MSC / Club Meeting - 5 February 2015

Those attending were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson (MSC Vice-Chairman).

Season Ticket, Half Season Ticket Membership And Junior Lions Totals To Date
To date the club has 5.712 season ticket holders, 46 half season tickets holders (compared with 79 last year), 5799 members and 931 Junior Lions.

Away Season Tickets 2015/16
The MSC asked if the club intended to repeat this offer next season. The scheme has been well received and it is intended that it will happen again next season with the same terms and conditions.

Season Tickets 2015/16
“Earlybird” publicity will be launched on 27 February and tickets will be on sale from 2 March for six weeks.

The Future of “We Fear No Foe” and “No One Likes Us”
It had been speculated that these taglines were being sidelined by the club. It was agreed that whilst “We Fear No Foe” is only used in a historical context, “No One Likes Us” is our most marketable tagline and it is alive and well and available on numerous products in the Lions Stores.

The Current Position Of The Fan On The Board
Peter is having another operation next week and he will have to reduce his role for the time being. Pete has not made an announcement and intends to carry on as best he can. Bob confirmed that if any consultation is needed during Pete’s absence then he is available, and the chairman is aware of this.

Euro Ferries
Andy said that there was still nothing that could be reported on this.

Security at The Training Ground
The question of kids and adults at the Training Ground was brought up, particularly considering that half term is not far away. The club confirmed that as a general rule there is no access to the Training Ground. Supporters can apply to have access but it may not be given. However, consideration will be given to holding an open training session at the Den during half term.

Leeds Away
Bob related that he had been contacted by Cliff Stott, an academic and respected expert in the policing of crowds, particularly in the environment of football, who is based in West Yorkshire. Non-traditional policing methods had been used at Bradford, but this would not be the case at Leeds. He will contact Bob again after the match to obtain feedback.

Rotherham Away
South Yorkshire Police have contacted Bob in order to open up a channel of communication to enable them to get their messages out in advance of our trip to Rotherham.

Player Of The Season
Votes will be taken around the Watford home match on 11 April. There is still a demand for non-internet voting. Presentation to be made before the Derby match on 25 April.

There being No Other Business the meeting ended at 6.35 pm. The date of the next meeting is Thursday 19 March.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 8 January 2015

Those attending were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Stan Godwin, Kevin Allen, Paul Robinson and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Ticket, Half Season Ticket Membership and Junior Lions Totals to date
To date the club has 5.712 season ticket holders, 46 half season tickets holders (compared with 79 last year), 5799 members and 931 Junior Lions.

The Price of Next Years' Season Tickets
The MSC pointed out that the poor home form was eroding core support and the club acknowledged this. There was an intention to freeze season ticket prices next season.

The Current Position of The Fan On The Board
Peter had become ill again and required an operation. It was clear therefore that he will have to reduce his role for the time being. After limited consultation with Peter, Bob suggested that for the period of Peter's current difficulties, the MSC should step in and Bob should be the regular fan contact with the club. Andy thought that this was a good idea and would discuss this suggestion with Peter when he saw him at the Blackpool away game.

The Current Position of Euro Ferries, The Shirt Sponsor
The club were unable to comment on this.

The Ground

  • Stewarding in the East Stand
    The MSC asked why there were a line of stewards in Block 19. Although this block was close to the away end, it was in the upper tier and there was little chance that a fan could reach the opposing supporters even if something was thrown. The line of stewards seemed more of an incitement to the fans rather that a measure to ensure orderly behaviour. Once fans ran past the line there was not much they could achieve anyway as they were also hampered by the side of the East Stand. Andy said he would discuss the matter with his security staff.
  • The Old Jumbotron Site
    This was now beginning to look very shabby with the old scaffolding and the plastic sheeting. The club is still deciding what to do. It maybe that a simple scoreboard and clock could suffice.

The Operation of the Ticket Office over Christmas
Stan said he had received a complaint from a fan who tried to buy tickets for the Bradford game on 31st December. The ticket office was not open on that day but he was not made aware of this when he attempted to buy his tickets by telephone. The recorded message asked him to hold and he stayed on the line for a long period without success. Andy was surprised by this and would investigate. Stan gave him the fan's contact details.

The Shop
It had been reported to the MSC that the shop had run out of junior kit sizes. Alan said this was incorrect. Although the Junior XL size had run out, most junior sizes were still in stock. Unfortunately once stock had been exhausted there was no facility to replenish it as the club buys in its entire stock for one season. That is how business is done at most clubs. New stock will be available in the new kit design which will arrive next June. Some supporters had apparently had problems returning kit that had been initially bought in the wrong size. Again Alan was surprised to hear this and thought in cases where returns may be resisted, this could be down to a staff training problem. If stock had originally been bought by mistake in the wrong size, it will exchanged provided the return is in good condition.

The Regeneration 
Things seem to have gone quiet again and there was no news to report.

Any Other Business

  • The Visit To Leeds - Andy said that this will involve a voucher scheme again as the Police are refusing to drop the procedure. Further with the change of ownership at Leeds, the club is less sympathetic to Millwall's cause. Once again Andy had tried hard to get the voucher system overturned.
  • Colin Sayer - the Stadium manager, has been diagnosed with kidney cancer and received treatment.  MSC will send best wishes to Colin on behalf of the fans.
  • Arry’s Bar - Paul pointed out that there seems to be problems in 'Arrys about changing barrels - again it appears staff training is required.

