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Club News

Trust Meeting With The Board Of Directors

23 March 2016

The Trust met with the Board of Directors on Monday evening to discuss a number of questions that had been sent in by Trust members on a wide number of issues.

The answers to those questions are as follows:

The Stadium
• What plans do the club have for maximising revenue for the stadium now it’s fully owned?
The club have been making preparation for this for a while. There are currently many plans, including a meeting which took place on Monday with regards to this. The Study Centre will be housed within the Willbutts Lane Stand, as will the Rochdale Driving Test Centre which will be moving to Spotland. Another office has also been let out within the Main Stand. The club are open to all ideas as to raising funds via the stadium. 

• Will the manager’s budget for next season be affected by the stadium buy out?
The club certainly hope so, in terms of it is hoped that the stadium will eventually generate additional income that will boost the manager’s playing budget. There will certainly be no negative impact on the playing budget for next season.

Season Tickets / Matchday Admission
• After the announcement of £30 away tickets in the Premier League has the Football League or the Club started to look at how this effects the competitiveness of ticket prices and are we likely to see any changes?
There will be a significant change in the approach by the club that will be announced as part of the season ticket / pricing plan for next season. This announcement will take place on Monday 18th April.

• Over the past few seasons the season ticket vouchers given to purchases during the special promotion period have become less and less (my perception). Will we see these vouchers disappear in the near future for a different season ticket promotion? Will season tickets be revamped in any way?
Vouchers have actually increased in value over the years and are now worth approximately £80. The belief is that the vouchers represent the Team Rochdale agenda and as such there will be eleven vouchers to reflect this.

• Why don't the discounted Goldbond season tickets have the "bring a friend" vouchers in?  I do two rounds for the club, I get two season tickets and I have friends who are Manchester City, Manchester United, even Leeds and Aston Villa fans who are more than willing to come and watch us when their teams aren't playing when these offers are on yet I can't offer them.  They would not be coming to the game anyway so it's just money lost.  Why are we not entitled to those vouchers and others are?  We are not benefitting from it, the club is.  I don't expect to be given vouchers for a free pie or so much off a shirt, that's just cheeky given we pay heavily discounted season ticket prices but to not be able to have the vouchers makes absolutely no sense.
The club began by paying credit to the hard work that the Goldbond agents do for the club. There are currently over a hundred Goldbond agents, and they are very grateful for all that they do. The reasons that the vouchers aren’t currently included are because they include a number of money off vouchers, and it would not be appropriate to include them in what is complimentary anyway. There are also logistical and operational reasons why they aren’t included – all season tickets are printed with all the vouchers included, and then removed en masse following the close of the promotional period. The club said that they would look into the possibility of these particular vouchers being included.

• What is the process around deciding on season ticket/matchday prices and what supporter input has been taken into account?
The club take feedback on this all year round, including feedback from the Trust at meetings such as this. That feedback, coupled with market forces play a part in the decision making process.

• Do the club feel that any short term losses in ticket revenue are worth enduring in an attempt to increase the fanbase? ie. much cheaper prices for season tickets and on a matchday for one season to see what the results are.
Again, the club referred back to the announcement that would be made on April 18th.
Match Promotions
• Why do we make it so difficult to utilise bring a friend for x amount days? Why not just have a lower admission price instead of making fans do all the work? It's unnecessary.
The club stated that as well as wanting to increase the fanbase, there was also the need to protect the value of the season ticket. Furthermore, the vouchers are there as a benefit to season ticket holders. The Trust shared opinions where many season ticket holding members were keen for the club to pursue such match promotions, though this wasn’t a view universally shared. Comments had been made about the need for supporters to write out the name and email address on the back of the voucher to obtain the discount. The club stated that this is part of their marketing plan by adding such members to the new club E-Shots.

All Ticket Games
• Why do we make games all ticket (e.g. Bury) when we know they are not going to bring more than 3000 fans? Is it on Police "advice"? If it is are we forced to comply with this "advice". If we don't follow the "advice" what are the repercussions? Classing these games as all-ticket then changing at the last minute (by which time the "possibles" would probably have made alternative arrangements) surely costs the club money. Sorry one more question on this subject - what exactly is the point of making it all ticket for away fans only? Surely you are just encouraging away supporters to buy a ticket on the day for the home ends - shouldn't it be all-ticket for everyone or no one at all? First of all, it was stated that it was only last season that Oldham brought more supporters than we could accommodate and this led to trouble inside the ground.
The club stated that they never wanted games to be all ticket matches, but the safety of supporters will always be the number one priority. All designated matches were selected with that in mind, and for the larger crowds, it is operationally easier when supporters have tickets. The Trust questioned about whether Police advice was Police advice or Police orders. The final decision would always come down to the club, but if the Police were not satisfied with the plans in place, they could approach the Council to have the Safety Certificate withdrawn for a fixture.

