the club had finally secured attendance at The Danson Park festival. MSC congratulated the club on finally securing a presence at Danson. The club and community scheme including the Blue Bus will be there on Saturday 7th July. The festival runs from 9am to 7.30pm and the club will be in attendance for most of the day. It is hoped that players and or a Millwall celebrity will be present. The festival provides the club with an opportunity to hand out season ticket and membership forms and advertise its summer soccer schools. The club will also be attending the Dartford festival on 14th and 15th July and as always will be grateful for MSC support. Ray will send arrangement details to Bob.

Concourse Refurbishment, The South Stand Bar And The Blue Bus
Andy said that rebranding of the catering outlets in the concourses was now complete and ready for the opening fixture. It was also hoped that The South Stand Bar would be largely fitted out and ready for use by the first league game on 18th August. The blue bus had broken down again and the money spent on its repairs has meant that a complete refurbishment is not a priority although some redecoration could be carried out. The renewal of TVs around the Stadium will continue with help from the MSC. The MSC asked when a plaque would be placed in 'Arry's to note the supporters club's contribution to renewal of TV equipment in the bar. Andy said that a simple plaque might be overlooked and suggested that the MSC should think about a slot on Lions World and on the Club's Official Site detailing MSC's contributions to improvements around the stadium. Andy continued that the plastic laminated stand pictures of past Millwall players initially introduced by former Chairman Stuart Till were now faded and looking poor. He suggested that new posters advertising the club and its contact details should replace them.

The Delivery Of This Season's Kits To The Club Shop
The MSC asked when the new season home and away kit would appear in the club shop. Andy said that he hoped to launch the Home shirt within the next week with the hope it will appear in the club shop between the 10th / 15th July. The away shirt will be in the shop for the start of the season.

Any Other Business

  • Bob asked Andy to thank catering manager Veronica for the clubs efforts in showing the England matches in Arry's Bar.
  • The MSC enquired as to the progress of the siting of the Millwall museum. Andy replied that at present there was no space in the ground for the museum. He had recently been in touch with a company that could arrange interactive stadium tours. It may be that some exhibits could be placed in cabinets in the upstairs press room and be included in a ground tour. He was currently investigating how much the establishment of an interactive tour might cost the club.
  • The MSC asked whether the club had found a preferred betting partner. Andy said not as yet. He continued that the nature of betting was now changing and now betting companies were not that keen to station staff at a ground on matchdays preferring to advertising a phone number with the club so that fans can make in game bets on their mobiles. The search for a betting partner is therefore continuing and that partner must fit alongside the League's partner Bet 365.

There being no other business the meeting terminated at 6.10 pm. The date of the next meeting is 26th July 2012.


   MSC / Club Meeting - 10 May 2012

The following attended: Andy Ambler (AA) (Football Club CEO); Ray James (RJ) (Football Club Head of Marketing) Bob Asprey (BA) (Chairman of the MSC); James Groves (JG) (MSC).

Season Ticket Sales
As it stands sales to date for 2012/13 stands at 5,058. This is about 100 down on this time last year, however, is up after the first Early Bird Period of last year. The take up of Zebra finance is slightly lower than 2011/12, however on the plus side there has been approximately a 45% increase in under 12 season ticket sales owing to the £23 price. An approximate split of sales is as follows: Adults - 2,583, Seniors - 1,137, 16-21 - 402, Under 16 - 345, Under 12 - 591. Will be promoting season ticket sales at the summer soccer schools with the MCS and the summer festivals that we will be attending, together with the usual channels of the Southwark News, South London Press and leaflets.

Membership and Matchday Packages for 2012/13
Neither of these areas have been confirmed, however thought is currently going in to them. As it stands initial thoughts are as follows:

  • Match Day Tickets - Increase prices across all areas of the ground (except West Upper) by £1 for basic seat prices.
  • Membership - With the proposed increase in match day ticket prices the club would look to increase the advance discount for members from £2 to £3 therefore meaning they would not see an increase in their advance purchases from 2011/12. In respect of the annual membership charge, looking at increasing the fee for online applications to £16.00 and postal / in person applications £19 (currently £14 and £15 respectfully). Junior Lions potentially looking at a £2 increase to £7. Currently our membership prices are one of, if not the cheapest in the league, and whilst we want to remain good value for money need to look at maintaining revenue in this area also as a number of fans buy membership specifically for one off fixtures or away travel and don't necessarily use it again. All members will also be given the chance to purchase a ticket to one game for £15. At the moment it is not confirmed if this will be for a specified fixture or fans will have the choice of three or four different games. If West Ham fail to win promotion and QPR are relegated, the club will potentially look at doing a package offer whereby fans can purchase home tickets for West Ham, Palace, Charlton and QPR at a set price.
  • Season Ticket and Membership Card Designs - For the 2012/13 season both the Season Ticket and membership cards will have images of Barry Kitchener on the front of them. The Season Ticket will have a colour image and Membership a Black and White design. These have been agreed after consultation with Barry's family.

