Before the Spurs match the first fans forum meeting of the season took place, a lot was covered but nothing close to ground breaking emerged in a very tame meeting.

The key points were
– Ossie statue to be ready in 12-18 months, will be situated outside the West Stand
– 16-21’s will be looked into
– Entry problems on matchdays
– Progression on environmental issues

Note – these meeting notes are not in sequential order, but grouped by category.

The meeting kicked off at 11.30, present from the club were
Ron Gourlay (Chelsea F.C. Chief Operating Officer)
Simon Greenberg (Chelsea F.C. Communications Director)
David Newby (Chelsea F.C. Marketing Manager)
Graham Smith (Chelsea F.C. Head of Ticketing)

Peter Kenyon was unable to attend the match let alone the forum, as he was at a wedding.

Stadium
The crowd surge for Porto was worse then anticipated, some people said that there was an unnecessary amount of stewards for the game, but the club said that they operate with as few stewards as they need to, complaints about a leaky Shed End roof were also mentioned, to be looked into whether there is any holes or if it was just the direction the rain travelled. Against Hull there were only 19k in at 12.30 – fifteen minutes before Kick Off, the club have looked at other clubs capacities and number of turnstyles they have, and believe we have more then more then most, and definitely more then enough for SB.

Skidata technology can reload instantly, but the design is so that once the turnstile has rotated once the card reader then allows the next person to touch in.

The club mentioned that there are some habits that won’t go away, the entry to East has improved significantly, but as it got to the point where being there ten minutes before kick off would guarantee entry on time, now people get in five minutes before KO.

RG said he personally wants to stay at SB, as does the board and everyone at Chelsea – club not looking away and never have done, they exhausted all possibilities last time they looked into expansion, and have put off looking again for two years. Likewise, if we were to move away it would be within five miles of SB, but there is no site within this area that has been identified as being available. It was again brought up (yet omitted in the FF Minutes) that there could be a walkway built that runs parallel with the railway line to West Brompton, it was urged by fans that this is extensively looked into.

The club said the capacity has gone down slightly as they do not include severely restricted view seats and the segregation gap next to the away fans.

Ticketing
Ron Gourlay mentioned soon into the meeting that he wanted the real difference making points to be mentioned, the important burning issues, before anyone could quip up with it, he beat us to the punch and mentioned the 16-21 Season Tickets, which is an idea still to be addressed, but that is more likely at the ticketing Fans Forum.

QPR was not placed on General Sale to avoid away fans attending. We’re getting less and less tickets on General Sale at the moment, last season barely any games did, this season against Burnley only 600-800 tickets ended up on General Sale.

Club to look into loyalty points, unfair that QPR became 8 points yet flying out to Cyprus at much greater expense and needing annual leave gives less.

Club were unable to provide an explanation as to why David Ginola was the guest for corporate hospitality, and no Chelsea player, they will look into this.

Environment
The Chelsea pledge page has received a lower then anticipated response, please take half a minute to read and (hopefully) complete the following form http://www.chelseafc.com/page/MakeaPledge/0,,10268,00.html

A website called Liftshare has been contacted about carshare and travel, they are developing and testing some features on their website for it.

100% of waste has been recycled. The club now switch off more computers, some lights now automatically go off. Megastore carrier bags are now bio-degradable.

The club are also looking into a ticketless membership system, whereby seat details go straight onto the card, this could lead to some fans forgetting their seat numbers but hopefully that would be the manageable minority. Club also looking at fans printing their own paper tickets at home. Concern that some fans would like the actual ticket for memorabilia.

Travel
Virgin Trains will be used from now on, whilst we were all thankful for the free train to Stoke, a Forum Member did cause Gourlay to jokingly bury his head on the table by bringing up the expense of food and drink on it. There are other games identified for free and subsidised travel. Trains cannot stop en route, if there’s demand for the coaches to then this can be looked into.

Thomas Cook – Looked into a one night trip to Cyprus, but there’s not much difference in cost for leaving the following morning, although the arrival time is the early hours it’s the best option for time and price. Club were unaware that Flight Options or other rivals were not running a chartered flight when they set the prices.

The Club said that travel updates won’t be announced at crucial times during matches, and prior to the match the referees name will be announced along with the teamsheets.

