Writer: Chris Baldwin
Date:Tuesday June 3 2008
The Stoke City Fans Forum has now been in existence for nearly seven years.
Throughout that time, it has had a unique opportunity to regularly meet with officials of the club to voice the opinions of our fellow supporters.
The last meeting raised, amongst others, the issue of adult supporters not being allowed into the Family Area without a junior ticket holder and the hardy perennials of the thorny issues of car parking at the Brit.
Fans Forum Meeting - Tollgate
May 14th 2008
Terry Hughes, Bryan Shaw, Tony Tams, Clive Edwards, Gareth Ekin, Mike Twist, Steve Buxton, Della Birchall
Paul Edwards, Malcolm Clarke, Sean Fynn, Paul Barker, Tony Scholes, John Alcock, Chris Gater
A congratulatory email about the Clubs promotion had been received from Eric Nunn, an ex Stoke player - now living in Australia.
2. New Issue of Season Tickets and Match Day pricing
The latest 'Mid Season Ticket issue' will run until June 4th and the final season ticket offer will then not be released until after the Fixtures are produced on June 16th. The Match Day Prices 'may' also be released on that date. At this time the Ticket office are issuing Season tickets at the rate of 150 per hour (source Sky News).
The club have all seven windows in use and all three telephone lines however there is an average waiting time of over 2 hours. The Club are pleased by this show of support from supporters and though the timing is regrettable the Club assure us that this will not be the case next year. This year a great deal of data has to be collected with each application but this will make future applications, by phone or personal visit - quick and smooth. This will also allow additional specific data to be taken and stored as each of the away games progress to ensure that tickets for restricted games will always be allocated on a most fair basis.
Tickets are also being sold in the South Stand - this will be for Season Ticket use ONLY - approximately 1800 seats are available and there will be only a supervised 4 seat width area that will be blocked off to separate home and away fans. In the concourses - breeze block walls are currently being built to create separate areas also.
3. On-line Ticketing
Teething problems have been noted and with the data currently being collected - this issue should be resolved. The club also feel that though regrettable - the %age of issues that have attracted criticism of the service have been small.
4. Family Stand
The concourse area is being completely refurbished and will be ready for the new season. Graphics, game consoles etc are already in there and being added to. It was requested that the club consider a Family Area 'Meeting Point' as entry to the ground will be restricted strictly to unaccompanied adults.
Please Note - the clubs policy on Matches with a kick off time before 19:45 is that adults must take up the option of exchanging their seat or seats for alternative seating elsewhere in the Stadium.
ny supporter having to move, is able to choose any part of the ground to sit for that particular game at no extra cost but subject to seating availability in that chosen area, alternative available seating will be offered by the Club should his/her choice not be available.
ONLY In the case of a 'sell out' game, will this condition will not apply
5. Filling in Corners
This will NOT be done this next season.
Replacing the scoreboard with a large screen is being positively considered by the Club and it is hoped that a screen will be in place for the coming season. However the size of it will depend on the revenue that its use is able to generate, through sponsorship and advertising.
7 Pedestrian tunnel from the Harvester to Delilahs
This initiative is still seen as the major improvement to traffic flow particularly for the on site Stadium parking. However it will not be available for season 2008/9.
8. Car Parking
Issues such as a One Way system down Stanley Matthews Way are actively being discussed, however - again the Club remind us that they own very little of the land around the Stadium and cannot make decisions on the use of highways around the Stadium. Having said, the Club are continually in discussions with the Council, Police and 'neighbours' such as Pets World and Screwfix about the whole subject of increased traffic and traffic control measures for home matches next season.
Following a discussion about the delays experienced by supporters that park in the North and West car parks, the Club reminded us that the car parks controlled by the club were already 'sell outs' as was the case last season, and therefore it was felt by the Club that the increase in the number of supporters at games will not unduly affect the delays in leaving the area of the ground.
s for 'ticketed cars' using side roads around the ground and any chance that the council would relent in their actions to ticket cars parked 'illegally'. The club have no influence on that matter and the council will continue to ticket whenever it is appropriate.
9. Coach Parking at Home Games
Coaches that have always parked on the corner of the West and North Stand will no longer be able to do so. The club are required by the Premier League and Sky/BBC to provide that area and perhaps more, at every home game for TV coverage requirements. Facilities for Sky TV coverage and Match of the Day for every home game and at every game the number of journalists including 18 different foreign language journalists have to be allocated.
10. Away Cards/Away Travel
The Away Card scheme will remain in place for the season 2008/9. It is expected that unaccompanied under 17's will be allowed to travel to away games on the Official Coaches next season.
11. Fans Forum Website
The Forum advised the Club that they are going to introduce a Web Site for the new season. The Club supported that but advised there would be no 'exclusive' availability to the FF reporter, but would be happy to arrange exclusive meetings with players/personnel during the course of the season.
12. Club Shop - Customer care
The Club were advised that there had been instances where the actions of people within the club shop had left a sour taste with supporters and that there should be change in customer relations made. The shop was not exclusive to this but was the main focus.
13. Open Day
Nothing has been planned to date, and most probably unlikely to happen given the changes etc that are required to be completed by the Club as they enter their first season in the Premier League.
14. Stadium Refurbishment
The Club advise that virtually the whole of the ground will be refurbished and will look 'good' in time for the new season. The pitch is also being re-laid and automatic sprinklers which drop down into the turf added.
15. Sound system
A new top quality sound system is being installed during the close season.
Next meeting July 30th
Date:Tuesday June 3 2008
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