MSC / Club Meeting - 24 October 2013

The following attended the meeting: Andy Ambler (club chief executive), Bob Asprey (MSC chairman), Ted Robinson (MSC), Laura Romitelli (MSC)

Season Tickets / Membership / Junior Lions numbers
Unavailable, as usually provided by Alan Williams who was unable to attend.

Crowd issues

  • Slow entry to the West Stand for QPR game - Andy advised that the turnstile that was out of operation must have broken down as there would have been no other reason for it not being manned. He will look at the ‘flow rate’ statistics and speak to Colin Sayer. It’s not in the police’s remit to manage the queue; they would only be involved if the situation got out of hand.
  • Non-Closure of Ilderton Road post match for busy games - It was believed that this has been the case since before last season.
  • Implement a one way system in Cold Blow Lane post match - This isn’t something Andy can demand or influence but he’ll see if he can raise the subject.
  • Holding home fans at South Bermondsey train station post match - For the QPR game, there were two away fan specials, one at 17.18 and one at 17.28. There were regular trains at 16.58 and at 17.13, recommencing at 17.44. Andy agreed that communicating this information to the fans was not done and should be done wherever possible. The message will vary for each game, as the arrangements will depend on the opposition. He’s not aware that the police can or do influence announcements to home fans and sees no reason why they should. He will look into this further for future.

Moving the Reading coach pickup to Blackheath
Andy explained that when the decision had been made, everybody affected had been contacted by letter and telephone. His understanding was that two tickets had been returned. The MSC explained that this was another situation where they felt they could have helped the club find a better solution, as there were a number of other locations that could have been used that were much more convenient for supporters in respect of public transport and parking facilities. Andy agreed with the thinking; the point was taken and understood.

Supporters Club regional meeting and member statistics
The figures showing the density of members by postcode were unavailable due to Alan Williams being unable to attend the meeting. It was generally acknowledged that there would be a good concentration of fans in the Dartford area but Andy will ask Alan to provide the statistics. Andy agreed that holding a meeting at Dartford FC’s ground was a very good idea and, as he is on good terms with Dartford’s chairman, he will raise the idea with him. One of the aims of the regional meeting was to be to gauge the level of interest in coaches from the area to home matches. Everybody agreed that coaches from the Dartford area would probably not be particularly popular, as there is a good rail service. Andy suggested that any coaches would need to be from further afield and areas not well serviced by rail services.

Catering in the East Upper stand
Andy was unaware of problems here. He agreed that one kiosk was now in the dedicated Junior Lions area, but said that there was a third kiosk at the other end of the stand by block 19. He will speak to Linleys to see if there are any staffing issues. He will also look into the feasibility of moving the portable beer dispenser from the SE16 bar to the East Upper after the bar has closed for kick off.

Season ticket draw
Andy will ask Alan to look into ways of publicising this more as none of the MSC present had noticed any publicity. Apparently the name of the most recent winner had been posted on the big screen.

MSC quiz night
Andy will encourage club staff to enter teams into the quiz soon. He hadn’t done so sooner as the date was too far in the future. He asked what support the MSC had received from Prostate Cancer UK and was advised that they will be providing items for use and for sale on the night. The charity has been invited to man a stall on the evening with items for sale. It’s also hoped they will provide team(s).

Millwall lottery
Andy advised that Alan had been approached and had done all the work to bring this about. It’s run by the owners of the German lottery and they have other English clubs involved, including Arsenal. The club receives 36p for every ticket sold which, for tax efficiency and marketing reasons, is paid directly to the community scheme, which is a registered charity. This indirectly helps the club as less money is required to subsidise the scheme.

Canopy for disabled away supporters
Although Andy sees the positives of this idea, he wonders how practical it would be to implement. The area that away disabled fans use meets all the regulations and is also close to the disabled toilets. He’s worried that it might inadvertently create negative publicity, for example, is the canopy required to protect the fans from missiles? The idea of a ‘dugout’ style shelter was discussed. This would prove quite expensive, as it would be necessary to remove some rows of seats and then build the shelter. Andy wondered how our facilities compare with those at other clubs. Bob, using his contacts at Millwall for All, will ask for some feedback.

Upcoming issues for MSC consultation
Andy was unaware of anything but would bear this in mind as matters arise.

Brass plaque
This was handed on with a request that it was inlaid into the wall underneath the replica Wembley stone, as the plaque explains the stone’s signficance. This will be arranged.

Any other business

  • Andy advised the MSC of a complaint that had been turned into a positive with excellent feedback on the Family Enclosure.
  • It’s confirmed that two MSC committee members will visit the police control room for the home match v Burnley. Andy will confirm this with Colin and the committee members will also contact Colin direct for final arrangements.
  • There are plans to make the home match v Barnsley on 23 November a Prostate Cancer UK charity day. The club will ask the Football League for permission to wear the white away kit for the day (this can be done for one match per season) and will encourage supporters to wear white as well. The Military will also be invited along. There could be a special white T-shirt available for sale on the day, with bucket collections, although the main aim of the day will be to raise awareness of the disease and its symptoms. The MSC suggested that the players could warm up in the T-shirts and then each player sign their T-shirt for auction. If the players could also all sign one other T-shirt, this could be a raffle prize at the MSC quiz night the following week, where the proceeds are also to be donated to the charity. More details to follow.
  • The financial results are not yet signed off but are expected to be finalised shortly. The report is likely to be filed early in November and the AGM will be early December.

