Russ represented J&S at the supporters forum today. Here are his notes within the agenda.
BCFC Staff Attending
Colin Tattum – Head of Media (Chair)
Aamir Javid – Disability Coordinator
Wayne Cowan – Ticketing / Retail
Sharon Byrne – Retail / Catering
Dave Hoult – Safety
Edward Zheng – Director and club Chairman
Michelle Daly – HR
Supporters Clubs Represented
Dave Smith – BCFC Forum
Mick Singh – Blues 4 All
Russell Dempsey – Joys and Sorrows Blog
Richard Stanley – Blues Trust
Chris Sinclair – Northside Blues
Tony Rately – Central Blues Travel
Lynda Courts – Redditch Blues
Steve Portman – Accessiblues
Ray Hobrow – Blues Collective
Unaffiliated – Emma Willock, Richard Cox, Andrew Orgill
BCFC Quarterly Supporters Forum 24 May
- Matchdays, stadium facilities & safety
- Media & marketing
- Human Resources & supporter clubs
Matchdays, stadium facilities & safety
1. Will the parking restrictions and road closures still be in place next season? Redditch Blues
Yes – Dave Hoult
2. Will the big flag could come out for every game and not just the big occasions? Redditch Blues
Yes if requested.
3. There is rarely any soap in either of the dispensers in the gents toilets in entrance 6 concourse. How difficult is it to check the toilets and replenish as required? This is a health and safety issue so can it please be treated as such and corrective action be taken at the earliest opportunity. Redditch Blues
This is being looked into. Dave Hoult will look into whether the toilets are checked during the match not just prior to kick off. The Gil Merrick stand disabled toilets are used by K2 stewards. The seats won’t lift so toilets are soiled before use.
4. Who regulates K2 stewards from the Club and are they customer service trained especially the ones at the turnstiles? This question is due to the many reports of problems at the last home game concerning supporters and K2 staff. AccessiBlues
5. Why don’t we have more in house stewards? AccessiBlues
The majority of clubs outsource stewarding. Ours do NVQ L2 training, and there is often a 40% drop-out rate within three months…
6. The lack of hot water and hand dryers in the toilets is still an issue. Can this be put as a priority? BCFC Forum
Refer to the answer for question 3.
7. Will you be taking applications for disabled parking again next season? AccessiBlues
8. In the last disabled supporters meeting we were told that the Club were going to review the parking criteria for the new season. Is this still the case? If so, when/how do we apply? AccessiBlues
Aamir spoke at length about process of care and mobility. Ballot both criteria met using EFL guidance, due to lack of space, no more places available. Things are being reviewed though.
9. At the last forum, the Club said they were looking into the possibility of ‘rolling out’ season tickets that would include cup and friendly tickets? So you could buy said tickets and they would be ‘loaded’ onto your season ticket. Joys and Sorrows
Yes this will be possible, next season.
10. Do you still intend to continue with the free programme for Club Class season ticket holders? Redditch Blues
11. Is there a chance that the Gil Merrick Upper will be open for all matches next season? BCFC Forum
Depends on ticket sales. If a capacity gate is expected, it will be opened.
12. When will we be able to purchase season tickets for next season? Surely, it’s within the club’s interest for these to be available as soon as possible. BCFC Forum
They are already on sale!
13. Will season ticket holders be able to get (even a minimal) discounts from Adidas wear next season? Joys and Sorrows
No. We are using more loyalty points and moving away from discounts. Margins on Adidas wear are tight.
14. When will the 2018/19 shirts be revealed and when will they be available for purchase? BCFC Forum
June / July – there are no clues of appearance yet! (Despite a few nudges from Colin Tattum for clues)
15. Could the Club push the sale and encourage the use of individual flags for as many supporters as possible? Redditch Blues
They are sold in the store.
16. Many problems reported at fans’ forums from seasons gone by continue, as though they make no difference, which is quite frustrating. Queues are inevitable, but we had been promised stock would ‘never’ run out and yet… Joys and Sorrows
We overstocked this season. We don’t think we ran out. May be one game other than Fulham, perhaps the first hot weekend caused things to run out. So we think it was only twice in the season.
17. There are still no sign of chips in concourse 5 of the Kop? Redditch Blues
There is no space to fit a fryer.
18. Catering still needs to be improved. It was very poor in the Main Stand for the Fulham game. BCFC Forum
I’m interpreting Russ’s notes – that the main stand had the same amount of stuff as normal – so ran out v Fulham. (Russ – yes, Sharon Byrne conceded that Fulham ‘sold out’ but that whilst their aim was to sell out, with no more remaining games, they had more stock available before kick off, than they’d had before the same time last match of the last season; so that whilst they had tried their best to get the balance right it hadn’t quite worked on this day, and – in fact – had twice ‘caught Blues out’ with hot weather making cold drinks run out…lessons learnt hopefully…)
Media & marketing
19. Are renewing Blues TV customers getting a discount? It was mooted at the last meeting. Joys and Sorrows
No it’s automatic renewal. We could do something for existing users (Contact the Club!). There is going to be significant investment into the service.There will be improved production and 3 camera positions.