There being No Other Business the meeting ended at 6.35 pm Date of next meeting either 5th or 12th February 2015.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 30 October 2014

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (MFC), Alan Williams (MFC), Bob Asprey (MSC Chair), Laura Romiteli, Stan Godwin (both MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership and Junior Lions totals update. Do Junior Lions receive birthday cards?
Season tickets - 5,662 (with additions of 4-5 a week). Half season tickets will launch at the end of the first week of November with the first eligible game being Bournemouth and providing twelve games, given the way the fixtures fall. Membership - 5,294; 1,000 up on last season, principally due to the early Fulham away fixture. Junior Lions - 836 (up 40-50 on last season). It was confirmed that Junior Lions do receive birthday cards up to age 16. These are issued on a weekly basis.

Commemorative kit, online pre-sales and an additional order
There will be no additional order of this shirt. There may be a small amount (20-30) of samples in Macron’s warehouse. If they can be made available in the club shop for the Brentford game, they’ll be on sale. There are some junior sizes left from the original order, otherwise the full run of 1,500 is sold out. Media coverage was overwhelmingly positive. Sky will be doing a piece a day or two before the game. The Sun made a donation to Headley Court for the exclusive. The shirts worn by the players on the day will be autographed and auctioned, with proceeds again going to Headley Court.
To the question of whether  something similar might be organised in future? Don’t know. Let’s let the euphoria of this year die down and take it from there. There’s a year’s lead time with this type of project, so it is unlikely. For the Watford away fixture, they will be playing in black and white stripes. This is based on their kit from 1914. This is their home fixture closest to Remembrance Sunday so there will also be a minute’s silence. The ‘Remember’ video has had over 75,000 YouTube views and should exceed 100,000. There is a provisional plan to make a fifteen minute DVD of the matchday and sell it for in the region of £5. It would be available before Christmas. The sheer weight of internet traffic crashed the website in respect of shirt sales. As this was a completely one off event, it’s not something that needs further attention.

Update on Euroferries
There are ongoing discussions. Euroferries were reminded that the MSC travel questionnaire will not be issued until the firm has some transport facilities in place. The boat is in the second phase of their operations, according to Alan: coaches first, then ferry. 

Update on the Jumbotron
Not sure when this will happen. There has been feedback to the club along the lines of ‘why spend the money, all that’s needed is a scoreboard and a clock’. There is no real commercial opportunity with a high tech screen, perhaps a maximum of £10,000 a season. Any scoreboard should and would have functionality to display messages, other scores, etc. A 4m x 2m scoreboard would cost around £20,000, compared to a fully functional video screen costing c £150,000.

Away shirt vote. Was this done the best way?
There were 106,000 votes for the away shirt from 66 countries, including Namibia, so it certainly caught the public imagination. The choice of four came from an original Macron submission of seven options, one of which was pink. The winner was the fairly traditional white shirt with blue stripe.

Charlton tickets – what is the plan for when they go on sale?
The club has been assured that the new ticketing system will work. There will be extra staff in the call centre and ticket office, and there will be an article on the club website to this effect a day or two before the sale opens. Phones will definitely not cut out, as that functionality has been switched off. Bob suggested that the club should be able to respond better to any issues that do arise on the day. Twitter and Facebook will be used for the quickest response but the club were advised to use the regular website as well, as, for office based supporters, sites such as Facebook and Twitter are disabled or inaccessible. The on sale date is relatively late but has been deliberately deferred so that it receives the ticket office’s full attention.

Are we maximising revenue from pitchside advertising?
It’s up over £50,000. Advertising capacity has been increased, hence there are a couple of empty plinths. Also, old advertising isn’t left up ‘for free’, as was the case in the past.

How much did the PCUK sponsorship cost us? What is the latest FFP outlook?
Nothing in terms of expenditure. The charity paid for the branding, etc, and the club raised £25,000 as well. Clearly it cost us in terms of not taking on a shirt sponsor, but the options were not good; however, it indirectly raised our income due to the positive exposure it gave us. Financial Fair Play outlook: our figures are poor. We should scrape through with our figures from last season. This season, without a cup run/player sale, we may fail. Revenue is up for the first quarter of the season, but it needs to increase again. Two other chairmen have told our chairman that he should raise ticket prices, but he has said no. However, the chairman has said that he wants fans to bring friends/family along to increase the gate. The club are not impressed with the BBC ‘cost of football’ survey, which is simply an unaudited questionnaire. There is an EGM of the Football League next Thursday (6 November), which is looking at changing the FFP rules, from 2016/2017, to match Premier League rules: looking at a three year rolling period, not annual, and other changes. The FFP rules are different in England across all four leagues and they’re hoping to bring some consistency.

Tiered membership 2015-16. Any progress?
This is still under discussion, with the next meeting with the provider on 18 November. When Alan is happy, it will go to Andy and then to the MSC. Commitment to the scheme needs to be made by February.

Juniors now stay in education until they are 18. Should we review the 16 year old cut off for ticket prices?
There is an opt out to this rule, if the person has work. At the opposite end of the scale, there are only three clubs in the Championship with OAPs set at age 60. Andy thinks the criteria should be led by the league and suggested it is something the FSF could pick up. Bob will take this up.

Quiz Night - Wednesday 19 November. Can we get directors/players/managers?
Andy will bring a team and they will put a notice on the training ground noticeboards.

Refurbishment of the blue bus
Nobody seems to know where we are with this but Andy doesn’t really see the value of doing it right now and it’s not a club priority. As such, it won’t be done this year, unless funds are raised from another source. Ideas were suggested, such as a restoration fund or seat sponsorship.

The Memorial Garden
The refurbishment is complete and the MSC is contributing to the cost. A commercial sponsor for upkeep is in place and will be announced shortly.