The meeting closed at 6.06pm. The next meeting will be on Thursday 28 November 2013.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 19 September 2013

The following attended the meeting. Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ayse Smith, Jason Roseman Ted Robinson, Stan Godwin and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lion Totals To Date
Alan stated that currently there are 5,966 season ticket holders, 4044 members and 1900 Junior Lions of which 718 are members. Memberships have increased by 400 over this time last year's total and with the increase in Junior Lions especially in the under 12 section, revenue has risen by some £12,000. The season ticket total is slightly decreased compared to last year but it is hoped that this total will increase as the season continues. This total is normally boosted around Christmas as half season tickets come on sale.

The Progress Of The Wembley Arrest Cases
Andy said that the club had been called to a meeting at the FA recently to discuss the aftermath of the Wembley crowd disturbances at last season's FA Cup Semi Final. The club had made further representations to the FA about Policing and stewarding at Wembley and Andy thought that these comments had been taken on board. So far two people had been imprisoned for offences committed at the game and two had received suspended sentences. These individuals will be banned from attending Millwall matches. Andy understood that the same judge would be dealing with the cases. Overall, Andy thought that of the 60 cases outstanding only two or three members or season ticket holders were involved. The vast majority of cases involved casual and occasional supporters.

Stewarding At The Derby Home Game
The discussion of crowd matters led on to stewarding at the Derby home game. The MSC asked how an individual was allowed on to the pitch from the West Stand, walk over to the players / officials and get into the East Stand with little intervention from the stewards. Andy / Alan explained that stewarding is done on an appropriate basis depending on the opposition visiting the Den. Some games have low risk attached to them whereas others are obviously high risk. The risk of the game also determines the number of Police employed for the match. Derby was regarded as a lower risk match and indeed was virtually Police free. The club does employ steward response teams that will react to pitch invaders but these teams normally have four members and are placed in certain positions around the ground. The position of these response teams affects the efficiency of their operation. Pitch invasion is difficult to handle as it can come from any of the stands. The good news about the Derby pitch invader was that he has been identified and this will help Millwall in answering any FA Charge. Stewarding is reviewed after home matches and is always a learning experience. The club is however very concerned about the continuing number of missile throwing incidents that is being highlighted by the FA. Fans should remember that such incidents can only do harm to the club they claim to support. In response to an MSC question Andy is to check the personnel stewarding in the South Stand.

The Sale Of Charlton Away Tickets
The MSC reported that some fans had experienced difficulty purchasing these tickets by telephone. Apparently they were held in a queue for some time and when they were very close to being served the phone suddenly dis- connected causing them to lose their place in the queue and costing them time and money. Andy thought that the dis-connection might occur when the call was being transferred to the See Tickets agency call centre and he said he would investigate the problem.

Payment For The Junior Lion Funday
The MSC informed the club that is was aware of some disquiet about the imposition of a £10 admission fee for non Junior Lion members for the funday. It was claimed that this fee would deter membership for those who may be considering it. Alan said that he was somewhat surprised by the complaints as the Chairman of the Junior Lions Committee had raised concerns about not charging an admission to non members but understood the clubs stance on exclusivity and accepted the club's policy. The Funday was part of the exclusive package offered to Junior Lion members and it was fair that non-members should not be admitted and experience this benefit. Junior Lion membership now offered significant value for money advantages with superb benefits from many of the Junior Lion partners including Merlin Group, Game, Hollywood Bowl, fusion Leisure Centres and Frankie and Benny's.

Season Ticket Draws
At the last Club meeting, the MSC had asked for these to be made more public and wondered whether any progress had been made in this area. Andy said that the August draw had been completed but he would try to ensure that the profile of the draw was heightened by having the September draw on the pitch. He would make enquiries to ensure that this was possible

MSC Liaison With Prostate Cancer Charity
The MSC asked the club for contact details for the main shirt sponsor as it was keen to liaise with the Charity. The supporters club has decided to contribute the proceeds from the MSC Quiz Night to the charity. MSC would like to invite the Charity to bring its own team and would also like to see a team of Millwall players attending the event. The quiz night was initially to be held on Wednesday 27th November but Andy suggested that it would be easier to get players to attend if the event was moved to Tuesday 26th. The MSC therefore decided to move the event and Alan said he would e-mail the Committee with the charity's contact details.

Communications Between the MSC And The Club's Treasurers
The MSC had noted that there had been somewhat of a breakdown in communications between its Treasurer and his counterpart at the club. This had meant that the club had not paid the supplier of the supporters' club badges. Alan said that the supplier had in fact been paid within the last week and that Ian Toal will be fully updated by the club in the next few days.