Summer Festivals
RJ confirmed that the following arrangements are in place for the forthcoming summer festivals: The club will be in attendance at Dartford over the weekend 14-15 July 2012 and Southwark Park (date to be confirmed as date provided by RJ was 02/07 which is a Monday). RJ has been in correspondence with Bexley Council directly with a view of possibly attending Danson Park on 07-08 July 2012. RJ has put across a business case for the club to attend as this is where a high proportion of our fan base is located. Activities that will be in situ at these festivals include - The Blue Bus; Small Play area; Zampa; Tournaments; and Kickz Taster Sessions. RJ advised that the 2nd gear on the blue bus has yet again broken and needs to be repaired.

Initiatives to Increase Attendance in the Advent of FFP
AA advised that the FFP initiative had been voted in by the Championship clubs, however, will take a number of years before it will be at the level it needs to be for full effect. However, that said, the required levels for the first few years and the next step is the the clubs to debate the fine detail of how it will work and be implemented. The FFP will not immediately affect us next season, however the impact it will have on the club is difficult to define. The two key areas are:

  • More Revenue from Sponsors will be required
  • More fans attending games.

During the 2011/12 season the fans accounted for approximately 30% of the £11.5m revenue generated by the club. However, that said, 2011/12 saw revenue reduce by approximately £400k over 2010/11 and this figure will further reduce in 2012/13 owing to reduced TV income.

Projects to Commemorate Barry Kitchener.
The main activity will be the formal naming of the West Stand to 'The Barry Kitchener Stand'. The proposal is that once the fixtures are released in June to do the formal naming ceremony before one of our early home fixtures after speaking to Barry's family. The stand will have signage on the outside (looking on to the car park) as well as on the inside in the same manner as the Dockers and CBL stands. Estimated cost is £8,000 + VAT and signage would be in place obviously before the unveiling. Other ideas include that of a Commemorative Dinner with the possibility of it being a Sunday Lunchtime with past players from Kitch's era in attendance. It is noted that barry's daughter is undertaken a sponsored bike ride from her home to The Den with her arrival to coincide before kick off of the first home fixture.

Plaque in 'Arry's to Note MSC Involvement in The Provision of The TVs
AA Noted this and will implement for start of the 2012/13 Season

TV's in The Concourses
AA Advised that this is in hand and at present the club are trying to finalise deals for the supply and installation. Other concourse developments in the close season include the club is looking at replacing the Player Posters on display in order to freshen up the areas and in addition the Kiosks are all on track to be re branded by Lindlay's as per the agreement in place. BA queried over the CBL Bar. AA confirmed that Lindleys are have committed the capital to the venture so it will proceed. Need permission for the outside bar element but the actual area will be implemented and it is his vision to have it open after games to encourage fans to use it as well.

Any Other Business

  • Club Opening Hours During The Olympic Period
    AA advised that supporters need to be aware that during the Olympic Period the opening hours of the various department, including, club shop, need to be flexible to allow staff who use public transport to get in and out of London. All details will be published on the site but could be at short notice.
  • Pre Season Frendlies
    The club will be visiting Ireland and be based north of Dublin for the week commencing 15/07/2012. Actual fictures are TBC nearer the time owing to the Irish league and their European Qualifiers. However it is anticipated that we will play Shelbourne of 18/07/2012 and one other mid week game. The club are also looking in to the possibility of playing 1 game in Northern Ireland before they return. Other Pre Season Friendlies will look at being played 28/07/2012; 04/08/2012 and 07/08/2012 TBC and will all be away fixtures owing to the restriction placed on London Teams. Robbo's Testimonial Game is looking at being played on a Saturday in September / October dependant on FIFA World Cup Qualifying Games
  • 2012/13 Shirts
    Shirts have been designed and manufacturers commenced by Macron. However, at present the sponsor for the reverse of the shirt is to be arranged. RJ advised that there has been one company interested to date. Decathalon also have advised that they will not be providing shirt sponsorship for the under 18 shirts, but will continue their sponsorship of the Zampa Family Enclosure. This is owing to their budgeting restraints. All Logos for the shirts are being produced and applied to the shirts in the UK. In order to get the shirts out to the fans ASAP AA suggested that they may look to the secondary sponsor not being applied on the shirt and advising whoever it is that it will purely be for TV coverage.
  • Youth Academy
    The club are looking at obtaining CAT 2 status for the youth set up and have a meeting with the football league next week. Scott Fitzgerald is happy with the coaching set up as it is and if successful they will move to an area at Eltham College to be exclusively used by our set up in a 4 year deal.
  • Race Day
    Racing Plus are organising a race night at Kempton Park on 22/05/2012 where all Millwall Fans can attend free of charge. Full details will be sent to the membership database by email and also on the official club site.
  • Family Excellence Award
    The club are disappointed to learn that they have not achieved the family excellence award for the 2011/12 season, despite this being one of the main investment areas. They are awaiting the report from the Football League to review.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 18.20. The date of the next meeting will be Thursday 21st June 2012 at 16.00.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 29 March 2012

