Club News

Albion Assembly Meeting Minutes | February 2024

An image of The Hawthorns' West Stand and Birmingham Road

The minutes from the latest Albion Assembly meeting can be found below.

Albion Assembly (AA) Meeting - The Hawthorns.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024 - 7pm.

The following minutes are a general summary of the meeting and contain no direct quotations from those in attendance.

Club staff in attendance: Managing Director, Mark Miles (MM), Director of Communications, Ian Skidmore (IS), Supporter Liaison Officer, Cindy Joyce (CJ), Director of The Albion Foundation, Rob Lake (RL), Head of Marketing, Rachel Rankin (RR), Head of Security & Matchday Operations, Howard Lewis-Jones (HLJ) and Senior Communications Officer, Sean Watts (SW).

Apologies: Aisha Patel and Iain Bate.


Ian Skidmore opened the meeting, introduced staff in attendance, and read out the list of apologies from those who could not be there. Members were then shown two videos - with one being a message to the Albion Assembly from new Chairman Shilen Patel (SP), where he stated his intentions to work alongside the AA and attend where possible, and the other being his sit-down interview with Club TV.


Mark Miles started by giving an overview of changes made to the board since the takeover, which was announced two hours prior to the meeting. He confirmed Guochuan Lai and Xu Ke (Ken) had stepped down - and wanted to place on record the hard work Ken had put in to ensuring the deal got over the line. MM also confirmed he would be continuing in his role as Managing Director.

MM stated it was an exciting time for the football club, with a bright future ahead. He praised SP and the new ownership group, and expressed his belief they are a perfect fit for Albion.

A vote of thanks towards MM, IS and other staff members was given by AA members. They then asked a variety of questions, though some could not be answered owing to confidentiality agreements.

Regarding the MSD loan, MM said it had been rolled over, but the club may look to pay it back quicker if possible – and this would be decision for the new ownership. He explained the current personnel at board level of the football club were Shilen as Chairman and him as Managing Director.


Men’s senior team:

MM expressed his delight at the job Carlos Corberán is doing, and the team’s performance throughout a difficult season. He also discussed the January transfer window, saying he thought the club had done well in what was an otherwise flat market across the division. Mark singled out Tom Fellows, too, and spoke about his development, his new contract and how he shows there is a pathway from the Academy to the first team. Furthermore, MM said discussions were ongoing around the topic of players whose deals expire this summer.

MM gave an update on injuries, starting with Daryl Dike. He said the striker has had an operation and, although he was upset when it happened, Daryl has been taken back by the love and affection from supporters and staff. He confirmed they would try and get him involved in a variety of club activities during his rehabilitation. MM also added that he was hopeful Matt Phillips and Josh Maja would be back in good time for the run-in.

Women’s team:

MM stated it was a season of transition for the women’s team, and they had settled in well at Redditch and were looking at staying there for the 2024/25 campaign. He explained how the process of formally bringing West Bromwich Albion FC Women Ltd into the club’s group structure had been put on hold during the takeover, but this would soon resume.

MM spoke about the game at The Hawthorns on Sunday, March 10, and how it unfortunately clashed with the men’s match against Huddersfield after it was chosen by Sky for live television coverage.

He urged members and fans to support the women’s team, especially considering the kick-off time had been put back to 2:15pm, allowing people to watch both. MM added that the men’s fixture would be shown in the concourses at The Hawthorns, though could not go on the big screens because of copyright law - despite the club’s best efforts. This was then advertised on the website & social media.


MM said the talent coming through the Academy was evident - especially in Albion’s FA Cup Third Round match against Aldershot - and stated the U21s and U18s were both having a good season even though players were regularly having to play up an age group.

MM also reflected on the sale of a young player to Aston Villa in January, saying how the fee received was at an acceptable level. He then confirmed the Academy remains a key part of the football club and spoke about the desire to maintain as many homegrown youngsters as possible going forward.

Members requested that the club advertised free entry to PL2 games for season ticket holders more, and IS said although this is written in most match previews, they would start putting something on social media too.

EFL & Premier League Deal:

A brief update was given on a new deal between the EFL and Premier League. MM said conversations remain ongoing between the EFL and the PL and would likely result in further cost control measures for Championship clubs.


Howard Lewis-Jones gave a detailed overview of the club’s preparations for the FA Cup match against Wolverhampton Wanderers, before offering a step-by-step account of what happened throughout the day.


