Due to a late change in Jez Walters’ schedule, the fans forum was attended by myself to represent CFCnet.
Present from the club were Graham Smith, Peter Kenyon, Simon Greenberg and Ed Ashwell. Neil Barnett of Chelsea TV fame also attended to observe the meeting.
Personally I felt the meeting went really well. Kenyon, who I’m told doesn’t normally show up, stayed for the whole meeting and whenever I or anyone else asked him anything he always responded.
No questions were side-stepped by anyone from the club, and any areas the club couldn’t provide answers to at the time (system crashing against Southend, poor quality beer) they showed intentions of looking into.
A reader’s digest of the minutes is as follows, with the parts in bold being what I feel was key:
- The club are still trying to look at all re-development possibilities of Stamford Bridge before looking to move elsewhere. In any case, it would be at least two years before land could be acquired due to surveying all possibilities, transport and access issues etc.
- Discussion on moving the fans back to the East Stand as it’s seen as having the worse view in the ground.
- Letters sent out to fans with regards to standing – this was due to complaints from fellow fans which the club felt they needed to act upon.
- Fans requested an attempt to introduce a safe-standing area on the grounds that there are regulations against it but nothing in the law to stop it happening – this was outright rejected by Peter Kenyon, saying there was ‘Nil chance’ of the government letting it happen.
- Unreserved seating would require a reduction of 10% of the capacity to allow for extra stewarding and the club feel that based on the three open training days there would be vacant seats between sets of people.
- The empty seats in the Shed Upper have now been allocated to Chelsea fans, with the complimentary tickets relocated.
- Not enough time for Southend Away tickets to be done on loyalty points.
- Club unaware of the ticketing system crashing the day they went on sale to STH’s but will look at their audit trail.
- 50/50 split for away tickets and ticket prices to be discussed next meeting (February 7th)
- The club stating that we’re not in the market for anyone, contrary to the Star on the Stool whereby Scolari said he would like one or two new players. Greenberg mentioned that in interviews around the same time he had stated there are a couple of areas he would like to strengthen, this doesn’t necessarily mean he has identified the exact players he would like.
- Currently no intention to sell any more players – Bridge was sold as it was a good offer, and he wanted to move for more regular first team football
- The club feel that booing or singing songs that highlight frustration are not helpful to anyone.
- Chelsea Pensioners to lead the team out on special occasions.
- Chelsea TV needs more genuine fans on and players with a bit of character and who watch games, not bland ex-players.
- Neil Barnett (present at the meeting) being labelled a twit by a member of the Fans Forum, but being acknowledged as being ‘our twit’.
- Issues with which broadcasters you can pick up Chelsea TV on.
- Kenyon stating that the club is not for sale, Roman is still completely committed and has no intention of selling the club.
- The Shed End takes ages to get served at half time due to less staff than before matches – to be looked into.
- The beer in the ground is poor quality, possibly the pipes need cleaning – this would encourage people to get in earlier – also being looked into.
The club recently outlined their intention to cut emissions by 10% over the next two years, they brought this up at the meeting, and Greenberg has said that the club will be completely transparent with the policies involved in this. The club highlighted that they have had meetings with Boris Johnson last week about Green policies.
Part of the initial plans include:
- The club to interact with fans, with an environmental policy sub-committee to be set up.
- When renewing Season Tickets and Memberships having the option of an e-magazine instead of a hardcopy, with the savings donated to charity.
- Already part of the Green 500 and have an action plan for environmental measures.
- Initial environmental survey carried out externally discovered that some measures they recommend we have already implemented.
- Possibility of tickets for cup matches to go on the Season Ticket Holders Teamcard to avoid extra paper and postage.
- A pledge page encouraging things such as using public transport, not leaving TV’s on standby when going to matches
- Declaration forms for European away matches may be done online from next season.
I’d also like to thank Amanda Jacks from the Football Supporters’ Federation for her attendance, she was invited as a guest to observe the meeting, and was full of praise for how open the meeting was.