FANS FORUM REPORT

By Jez Walters
Oct 6th, 2008

Firstly, let’s get the game out the way.  We were magnificent on Sunday, absolutely first class.  Missing Alex, Carvalho, Deco, Essien, Drogba we still laid waste to Aston Villa.  They hardly had a shot on target which is testament to the best defence in the Premiership with only three goals conceded in seven games.  Given Villa’s recent performances and our current injury list, the Blues must get a ten out of ten for today’s display.  Alan Hansen on Match of the Day said it was one of the best Premiership performances by any team in the last 5 years.  We were brilliant. 

As for the Fans Forum, it is now in its fifth year and has been an overwhelming success.  Why?  The Club allows 20 fans from a variety of backgrounds to put forward their concerns/issues/requests and the Club is willing to listen.  Moreover, the Club has often delivered what we’ve asked. That’s not to say everything runs smoothly and some conversations do get heated.  Furthermore, the Club sometimes says ‘no’.  But, overall, the Fans Forum (FF) has been worthwhile.

Rather than write 2,000 words and bore everyone witless, I’m just going to highlight some of the more interesting facts from Sunday’s meeting.  The detailed FF minutes will go up later this week anyway.  In the meantime, if anyone wants further details, please email me at jezwalters@cfcnet.co.uk.

Spackman Bar: The Club understands the fans’ wishes to change the name of the bar to a more appropriate name/player.  The Club will get back to us.

Thomas Cook Away Travel: The FF asked that Thomas Cook Away Travel give out stewards’ numbers for each coach, not a single general number for all fans (which for a Euro Cup Final is pretty useless).  The Club agreed to talk to Thomas Cook.  Thomas Cook staff for Euro ties were asked to wear bright, noticeable clothing and the Club has agreed to put this into effect immediately.

Drinking on trains (away travel):  Thomas Cook pointed out, as did the Club, that drinking on football trains is not allowed.

Train Travel: The Club is putting on a free train for the Hull away game on Wed 29th Oct and a £10 return train for the Boro’ away game. Good gestures, particularly for the mid week game against Hull. The Club informed us that it costs £25k for one away train. If they run four free/subsidised trains each Season, the cost is £100k upwards.

Ridiculous fixtures: On a related note, the Club expressed its dismay at both the Hull and Everton fixtures, particularly the Monday night, 22nd Dec fixture at Everton.  CFCUK, Blueblagger no less, had canvassed for a boycott of Setanta but the Club said it wasn’t Setanta’s fault per se, more the Premier League.

The Club refused to be drawn on Premier League fixtures citing the Premier League’s computer as the deciding factor.  Guffaws all round when CFCUK’s Blueblagger piped up, “the computer seems to do well for Super Sunday’s doesn’t it!”

European Away Police Violence: The Club’s Director of Security, Ed Ashwell, stated that the reports from Valencia backed up fans’ claims that there was indiscriminate Spanish police violence.  There then followed a discussion that centred on the fact that there is nothing the Club, UEFA or anyone can do with Euro away policing.  Even the UK vice consul in Rome attended the Lazio game 4 years ago and she was dismayed at the length of time fans were kept behind.  Local Euro police are a law unto themselves.  Literally. 

When it was put to the Club that Chelsea should operate a like-for-like policy, we were informed that in the UK such activity would be considered ‘illegal detention’.  Why don’t we just do them for anti-terror laws?  If an 86 year old can be ‘done’ at the Labour Conference, surely the local constabulary can do the same for 2,000 Roma fans? Lol. 

Memberships: The cheaper membership options are flying off the shelves with a 5,000 take up each week.  This means that all games are continually selling out on memberships rather than going on general sale, the first time this has happened.  The Club are really pleased.  Also, the Club have a computer (CRM) system in place whereby if there are spare tickets, they can email all local people in SW6, SW3 etc and sell out that way.  Excellent.

Away Fans: Some fans want the away fans moved.  The Club are unwilling to move any fans above ours which leaves the East Lower again.  CFCnet is dead set against this – we want to keep them in the Shed Upper corner – but we’d welcome your views.

It’s been a long day, and I’m signing out.  More info will be delivered with the official minutes.

Finally…

Quote of the day: Joe Anastasi – “Some of our stewards aren’t polite” Club – “Some of our fans aren’t either, Joe”

By the way, the major Chelsea fans groups – CFCUK, CSG, CFCnet and the Atmosphere Committee (made up from the 3 aforementioned groups) all sat together at the FF and the degree of cooperation was strong.  Thanks to Dave J, Michelle and Cliff.  After all, we’re all Blues and we all want to a successful Club.

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