Firstly, HLJ expressed a general acknowledgment that there was huge disappointment within the club at the behaviour of a significant minority of supporters. Reassurance was given that a great deal of planning went into the fixture, despite the very short timescale. Wolves were allocated 4,000 tickets in a space that could hold 5,400, and home tickets were distributed to Albion fans, initially exclusively to season ticket (ST) holders, then members, and then additionally inviting ST holders to get an extra ticket, meaning it never went on general sale. Other measures included a 25% increase in steward numbers, 50 Wolves stewards, 350 police officers, and netting in Smethwick End corners. There was also a specific plan for pitch incursion, and no alcohol sold to away fans. Three planning meetings took place with senior management, as well as three meetings with police, and two visits by them to the stadium to talk through strategies and an emergency safety advisor group.

The match:

HLJ continued and said prior to kick-off, nothing of note occurred and everything ran to plan. Then in the first half when Wolves scored, smoke devices were set off and at least one was thrown towards the home end. There was an incident in the corner with plastic bottles being thrown at players and a ball assistant was injured by a vape thrown by home fans, too. During the half-time briefing with the Police Commander, the club were satisfied overall with the way things were going.

In the second half, Wolves scored again, and an away fan located in the West Stand brought attention to himself by goading the home supporters in the Birmingham Road (BRE). He got confronted by home fans, with some leaving the BRE end to get involved. This was then seen by those in the East Stand, who surged forward in an attempt to get towards the visiting fans. HLJ explained that this was where the worst violence was. After the referee decided to suspend play, two people got on the pitch, and both of those individuals were detained and taken off. Once play resumed, more bottles were thrown in Millennium Corner, but there were no issues on the final whistle, everyone left the stadium without incident and there were no problems into the evening.

Conclusions and way forward:

Howard stated the catalyst was an away fan in the home area, but added this does not excuse the behaviour of some home fans. He went on to dispel one rumour – saying the Wolves supporter did not get his ticket from a player (or someone who is associated to a player). It came from a genuine Albion fan, who has since had their account suspended. 

In excess of 20 accounts have been suspended by the club that relate to those who entered the pitch, are connected to away fans purchasing tickets, or people involved in disorderly behaviour. Albion have since responded to the FA with a detailed account of the planning that was in place for this fixture and, at the time of the meeting, awaited a response. Working closely with West Midlands Police (WMP), the club are supporting their investigation into offences and will then decide on any measures it will take. 

HLJ said an Emergency Safety Advisory Group meeting took place to look at what they could have done to prevent the incident occurring, and they are also conducting an independently run debrief in the coming weeks. In the interim, the Millennium Corner has been netted off and the club is doing all it can to ensure it learns from what happened.

Regarding the allegation of racism during the Birmingham City match, Howard confirmed they have suspended the account of a season ticket holder and are assisting WMP, who are leading on the investigation. Please note, the number for supporters to call if they hear any form of discrimination on a matchday is 0792 922 1878.

A discussion was then had with AA members around the Wolves incident. Some gave their own accounts of what they witnessed on the day. They offered their thoughts on what they believed was good and bad, as well as any potential improvements for future games of that nature. Members also questioned the stewarding - specifically regarding the quicker removal of the Wolves fan in the home end.


Rob Lake explained how he had been working closer with the football club in recent months on an interim basis, offering support to MM by overseeing departments such as Safeguarding, Facilities & Operations, Ticketing and Marketing. He also said Jonathan Ward had taken up a role as Deputy Director at the Albion Foundation (TAF) and praised his work to date.

RL expressed his happiness that SP had mentioned TAF in his interviews, and how this worked well with MM’s ‘one club, one badge’ mantra. Rob updated members on a variety of working groups, too, which had been set up to tackle important subjects such as EDI, Sustainability, and Wellbeing.

He continued by talking about the Foundation’s ‘go local’ strategy, which was picking up pace among schools and faith groups in Smethwick and their other designated areas. RL also advertised their annual ‘Sleep Out’ event, taking place on Friday, March 23, and a blind walk from Wembley to The Hawthorns, which was happening in the build-up to the final day of the season.

Rob stated there was going to be an open training event during the Easter Holidays (Tuesday, March 26), similarly to last year, and wanted to mention how brilliant the support from players and Carlos had been in recent months. 

And finally, he confirmed the Wolves charity game between legends of both clubs was, regrettably, no longer happening. This is owing to police advice received both prior to, and after, the FA Cup tie.


AA members praised the matchday programme this season, particularly some of the front covers and the inserts of old ones from years gone by.

When asked about season ticket prices for the next campaign, MM said the club were currently reviewing prices and details.

Following a question from a member, a brief discussion was had about potential plans to redevelop the stadium, but Mark confirmed nothing was in the pipeline at this stage.

Date of next meeting: TBC