Update on the regeneration
Nothing new to add, this is still continuing, but no progress to speak of. Andy has been at City Hall to speak to a committee looking at stadium rebuilds and mentioned the issues we were encountering, which seemed of interest to the committee.

Any feedback regarding the MSC proposal for future FOTB candidates?
No, due to the chairman’s operation, there has been no board meeting, where this would be discussed. He’s unlikely to return to the UK until the AGM.

Any forthcoming fan associated issues for the MSC?
The launch of the half season ticket; a reminder that the Bolton game just before Christmas has been brought forward to the Friday night – one major reason for this is the closure of London Bridge station from the last service on that night. Fans are encouraged to arrive for the Brentford game early, as there will be prematch events on the pitch, along with half time entertainment. Army recruitment will be in attendance. There will be a special matchday programme, possibly costing £4, with proceeds to Headley Court – the MSC said that this type of change should be advertised in advance. The players’ shirts will be signed and auctioned, probably in the week immediately following the match. There was an idea suggested to have The Sun advertise the auction to hopefully increase the number and value of bids.

Any other business

  • Sean McCarthy, the Cannon Street poppy seller - Stan’s already carried out an interview with him for publication, but he asked if there was any chance of bringing him onto the pitch. In fact, Alan had spoken to Sean the previous day and, along with Sean coming along to the Brentford game to sell badges, he’ll be coming on to the pitch and be back for a presentation at the next game.
  • The Zorb (half time entertainment) - The second received a puncture and is being fixed and will definitely be available for Brentford.
  • Two away travel coaches this season, Reading and Wigan, ran at a loss - Could the MSC help with this? Bob reminded us that, in the past, a week or so before the away fixture, the ticket office would contact the MSC and the arrangements would be discussed. Bob will look at this and then speak to Pru and Alan. It was noted that both this games were midweek, and there might be an argument for increasing the cost of midweek travel to cover the expenses.

The date of the next meeting was deferred, awaiting the draw for the FA Youth Cup. The draw is due next week. Meeting closed 6.12pm

   MSC / Club Meeting - 18 September 2014

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Kevin Allen, Laura Romitelli and Graeme Smale (all MSC).

Season Ticket, Membership And Junior Lions Totals To Date
Current season ticket totals stand at 5,647 (last years' total at this time 5966), Memberships Current 5186 (last years' 4037), Junior Lions Current 808 (last years' 717). Alan said that there are normally extra season ticket sales throughout the season. Membership sales have been increased by the big games of Leeds at home and Fulham away at the start of the season. Junior Lion memberships have been inflated by the decent discounts now connected with this membership including discounts at Thorpe Park and local retail outlets of Frankie And Benny's and Toys R Us. Junior Lions Memberships will be on sale at the JL Funday on 21st September.

Any Further Dealings With Self-Styled Independent Fan Groups 
Andy stated that the club had had no more contact with any independent fan groups. He had made it quite clear that the contact with the fans would be via the MSC and any ideas should be communicated to the MSC for onward transmission to the club.

Any Feedback Regarding The MSC Proposals For Future FOTB Candidates
The MSC had put some proposals to The Football Club Board regarding the Fan On The Board position in an effort to safeguard the role in the future. Principal amongst these proposals was a requirement for any future Fan On The Board election candidate to spend at least one year on the MSC Committee prior to an election. This will allow a candidate to show his commitment to the role and foster a working relationship with the Club. Andy said that these proposals had not been considered yet. The Chairman had not been around to discuss them following the operations on his leg. Andy thought that John Berylson had set himself a target of being in attendance at the Wolves home match and hoped it would be business as usual after that.

The Memorial Garden And Consideration Of A Barrier To Protect It
Since the recent major damage to the Memorial Garden, the MSC has put in a significant effort to improve this area. MSC Committee member Kevin Allen had spent an amount of his spare time tending, weeding, planting and creosoting exposed fencing to return the garden to a standard to reflect respect and remembrance. Unfortunately, at the last home match some fans had congregated around the area and had thrown cigarette butts and empty glasses into the garden. It was agreed that there was an obvious necessity to fence the area off with a hinged gate. The fencing should be shoulder high to give the garden protection and the reverence it deserves. Discussion about the required barrier is therefore ongoing with the club.
Alan suggested that it might be possible to construct a wall within the garden to provide a simple columbarium. He suggested that rather than concentrating significant MSC funds on refurbishing the blue bus (see below), supporters' club funds could be utilised to make a marked difference to the memorial garden.

The Brass Plaque Beneath The Wembley Stone Outside 'Arry's Bar
This plaque had now been inserted in the wall above the replica Wembley Stone and was there for supporters to see. The original stone financed by the MSC has been laid at Wembley signifying the club's major and historic role as a Football League team.

Refurbishment Of The Blue Bus
MSC Committee member George Lampey had submitted to the club a thorough estimate for refurbishing the blue bus, which was now looking old and dated. This estimate included the cost of new seat covers, internal redecoration of the bus walls and additional internal lighting for supporters to visit at evening matches. The estimate had been sent some time ago but no one at the club was making a decision on how the club viewed the works and how the refurbishment would progress. Andy said he would discuss the matter with John who drove the bus and looked after it. Bob said that MSC would contribute half the cost of any refurbishment works.

Replacement Of The Jumbotron
Alan stated that this project would be extremely costly. He thought it could be in the region of £150,000 to £200,000. The club were currently mid way through the project. A company had carried out a site visit and the club now understood the information that could be provided for the money it could afford. There was certainly a need for any new facility to provide advertising opportunities. Alan continued that advertising opportunities were still difficult to attract and costly to display. That is why progress had not as yet been made on signage facing the railway and renewing the stand end montages facing Zampa Road originally erected under Stuart Till's Chairmanship.

