A small meeting took place on Tuesday evening between a couple of members of the Trust and the Football Club.
The meeting started with the club paying tribute to supporters by saying thank you for the recent £30,000 donation towards the necessary floodlight improvements. Work is expected to start soon on the upgrade.
Talk then turn to how the Trust could support the club with various sponsorships. The Trust agreed to sponsor two players – one established first teamer and a young professional. Last year, the Trust sponsored Joe Bunney and Rhys Bennett, and a vote will be held later this week with a 24 hr turnaround as to which players Trust members would like to sponsor this next season.
The advertising hoarding at the back of the Pearl Street Stand would continue for the forthcoming season, and discussions would continue as to whether Trust would continue to sponsor the team sheets this next year. Regardless of whether the Trust continues this sponsorship, the team sheets would once again be made available to supporters in the Dale Bar and Ratcliffe Suite before game following very positive feedback from members last season.
The Trust mentioned that the club were not currently one of 47 professional clubs who had signed up to Football vs Homophobia, and cited last season that we were hosted by Exeter City last season for a game that they had designated as Exeter v Homophobia day. The club said that they were signed up to various anti-discrimination schemes as being part of the Football League but they were happy for the Trust to look into this with a view to the club being signed up.
It was discussed about what could be done to take advantage of supporter ideas about how the club could be taken forward and the suggestion was that the Trust could hold consultation evenings. The idea in itself isn’t a new one but it hadn’t been possible to host such nights in the past. The idea would be that the Trust would host an open meeting for members and supporters every two or three months on a particular topic, and then would report their findings to the club. Ideas for such meetings include boosting attendance and merchandise as a starting point. The club were aware that similar schemes operated successfully at other clubs, with one club in particular hosting seven such meetings per year. The Trust would look to host the first of such meetings before the start of the season.
Following on from that, the club asked whether the Trust would discuss with supporters an idea for the forthcoming friendly games and report back their findings to the club.
Following the vote that saw Springhill Hospice named as the Trust’s chosen charity for the forthcoming season, it was asked whether we could repeat something similar. One suggestion from a Trust member had been that in one of the forthcoming friendlies at Spotland, the team could wear green socks to kickstart the Trust’s Springhill year. The club were happy for that but would look to run it by the management before agreeing, though green socks would have to be sourced beforehand.
It was agreed that the annual exiles game would take place on Saturday 28th March when we host Yeovil, and three further match sponsorships would take place over the course of the season. We asked if we could host a pre-Xmas event in the Dale Bar in our last home game before Xmas when Notts County are our visitors. The club were happy in principle to repeat something that was done in 2012 but much would depend on the availability of the Dale Bar and the agreement of the management team. Further match promotions were suggested, and the club felt that this would be an ideal topic for the Trust to kick off their consultation evenings with.
The meeting finished when Colin Garlick again mentioned that the Groundsman wants to buy a second hand van to transport equipment between Spotland and the Cricket club. He asked if we would consider this a project, and is looking for around £3000.
Question: Are the club doing enough to promote the 7 and under free season ticket?
The club said that information had been sent out to every single primary school in the borough advertising these deals and in line with a recent change, the offer does not necessitate an adult season ticket being purchased at the same time. The Trust member suggested that the club could push this during the friendly games, marketing “Turn up with proof of age, and get a season ticket” and the club were happy to do that. The club stated that this tier of season ticket had shown the biggest growth in recent years, and would continue as part of a long term initiative. The club spoke further about the efforts made by the FITC department in targeting primary schools, with often 500 free tickets being made available for each home game for the schools they’ve been working with. This would be extended in the new season to take into account junior sporting teams, including non football teams.
Question: Have the club targeted Hopwood Hall College for both potential supporters and to take advantage of the skills of the students?
The club already have excellent relations with the Middleton Campus, but not with the town centre campus. It was agreed to look at what could be done to further links with the latter.
Question: Has the club considered £10 entry for season ticket holders of other clubs?
The club stated that there was already a number of promotions within the Dale season tickets that allowed promotional entry into the ground, and a tie up with Oldham and Bury allowing £5 would continue this next season as announced on the Official Website this week. The club had tried something like the suggested offer about three years ago, and there was little success from doing so. The club weren’t averse to repeating such a scheme but queried why a Premier League fan could take advantage of reduced entry whilst a Dale fan who possibly couldn’t afford a season ticket holder wouldn’t qualify. The club were happy for the idea to be discussed at a Consultation evening.