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[Archived] Fans Forum


Paul

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During the autumn BRISA approached the Fans' Forum and the club to discuss the, then, existing position regarding the Fans' Forum. At the time circumstances had prevented the Fans' Forum from meeting on a regular basis. Fans' Forum members, the club and BRISA were all keen to see the forum rejuvenated and meeting on a regular basis. Very positive discussions took place to establish the best way to move forward.

From these meetings it was concluded:

  • All concerned wished to see the Fans' Forum meet on a regular basis
  • Martin Howarth (the existing chairman) wished to, and should, continue to chair the forum
  • BRISA would provide the necessary secretarial and admin backup
  • Fans' Forum meetings should be scheduled for 2007
  • Minutes of all meetings should be made widely available to all supporters
  • Prior to meetings with the club a planning meeting should be held
The minutes of the meeting with the club on February 5th are below. This should be downloadable for all site members.. Any problems let us know. The same information can be found on the official site under Fans > Fans Forum.

I know the download isn't working at the moment see post further down the page for a full copy of the minutes

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Minutes of the Blackburn Rovers Fans’ Forum

Ewood Park, Monday 5th February 2007 – 7.15pm

Present from BRFC

T Finn

J Williams

Present – Fans’ Forum

M Howarth

S Birtwell

G Pegden

N Duckworth Wignall

M Patel

J Billouin

C Lloyd

P Lloyd

S Leigh

Julie Wilkinson

I Filbin

C Peacock

P Brooking

D Gardiner

J Wareing

Apologies

Pauline Perkins

Andy Robinson

1. Apologies/Introduction

Apologies were noted.

2. Bayer Leverkusen home match kick-off time

In response to a question about the early kick-off time for the home match with Bayer Leverkusen and the subsequent inconvenience for some fans TF explained the reasoning behind the decision. Rovers were behind both Tottenham and Newcastle United in terms of attractiveness to TV stations but they had been offered a large sum of money by German television to move the match to 6.00 p.m. so that they could also show another live match on the same evening. This was an offer that the club found too good to refuse. Recognising that this would cause inconvenience to a number of fans had led to the offer of free admission to season ticket holders and £1 entrance to children. The club regretted the fact that some fans would not be able to attend but also pointed out that it would allow families with young children who are normally unable to attend night matches, hence the special pricing for children.

TF announced that home TV rights had been sold to ITV and the match would appear on either ITV2 or ITV4, depending on whether Tottenham’s match at Feyenoord goes ahead. As a result the kick-off time had been moved to 6.05 p.m. at ITV’s request.

3. Bolton Reciprocal Ticket Arrangements

MH asked whether Bolton would be offering any reciprocal ticket pricing for the match at the Reebok Stadium following the special pricing at Ewood Park earlier in the season. TF responded that the club had not been informed of pricing arrangements as yet but would expect them shortly – no reciprocal arrangements had been made at the time of the first match. They had, however, been advised of ticket pricing for the FA Cup 5th round match, should Bolton beat Arsenal in their replay on 14th February. Tickets would be priced at £20 and £15 for season ticket holders, both Bolton and Rovers. Prices for the cup match should it be against Arsenal would be more expensive.

ND asked whether there would be special arrangements for cup tickets for fans who would be travelling to the away match with Bayer Leverkusen on 14th and may not be back in the UK until immediately before the cup match on 17th. Those travelling would be able to apply in advance on forma available soon from the ticket office. In addition the ticket office would be open until 10.00 p.m. on 15th and 16th and there would be a facility for ticket collection at the ground should we be playing Arsenal. Given the short time tickets would be on open sale immediately but given that allocations would be 2,000 for Arsenal and 3,000 for Bolton and the lunchtime kick-off and live BBC TV coverage, the club were anticipating being able to meet demand.

4. 2007/08 Season Tickets

MH noted the club’s recent public commitment to lowering season ticket prices following the increased TV deal for the 2007/08 season and asked for any further details. JW replied that, whilst the club were not expecting turnover to increase as much as press reports they wanted to return some of the increased TV income to fans in lower ticket prices. They were looking to simplify the price structure and therefore not every price would necessarily be reduced – for example children’s prices at £99 were unlikely to change. The club did, however, need to balance cheaper ticket prices against the need to remain competitive in the market for the best players and consequently needed to be aware of what was happening in the rest of the market. The club was already seriously disadvantaged in terms of gate income with many of its competitors, taking at least half as much as many clubs and about one seventh of the biggest clubs. Higher crowds are very desirable for the club as atmosphere is improved and they help to attract and keep good players but lower prices do have to drive volume.