Arrangements For Parking At The Junior Lions Funday, For The FSF Meeting And Parking On Matchdays
Andy confirmed that there would be no parking in the main car park at the Funday to provide space for the exhibits. Parking would be given behind the ground to the Football Supporters Federation Delegates who were attending a meeting on the same day. A parking control company had sent the MSC notification of new parking restrictions that it was implementing on private estates around the ground on matchdays, which involved supporters being fined if they parked in the controlled areas. The MSC had publicised these new restrictions but wished to highlight them to the club. There was a clear and developing need for more parking to be found. Andy suggested that the MSC should investigate whether the local Toys R Us site could supply parking and re-investigate whether matchday parking could be offered at Ilderton Road and Deptford Green Schools.

Any Forthcoming Fan Related Issues
The club are about to discuss a number of stadium enhancement issues and one of these will be the introduction of a contactless card payment system. This system would work on a pre paid debit card scheme operating in the stadium kiosks and club shop negating the need for fans to carry cash. The club realises it has to keep up with developments in modern technology and noted that such schemes are now operating on transport systems. The club will keep MSC abreast with developments. The club is also considering a tiered membership scheme for next season and will approach MSC shortly with its proposals. A question was raised about the club sponsors, Euroferries. Apparently the company is awaiting information from MSC regarding where fans would like buses to run as transport into the ground on matchdays. It was agreed that we would deal with this request when the company had the transport to make any such scheme feasible.

Efficiency Of The Ticket Phoneline
As with the enhanced website mentioned below the MSC were very concerned with the efficient purchase of tickets particularly for upcoming big games like Charlton away. The MSC had made representations to the club every time there was a breakdown in the ticket sales system. As a result of these representations the club has tried on several occasions to improve systems. With the latest update, the call centre can take double the amount of phone enquiries it could take before and Alan said that he had been assured by the ticket operator See Tickets that there will be no longer any incidents of a caller losing his place in a queue by being cut off by the call centre. It was in See Tickets interest to ensure that they were operating efficiently as their contract is shortly coming up for renewal.

Relaunch Of The New Ticket Website
This had been re launched at no additional cost to the club as it was regarded as part of an upgrade. Alan had taken the opportunity to give the supporter a view from the seat before purchase. Again as with the phone line the club were acutely aware that ticket sales must operate as efficiently as possible. The website can now take 150 enquiries at any one time. Alan said that if possible fans should hold off from the initial rush when tickets come on sale. Under past systems employed by the club, things had settled down and worked properly again after the first half an hour of the sale period. He further noted that fans’ ticket purchase habits were changing with more purchases for home games being made in advance. Walk up sales were now amounting to less than a thousand on matchdays.

Range Of Stock In The Club Shop
Alan reported that the club shop was now performing at a much higher level under the supervision of its new manager. Since it was enlarged the shop stocks more items and many  smaller items costing £10 or less. It had shown significantly increased revenues and this was some help in the club’s battle to comply with Financial Fair Play. The arrangement of the shop floor, which allows fans to feel the merchandise they are paying for, seems also to have stimulated higher sales. Alan thought the stock was now very extensive and invited fans to contact him with any items they thought the club should stock that were not currently on offer. Additional retail areas have been set up in the South Stand and East Lower on matchdays and the old timber sales shed in the stadium grounds had been removed. Alan went on to say that the club wanted the fans to choose the away kit for next season and due to production constraints this choice had to be made by the end of October. The club would therefore be returning to MSC shortly with 4 options, which the fans could vote for over a two week period.

International Fans Groups
Alan said that the MSC will be notified of any communication the club gets from international fans groups. The club was approached by the Australian supporters group to design a logo. This was done but the intention was always to ensure that the Australian group liaised with MSC. The Australian group seemed to be flourishing with supporter nights out being arranged. There was also an intention to involve old Millwall players in group activities who were either playing for Australian teams or living out there. The MSC should try to encourage foreign supporter groups to take out football club membership as fans now living outside the UK or foreign nationals who supported Millwall often made journeys over here to support the team.

Any Other Business

  • Progress On The Regeneration - Andy stated that negotiations are still ongoing but Lewisham Council was threatening to use Compulsory Purchase Powers on the land held by the club which Renewal, the developer, wants around the stadium. The use of compulsory purchase powers would seem a spiteful and nasty move from a council which claimed it wanted Millwall to be at the heart of any regeneration scheme at the scheme’s inception. At present the Council and the club are far apart in the value of the land under consideration.
  • Access To The West Upper Blocks On Matchdays - These blocks have are accessed by a limited number of turnstyles and at recent busier games large queues are forming. The delayed access to the game that such queues produce causes some friction between the fans and stewards. The club was asked to ensure that all turnstyles that give access to the West Upper are open to alleviate lengthy delays in getting into the ground.
  • The Ladies Toilets - The MSC has received complaints that they are dirty and is passing this on to the club.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 5.30. Date of next meeting Thursday 23rd October 2014.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 24 July 2014

Those present were Bob Asprey (MSC chairman); George Lampey, Ted Robinson, Laura Romitelli (MSC); Andy Ambler (MFC CEO)

Season Ticket, Membership and Junior Lions totals to date
Season tickets 5,236 (same point last season 5,532). Revenue is higher this year due to less take up of the ‘early bird’ offer. The ticket office is also busy this week. Memberships 3,423 (2,299) Away season tickets 22 (estimated 30). Junior Lion memberships 487 (340). Under 12s season tickets c600. Crowd average last season settled at just over 11,000, which was slightly higher than the previous season. Executive boxes and executive lounge sales are going well.