Letters for the Euro Away Scheme were not the concrete T’s & C’s, someone who was unhappy about the new ‘not considered for Semi Final or Final ticket’ rule had their request to be taken off the scheme accepted.

It was mentioned that the club programme used to have a travel section for the next away match, and why doesn’t it anymore, could it be re-introduced.

A member of the forum brought up their story of their group trip to Stoke, whereby their coach stopped off at a sports and social club four miles from the Britannia Stadium, it offered pre-match hospitality to away fans in advance of matches. Prices are cheaper than normal pubs; bar food is available and the venue can cope with up to 400 away supporters, there’s no home fans and it’s police approved. Everyone was made to feel really welcome. You can be transported to the ground for a nominal sum, it was suggested that the club looked into this for official travel if there’s such a set up near other grounds.

Banners
‘Over zealous’ stewarding in the Shed End and Matthew Harding Lower, unfortunately as it was a matchday, Ed Ashwell (head of security) was unable to attend and answer any queries. It was mentioned that one of the banners in the Shed Upper was hanging further then the sponsor boards, and instead of just adjusting this banner, the stewards removed other banners from the stand.

Ron Gourlay is keen for Supporters Clubs to have their banners advertised in the stadium, and is happy for them to be fixed across middle tier, if supporters clubs would like to send their banners in, he will arrange for them to be permanently fixed in position. There will be more communication on this though, with measurements and other specifications.

Parade and Beamback
It was asked if the club would carry out insurance against a parade, so that if we don’t get one we can claim the money back, if we only won the F.A Cup, 9 people were in favour of a parade, 2 were against it and 2 abstained.

It was also requested that without trying to tempt fate, the club does not plan any events at SB on the days of the F.A Cup and Champions League Finals, so that should we get there, we can have a beamback, the club agreed to this but stressed their reluctance at making it sound like they anticipated we’d be in one of them.

Miscellaneous
The East Stand hygiene was raised, with a STH there mentioning that the lift is normally dirty and smelly on matchday, and the same bird muck has been there for two years, the club said that the lifts are cleaned at least once a week and before and after any matchday. Greenberg said that perhaps the bird muck brought good luck.

The new bookies will be adding extra stalls for cashing in winnings, the club is also aware that someone asked for a price on a player getting a hatrick against Hull and they were unable to receive one.

Chelsea TV is not currently available in full online, other clubs can do so dependant on their contract, there is a chance the full programme can be made available online when it is up for review in 2011, the best options will be looked into then.

Thanks to the club for both allowing and also helping to organise the football tournament at Cobham, the club see no reason why it can’t go ahead next year, hopefully it can be an annual event.

The club gauged feedback on the brass band, which was well received by fans on the forum. It was requested that the 50/50 prize draw be made available more accessibly outside and around the ground, as it’s mainly near the West Stand.

A collection for Vic Flaherty, who sadly passed away recently, was held on the match day train last week to Stoke. It was very gratefully received by his family who asked for it to go to the cancer charity that Woody from Madness is involved with.

Light hearted moments
When Ron Gourlay introduced himself he said ‘I assume you now know who I am’, Simon Greenberg introduced himself as PR and Communications director, before looking at Ron and saying ‘For the time being anyway’.

In AOB it was questioned whether it was grammatically correct to be the Fans Forum and not Fans’ Forum, the club agreed it should be the latter.

Ron Gourlay said he is a Rangers fan first and Chelsea second, Simon Greenberg said although he was Tottenham he isn’t anymore and wanted Chelsea to win on Sunday.

Much later in the meeting when it was all forgotten about, and hospitality with Ginola was being discussed, it asked whether the club were surprised it hadn’t sold out and who would buy a ticket, Dave ‘Hurry Up’ Johnstone quickly came out with accusing Greenberg of being the only one who bought one.

Notes- Any points requested by the members of the CFCnet forum to raise that weren’t mentioned in this forum is due to them being on a different Fans Forum Agenda, issues on media and ticketing were asked to wait until the appropriate Fans Forum.

The official minutes can be downloaded below
http://chelsea2.chelseafc.com/documents/fansforum/Fans_Forum_Minutes_200909.doc

Please contact me directly if you wish to discuss anything connected to the fans forum or if you have a issue to be raised.