Coach Travel / Introduction Of A One Way Coach Ticket
The MSC had noted that recently away coach travel had been affected by breakdowns and drivers taking wrong turns when driving to and from away venues. The supporters' club asked whether the club ever contacted the coach operator about these incidents. Andy said that the club would act if the coach stewards reported problems to him. As far as he was aware the club had received no report of problems from the stewards. In answer to a question as to whether the club would sell one way tickets for coach travel, Andy thought that this suggestion would be unworkable. It would make it harder to sell coach tickets, and if the traveller wanted to buy a ticket for the home leg of the journey from the away ground, it would involve coach stewards collecting money, which they would be loathe to do.

The MSC Visit To The Match Control Room
Andy has arranged for two committee members to visit the control room for the Burnley home match on the 2nd November. He asked the Committee to supply the names of the two committee members and was informed it would be George Lampey and Chris Prete.

Covering For The Away Disabled Fans
Ayse and Jason asked the club if it could look into providing cover for the away disabled supporters. The cost of this could be met by MSC funds.
Andy said he would investigated whether this would be feasible.

Any Other Business

  • MSC asked how many season ticket holders lived in Tunbridge Wells (TN9-14) and in Tonbridge (TN1-4). Alan replied that one season ticket holder lived in TN1-4 whilst 44 lived in TN9-14. The Committee needed this information to determine where a fans meeting could be held. It may be more profitable to hold such a meeting in Bexleyheath or Dartford.
  • The Brass plate for the Replica Wembley Stone Placed Outside 'Arry's. Andy said that the MSC should produce this brass plate so that Colin Sayer can get it cut into the brickwork beneath the stone.
  • Club Shop Merchandise - This was briefly discussed and it was suggested that the club should produce a line of high quality tailored shirts. Andy replied that this had been done in the past and the stock had taken some six years to sell. Alan said that some executive quality polo shirts would appear in the shop soon.

There Being No Other Business, the meeting ended at 6.40pm. Date of next meeting Thursday 24th October 2013.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 15 August 2013

Those attending: Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive) Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (Both MSC).

The following attended the meeting. Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Laura Romitelli, Jim Nash, Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Tickets, Membership And Junior Lions Totals
The club reported that this year’s Season Tickets total was now 5.915 excluding complimentary tickets. Memberships now stood at 3,454 compared to last year’s total at this time of 2,980 and the Junior Lions total was about 100 up from last year at 576 sales. Revenue had increase by some £13,000 this year. In an attempt to further increase the interest in Junior Lion memberships, the club has now employed a Junior Lion Co-ordinator to liaise with schools and clubs in Millwall’s catchment area.

Club Stewarding And Fan Disciplinary Matters
Following on from the Fan On The Board’s efforts to find fans who were prepared to discuss club stewarding last year and the dissatisfaction voiced by some supporters on message boards about match day stewarding, the MSC asked the club if they were satisfied with the standard of stewarding or whether it was felt further improvements could be made to enhance the match day experience.
Andy stated that he thought stewarding at Millwall was carried out in a professional and responsible manner. Stewards were either employed by the Wise Group or the club itself. He continued that the Stewards tried to warn rather than remove fans and this has been reflected in official statistics which have recently been produced that show the club has disappeared from the list of top ten clubs issuing the most banning orders. There are instances where the offences committed were so serious that banning had to be used and he feared that club bannings would increase due to the crowd trouble at Wembley. He said that he believed some 12 members / season ticket holders had been caught up in the problems at Wembley and already 2 supporters had been given jail sentences. Those found guilty would be given bans and obviously fans proven innocent would be allowed to return.
Andy pointed out that stewarding was a very difficult job and sometimes stewards were hurt trying to protect fans from disorder.
The notes below on a crowd incident at the recent Wimbledon Cup Home game will demonstrate this.
In answer to a MSC question Andy said the club would endeavour to show fans who were accused of wrong doing evidence of their bad behaviour but complaints from fellow supporters would have to be made anonymous to protect those that had complained from any reprisals.
He said that the club would suspend a fan where evidence was being clarified regarding a ban, and the term suspension would be used by the club security staff in communications with the fan when this situation applied.
In summary Andy stated that where clear evidence of serious malpractice by a steward in carrying out his duties can be shown to the club, then the club will investigate prior to taking disciplinary action.

The MSC Visit To The Match Day Control Room
Andy said that these visits had been carried out by MSC Committee Members in the past and he was quite prepared to ask Stadium Manager Colin Sayer whether two Committee members could visit the Control Room for a future low key security match. The Committee members could observe how security worked at a game and the problems encountered on a regular match day. The MSC informed him that the Committee would return with two names.

Catering
Alan said that the club were constantly monitoring the performance of the caterers. The club and indeed the caterers themselves sent out mystery shoppers on match days to check on the service the caterers were giving. Problems seem to develop when the regular catering manager was sometimes called away to other venues. The movement of the manager was the catering company’s policy which the club had to accept. However, Alan had complained about small portions, warm beer and the running out of key resources such as sugar in some kiosks. He had also asked the caterer to improve the competency of the staff they employ. Alan stressed that if fans had any evidence of poor catering standards then they should let the club know and he would take supportable complaints to the caterers.