Fulham tickets, ‘neutral areas’, See Tickets
There is no official ‘neutral’ area at Fulham, so the club is seeking reassurances that our fans will be policed/stewarded with no issues, given that a number have purchased tickets for the league game direct from Fulham. Today (24 July) was the first day of sales of Millwall’s allocation of Fulham tickets to members. The website today was slow at times but did not crash. See Tickets have committed to complete the website upgrade by end August and improvements should be immediate. The telephone line will keep callers on hold and not cut them off after a time, as has happened in the past.

The new shop
The new retail manager is managing the store and its stock according to a specific strategy and sales currently are exceeding expectations. The focus presently is on replica kit, which has been available for the full range of sizes since launch. Presales of the new away shirt have also gone well. There is no third strip this season, as it’s unlikely to be required. Shirt printing while you wait is also now available. Further lines will be introduced with new items available for the first home match and more throughout the season.

Association of Millwall Supporters
This group has recently sent an open letter to Alan Williams but the club will not be responding. A number of others were copied into the letter, including the News Shopper, who contacted the club and were told that the club liaises only with the MSC in respect of fan representation. The letter was critical of the ticketing for the Fulham game and the information that had been released by the club and the MSC. However, it was felt that the group would look for any opportunity to criticise the club or the MSC, so Ted suggested that both need to be very clear, consistent and specific in the information that’s communicated, to avoid misunderstanding or misinterpretation. Further, the letter was not signed by any individual(s) and the group appears intent on remaining largely anonymous. As such, it’s not possible for constructive progress to be made with the group. Andy has committed that nobody at the club will deal with the AMS as an organisation.

Euroferries Express and supporters’ coaches
Bob advised that there had been a meeting between members of the MSC and the new club sponsors to discuss the potential supporters’ coaches that would run from Kent to and from the ground on matchdays. The MSC will be launching an online survey to gauge interest and progress will be communicated through the usual channels. Kings Ferry still have a contract with the club for non -atchday parking. They also still run the first team coach and the away travel coaches.

The matchday mascot package
The MSC queried the cost of this, which, at £420, is considered expensive. Andy pointed out that one package is given away every game to a Junior Lion. As such, only one package per match is sold and sells out for the season. The package includes access to the home dressing room, time on the pitch prematch, leading the team out, and two adult and one child ticket for the family enclosure. In addition, the club offers the ‘pitchside experience’, which is a cheaper option, which obviously offers fewer benefits.

Fans Forum
This is confirmed for 7 August. Rather than the usual format of the first hour with the manager and the second with Andy, Ian Holloway has committed to being available for the duration of the meeting. Bob agreed to contact the club urgently the following morning to arrange for the official announcement of the Forum, as time is short.

The memorial garden
Kevin Allen, a recently appointed committee member, had offered to maintain the garden when the MSC became aware of the issues. As such, he had met this morning with Colin Sayer. Jobs that are planned are to: creosote the fence (items supplied by the club), plant some flowers and polish the plaques. Kevin will visit once a week to carry out the upkeep. Andy suggested that a tree could be planted to replace the one that had been removed, as it helped with the character of the garden. The MSC would like to feature Kevin’s work in a future matchday programme.

MSC spending initiatives

  • BT subscription for ‘Arry’s Bar - The club has asked for a quote and is awaiting the information. Incidentally, the renewal of the Sky subscription has come in at £17,000, a massive increase on last year at £4,800. Sky had advised the club that the previous fees were at a reduced rate and the fee now being demanded is in line with the market. The fee is calculated according to the capacity of the stadium, not the average attendance.
  • Refurbishment of the blue bus - Still under discussion.
  • Jumbotron - The club intend to replace this as soon as possible but nothing is yet finalised.

The brass plaque beneath the Wembley stone outside ‘Arry’s Bar
The plaque is with Colin and Andy will remind him that it needs to be placed. However, Colin has been extremely busy with refurbishment and changes to the executive areas, player dressing rooms and other areas.

Update on the regeneration
The memorial garden is to be accommodated in the regeneration. It will be properly moved to a new area to be identified and this clause is included in the documentation. The regeneration itself is still under review. There was a recent announcement that the council intends to proceed with a compulsory purchase order (CPO) but the detail is still unclear. Any CPO will be challenged by the club, whose position is unchanged.

Any feedback regarding the MSC proposals for future FOTB candidates
There has been no board meeting at which to discuss this but it will be an agenda item for the next meeting.

Any forthcoming fan associated issues for the MSC to be made aware of
Nothing more than already discussed. The open training session will be held on 5 August and is popular with junior supporters.

Any other business
Catering - Centreplate, the US company that bought out Linleys, has not impressed lately in their dealings with the club. There has been a change in regional management and the new management have yet to engage with the club. The club is seeking reassurances that the service will improve, although it’s acknowledged that the change may help improve matters. This relationship between the club and the caterers is overseen by Alan Williams and Veronica.

Meeting closed at 6.15pm. Next meeting: 11 September 2014.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 26 June 2014

Those present were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Football Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), George Lampey, Ted Robinson. Stan Godwin and Graeme Smale (All MSC).

