Friday, 29 May 2009

Is the Fans Forum working?

Early days admittedly, but I find myself asking the question after the notes from the last meeting on 14th May were published yesterday on Charlton life.

Not sure why it takes two weeks to release a page of notes, but the club appear to have to agree these in advance, so maybe that accounts for part of the delay.

So what did we learn? Not a lot really; Phil Parkinson's future appears to be in just as much doubt as the fans think; we might not be able to afford to use the big screen without a sponsor next season; JD Sports are unlikely to renew their Carbrini brand shirt sponsorship which could mean new home and away shirts if a new shirt sponsor is found; season ticket sales are "encouraging." The rest of the discussion appears to be taken up with the Fans Forum governance (replacement of members, tenure etc), request for a regular page in the programme and, bizarrely, a bar/lounge of their own to "raise profile."

Parky first then - his future was questioned in relation to negatively affecting season ticket sales. Steve Waggot reportedly suggested that if wavering fans renewed, the club might be able to use the additional funds to get rid of him but that "it was unknown at this point as to his position going forward." This was followed by a question about a possible takeover affecting Parkinson's status and the response that "as further information regarding this isn't available at present, it was difficult to discuss in detail." Hardly a denial that something is going on especially when "at some point in the not too distant future, an announcement would have to be made either way, but it was unclear when this would be."
News that the club might not be able to afford the big screen without sponsorship is the latest humbling news about club finances. How long before we apply for our evening matches to be played during the afternoon so we don't have to put the lights on? Perhaps the club could tell us how much it costs to operate the big screen? If it was affordable, it might be something fans would feel strongly about contributing towards? If not, I'd rather it was sold than have the embarrassment of it being blank at every home game.

No real surprise re JD Sports in the current climate, especially with us now representing League One. Bearing in mind how difficult it was in getting Carbrini on board, I wouldn't hold my breath on a new shirt sponsor unless there is a takeover at the club, so the notion of new home and away shirts is probably just that for now. 

Steve Waggott thinks season ticket sales are "encouraging" for this stage (14th May) but added the caveat that the number of renewals historically doubles in the week before the cut-off. That's this week, so let's see what numbers are unveiled next week. Unless, of course, the deadline will be extended from 1st June under the guise of the weight of applications or perhaps the fact that there's only a skeleton staff left to deal with what applications they have had. Either way, the threat of the cut-off is hardly what it used to be in the 27,000 full house PL days. My guess is Steve will be disappointed when the first figures are revealed.

In summary then, this is just the level of information we've historically gleaned from "supporters evenings." I thought the idea behind the FF was a better two-way flow of information and that doesn't appear to be happening. Certainly not from the fans upwards (I don't believe fans have a problem speaking up or making themselves heard) and the club will only really ever tell us what we absolutely need to know.  

I might be being unfair here but I also get the distinct  impression the FF might be looking like high maintenance in the current climate.



Terry Thomas said...

If continuing to operate the big screen means that we have to endure the gut wrenchingly cringing "Feesh" advert every week then please keep it closed.

bristol addick said...

Sounds like the FF is another anodyne attempt to be seen to be communicating. Re the screen, like you said, would be interesting to know the cost - can't be much, which is also disconcerting. Roll on some news re the mooted takeover!

Just heard that one of our opponents next year, Bristol Rovers, have got a new shirt sponsor via a raffle! Apparently, 96 companies paid £1k each for the chance to appear on the shirt - won by N-Gaged, a pretty new company by all accounts. With Steve Sutherland gone, as reported by Kettsy, and money v.tight, worth a thought?

Dave said...

Terry - In think the Bream Team or whatever they are called do the software operation for the Big Screen. My guess is that the Feesh advert is probably what they get in return. It was amusing for a few weeks.

Dave said...

Bristle Addick - I like the idea of raffling off the shirt sponsor. For a grand you could end up with The Dog & Duck or equivalent which would be fantastic in League One. It's as good idea as any I've heard from the Fans Forum so far!

Suze said...

If any of you ever watch "Kingdom"...just remember the cricket club and their issues, re shirt sponsorship!!

I might have missed the flow, but it didn't happen near me! And a bar of their own!? I know another group of London "workers" that have got those!

Anonymous said...

I've just read the minutes. Did Steve Waggot really say "it was suggested that, if some fans wanted him to go, by renewing it would give the club money to possibly change things" with reference to Phil Parkinson's position as manager? If so, I'm flabbergasted. Imagine meeting with the Chairman of a Plc and being told that the Board would like to fire the CEO, but couldn't afford to - not quite what Waggot seems to have said but not far off. If that is a measure of the man's intellect, integrity, communication skills and general nouse then we are in big trouble until he gets fired. Perhaps he knows he won't survive the takeover. If the buyer knows what they are doing he'll be gone the day after an announcement is made. Quite extraordinary.

By the way, he doesn't understand the season ticket sales dynamic either. There is NO incentive to renew early other than the (minor) risk that you'll lose your existing seat. Put another way, there is no pressure to offset natural inertia. Even a £10 discount may have caused people to at least think about the deadline. I'll bet there are many like me. I WILL renew, but I'm in no hurry. I fancy a change of scenery and will try to get different seats (2) for the forthcoming season. If I can't find a position I like I'll revert to plan A, i.e. take back my old seats. Extending the renewal period will simply delay that kind of behaviour and hold up any new applications, whilst making precious little difference to the rate of renewals more generally. Please come back Peter Varney. We need someone who can think in charge.

Dave said...

Anon - my thoughts entirely.

Anonymous said...

If Waggott had any interest in the renewals, or the club, he'd take that pistol and do the decent thing ala Roger of the Raj....