The second Fans Forum meeting of the season was held in the hotel at Chelsea FC before the Everton game.
The meeting time and date had been moved several times in the preceding weeks, firstly due to the change in kick off time because of Everton’s UEFA match on Thursday, and then so it could coincide with Peter Kenyon’s diary. Yet despite this Peter once again failed to show, or even provide to us a valid reason for not doing so.
Peter had failed to make the previous meeting this year, and last season only managed to make an appearance for two out of the four meetings, so that’s two out of six I’ve been to that he has also attended. Although we were told that there was no decisions that may need to be taken that can’t be made by those who were in attendance, the fact of the matter is that Peter Kenyon is the Chief Executive of the club and should be in attendance at the Fans Forum. He may or may not be needed to take decisions, but the perception created by his continual non-attendance is one of someone who doesn’t care, or just plain isn’t bothered.
For someone of such low regard amongst supporters, his repeated no-shows at the Fans Forum are starting to rankle with many inside and outside of the forum, myself included. If he is not going to take the supporters forum seriously, why should we believe he will take supporter concerns seriously at all?
As I’m sure you are aware by now, within a few minutes of starting the meeting in walked a face we didn’t expect to see, Avram Grant. After a quite a long stunned silence, we put some questions to Avram.
First up on the agenda was anything arising from the previous meeting or changes to the minutes. There were no changes, but things arising were that loyalty points for corporates have now had a way that they can be added put in place, flag policy was reiterated to the stewards and the report about Liverpool and its supporters has now been compiled and provided to the relevant authorities.
The supporters’ tournament looks like it’s a definite go-ahead. We need to find a date that is suitable all around, as well as working out a way to get the best day possible organised. I’m sure those of you that were at the CFCnet vs. BAWA match held at Cobham will all agree a good day was had by all. We’re trying to expand on this and make it on a larger scale and involve more people, I will have more on this in the coming months, those of you who intend on playing for CFCnet, get in training now.
I sent around a sheet of contact details to all on the forum as part of making it slightly more accessible to the supporters, everyone on the forum has agreed to be contactable and provided details of where they want all contact to go in terms of email etc, we will be liaising with the club soon to get this implemented in the Fans Forum part of the official website. There will be more on this as it nears completion so watch this space.
Next up for discussion was away matches. There are still issues with the positioning of the away ST holders as they feel they don’t get the best views possible at all grounds, there are continuing discussions ongoing with the club and the away-ST representative to try and ensure this is handled in the best way possible. The Wigan game was well received however there were problems with the travel in that some on the trains weren’t as well behaved as expected, the club is liaising with the police to try and get to the bottom of the issues.
There has been good feedback on the 50/50 split for members and ST’s with regards to selling the away tickets and although this shocked some on the forum, it is seen as the fairest way to allocate tickets. We are the only club that doesn’t sell away tickets on general sale, this is because the club claim it helps with policing and safety issues that may arise by having non-registered people on away trips.
Euro-away declaration forms were discussed and we found that all information is passed onto the police and transport authorities to ensure that the right people are on planes, and are making the journeys as expected. We also found that if someone is arrested at an away game, even if later discharge or proved innocent in court, they are still banned in the interim. We felt this unfair in some cases as people were presumed guilty by the club before being sentenced (or not) in a court of law. The clubs security manager will be coming to the next meeting (ticketing) and we will discuss this issue in greater depth.
Up next on the agenda was the clubs media, including Chelsea TV, the magazines and programmes, as well as the website which, as regular readers of this site will know, isn’t very highly regarded in this neck of the woods. Or any neck, for that matter.
I mentioned the fact that subscribers to CTV were unhappy that they were effectively paying a subscription for what is often only a shopping channel. The club indicated they were dropping this in the near future and had now finally got CTV to a point where it was making a profit. As such there is an increased budget for programming and staff. A new editorial consultant has been hired with the primary brief of improving the programming available to subscribers.
Chelsea TV is part owned by Sky TV as part of a deal years ago by Ken Bates to sell off some of Chelsea digital media, as well as some of the clubs image rights. When we suggested they buy Sky out, we were told it sadly wasn’t that easy and wouldn’t be happening. This is one of the main causes of non-Chelsea related news and tit-bits appearing on CTV, as Sky for some reason want to give exposure to the whole league on a channel dedicated to only one team. Go figure.
As I said though, there will be more investment in CTV overall, with new programmes and some of them created specifically for the younger generations such as Bridge Kids. They are also looking at the re-packaging and selling of CTV overseas as it currently reaches only a very small audience, and Vernon Carvey. They also promised to re-look into Chelsea radio as since the decline of Big Blue, many have complained that they can no-longer get their Chelsea fix unless it’s paid for.
The websites were discussed, starting with the new US one which is actually (if you ignore the garish colouring) better designed than the current one. The club will be redoing the main site as they now realise that a completely flash site is not the way to go. There will still be flash parts, but the majority should return to linear HTML. Thankfully.
The packs that are distributed to members were also discussed, and we wanted to know why these didn’t also go to ST holders, hopefully next season they will be doing so. The match day programme was generally thought to be of a high quality and there was a unanimous approval for the vids on the big screens at half time.
There wasn’t a great deal of time for AOB but a few points quickly raised were those relating to Purples bar not being operational on match-days. This won’t change but a new facility is being constructed in it’s place for use by all.
The next meeting will be on the 9th of February and will in the main be related to ticketing, where we should be able to get changes to the ticketing policy made where necessary. I will be doing some follow up on this Fans Forum over the coming weeks and as the next one draws closer, will be asking for all of your feedback on ticketing.
You can download the official minutes of the Fans Forum here in Adobe PDF or here in MS Word. If you wish to contact me then please do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can.