20. Why does it seem that Blues TV doesn’t work on some devices even though these devices are new and other video streaming has no issues? AccessiBlues
The club confirmed issues with some Windows devices and Kindle Fire and also heard from the forum issues with the Nokia 3.
21. Why was there no Junior Blues Player of the Season ceremony this year? BCFC Forum
Managerial changes, timing, training schedules, it was just hectic. We are now looking at pre-season, summer holidays, quite simply our divisional status took priority.
22. Some years ago the local radio stations used to host various fan forums where a player or member of the Board was present to answer questions. I believe Paul Franks of BBC WM has raised the suggestion of a football phone in with the Club, but the offer has been declined. This would be an excellent bit of customer relations. BCFC Forum
No we haven’t declined. Colin Tatum used to be involved in the old forums, so BCFC would perhaps look to do host their own.
23. Are the Club looking into contactless payment at the kiosks? BCFC Forum
Yes but not yet. An alternative exciting solution is being looked at to reduce queues. There is something in the pipeline but we can’t discuss it yet.
Human Resources & supporter clubs
24. Will Rachele’s role be replaced in some capacity next season? Joys and Sorrows
25. Why did she leave? She was seen as a vital member of staff between club and fans. Joys and Sorrows
It was a fixed term contract. The club were grateful for the work she has done. We want to make it more supporter focused. A Supporter Services Manager. We are in talks with someone to do that at the moment.
26. Would BCFC agree to meeting Blues Trust representatives and/or a representative from Supporters Direct to explore whether there are any additional engagement options that Birmingham City would find acceptable and useful to pursue for subjects that may have sensitive content that do not lend themselves to the open forum format? Blues Trust
In certain areas we have to remain private.
27. I have noticed that the old BCDSC have reformed and started a disabled supporters association – BCDSA1875. What recognition will this group receive from BCFC? I’ve been receiving correspondence from them regarding a meeting/trips and am unsure as to how they got my information. Shouldn’t they have gotten rid of my details as it was mentioned at the meeting with the police? AccessiBlues
…This was answered privately…
28. Why are official supporters clubs coaches not official coaches? We had to sign an agreement that we were an official supporters club and would obey the rules and not bring the club into disrepute, we have a proper formal AGM with all accounts declared and yet we are not recognised as such and our members were discriminated against. Redditch Blues
We have no control or accountability for them.
29. Can we have a statement – I know he has a clause if we had got relegated – that regardless of results (unless ridiculous of course) the manager has the Board’s full backing for the contract agreed? And that the Board have no intention of changing – this would include no big name director of football? Joys and Sorrows (NB – This wasn’t a J&S question, but the agenda suggested as such, so it will remain labelled as such)…
30. Is the manager going to be supported, including in the transfer market, with a view to the long term? Will we aim to get him the players he’d like, and not at the last minute, so that he can ideally have time to build his team? Are the owners going to back the manager with actions as well as words? Andrew Orgill independent supporter
Fans feel that we have a manager who can at last move us forward. Will the Board give him their full backing, so we don’t have to suffer another season fighting against relegation? BCFC Forum
Edward said that Garry Monk has the full board’s backing. He has a 3 1/2 year contract and our long term commitment. We can all see he is fit and proper for our club. We have a good relationship with him and the backroom staff. None of us want to endure another end of season like this one.
Colin T said we’ve learned lessons. In my dealings with GM, he wants to set a marker down. The planning for pre-season is meticulous.
Edward said at the right time we will make a statement. GM has done a great job and gets ours and the Chinese owner’s full support to do what he wants to do.
31. Are the club anticipating any form of FFP penalty next season? Joys and Sorrows
32. Would you outline if /what impact the Financial Fair Play regulations are/will have on the Club? Blues Trust
33. Can we have clarification on how Financial Fair Play affects the Club because we keep hearing so many different things and don’t know what to believe? BCFC Forum
Edward said we understand it is confusing. Every club in the EFL is very mindful in dialogue about FFP. We are mindful in making decisions in the best interest of the club. Ignore the unfounded incorrect rumours on social media. We continue to do business as usual. No penalty anticipated.
Garry has already got a list of the players he wants, the right players in the right positions – we trust the manager.
34. Is there any news regarding whether supporters groups could join the BSH share option scheme? Blues Trust
No, they can’t at present, for the reasons already shared with Blues Trust.
35. Is Birmingham City still a voluntary subscriber to the ‘Rooney ruling’ as we don’t think we’ve applied it since agreeing to subscribe to the values? Joys and Sorrows
Colin T said we signed up to it. We do follow the code when and where we can, we follow for Academy coaches.
36. Will the floodlights be adequate next season for goal line technology? BCFC Forum
Yes. They have been since October 2017.
Disabled facilities to be improved.
There is no change to the safe standing policy.
The ticket incentive scheme (schools, affiliated groups to increase attendance) will continue.