CUSG Meeting Update - 11th July 2016

Attendees: Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Phil King (CUFC), Norman Steel (CUOSC), Simon Clarkson (LB), Ian Jardine (LB), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Ali Ross (CUSAT), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Andy Hall (CUFC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), John Ireland (Route 66)

Apologies: Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Suzanne Kidd (CUFC), Kate Rowley (CUSAT)

Introduction of Nigel Clibbens
Nigel introduced himself to the group and talked about his involvement with a similar group at Huddersfield Town. He felt that group had worked well with their club. He said he planned to attend all the CUSG meetings.

Chairing of CUSG Meetings/ Attendance
It was suggested that it would demonstrate independence in the working of the CUSG if the club didn’t solely Chair the meeting. Phil had no objections to others chairing meetings. Nigel said he favoured an independent Chairman. It was agreed that each group would chair it for a rolling period, roughly quarterly. Nigel said he favoured a wide body of attendees to broaden the input with individual perspectives. Phil agreed to approach former candidates for the fans rep position to see if they would like to attend, as individuals rather than representatives of groups. The groups to decide among themselves who would chair future meetings and to provide agendas.

Fans Rep
Nigel said he had no immediate plans to reinstate this position but would keep it under review. He felt that CUSG could fill the gap and that these meetings would provide a path way to the club's board. Nigel also recognised that going forward the Official Supporters Club retained a director on the 1921 board.

Update on progress towards restoring Brunton Park
Phil provided an update. He expected the portakabins in front of the West Stand would remain in place until late September. Admin staff were being moved to the East Stand which provided twice as much more floor space. Whilst the current changing rooms will stay put, the media room and press box will switch to the East Stand. The old media room will become the new sponsor's lounge. The boardroom will remain in its current location. Legends will remain as a hospitality area. All bars around the ground had now been renewed and restored with alchohol on draught again.

A location for supporters groups to operate from was discussed. The East Stand would not be an ideal location due to lack of foot fall on match days. There was more enthusiasm from supporter representatives for the use of the Study Centre which was free on match days. John for the West Cumbria/Route 66 group said he planned to house himself inside the Sunset Suite. Nigel asked for clarity of purpose and timescale with regard to these facilities, and pledged that the club would co-operate as much as possible. The club would also help to provide poster space for advertising CUSG and member group activities. Groups to continue to liaise with the club over match day outlet.

Disabled facilities
Barry's name had been added to the club's 'Level Playing Field' return in regard to providing better access for disabled supporters. The funds were now largely in place for acquiring the audio equipment for blind/partially sighted fans and several sources identified for procurement. Andy and Simon liaising over this. A contact was identified to progress the application for more funds from the Football Foundation. Fans' not club need to lead on this.

Matchday experience
Enthusiasm for use of a marquee on match days was again expressed. The club would look into the feasibility of providing this, together with refreshments and a live band for home games, and report back. Provision of alcohol including real ale would be limited by the club's contract wih Heineken. There was a plan to look at a facility for the Plymouth Argyle match, with Argyle fans invited if it was viable.

Events and fundraising
Simon offered to lead on this item. Approximately 100 pin badges remained. £500 had been raised to go to the Cumbria flood appeal. Further donations had been raised by Route 66 and the London Branch. Norman was asked to arrange a cheque presentation at the Plymouth game with a rep from the Cumbria Community Foundation.

Investment update
Questions were once again raised about investment, as well as the club's plans for its future home. Nigel said that the damage done by Storm Desmond was 'catastrophic' and with two major floods in a little over 10 years, this was a major challenge to the club. They were doing all they could to ensure any potential future damage would be minimised. With regard to where the club might end up, re Blue Yonder, were no easy answers long-term.

On investment he said that he believed that the club's majority shareholders wanted investment. CUOSC had clear legal rights as a 25.4% shareholder which must be respected. The Club and CUOSC were at the moment trying to agree a route forward but solicitors were now involved. Norman said that the other shareholders had yet to agree 'in entirety' that the SGM vote on the Lapping deal was a 'one off'. Nigel said the overseas investor had registered interest 7 months ago and was credible to him, based on information seen. There was also interest from local business people. The club's finances had been improved by player sales and cup windfalls, which had been used to boost the wage bill.

Any Other Business
Simon raised the issue of the £3 extra people had to pay when they paid on the day to attend a match. Nigel said there is a £3 discount on the match day price for advance purchase. At Huddersfield this discount had been tried and then changed. Other clubs have the same arrangement. Removing it could reduce income and would need to be funded, this may be needed from an owner. Each club is different.

Andy said he thought some negative opinions about the new team shirts would change when they were seen in the club shop.

The club saw the introduction of B Teams into the EFL Trophy (former Johnstones Paint Trophy) as a one year trial. They would see how it went before any further decisions would be made about it. Some present at the meeting said they intended to boycott these matches, others said they would still attend.

A question was asked about the previous day's Family Fun Day as it was thought the organisation may have been a bit 'last minute'. The club would hold a normal review of the event, as they did on many other matters, including the recent Rod Stewart concert. Any feedback from attenders would be welcome, if provided to Phil.

The date of the fans' forum was confirmed for August 2. This would be publicised through Radio Cumbria. The venue had not yet been finalised - either Sunset or Foxys.

Next Meeting
Date of next meeting to be decided in due course