MSC / Club Proposed Tunbridge Wells Meeting
Following the discussion at last month’s MSC / Club meeting, it has been decided to stage a supporters club meeting in Tunbridge Wells, an area of strong Millwall support. The Club will also be represented by hopefully a Director and or a player. The proposed event will take place probably in October and is being held to strengthen relationships between the club, the MSC and an area of core support. It is hoped that future meetings in other areas of Millwall support will be held if this initial event proves successful. Andy reported that a season ticket holder, who had contacted him about bringing his family to the new Family Enclosure, said that he was aware of suitable venues in Tunbridge Wells for the event. The club will liaise with the MSC in the planning of the meeting.

MSC Newsletter
Again this Newsletter was mentioned at last month’s meeting as a way of further improving communications with the fan base. Alan said that once the MSC had produced the Newsletter, it should be sent to the club who would deliver it to current season ticket holders and members on behalf of the MSC.

MSC And The Prostate Cancer Charity
At present, there had been no contact between the Charity and the MSC. Alan said that he would try and instigate a contact between MSC and the Charity.

The Monthly Season Ticket Draw
This draw used to take place on a regular basis for prizes “money can’t buy”. Recently, however, the draw seemed to have ended. It was decided that the draw should be given a shot in the arm by holding it on the pitch at home games. Andy will investigate the feasibility of this idea.

The Removal Of Food Bank Items From The Bus After Matches
Sometimes the removal of items would not have occurred if Committee members had not taken responsibility for removal. Andy confirmed that stewards in the car park will take responsibility for moving food bank items into the club offices.

Any Other Business

  • Fan Problems In the North Stand At The Recent Carling Cup Tie Against AFC Wimbledon - A total of seven Wimbledon fans were arrested for affray at this game. The game was supposed to be a “Police Free” event but unfortunately three stewards were assaulted and hurt trying to restore order and confiscate flares from an aggressive group of fans. Those arrested will appear in Court shortly.
  • The Long Queues For Ticket Collection Before the Yeovil match - Alan explained that these queues were caused by people having to show proof of identity to pick up Season Tickets and Memberships before the first game of the season. They therefore will not be replicated in future home matches.
  • Darts At The Den - The club has teamed up with the Modus darts promoter to secure the Millwall Masters Darts Event in the Executive Lounge at The Den to be held in early September. Famous players like Andy Fordham, James Wade and world number two Michael Van Gerwen will be in attendance. The event is to be advertised in the programme for the Huddersfield game.
  • Proposed MSC Quiz Night - The MSC is to give all the proceeds from its autumn quiz night to Prostate Cancer and the Committee hoped that the charity will provide a team of competitors. Andy suggested that the current quiz format is slightly tired and in need of a re-vamp.
  • Sky Bet And Internet Filters - The fact that Sky Bet is now the sponsor of the Football League has meant that some supporters had found difficulty accessing the club’s official site, which of course advertises the sponsor. Betting companies trigger some Internet filters, which vitiate access.  Andy said he was not aware of the problem but would consult with the Football League

There being no other business, the meeting terminated at 5.32 pm. Date of next meeting September 19th 2013.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 11 July 2013

Those attending the meeting were as follows. Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Marketing Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Laura Romitelli, Paul Robinson, Jason Roseman, George Lampey and Graeme Smale (all MSC).

Season Ticket, Memberships And Junior Lion Memberships To Date
The updated numbers are given and the bracketed figures are last year's at this time. Therefore for season tickets currently 5,242 have been sold against (5587) last year. The figures for memberships are 1,634 (1,432). For Junior Lions the figures are 254 (233). Last year's season ticket total is higher because it included complimentary tickets, and these  have not been included in this year's figures. Memberships and Junior Lion totals will increase as the season gets closer. As the club desperately needs to increase its young fan base, it is heartening to see that there are more under 12, 16 and 21 memberships this season. It is thought that this increase in junior members might be an early indication of Alan William's work to give more value to junior memberships.

The New Family Enclosure
Andy / Alan reported that the new family enclosure area was now virtually completed. The family section of the stand had been re-designed to appeal specifically to juniors with a games area in the concourse. Committee members were invited to look around the enclosure at 4pm on 22nd July before the next supporters' club committee meeting. Although a discussion was held at the last club meeting, the MSC had not been involved in the establishment of the new family area, which had happened soon after the meeting. The MSC was disappointed that the club had decided to act independently of its official supporters club. The MSC would certainly have been able to help in giving advice on fan matters around the setting up of the new area and would have been able to assist in the liaison with the fans affected. To cut the MSC out all together had rendered the supporters club powerless and had encouraged the belief that fan liaison was something the club talked about but were not keen to implement in setting up the family area. This was obviously a fan based issue. To exacerbate matters the club had become involved in a wrangle with individual supporters and had again not involved the MSC.
Andy stated that the club found benefit in dealing with the MSC. He continued that he was keen to maintain the monthly meetings with the supporters club as he found them useful and thought the club got benefit out of them. Alan explained that there was some urgency to get the new family enclosure established before the new season and that he had not been at the club long enough to see the benefit of MSC liaison, which he now understood. Andy and Alan apologised for excluding the MSC from this matter.
The MSC emphasised the dangers of responding to criticisms on message boards rather than go through the regular channels of fan representation.
Alan countered that he thought he had a duty to see fans who had complaints about projects in which he had an involvement. It now appeared that things had settled again with the reasons for moving the enclosure being generally understood. Alan said that he saw the new family area as a way of attracting new fans to the club. Indeed, some families had preferred to stay in the old family enclosure as they liked their seats. 

