A look back at the recent meeting of the fans’ group
DATE OF MEETING: Thursday, June 9 (The Hawthorns)
APOLOGIES: Apologies were received from Hannah Weaver, John Homer, John Yeomans, Lisa Walton, Christiaan Wallett, Paul Kent, Dave Holloway, Ann Staniland, Andrew Benbow, Adam Penn, Sean Jobber and Bryan Malsbury. Matt Hadlington and Ian Atkins had informed the Assembly of their wish to stand down.
ITEMS ON AGENDA:
• Actions and queries
• Matchday experience sub-committee
• Exchange offer with Wolves Fans’ Parliament
• Junior Assembly update
• Equality and Diversity update
• Any other business from the floor
• Date/Time of next meeting
1. ACTIONS AND QUERIES
The following points were raised ahead of the meeting:
* Renaming of East Stand executive boxes to honour past players.
Director of Communications said that although there was no budget for refurbishments in this area, the prospect of a "refresh" of the East Stand interiors was now being actively discussed by the Club - including the prospect of renaming executive boxes in honour of past players and figures. This would be aligned to the Club's Archive and memorabilia project.
* Albion Archive update
The Assembly received a report from the project's head Dave Bowler which confirned its gathering momentum. The board has now approved a budget with initial funding in place to employ an intern for six months and begin immediately with the photographing of every item of memorabilia held by the Club. Meetings with third parties to discuss the digitilisation of the Archive were also underway.
* Pre-Season Away travel
Coach travel will not be available for our pre-season fixtures at Torquay and Plymouth owing to demand. However at the further request of a member, it was agreed that coach travel prices will now be shown on the ticket homepage for 2016-17.
* The issue of empty seats in the East Stand/Woodman Corner was raised with members questioning whether free or reduced-priced tickets to local residents/schools might be offered in pursuit of new supporters.
The Assembly was told that this very idea was already being explored as part of a "Fans for the Future" project being set up. Some 300 places had been identified as available in either the East Stand or Smethwick/West Stand corner.
* Retail sub-committee update
Head of Retail Paul Bradbury will contact members who have registered an interest. Chaiman Martin Swain (MS), meanwhile, presented images of a potential line of clothing for female supporters.
*Previous actions and queries:
The Club reported that Sandwell Council had now unblocked a drain that led to significant surface water outside the East Stand during the winter months.
The issue of overflowing rubbish bins had been accepted by Sandwell Council. However they have in turn asked the club to be more regular in maintaining them.
2. MATCHDAY EXPERIENCE SUB-COMMITTEE
MS told the Assembly that the Club were planning to make significant changes to the matchday experience ranging from entertainment to theme music and the input of members was actively sought.
He asked for volunteers to join staff who were looking into this initiative in order the Club receive input from supporters.Members Dan Watts, Richard Jefferson, Sarah Atkinson and Jayne French volunteered.
3. EXCHANGE OFFER WITH WOLVES FANS’ PARLIAMENT
MS said that Wolves Fans Parliament had contacted the Club to propose a one-time "members exchange" to see how each clubs' fans consultation groups conducted business.
The idea drew unapposed support from Assembly members and MS said he would instigate arrangements.
4. JUNIOR ASSEMBLY UPDATE
Allison Tripney, the Albion Foundation's education and inclusion officer, reported on the inaugural meeting of the Club's new Junior Assembly which had been set up to receive the input of the Club's Under 18 fans. It was agreed that provision could be made for Junior Assembly members to join the main body when they exceeded the age limit.
5. EQUALITY AND DIVERSITY UPDATE
Albion Foundation Director Rob Lake reported that the Club had now received its intermediate level license from the Premier League following a presentation for which the Club had been generously praised.
Members were shown an abridged version of the presentation including a video highlighting the Club’s equality and diversity reach.
6. ANY OTHER BUSINESS
*A display of the words to "The Lord is My Shepherd" on the big screen, especially for younger supporters, was suggested. It was agreed this could be done.
*Following the success of the fan-led Chris Brunt coin collection, it was suggested the idea be extended to an annual bucket collection day for a charity nominated by a player. This received unanimous support and MS promised to pursue the idea and report back at the next meeting.
*Another member raises issue of the online ticket system and problems logging on. It is suggested certain internet browsers may be causing the issue.
7. DATE/TIME OF NEXT MEETING
Thursday, September 8 (7pm for 7.30pm start)