• I had thought about sending this as a question for the board, but I doubt it is serious enough to warrant board attention, but I would be grateful if it could please be flagged up with the club. My question concerns all ticket fixtures and the issue that these cause me and I suspect a small number of other exiled supporters. I note today that the Oldham fixture on Saturday has joined a long and regular list of games that start off as all ticket but end up being pay on the day. That is I think the 4th or 5th so far this season? I am sure the club will say it is Police/Local Authority advice behind this. It isn't so much of an issue for home games as I have a Country Season Ticket. However for away games it is, frankly, a total pain! Living 250 miles from Spotland I cannot just pop in and pick up a ticket and while I appreciate tickets are usually on sale a home game or two before the relevant away fixture, if those happen to be home game/s I cannot attend then I am faced with having to call a premium rate number and then pay admin fees for the privilege of buying a ticket for a game that ends up being pay on the day anyway.
The admin charge on telephone orders is to ensure that it matches exactly the same administration charge made on tickets purchased via the internet (the club don’t receive any of the admin fee on the internet ticketing). The Trust stated that a lot of the frustration recently stemmed from the administration fees being charged only to have the game losing its all ticket status a day or two later.

• Previously it was said that season ticket holders would always get priority for all ticket games, also suggestions were asked for on suitable alternatives. In the absence of season ticket holders getting priority for the recent all ticket game at Oldham (irrespective of how many tickets there were), could this process be established again? One suggestion was that by having a couple of days for season ticket holders only it creates different windows for fans to purchase and would stagger pressure on the ticket office. While this is not something that matters most of the time, once something is established fans have a better appreciation of what will always happen.
The club would always looked to do this when it was felt that there was a need to prioritise with a limited number of tickets supplied. The only time where this has been the case has been the away fixture at Blackpool, where the club were supplied with incorrect information from the home side.

• How much freedom do the club have with the allocation of all ticket matches? And is there a concern that supporters will no longer take all ticket status serious after a number of games going pay on the day at the last minute?
See previous answer regarding all ticket games.

• Are the Directors concerned about the dwindling attendances and what plans are in place to attract back the missing fans? At a time when we are now competing at a higher level (League One) have the Club identified the reason for what seems to be a recent downturn in home attendances, what do they highlight as the main reason?
It goes without saying the board are always concerned regarding attendances, and it is addressed at every single board meeting.

• What steps are the club taking to get Bury FC to cough up the money owed to us, that they've taken in advance ticket sales for both the Cup match, and the league match?
No comment.

• When will the winning kit designs for next season be unveiled and when will they go on sale?
The club have announced that the winning kits will be announced on Saturday 30th April, with kits on sale from 9am that morning.

• Dear Trust, After a great win against Bury, but a disappointing experience at Spotland…I would like the following question to be put to the Directors; “Can the Directors please advise what the purpose of the kit sponsor package is (meal and game tickets) when the players cannot be bothered to turn up to meet?” To put this into prospective, I recently arranged for the sponsor package to be used for the Bury game, and arranged flights from Dubai for this. After waiting around after the game, the players were no where to be seen…in contrary to the letter received ("opportunity to meet the players after the game”). When booking the sponsor package this should trigger something within the club to ensure that the relevant player is available…if only for 5 minutes after the game. I will be putting all this into a comprehensive letter and sending direct to the Chairman & Directors on this topic, but felt it was necessary to “strike whilst the iron was hot”.
On the match in question, there were a number of first team players in the lounge after the game with Peter Vincenti, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Reuben Noble-Lazarus, Michael Rose and Joe Bunney all in attendance. The club have received many comments from both home and away supporters this season about how accommodating our players have been after matches, stating that they don’t see as much interaction between supporters and players at any other club in the country. Furthermore, players and management will always go one step further to represent the club within the community with both Keith Hill and Calvin Andrew both going significantly out of their way recently in this regard. The recent TeamEllis was a prime example of this, with first team players willing to donate significant sums for the appeal.

• Are prices for food and drink in the away stand the same as elsewhere in the ground? The club would look into this.

• Did the club approach Sheffield United for any compensation around possible damage to the pitch covers?
There was a small tear in one of the covers as a result of the actions of the Sheffield United supporters but there is no intention to contact Sheffield United with regards to this.

• What do the board feel about the club's coverage in the local newspaper which has, in the past, focused on comments that have been critical of supporters?
Obviously the club has no editorial control over what is published in the local press. It was noted that following the last two games, the manager has publicly praised Rochdale supporters and their contribution to the game, but these comments have not been picked up by the local media.

• Why are there admin charges for tickets bought over the phone? See previous answer to ticketing question.

• Is there a reason why Companies House are flagging up that the accounts of the Football Club are overdue?
The club admitted that the accounts are a little bit late but put that down to being incredibly busy with the stadium purchase recently. They will be submitted by the end of this week.

The Club finished the meeting by thanking the Trust and its members for presenting the board to answer these questions in this manner. Equally, the Trust would like to thank the club for continuing the open dialogue between the club and its supporters.

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