MSC's Relationship With The Football Club
The discussion regarding the family enclosure lead on to a discussion about the relevance of the MSC to the fans and the football club. Andy remarked that if the MSC was considered relevant, why was it so difficult to recruit committee members. It could be seen that the supporters club was isolated from the main stream of the fan base. Bob said that the Committee made strenuous efforts every year to attract new committee members. It should be remembered that the people who volunteer are somewhat unique as they have a deep desire to help the club move forward and to improve fan relations. They give up a large amount of their time to attend meetings, club occasions etc on a free and voluntary basis and this does not appeal to the average fan who just wants to engage with the club on matchdays. It was pointed out that where the MSC and the Club were lacking was in engaging the main rump of fans who do not use the message boards. But how was this to be done? The answer probably lies in more extensive fan surveys. The MSC also asked whether the club database could be used to produce a regular supporters' club newsletter. Andy said he would look into this.
It was also decided to try to energise areas of club support away from the ground. It was suggested that a first local meeting could be held in Tunbridge Wells, where the club database indicated there was a large area of support. The club would provide representatives and a hopefully a player and would hold the meeting jointly with the supporters club. It is hoped that such local meetings will generate and encourage more focussed and constructive club and MSC support. Issues such as running coaches to home games could be discussed at these meetings in the hope of getting more people out on matchdays. Andy said he would come back to the MSC with suggestions on a jointly worded invitation to a meeting which would be sent to season ticket holders and members in the Tunbridge Wells area.

Fan Behaviour
Andy reported that there had lamentably been 60 arrests following the crowd disturbances at the Wembley Semi Final. Unfortunately, those arrested and found guilty including those cautioned would be subject to indefinite bans. A caution is regarded in law as an admission of guilt. Bans would be reviewed in extenuating circumstances. The club must deal with this difficult issue in the most logical way due to its high profile nature.

The Club Shop
Alan has taken control of ordering items for the shop to improve its stock. He is in the process of introducing new ranges. He hopes to have a new line of executive quality tee shirts, polo shirts and jumpers available shortly. This will be known as the Morton Range and will have the club insignia displayed discreetly to allow the wearer to use at smart casual and work occasions. He has also commissioned the Legends Range and hopes to have shirts involving the first two legends, Neil Harris and Barry Kitchener, out by Christmas. He is open to suggestions as to who the next two legends should be. Further, Alan has spoken to a company who will manufacture retro team shirts for the shop. He currently has a promotion which involves two tee shirts for £20 and the club version of the Jack Daniels tee shirt has proved particularly popular. Alan hopes that these new ranges will turn around the shop's performance but said that retail is not a quick fix. Jason asked whether a club ale would be available to purchase through the shop but was told that this initiative had not proved successful in the past. If a real ale was to be made available it would be sold in the club lounges on matchdays and possibly at some concourse kiosks.

The First Team Shirt
Will be worn for the first time by the team at Paul Robinson's testimonial on 27th July and will be available in the shop the week after that game.
It is hoped that the first, second and third kits will all be on sale by the Yeovil game on 3rd August. Alan has been able to negotiate deals which will mean Lillywhites and Soccer Scene will stock Millwall shirts

MSC Badges
George reported that the new MSC badge will arrive any time within the next week and will start to be handed out at Paul Robinson's testimonial.

The Fans Forum
This is to be held on 1st August and Steve Lomas will be available. Who he brings with him has not as yet been resolved.

The Fetes
These have been successful again this year with thousands of membership forms being handed out. Alan is committed to promotion of the club through significant local fetes.

Anything Significant To Come Out Of The Leagues Summer Meeting
The League is interested in clubs setting up their own features on YouTube. Apparently this could provide a significant income generation stream.
The international loans system has been reviewed so that teams cannot take unlimited loans from abroad. The League will announce a new sponsor in the near future. Andy is now a Championship representative at the Football League and FA, and hopes to represent the club's interests to a greater extent.