The following attended. Andy Ambler (CEO); Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman); Paul Ted Robinson; James Groves and Jason Roseman (all MSC Committee).

Season Ticket Sales
To date 1,024 season tickets have been sold for the 2012/13 season. This is slightly less than the 1,500 sold at the end of March in 2011, however there have been a number of changes this year with their only being two phases of sale and also the introduction of the option to pay by Zebra Finance at the Early Bird stage. It has been noted that a number of season ticket purchased have utilised the Zebra Finance option.

Membership sales to date for the 2011/12 season stand at 9,109 adult members and 1,664 Junior Lions. Using the data available to the club there are a high number of members who purchase just to get access to one game a season (this year predominately imagined to be West Ham United). There is also a high number of members who use the card purely for going to away games. Andy advised that between the club and the MSC the membership charge for the 2012/13 season needs to be discussed. Initial ideas were to increase the membership fee out right, whilst Bob and Paul felt a smaller increase was appropriate and should be offset with a larger discount for advance purchases. This would incentivise members to use the card more often. Before discussions are taken further the club will review the current data and statistics they have available to them.

Stewarding
(a) Leeds United
On the whole the fixture went very well. Over the course of the day there were only 5 ejections and 0 arrests. This compares with 8 arrests at the fixture last year. There was one incident concerning the waving of a Turkish Flag and this was dealt with on the day. The person concerned was a 22 year old male who is neither a member or season ticket holder and was issued with a 10 year ban. The person accepted the ban and shook hands with all concerned and it doesn't look like he will be disputing. A photo of this incident did make its way into online news but not any printed paper. As a result of this picture, a leader in the Turkish Community in Lewisham did contact the club to complain. However the club explained what they did before the game and at the game and he was happy with the response received. Bob asked if it would have been better to issue the press statement stating he received an indefinite ban as the papers would have still got the headline they wanted. Andy thinks that the statement released prior to the game was the right thing to do and as such only one picture was released into the online media. He will be using the success of this year’s game to negotiate with Leeds United and the Police for the away game next year (if we are both in the same division) to try and negate the need for ticket collection from Woolley Edge Services.

(b) Stewarding Meeting and Bans
Pete Garston is arranging for a meeting with a selection of the fanbase (in a similar manner to the catering meeting this evening) and it is hoped that the Chief Steward, Colin Sayer, Ken Chapman and a representative from Wise will be in attendance. Whilst it is admitted there is possibly a lack of communication between the club and fanbase concerning bans and general stewarding, it should also be acknowledged that in reality it is only a minimal number of fans who come into contact with the stewards in an active manner. Over the course of the last two home fixtures (Southampton and Leeds United) there have been 80 warnings issued to fans in the stadium. Of these, none have led to ejections or bans and in general this season to date there has been no increase in the number of bans issued. Recently the club received a number of complaints regarding a specific fan for racist and abusive behaviour. The fan concerned was ejected at the Leeds game and has been banned for the rest of the season. The fan himself admitted that he was expecting this action as he admitted he was over the top. Andy advised that on the whole those who get banned don’t usually complain about it. It is hoped that the meeting, when arranged, will assist and can be used as a communication tool.

Flags
Bob asked if there was any ground restrictions in place concerning supporters bringing in flags. Andy advised that as far as he is aware there is not any restriction in place as long as they are not offensive or covering premium advertising. This potentially varies on a game by game basis. Games shown on TV tend to be more restrictive over flags covering advertising as those companies pay the club for that space and these games get them prime coverage.

Concourse Televisions
Two have been fitted in the Cold Blow Lane End, primarily for use in the pre match bar. However it is hoped that for the start of the 2012/13 season plasma tv screens will be in situ across all of he concourses. Once they are, Andy will advise the MSC of the total cost and Bob agreed to negotiate a contribution from the MSC.