Season Ticket, Memberships And Junior Membership Totals To Date
Alan gave the following information. To date 4,442 season tickets have been sold compared to last year's total at this time of 5,150. The current total of memberships sold is 1,292 compared to this time last year when 930 had been sold. Junior Memberships currently total 172 sold with last year's figure at this time amounting to 127. Alan put the current reduced number of season ticket sales compared to last years total down to the early ending of the Earlybird scheme and expected a rush in sales before the start of the season. In introducing the away ticket scheme the club wanted to help those who went to all games last season to secure their tickets without the need to queue. Seven supporters went to all games last season whilst another 24 missed only one away fixture (at Leeds). The club envisage that around 30 fans will take up the away scheme offer.

Stronger Together
The MSC was unhappy at how the club had implemented the away ticket scheme. It thought the e-mail exchange had been poor. The scheme had been announced without the final details being agreed. Peter Garston had had to be involved to re-enforce the doubts that the Committee had expressed and this had resulted in the club having to alter the scheme after it had been announced. The supporters club called for smoother and more constructive discussions in the future. Alan pointed out that e-mails were sometimes a cumbersome means of communication and that the committee could always contact him by telephone to thrash out any issues. Andy said that he saw no reason why Peter Garston should not have been involved as he is the MSC representative on the Board. Indeed it may be a good idea for Peter to be regarded as the MSC Chairman as he had direct access to the Board. A frank exchange of views followed after which it was acknowledged that lessons had been learnt for the discussion and announcements of future club initiatives.

Ian Holloway's Desire To Meet The Fans - What Is The Club's Strategy Here?
Andy said that Ian was trying to unite the club behind the common cause of trying to be as successful as possible. He had already a united management team and the players understood his philosophy. He was also keen to secure a fundamental support from the fan base to ensure that the image of the club is protected, sponsors wanted to be involved and that the press were only talking about the football the team was playing. After the scarring of the club's reputation with the supporter fighting at the Wembley FA Cup semi final last year, Ian was keen to reinforce the message that crowd misbehaviour only harms our club. He was keen to get this message across and had the idea that he should meet various factions of the fan base as he had done at QPR when that club was going through turbulent times. Quite how these meetings were going to happen and who he wished to meet was not clear yet, The MSC suggested that Ian should initially meet the Committee who could then plan a way to get his message out into the fan base and progress the initiative.

Will The Online Ticketing System And The Phone Booking System Be Robust Enough To Stand The Demand For Popular Matches Next Season?
The MSC mentioned this as there were some serious problems booking tickets before popular away games last season. Alan stated that the club had tried to rectify the problems encountered by establishing a new ticket booking website that could handle three times the number of booking enquiries. The site should now show fans the view from the seats they were booking. The Club had complained to their ticketing partner about the problems experienced by fans booking tickets by telephone. These problems seemed to involve being cut off after waiting a long time and thereby losing places in the queue. The ticket provider was aware of the problem and has informed the club that it will be rectified.

Club / MSC Arrangements For The Upkeep Of The Memorial Garden
The garden has been badly damaged by oil seeping from container lorries from an adjoining site. The lorries have also caused damage to the perimeter of the site. The club has repaired the damage but needs someone to tend the garden on a regular basis. An MSC Committee member has come forward to look after the garden and Andy asked the Committee to provide Colin Sayer with the Committee Member's details.

MSC's Offer To Meet The Cost Of A BT Subscription For Televisions In The Stadium
As part of the discussions with the club about how MSC will spend funds to benefit the supporters, it was suggested that the supporters club would stand the cost of a BT Subscription for the ground. Andy said he would look into the cost of the subscription and would return with this information.
The suggestion of helping the club with the purchase of a new Jumbotron was also discussed with Alan suggesting that MSC might use its funds to provide a new information screen that is visible to the supporters in the East Stand.

Date For The Next Fans Forum
Andy will discuss this with Ian Holloway and come back to the Committee

The Placement Of The Plaque Beneath The Wembley Stone Outside 'Arry's Bar
The Club has the plaque and Andy will ask Colin to put it up. Colin has been very busy this pre-season with quite extensive stadium modifications being completed. The away changing room has been enlarged to meet League rules. There have been changes to the Executive area and to the pressroom. The club shop has been significantly enlarged and will be open again on 11th July

Availability Of The New Season's Shirts
A shirt sponsor will be announced shortly. There have already been 300 pre-orders for the Home Shirt, which will hopefully be on sale when the club shop reopens. The away shirt will appear in the shop in early August.

Update On The Progress Of The Regeneration
Andy stated that the process was too mired in legal technicalities to comment at present

Can A Football Supporters Federation Meeting Be Held At The Den?
In principle it can but Andy would need to know when the meeting was likely to be held and what costs would be incurred by the club. The staffing of the event may be a problem.

Any Progress On A Club Museum
Alan said that the club had assembled various items of interest in glass cases in the press area. Although not forming a museum as such, these items will be on display and included in the stadium tours that are to commence on 19th July

Board Feedback Regarding A Proposal To Tie In The Fan On The Board Role To MSC Committee Membership
Andy said that the Chairman had received Bob's letter and this would be discussed at the next Board meeting in August

Are There Any Forthcoming Fan Initiatives Proposed By The Club
Andy said nothing major is currently planned but it is hoped that Ian Holloway and his squad will have an open training day on the pitch before the season starts. There is a possibility that a significant sponsorship deal will be announced in the near future but the club will maintain its close ties with the Prostate Cancer Charity

Any Other Business
The club is planning some interesting celebrations for Armed Forces Day to be held at the Brentford game on 8th November. These celebrations will be announced shortly.