Any Other Business

  • An attempt is being made to improve catering for wheel chair and disabled supporters. The club is hoping to institute an order and delivery service.
  • The Prostate Cancer Charity hopes to raise some £100,000 in contributions over the next year with some coming back to the club / community scheme for good works. The charity will probably be liaising with the MSC for fan based checks and initiatives
  • The club is to have an open training day on the morning of 30th July. The players will be training on the North half of the pitch and so a section of a stand will be open for fan attendance. The MSC asked for this event to be well advertised.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.35pm. Date of next meeting August 8th.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 9 May 2013

The following attended the meeting. Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson, Laura Romitelli, Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Number Of Season Ticket Sales To Date For Next Season
Andy reported that 5,036 tickets have been sold to date. At the same time last year 4,736 had been sold. The extension of the Early Bird purchase period together with the provision of Zebra Finance, which allows fans to pay in instalments, may have aided higher sales.

The Board And The Strategy To Recruit A New Manager
Andy stated that Kenny Jackett had indicated after the final game that he had an intention to resign. Andy had spent some time talking to him on the telephone to change his mind. However, as the conversations continued, it appeared more obvious that Kenny had run out of steam and thought it was the best thing for the club that a new personality was brought in to stimulate more progress. Andy continued that Kenny had shown tremendous selflessness. He was only interested in the development of the club and thought a new manager with new energy was needed. Kenny thought his time had naturally come to an end and formally resigned at the Board meeting last Monday. Andy and the Board are in positive mood about the future whilst also being sorry to see Kenny leave and wishing him well. The Chairman is still very keen to push Millwall forward and there is a sense of club unity with an opportunity to renew and progress again. The MSC expressed some concern that with the shorter summer period and an early August start, there was a need to bring in a new manager fairly urgently so that the new man had time to assess the squad and bring in the necessary re-inforcements.
Andy stated that he thought a new manager could be in place in roughly a month. There was a need to make an appointment before the players returned to training. As regards transfer activity, the majority of deals will be completed in July when the players have returned from holidays. There will be no pre-season tour this year and the club was arranging local friendlies. There will be a game staged at The Den for Paul Robinson’s testimonial but the details have not been finally completed yet. Andy said that he had already received a number of applications for the managers job. Because the club had now had three seasons in the Championship, the standard of applications was generally higher than those received six years ago before Kenny was appointed.
 
The New Commercial Director And Early Developments In Marketing Policy
Andy introduced Alan Williams the new Commercial Director, who joined the club at the start of April following the departure of Ray James. Alan told the meeting that it was vital that Millwall attracted larger numbers of juniors and families to the club. Families with children will make up the supporters of the future and were essential for the club’s continued existence. He had already set to work on improving the benefits of Junior Lions membership. He explained that membership of the Junior Lions should provide much more than just ticket discounts. He has contacted retailers to establish a commercial relationship with them whereby Junior Lion holders will receive discounts on goods sold in the shops. He now plans to split the membership into two sections. The Zampa’s Pride section will exist for children from birth to 11 whilst The Team Wall section will cover the 12-16 year olds. He is in the process of finding retailers appropriate for these age groups. Alan continued that he had already secured a partnership with outlets local to the ground for retailers such as Toys R Us, Frankie & Bennys, Hollywood  Bowl and Game. He was also trying to involve Tesco. Overall he currently had some twelve retailers on board. Once the ties local to the ground are established, the scheme could be rolled further out to retailers in other areas of Millwall support.
The Millwall Family Enclosure had once again failed to gain League accreditation and Alan had positioned himself in and around the Enclosure for some of the last home games. He related to the meeting some examples of poor behaviour and vitriolic swearing, which demonstrated why behaviour in the Enclosure had fallen below an acceptable standard. For the good of the club, standards had to improve in the Family Area and steps will be taken to ensure such improvement. The position of the Enclosure in the ground is currently under consideration together with making the associated concourse and entrances much more family friendly. It was Alan’s intention to establish a strong database of families / Junior Lions who were happy with their section of the ground. To further encourage younger fans, Alan was contacting local schools to set up an ambassador scheme whereby each school will have a relationship with its own allocated Millwall player. The player will attempt to foster and enhance a connection between the school, the pupils and the club. Alan will involve the Junior Lions Committee in these initiatives.
Rather than being deterred by Millwall’s current press image, Alan stated that he saw much good in the club and was up for the challenge of improving its commercial marketability. To start to deal with the lower attendances Alan has used Groupon to advertise and provide discount tickets. At a recent match, some 276 new fans were attracted to attend through Groupon. Details of these new supporters have been added to the club’s database.

Sponsors For The New Season
Andy stated that Racing + had ended its shirt sponsorship with the club but still wanted to be included as a club sponsor elsewhere. Best Pay had terminated its sponsorship. The club does not currently have a main shirt sponsor and probably will not have one when the new shirts arrive in June. This is a fairly normal event and a sponsor’s logo can be added to an already manufactured shirt. Alan said that this year sponsors are trying to cut a harder deal with clubs, as there are less sponsors around. It may be that the club decides initially to go without a main shirt sponsor and then waits for anything to develop.

MSC And The Summer Fetes
Alan said he would return to the Committee with the fetes the club propose to attend and the likely MSC input required

Will The Change To American Ownership Affect The Operation Of Lindleys The Current Stadium Caterers
 Andy considered that little change would be seen, with the company recruiting more clubs for next season. It is hoped that Terry, Lindleys manager for Millwall, will stay in his position as he has built up a good relationship with the club.