Player of The Year Voting
Bob advised that voting at The Den will take place at the Leicester fixture on 14th April 2012 and that we will need the usual facilities of tables. Andy requested that we email Ray James and copy him in so that these can be arranged. Online voting will start on Thursday 12th April and end on Wednesday 18th April 2012. The winning player is to be announced at 8pm on Lions live on 26th April 2012 and this year it is hoped the press office at the club and the MSC will work closely to ensure there is a total embargo on the result until this time. The MSC will however inform Deano of the results once they are known in order for him to organise material for the programme and website.

New Station Name
Andy believes that this initiative should be led by the MSC to investigate the thoughts of the Fanbase. The Section 106 Agreement is due to be signed off very shortly and there has already been a meeting between Lewisham Council, TFL, Renewal and the Club to ensure that all parties are happy with the content and proposal. It was suggested that Bob, as chairman of the MSC, should write to the Mayor of Lewisham, saying that it was supporters who raised the initial petition for the station, and now that funding is going to be forthcoming, the name of the station should be linked to the Football Club.

Any Other Business
(a) Season Ticket Priority Period
It is the perception of some that the priority period for Season Ticket Holders to purchase away match tickets is being eroded and that it used to be two days. Where this hasn't occurred this year it has generally been due to internal communications between the ticket office and press office.  Portsmouth however, we were not sure exactly when we would receive tickets as Portsmouth have to pay the printer before the tickets are produced. However, generally the ticket office will ensure away tickets go on sale as early as possible with Season Ticket Holders having as much of a priority as possible. It was noted that over the last two seasons literature produced does state there is a priority period, however does not stipulate how long. Andy stated that as far as he is aware there is not one away game that a season ticket holder did not want to go to where a member has got a ticket.

(b) The New Pitch
In the close season a new Fibre Sand pitch is being laid. This should be a better quality pitch and the club are also investing in the artificial lighting rigs that are required. During the week after the Blackpool game there will be a number of corporate / sponsors games and if the U18 side get through to the league cup final this will be played at The Den on 2nd May 2012, with the existing pitch coming up straight after. Owing to this there will be no Lions Trust Cup this year, Andy has spoken to Nick Hart about this.

(c) Friendlies
The Metropolitan Police have put a ban on London club home fixtures around the time of the Olympic games, and Arsenal have already had to cancel their Emirates Cup. It was hoped that the US Olympic Football Team would be the opposition for Robbo's Testimonial game if they qualified for the Olympics, however they have not and so it is back to finding an opponent and date. It is an unfortunate fact that there may be no home pre-season friendly next season.

(d) Reduced TV Money Next Season
Next season Sky are the only bidder for Football League coverage and so TV monies are set to reduce by approximately 25% - a reduction of about £700,000 for the club. Live coverage games will see teams receive £80,000 as opposed to £100,000 this year. Overall TV Sponsorship income for the club is estimated to be £3.3m next season. Whilst League and FA Cup games are not budgeted for in the TV money if these occur it will be a bonus for the club.

With there being no other business the meeting was closed at 17.30 pm. The date of the next meeting will be 10th May 2012 at 16.00hrs.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 26 January 2012

The following attended. Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Ray James (Club Head Of Commercial Department), Michael Argyle (Club Marketing Department) (Ray & Michael for part of the meeting), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Jason Roseman, Laura Romitelli, James Groves, Paul Robinson and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership, Junior Lions and Half Season Ticket Numbers To Date
Ray said that the club currently had the following; - 6,219 season ticket holders, 74 half-season tickets, 9,013 MSC memberships, and 1,642 Junior Lions.

Season Ticket Initiatives For Next Season
Prior to this meeting the MSC had submitted ideas for encouraging season ticket uptake and home attendances. These ideas included advertising and making the supporters much more aware of the benefits of teamcard; Instead of last years £5 off a team shirt purchase, Give a season ticket holder next season 10% off his first shop at the club; Group match tickets for a run of fixtures; Family tickets; Uniform and lower pricing for kids tickets around the Stadium to encourage younger support. Andy / Ray said that the season ticket prices and initiatives will be formally announced shortly but there is good news for season ticket pricing and particularly for juniors under 12.

There will be one Early Bird season ticket purchase period this year and in this period season ticket prices will have a good discount. After the end of the Early Bird period in the middle of April, season tickets will then revert to full price. For the first time, the Club will institute a payment instalment plan for the Early Bird purchase period.