There Being No Other Business, the meeting Ended at 5.38 pm. Date of next meeting 24th July 2014.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 10 April 2014

Those present were Andy Ambler (football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Football Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), James Groves, Laura Romitelli, Stan Godwin, Paul Robinson and Graeme Smale (all MSC)

Season Ticket Sales
To date season ticket sales for next season stand at 3667. This compares with a total last year of 4000 early bird sales

Memberships
MSC asked about the cost of memberships for next season. Andy Ambler said that there was no intention to raise the cost of memberships or matchday tickets currently. MSC responded by asking why there was a need to increase season ticket pricing. Andy replied that season ticket holders had not had a price rise for three years and season ticket pricing was beginning to look like a deal that was out of line compared to matchday prices. It was therefore necessary to address this price imbalance. The price of season tickets was therefore raised to close the gap between the value of season tickets and matchday tickets. Andy continued that supporters were not extensively using the MSC membership discount for the purchase of matchday tickets. Alan added that there was still scope to offer discounted tickets for some less popular games.

Player Of The Year Dinner
This function will go ahead as planned with details being released shortly. Andy said there may be a case for the MSC player of the season award to be presented at the Doncaster game rather than leaving it to the last home match against Bournemouth when the players might have significant issues to deal with.

The Fan On The Board Election
Voting will take place online between 16th to 21st April. Paper votes will be taken at the blue bus on 21st April at the Doncaster game with the result to be announced shortly afterwards.

Jimmy Mizen Brick For The Millwall Wall
Alan informed MSC that he had received no contact from the Mizen family regarding a brick for Jimmy in the Millwall wall. The MSC understood the family wanted a brick to commemorate Jimmy’s association with the club. The MSC will now oversee this task to completion.

Update On Negotiations Concerning The Regeneration
The club has met with Lewisham council and Renewal on some three occasions. There has been some progress but at present this is fragile. Supporters should continue to sign the petition against the sale of land around the ground to Renewal. With elections forthcoming, fans should also remember how difficult current Mayor Steve Bullock has made this issue for the club.

MSC Contribution To The Refurbishment Of The Bus
Committee member George Lampey has made enquiries and has discovered that the internal refurbishment of the blue bus with new seats and covering would cost in the region of £4,300. The MSC said it would share the cost of this with the club but Alan said he also wanted an external redecoration with the bus showing the correct club badge. Andy thought that the bus refurbishment was less of a consideration than the replacement of the Jumbotron. The supporters club accumulates funds on an annual basis and could help replace this expensive piece of equipment with contributions over a number of years. Further Andy asked for a list of 10 ways that MSC funds could be used to enhance the supporters’ matchday experience. MSC should use the funds they have not just build up a balance. It was pointed out that MSC has made significant expenditure in recent years and would be grateful if the club could publicise these contributions more on their official site.

Summer Fetes
Alan said that he expected the club to be present at Bermondsey, Lewisham, Dartford and Blackheath. MSC queried whether some of these events would be run this year. Alan said he would get Sammy Catchpole to contact Bob to clarify the club’s plans.

The Bristol City Supporters Lift Share Plan
Bob said he had seen details of this plan of lift sharing to home and away venues to encourage supporter attendance. He would e-mail the scheme details to Andy / Alan for the club to look into

The MSC Badge
Bob informed the club that the MSC were updating their badge to incorporate a Lion that would resemble the Lion used by Lions Live

Loyalty Scheme
MSC pointed out the difficulty that fans had to obtain QPR away tickets. In view of difficulties relating to the purchase of tickets for popular matches, MSC asked whether a loyalty scheme could be implemented. Andy said that such matches were rare but he was happy to implement a scheme if MSC thought it represented what the fans wanted. He thought the easiest way of setting up a scheme was to ask whether season ticket holders wanted to be included in a system whereby they were sent tickets for all away games. The participants could not pick and choose their matches, it would have to relate to all away games. The scheme would only be open to season ticket holders. The MSC will discuss this issue.

Disabled Facilities at QPR
MSC were not happy that QPR were only offering three pairs of disabled tickets for our away game. Andy asked Bob to e-mail him with this complaint and he would pass it on to the Football League

Fan Initiatives
The club are considering operating a beam back for the QPR game. The darts evening scheduled at the club is not selling at present but it is hoped that interest will improve closer to the June event. The organisers have agreed to take a share of the tickets for this event.

Any Other Business
Paul asked whether the SE16 Bar was proving a success. Andy replied it was and there was no perceptible diminution in ‘Arry’s Bar’s takings

There being no other business, the meeting closed at 6.17 pm. Date of next Meeting 15th May 2014.

   MSC / Club Meeting - 30 January 2014

Those in attendance were Andy Ambler (Football Club Chief Executive), Alan Williams (Club Commercial Director), Bob Asprey (MSC Chairman), Ted Robinson, Laura Romitelli Stan Godwin and Graeme Smale (all MSC).

Season Tickets / Membership / Junior Lions numbers
The club currently has 6,459 season ticket holders, 4,602 members, 907 Junior Lions

2014/15 Early Bird Season Tickets
Andy / Alan pointed out that the club is losing substantial sums annually and the Chairman is currently financing the largest expenditure on squad wages. The club has been able to hold season ticket prices for three years but with the financial burden that it now faces, some increase in season ticket prices will have to be made. Alan continued that he also wanted to see a greater spread of pricing for walk up tickets with maybe the less popular seating say on the two flanks of the South Stand being cheaper to attract the supporter who wanted to attend games for the first time. The MSC cautioned that although there was much press talk about an upturn in the economy, people had not seen any benefit in their pay and attending football was still an expensive business for many. There was also the issue that the football on offer at The Den in the last season and a half had been painful to watch on several occasions with supporters having to sit through depressing losses. Alan said that he would send through some proposals for consideration.