Any Early Results From The Fans Survey Carried out Before The Forest Home Game
Alan said that less favourable results were received regarding the shop and the stewarding but on the whole most seemed to class the match day experience as not too bad. The results will not be released but a further survey will be completed into next season to ascertain whether any measures of improvement implemented by the club have had the desired effect.

A Supporter’s Choice For The 2014 / 15 Shirt Design
Andy re-iterated that the supporters will be given a choice of preferred designs to vote upon before the choice of kit is finally determined for the season after next.

The New MSC Committee
Bob informed the club that following the recent AGM, the Committee now has 13 members. A new member, Stan Godwin, now joins the 12 from last year.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.15 pm. Date of next meeting 27th June 2013.
 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 21 February 2013

Those present were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive, Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson (MSC Vice Chairman) and Graeme Smale (MSC Secretary).

Season Tickets, Memberships And Junior Lions Totals To Date
Andy stated that to date there are 6,500 Season Ticket Holders, 5,425 Memberships and 960 Junior Lions. The membership total has increased due to the hope the club might get to Wembley in the Cup. A conversation then followed regarding increasing home crowds. Andy stated that the club must attract extra home attendance as it will not be able to maintain its position in the higher leagues if the amount of home support is not increased. The forthcoming Financial Fair Play regulations will also make life more difficult if more are not attracted to watch matches at the Den. Andy continued by saying he was looking to increase support in the local community by working with groups like Millwall For All. He is also considering calling a meeting with fan representatives to explore the establishment of a group to help encourage attendance under the banner of a name like “Protect Our Club”. The MSC pointed out that any dip in home attendances can be attributed to current poor home form. The implementation of security measures and banning orders should also be reviewed. There is a need to take action to encourage home attendance, as this is a fundamental issue facing the club moving forward.

The Complaint To Sky Made By The MSC Following Their Programme That Claimed To Be An In Depth Investigation Into Racism In The Game
Not surprisingly, given the club’s history with the media, this programme concentrated almost entirely on filmed happenings at Millwall. The MSC had written a letter of complaint to Sky pointing out that the programme had chosen to ignore other more high profile examples of racist behaviour at Premiership venues and had seemed to tar all Millwall fans as racists. Andy had noted the contents of the letter and asked about the progress of the complaint. Bob responded by saying that Sky had contacted the MSC and a meeting had been arranged at Sky’s offices with the Executive Editor responsible for the programme to discuss its content and its effect. Andy hoped the MSC would emphasise the programme’s negative effects.
If Sky really wanted to expose racism, why had the broadcaster sat on racist incidents for weeks without reporting them to Millwall, the Police and the football authorities, choosing to make a programme about them? Why had Sky gone to Sepp Blatter, the president of FIFA, to discuss the incidents and bi-passed the games governing bodies in this country? Is Sky aware that these sorts of programmes have a demoralising effect on people who combat racism and help the community at a club situated in a deprived inner city area? The MSC noted these points and they will be aired at the forthcoming meeting with Sky. Some fans had asked whether the club could get its Anti-Racism banner on display at the next televised game against Blackburn in the Cup. Andy said he would consider this.

Information Regarding Next Year’s Season Ticket Prices
Andy stated the announcement of next season’s Early Bird season ticket sales period was all ready to go. Season tickets for next season will be on sale from 27th February at this season’s prices until the Early Bird sale period ends on 17th April. Instalment payment facilities are also available. When the Early Bird payment period ends, there will be a slight rise in prices.

Were The Club Aware Of The Over Policing At Luton Before The Cup Match
Andy said he was aware that there would be an extensive Police operation. This was inevitable as the media were highlighting the trouble in 1985. The club does not in any way control the level of Police deployed at matches on the day.

Supporter Input Into First Team Shirt Design For Season 2014/5
The MSC had discussed this at the last club meeting and had agreed in outline that the club should submit two designs to be subjected to a fans vote. Andy was aware of this agreement and would alert the MSC at the appropriate time.

A Loyalty Scheme For Away Travel
MSC were thinking about a loyalty scheme for season ticket holders. Those season ticket holders who frequently travel away on a regular basis should be able to secure their away tickets before those that travel more infrequently. MSC consideration of away loyalty was heightened when some season ticket holders who are frequent away travellers were unable to get their Luton away tickets due to a crash in online ticket sale facilities. The loyalty scheme could function on a points system relating to the number of away matches a season ticket holder attended. Andy hoped that online sales would be able to cope with future ticket demands.

Catering
Again the MSC had been hearing from fans that kiosks around the ground were running out of important provisions on match days. Ted said that a kiosk in the East Lower had not cooked chips at the start of a recent game and the fans had to wait for them. Andy said he would investigate any complaint that could be substantiated with the caterers

Regional Supporter Groups
This club idea has not progressed since it was aired some three meetings ago.

The Replica Wembley Stone
The real stone, which recognises Millwall’s affiliation to English football, has been laid at The National Stadium. This project has been financed by the MSC. The replica stone has now been transported to Andy’s office to be placed at the agreed spot in our ground at the entrance to ‘Arry’s Bar.