The MSC asked whether aside from these initiatives, the club has any medium to longer term plan to build crowds. Why not use respected past players to engage with the fans and encourage better attendance. Ray replied that he thought the poster and leaflet campaigns undertaken by a couple of neighbouring clubs recently were not value for money. He was interested in building a younger fanbase to protect the future of the club.  He therefore needed fans who sit in the Family Enclosure to understand that there is a greater sensitivity to foul language in and around this area. He implored people indulging in out of control foul-mouthed tirades to remember that children are present. Ray continued that he had been disappointed to receive letters from families who had attended a game once but said they would not return due to the high level of foul language.

Andy said that he now thought the Regeneration around the ground is pretty certain to go ahead and Millwall must take advantage of the new people moving into the area. The club was aware already that some of the Lewisham estates were being enlarged and updated as part of the general London regeneration. The scheme around the Millwall ground will provide a stimulus for better attendance as the fabric and environment will be improved and become more inviting and the Surrey Canal Road station will improve transport facilities to the ground. It is understood that the provision of the station by the development company, Renewal, will occur in phase one of the development under a planning gain arrangement with the local authority. Andy suggested that the fans should petition the council in an attempt to link the new station name to the club, with the favoured station name being Millwall Stadium.

Ray said that the Club planned to be present at a number of this year’s summer fetes including Dartford, Bermondsey and Danson Park.
There was some resistance from the organisers of Danson Park who seemed to see this event as one for Charlton FC but Ray is in dialogue with the event managers at present. Laura said that Lewisham was not holding its Peoples Day this year and James is to send Ray the link to the Kent show in Detling.

Racist Chanting
The club has received complaints about racist chanting in the South Lower and East Upper. Andy has investigated and is sure that chanting is not occurring but that individual remarks are being made. Indeed, there was an arrest at the Birmingham game after a racist comment. Fans should be aware that due to recent events at other matches across the country, the authorities are very sensitive about racism. He also pointed out that when Millwall play at Brighton on 14th February, the FA is holding an anti-homophobic event that week.

Stewarding At The Den
The MSC had noticed that there was disquiet in the fanbase regarding the standard of stewarding at home matches. Some fans thought it was too heavy handed. Andy asked for examples and one was given where a fan had encroached on the apron of the pitch before a game for a non violent non aggressive reason and had immediately received a season long ban. Andy pointed out that to move from the stands on to the pitch / pitchside was in fact a criminal offence. Andy was aware however that there had been some history of bannings being overturned on appeal. Laura said that the overturning of bannings could be seen as affecting the credibility of the current club disciplinary system and suggested for offences that are not obvious bannings, a cooling off period could be instituted to ensure the right decisions were made. Maybe a fan who was ejected for an offence on a Saturday could be notified of the consequences of his actions the following week to give a period of consideration. Andy accepted that anything to reduce the number of banning overturns would improve the system and indeed fans always had the right to appeal club bans and he was often involved in dealing with appeals. He would discuss the idea of a cooling off period with the club security officers.

Andy went on to emphasise that the stewards underwent a high level of club training before they were allowed to operate on a match day and recruitment of stewards was pretty stringent. Most fans had little dealings with the stewards but there seemed to be a group of supporters who tried to antogonise the stewards to find how far they could go. Andy acknowledged that having regular and familiar stewards in stands improved crowd control. The MSC called for published guidelines agreed with the supporters club / football club to improve the fans’ understanding of the disciplinary procedure but it was pointed out that each case varied in circumstance and severity.

The Design Of Team Shirts
MSC asked whether the fans could in some way be involved with the design of the first team shirts for next season. Andy responded that the shirts had already been designed and hopefully the first team home shirt would be in the club shop by July 1st. The away shirt should appear later in the summer and the club noted that the white away shirt had been a success with more being sold this year compared to the same time last year. The toddlers and baby kits are being delayed in the hope that a sponsorship deal can be completed with Decathlon.

Any Other Business

  • West Ham Away - No alcohol will be served in the vicinity of the ground on the match day and the clubs’ will issue a joint statement calling for good behaviour.
  • The Flags - Have been put up this morning above the stands.
  • The South Stand Bar - This initiative seems to be standing still at present. Andy admitted it was a work in progress. This season the club hoped to establish the bar and then build on its fitting out and facilities. The club had been somewhat let down by Carlsberg who had not provided the large umbrellas as hoped. Andy will speak to Veronica (catering) and Colin (stadium manager) to ascertain whether any further progress can be made.
  • Dockers Day - To be held this year on February 18th, the Middlesbrough game.
  • MSC Plaque - In ‘Arry’s Bar saying the TVs were provided by the supporters’ club—Andy will look into this.
  • Letter Of Complaint By A Disabled Barnsley Fan - who had been abused by a group of Millwall fans after the game at Oakwell. Andy asked whether MSC could reply to his letter.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.15 pm. Date Of Next Meeting 23rd February 2012.

 

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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