Details Of Season Ticket Holder Numbers In Dartford In Preparation For A Supporters Club Regional Meeting
Alan said that there were 198 season ticket holders in Dartford.

MSC Fund Contributions

  • The Jumbotron - The club had had two quotes for replacing the Jumbotron. One for £100,000 and another for £300,000. A third quote had yet to arrive.  Andy stated that any contribution MSC could make will really just scratch the surface although it would show a gesture to the Board. Sponsorship was being sought to replace the screen and money to supplement the cost was also being sought from advertisers.
  • Murals Facing Zampa Road - These are to come down at the end of the season. They were never a particularly good idea as they were made of material that did not wear well.

Alan said that the club were constantly looking for advertising for areas such as the back of the South and East Stands. The club were always open to stand and stadium sponsorship

Season Ticket Prize Draws
The MSC had not seen them particularly well publicised and wondered about their progress. Alan said that draws are taking place. The December winner did not want the prize of a signed shirt. The January prize draw had just been completed. They are advertised in the programme and stories could be included on the website to further publicise the monthly draw.

Half Time Entertainment
The club had been in contact with Chris Bethell about arranging some half time events with junior teams on the pitch

Any Forthcoming Fan Initiatives To Tell MSC About
Not really but Alan asked about any reaction to the club’s advertising campaign in the Southwark News, South London Press and on Talksport. The MSC had heard and seen the campaigns and were supportive of them on the basis that getting the club’s name out there should attract more interest. Alan explained that the result of any campaign must be weighed against the cost and ad slots on Talksport’s breakfast show and the evening drive time show involved costs that were prohibitive. There were plans to shut the club shop in June for refurbishment and enlargement to allow the introduction of new stock. The shop would re-open in July.

A Fans Forum With Ian Holloway
The MSC were keen to arrange this and Ian Holloway was also keen to meet the fans. However, it was thought that this should be held nearer the end of the season when the clubs playing future was clarified

The Regeneration
On a recent Lions Live show, Andy had indicated that the news emanating from the regeneration scheme was not good for the club. The MSC asked about the current position. Andy said that the club would be making a public statement to the fans shortly but was currently taking legal advice on what it could reveal

Fan On The Board Election
The MSC said that it was time for another fan on the board election. The period for nominations would close on 1st March and the criteria had been publicised. Peter Garston has informed the MSC that he would be standing again. To further improve the process, the MSC has decided to stipulate that in future elections, a person who wanted to be eligible to stand should spend a year on the supporters club committee so that he /she should understand the type of commitment involved and also would be introduced to the mechanics of dealing with the club. Andy suggested that MSC should write to the Board about this change as this could further strengthen the role going forward.

Ticket Arrangements For Leeds Away
Andy said that at present there was no news from Leeds as the club were currently in a state of turmoil at Board level

Recent Discussions With The FA Regarding Crowd Behaviour
Andy said that the club were again in trouble with the FA for bottle throwing at the Sheffield Wednesday game. There was also the problem of the breaking of the linesman’s flag at the Leicester home match and quite frankly things did not look good with established and powerful FA members now pressing for action to be taken against the club. Peter Garston has produced a statement pointing out to the supporters that bad behaviour only damages our club and this message should be underlined by the MSC

Millwall For All - The Club And Police Policy In The East Upper And What Is To Be Classed As Anti-Social Behaviour
The MSC understood that under the banner of Millwall For All the Community Scheme and the Police were preparing to roll out a fan education plan to deal with “anti-social behaviour” particularly in the East Upper. The MSC asked what was to be classed as “anti-social behaviour” and how was this scheme going to operate? Andy said that he was not aware of such a scheme but he had heard that British Transport Police were trying to improve the behaviour of travelling fans. The issue of anti social behaviour would be defined in the ground regulations

Catering - Can fans Be Given A Clear Indication Of When Individual Kiosks Have Run Out Of Items
Amid reports that a Family Stand kiosk had sold out of burgers at the Sheffield Wednesday home game, the MSC asked whether clearer indication of sell outs can be given. Alan said that he was very unhappy about the service offered by the current caterers and had noticed a decline in service now Lindleys had bee taken over by the American Company Centerplate. The club were engaged in meetings with Centerplate to extract an improvement in service

Any Other Business

  • Heart Screening Before the Reading Game - This was an initiative launched by a Millwall supporting family, the Pearmines, after the sudden death of their twenty six year old son Adam from Dilated Cardiomyopathy. This disease attacks without warning and affects particularly  young people. It is the same condition that affected former youth player Tobi Alabi. The club ensure that all its players wear heart monitors when training.
  • Our Wall - An initiative launched by the club, which allows fans to show their support by buying commemorative bricks that will be placed at the entrance gate and will hopefully continue around the stadium. Alan stated that interest in this initiative had been strong.
  • Laura reported that Dave Hart and her had been subjected to rude and unhelpful behaviour whilst trying to do their job and escort a group of supporters to carry out a pitchside presentation before a recent home match. Their usual method of getting through a side gate had been prevented by the fact that the gate had been locked. The steward by this gate seemed clueless and obstructive and after a wait sent the party through reception. This had angered Terry Burnett who controlled the tunnel area and his behaviour had caused offence to the presenting party. Andy said he would look into this to ensure that this incident did not occur again. The MSC asked for clear passes that would enable stewards to understand they needed pitchside access.
  • Laura asked whether MSC could send out a new newsletter. Alan asked her to liaise with Jeremy

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 6.35 pm. Date Of Next Meeting 6th March 2014.

 

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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