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The Albion Assembly: Security, shopping, tickets and treasure

1 December 2015

Minutes from the latest meeting of fans’ group

TWENTY-ONE members gathered for the latest Albion Assembly meeting on Wednesday, November 25.

The first item on the agenda was the decision to offer corporate packages for the final away game at Bournemouth. The Assembly were told that newly-promoted teams were hugely popular with corporate supporters and 49 seats from an expected 1,200 allocation would be reserved for corporate customers. It was deemed that this would not eat hugely into the overall away allocation. 

On the subject of loyalty points, fans were advised to wait three working days for these to be registered. 

Allocation of away tickets was also discussed following some concerns the full complement was not being taken by the Club. The Assembly were informed these decisions were made due to insufficient demand.

The club had to pay for unsold tickets, as per Premier League guidelines. For the West Ham game, the Club were offered 1,100 or 2,100 and opted for the smaller option because of this. It calculated unsold numbers from the higher allocation would have cost the Club in the region of £40,000. Ticket Office figures suggest 90 per cent of away tickets go to Season Ticket Holders. 

Other items:

* 'Albion News', the Club’s match day programme, had again been highly-commended, named Runner-Up in the Programme of The Year category by Programme Monthly.

* Queries were raised about security arrangements follow the recent Paris terror attack. 

The Club remains in regular contact with the counter-terrorism unit and the threat level in the UK remains categorised as “severe”, which has been in place since August 2014. 

The message to supporters is that the heightened level of security would remain for the foreseeable future and they should remain alert, vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour. 

Although extra stewards had been drafted in to help ease congestion, the Assembly reported long delays for women supporters at one East Stand entrance. This has been reported back and attributed to a shortage of female stewards which the Club had still to resolve. 

* One supporter raised a query about whether the role of Mark Jenkins would change following the recent appointment of Peter Band as a financial director. The Assembly were informed that the appointment was intended to enable Albion’s Chief Executive to focus more fully on the broader issue of the club’s future direction.

* Another member queried the overall progress of the Assembly, notably on the stadium upgrade. The Assembly were informed that owing to last season's potential takeover, capital expenditure projects had been put on hold. However, the Board were due to meet next month where this issue would again be raised with a report back at the next Assembly meeting. 

The Assembly were told there was still a strong desire from within the Club to give The Hawthorns and the Training Ground a “makeover”.  

* One supporter criticised the price and quality of the infant Albion kit which totalled £55 when complete with lettering. A report back was promised on future plans for this pricing category.

* Regarding the death of a fan following the home game against Arsenal, queries were raised about the speed of the medical aid. It was confirmed that it took just seven minutes for an ambulance to arrive and that the supporter arrived at hospital 15 minutes and 20 seconds after the initial call had been made.

*Assembly member David James then outlined a concept for an Albion Archive, previously mentioned by several members of the Club and Assembly. 

It was suggested the Assembly should put forward an Archive concept for consideration - a virtual and interactive vault/museum for all Albion memorabilia and archive content, ranging from match reports, photos, ticket stubs, programmes, memorabilia to eventually absorbing third party contributions from supporters. It is hoped this would be a collaborative effort between the Club, and/or Albion Foundation, and the Assembly, but could also become the basis of a Heritage Trust application. 

"...We believe it has merit, we believe it's achievable...we think this is something which has to be endorsed and an initiative the Assembly can take on," said David.

Director of Communications Martin Swain confirmed that an Archive and History project had already been discussed at the Club and promised to put this presentation before Chief Executive Mark Jenkins. 

He said he believed the idea would gather traction during the coming weeks and months.

The Assembly were also told that separate plans for an Albion memorabilia display at Wednesbury museum - a project which would last in the region of two years – continued to progress.

*DATE OF NEXT MEETING: Thursday, February 4 (7pm for 7.30pm start). The meeting will be attended by Richard Garlick and Sales & Marketing Director Adrian Wright.

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