A detailed pricing strategy had not yet been finalised. The club were not planning to continue the current loyalty scheme to protect value for season ticket holders but were planning a new points loyalty scheme based on total spend but the introduction was dependent on upgraded technology which may not be immediately available. Details of season ticket prices would be announced early but there would be no repeat of last year’s early bird offer. The club wanted to do everything possible to retain season ticket sales and encourage growth. Research had shown that 76% of the fans who did not renew their season tickets had not been to a home match all season. The club were conscious that it was much more difficult to regain regular fans once they did not renew.

In response to a query about foreign live TV coverage of matches in local pubs JW stated that the Premier league had confirmed that this practice was illegal and that a pub in Portsmouth had been fined £8,000 in the previous week.

MH asked what the club had learned from its recent price promotions. The club had been delighted with the response for the Bolton match but less so for Middlesbrough, although the latter had been expected as fewer away fans came given the distance and it was the second home game at Christmas in a few days. GW asked for more details of the Settanta contract. Little was known yet about pricing but the second contract would not lead to any more matches or different kick-off times as it would replace the current Sky pay per view programme. There will be no more live games under the new contract from August 2007.

5. Feyenoord Song

There was significant interest in the club encouraging the singing of the song used by Feyenoord fans. It was now popular amongst the away support and fans wanted to see its encouragement at home matches. The club were very eager to do anything which would improve the atmosphere at home matches but were conscious that an attempt to introduce it officially would not work and that it needed to be a fans led initiative. There was some discussion about how best to achieve this but the club offered whatever support was felt appropriate.

6. Club Shop & Merchandising Issues

MH stated that fans were very disillusioned with the club shop run by SWI , which was now little more than a normal high street sports shop and offered very little in terms of Rovers merchandise. JB also had a number of specific complaints from fans. The club were also dissatisfied with the current situation. They had a lucrative long term contract which they would not be able to replicate managing the store themselves. The contract contained a commitment to Rovers merchandise and percentage of floor space. They were working with SWI to resolve the various issues but were unable to give any more information or commit to a timetable for a resolution.

7. Any Other Business

a) SL raised the issue of poor pitch quality at Ewood. JW responded that the club spent about £30,000 a year relaying the top surface of the pitch and there had been some gradual deterioration. This had been exacerbated by playing two home games in very wet conditions and the extra demands of warm up and warm down routines and the commitment to pitch training for UEFA opponents. It was likely that the pitch would have to bee completely replaced, probably in 2008.

b ) GP asked about policy regarding away fans occupying boxes in the Blackburn end, given there had been problems in a number of matches, notably against Sheffield United. JW responded that it was difficult commercially as companies took contracts for boxes specifically in order to entertain their customers, who were frequently supporters of the away team. He did, however, undertake to make sure that the area was patrolled more effectively.

c) IF asked whether the TV gantry could be moved to the Riverside in order to give a more impressive view of the ground on TV. JW pointed out that this would highlight the Jack Walker stand, where the greatest concentration of empty seats were located. It would also be very difficult technically and would not be popular with broadcasters as they insisted on easy access to the tunnel and dressing rooms. If it was practical at all the cost would be in the order of hundreds of thousands of pounds. It was still on the agenda as a possibility but there was no immediate prospect.

d) MH pointed out that all fans at the recent away match at Chelsea had been put into the upper tier, despite tickets having been sold at two rates (£45 and £48). Tickets had also been sold on the night at £50. It was clear that the move to put all fans into the upper tier had been done to save stewarding costs. TF undertook to raise the matter with Chelsea.

8. Dates of Next Meetings

This is a proposed schedule for the rest of 2007, based on a frequency of every 6 weeks during the season and every 8 weeks in the close season: -

Monday 19th March

Monday 30th April

Monday 25th June

Monday 13th August

Monday 17th September

Monday 22nd October

Monday 26th November

Could all members please confirm their availability for these dates by contacting John Wareing at anne_allister@hotmail.com or on 01772 741530. In particular please consider the suitability of regular meetings on Mondays.

There will also be an agenda setting meeting for Fans’ Forum members a week before the main meeting, proposed as follows; -

Thursday 8th March (home reserve match on Monday 12th)

Monday 23rd April

Monday 18th June

Monday 6th August

Monday 10th September

Monday 15th October

Monday 19th November

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Not a lot of positive feedback given to a club that are massively exceeding what we should realistically expect from them, year in, year out.

It would be nice to see the opportunity taken by those lucky enough to have such close communication with the major personalities at the club to express that some of us actually do appreciate all the good work they are doing.

Apologies if this has been happening, but the minutes don't seem to suggest it. More a list of gripes and grievances from what I can see.

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Not a lot of positive feedback given to a club that are massively exceeding what we should realistically expect from them, year in, year out.

It would be nice to see the opportunity taken by those lucky enough to have such close communication with the major personalities at the club to express that some of us actually do appreciate all the good work they are doing.