Review Of The Loan System
In response to an MSC question, Andy said that largely due to the way Watford had used the loan system this season, the Football League will be asked to subject international loans to the same regulations as domestic loans

There Being No Other Business, the meeting ended at 6.40 pm. The Date Of The Next Meeting is to be arranged.

 

   MSC / Club Meeting - 10 January 2013

Those attending: Andy Ambler (Club Chief Executive) Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson and Graeme Smale (Both MSC).

Update On Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lion Totals
At present the club has 6,106 season ticket holders, 4,875 members, 162 half season ticket holders and 865 Junior Lions. There is obviously an ongoing need to increase home attendance to compete at this level.  The fall in Junior Lion figures is particularly worrying as the younger fans are the future of the club. The club are addressing this shortfall somewhat by trying to invite junior / school teams in its area to use the Millwall coaching set up and /or the tickets offers targeted at them, in the hope that team members and their families become attracted to support Millwall. Further, the club’s marketing team needs a closer relationship with the Junior Lions Committee.

Ticket Arrangements For The Forthcoming Leeds Game
Andy said that he would be in touch with the Leeds Chief Executive to ascertain what arrangements will be in place for our fans to visit Elland Road this season. He hoped the need for a voucher exchange for tickets system could be dropped but stressed that the West Yorkshire Police Force would make this decision. Liaison with Leeds will help the process as persuasion from both clubs might sway a final decision. The position will be clearer soon.

The Placing Of The Wembley Stone
A stone recognising the club's contribution to English football and paid for by MSC, has been placed at the site on Olympic Way, Wembley. A replica of this stone has been made to be sited at The Den. It has been decided that the appropriate place for this stone is beside the entrance of 'Arry's Bar where it will be visible for supporters making their way around the ground and for fans using supporters' bar.

Information Regarding Next Year's Season Ticket Prices
Andy stated that the club were considering selling season tickets earlier this year to give people more time to purchase. It could be that next season's season tickets are on sale in early February at the same price as this season, and this price will be held until April. It is hoped that an instalment payment plan will be available for this period to help fans to purchase. For season tickets purchased after the April cut of date, a slight price increase is envisaged. The MSC asked what the club is going to do about prices for younger supporters when the school leaving age is increased to eighteen by the Government. Andy said that Government proposals are unclear at present and the club has time to plan for this eventuality. Research will have to be carried out to ascertain the effect that any price changes has on club revenues.

Team Shirts And Supporter Involvement In Their Design
The MSC asked about the design of the team shirt next season, which marks the 20th year at the new ground. Andy replied that this shirt has now been designed. The club had discussed the design with its shirt manufacturer Macron and this shirt design will be displayed closer to the start of next season. The MSC asked whether future shirt designs could be subject to a fans’ vote. Andy said that this would be difficult as it was harder to achieve a result when trying to satisfy a number of different opinions. After some discussion, it was decided that the 20014 /15 team shirt design could be subjected to supporter opinion if the club chooses two designs and the fans are asked to vote on their preferred choice. Andy stated that, due to production time limits, designs must be worked out shortly to accommodate a fans’ vote. He also confirmed that a new deal had been completed and Macron will  be the shirt manufacturers for the next three years.  This will be announced at a public presentation in the near future.

SE16 Bar And The CBL Concourse Opening
The MSC asked about the success of the Bar and Andy replied that it was performing well. There were some problems around when the Bar should be closed before matches and it was thought more clarification was needed with signage stating it would close forty five minutes before kick-off.  That being the case, it should then close at that time.

End Of Season Fundraising Events
Andy was keen to continue Millwall’s association with the Findlay Cooper Charity and the Lions Trust. Now that the pitch has been re- laid, it should be possible to hold the Lions Trust Cup at the ground again at the end of the season, before the top surface grass is renewed in preparation for next year. Andy has also spoken to Ian Toal and it should be possible to fit in a game to raise money for the Findlay Cooper Trust. Further the club are keen to provide its catering facilities for hire at such events. A number of groups / firms are always interested in using the pitch after the season’s end but Andy stressed that Millwall should use this facility to provide useful revenue for the club. He is thinking of maybe staging an event to raise money for the Youth Academy and this would have to be fitted into the end of season schedule.

MSC Liaison With Police Forces Before Away Matches
Bob stated that he had spoken to the Sussex Police before the recent Brighton away game and had found the dialogue useful as the general method of policing the match was discussed and an opportunity was created to pass helpful information on to the fans making the journey. He hoped the supporters’ club could engage in a helpful and informative dialogue with other Police Forces throughout the country when Millwall visit away venues.

Other Business

  • When Does Adam Smith’s Loan Deal From Spurs End?
    Andy replied that Adam’s loan ends on 30th January.
  • Can The Blue Bus Be Hired To Attend Private Functions?
    Andy said that it could not due to very high third party liability insurance payment that would have to be paid.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.20 pm. Date of next meeting 21st February 2013.

 

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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