Apologies if this has been happening, but the minutes don't seem to suggest it. More a list of gripes and grievances from what I can see.

That has been happening, but its kind of the nature of these things that the people on there, whilst agreeing with the clubs stances etc still have a duty to put points forward that people have made through either Brisa or messageboards, or in the pub.

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Are BRISA and the Fans Forum now one and the same?

No. BRISA saw the FF was not functioning as intended. We were also aware both bodies have similar interests and it was perhaps asking too much of the club to meet with both organisations on a regular basis. Last September BRISA enquired of the FF as to the difficulties the FF faced and through a series of meetings was able to help rejuvenate and rekindle the FF. A major issue for the FF was the secretarial and admin side of things ~ BRISA has taken these on board.

The FF remains as previously constituted, open to any individual or representatives of an organisation, under the chair of an independent supporter (i.e one who has no conncetion with an organised body). BRISA has two representatives on the FF**; we see our role to represent fans views to the club via the FF and to aid the FF by taking on the organisational role (previously this was all falling on oone person). ** There are, to my knowledge, six BRISA members on the FF, but only two representing BRISA, if you follow me?

What has happened to the supposed independence of BRISA?
Nothing has changed and BRISA has made clear it would act outside of the FF if thought necessary

What has happened re the proposed election of committee members?

Good question to which I don't have an answer. The last six months have been spent kick-starting the FF again.

Having met the majority of the FF members I can say it would be hard to find a more dedicated, articulate group of supporters. The FF has received criticism in the past for not being sufficiently open, this has really been a workload issue, BRISA is hoping its input will resolve the problem.

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  • Backroom

I was extremely disappointed when reading the section on Season Tickets. The fact they are doing away with the loyalty factor and basing it on 'total money spent ' when technology becomes available smacks of a cop out by the club and yet another kick in the teeth for long term season ticket holders.

Loyalty - what loyalty !! :angry:

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I was extremely disappointed when reading the section on Season Tickets. The fact they are doing away with the loyalty factor and basing it on 'total money spent ' when technology becomes available smacks of a cop out by the club and yet another kick in the teeth for long term season ticket holders.

Loyalty - what loyalty !! :angry:

Surely it depends on how the system actually works in the first place? when read in conjunction with proposals to simplify the pricing structure as well, it does lend itself to an expanded loyalty scheme where the discount increases in proportion with "actual spend" or "years of season ticket"

Not necessarily a bad thing.

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Surely it depends on how the system actually works in the first place? when read in conjunction with proposals to simplify the pricing structure as well, it does lend itself to an expanded loyalty scheme where the discount increases in proportion with "actual spend" or "years of season ticket"

Not necessarily a bad thing.

Good point Stu and will be interesting to see what develops though- the question is how long will they go back though if 'the years of season ticket' option is the structure?

However , The 'Total money spent' option at this moment in time does not make any sense , at least in the context it has been aired as it sounds a bit ambiguous - so again will be interesting to see what comes of this as I suspect the response of True Blue is how many will interpret it

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Good point Stu and will be interesting to see what develops though- the question is how long will they go back though if 'the years of season ticket' option is the structure?

However , The 'Total money spent' option at this moment in time does not make any sense , at least in the context it has been aired as it sounds a bit ambiguous - so again will be interesting to see what comes of this as I suspect the response of True Blue is how many will interpret it

I quite agree Stu, its one of the problems of releasing partial plans, the devil is in the detail, and the detail is not always detrimental.

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Regarding the key issue :rover:

Feyenoord Song:

The club should play it in its entirety either prematch or at halftime - it's so catchy it will easily be adopted by those who weren't in Rotterdam (or haven't travelled away lately). Thing is, it is a little hard to bounce up and down to it whilst seated!

Always thought it was a little tactless of them to play it (or rather a small bit of it) at halftime v Nancy shortly after the Dutch fans had rioted over in France shortly before :blink:

Blue n White.....Dynamite :brfc:

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That is fantastic! just needs some words writing to suit the Rovers; great stuff. Should also suit the drummer and give him something useful to do for a change.

like stop?

no way could he/they do that!! nor of course does he need to :ph34r:

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That is fantastic! just needs some words writing to suit the Rovers; great stuff. Should also suit the drummer and give him something useful to do for a change.

The words have already been written...

All together now..

DA DA DA DA DA DA DA, DA DA DA DA DA DA DA..... ROOOOVERRS, ROOOVERRS!!!!!!

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The words have already been written...

All together now..

DA DA DA DA DA DA DA, DA DA DA DA DA DA DA..... ROOOOVERRS, ROOOVERRS!!!!!!

How imaginative! That should be an absolute cert to top the charts and set new records for Ipod sales. :lol:

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