Newsletter #1638

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Plenty of requests tonight, an update from the last Points of Blue meeting, and a McV editing request for those who fancy giving it a go!

Next Game: TBA

MCIVTA GUEST EDITING

We are looking for a guest editor to cover 7th to 21st June inclusive (or two editors, you can share!). If you fancy having a go and keeping in touch with the 3,000+ subscribers worldwide and ensuring McV goes out in our 16th year, then please contact me at the usual address.

Heidi <editor(at)mcivta.city-fan.org>

OPINION: US TOUR

Anybody who may be interested in coming to the NY leg of the pre-season tour can buy tickets in the City section of Red Bull Stadium from the home of MCFC in the States, the Mad Hatter Saloon.

Please see following link for details: http://www.madhattersaloonnyc.com/mcfcnyforum/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=299

Jonesy <kjdecor(at)optonline.net>

REQUEST: BLUES / WORLD CUP VIEWING IN PARIS

Folks help please! I am in Paris on the night of England’s first match versus USA in the World Cup on Sat 12th June.

Could anyone recommend a good bar to go to watch the game?

Jeremy Smith <jeremyjcs(at)yahoo.com>

POINTS OF BLUE MINUTES

Minutes of Meeting 4th May 2010

Club represented by Vicky Kloss, Chief Communications Officer, Steve Sayer, Chief Commercial Officer, Danny Wilson, Head of Supporter Experience, Peter Fletcher, Head of Safety & Security and Steven Robinson, Ticket Sales Manager.

Attendance was boosted by many people wanting to discuss the changes to the North Stand for Season 2010/11.

The meeting dealt first with general matters on the agenda. This part of the meeting took a little under an hour.

Ticketing

Walk-up Tickets: The club has been selling walk-up tickets on matchday for less than face value. Is this simply to shift remaining tickets, or is it also an attempt to curb touting? If the former, it might be unfair to those who paid full price but I personally think it’s more important that we get a bum on every seat. If the latter, is this not a bit risky? If the walk-up tickets sell out before kick off, you could have lots of people looking for tickets, and lots of happy touts with plenty in their hands!
Club response: The walk-up ticket was made available on the day of the Everton match with the aim of filling as many of the unsold seats as possible. With approximately 4,000 tickets left the day prior to the match, the offer meant that approximately 2,500 of those were sold. It may seem unfair to those who had paid full price, but there will not be many matches where such an offer will be possible.

Arsenal away tickets: why did they sell out so quickly?
Club response: This fixture was extremely popular. In response to requests from supporters, who wanted to benefit from cheaper travel (when booked early), tickets did go on sale earlier than usual for an away match but they did sell out far quicker. We did take the full allocation of approximately 3,000 tickets.

Burnley: There were reports that tickets were returned to Burnley and were being sold to City fans on the gate on the day of the game, despite it being advertised as Sold Out.
Club response: The full allocation of tickets that we received sold out well in advance of the fixture date. We didn’t return any tickets to Burnley. Most clubs retain a few tickets in the visiting supporter section of the stadium for special situations. We are not aware of any reason why Burnley would leave seats unsold.

Stadium and Surrounding Area

Is there any truth in the rumours about making Eastlands’ capacity 80,000?
Club response: A detailed feasibility study into potential future stadium expansion is ongoing. At present, there are no confirmed plans.

Is there any truth in the rumours about a Formula 1 racing track?
Club response: None whatsoever.

Level Two, East Stand toilet situation (stewards preventing use of corporate toilet on spiral)
Club response: Access to these toilets was always meant to be restricted to those supporters using the hospitality areas in the East Stand. However, this restriction was only enforced from the Liverpool match in February following numerous complaints from supporters in these areas about the state of the toilets. We accept that we could have provided advance notice to those supporters who have utilised the toilets since the stadium opened.

Multi-pour beer dispensers: Can we have proof of the infrastructure changes that must be made to allow the installation of multi-pour beer dispensers or an apology for persistently saying that it couldn’t be done?
Club response: There are (and always have been) problems with cellaring for multi-pour dispensers. We are currently working with the brewery to explore alternative solutions including a fast pour system. Attention is also being given to the quality of the beer lines throughout the stadium.

Loss of the East Car Park was sprung on us. Couldn’t we have been told at the last PoB meeting?
Club response: We knew that at some stage the contractors for the land remediation would occupy the area used for the East Car Park but we didn’t have a confirmed date. This information was confirmed after the last PoB meeting and was immediately posted on the club website. A small area of land was released for matchday parking but we did not want to advertise this in case it was not available.

Supporters’ Clubs

Are players/top officials going to be obliged to attend supporters club meetings?
Club response: Player visits to supporters’ clubs were reintroduced at the end of the 2008/09 season. Five seasons ago it was deemed inappropriate for players to be attending pubs (where smoking was then allowed) and we put on roadshows instead. This season, players have visited over 15 branches and we have had two oversubscribed Fans’ Forums at the stadium. We are committed to growing this number next season.

West Ham allocation: There have been reports that the club scaled back the allocation of tickets to supporters’ club branches for the West Ham game as the amounts asked for were supposedly excessive. Why do we still persist in this archaic system?
Club response: The supporters’ club branches have received an allocation of tickets for home and away matches for many years. This season, as in previous seasons, the supporters’ club have helped the club to sell unsold tickets for a number of matches, including away matches where the club requested an ‘all sale’ allocation and would have been left with a financial shortfall. There are no plans to stop this allocation. Allocations are assessed on a game to game basis.

Website

Calendar: Can we have a more modern version of the fixture list that downloads to iCal or any PC calendar? Look at the Arsenal model; this updates whenever there is a fixture change. Ours just loads the fixtures and that’s it.
Club response: We are reviewing this over the summer and will see if a better solution can be introduced.

Miscellaneous

Line-Ups: Can we please have the team line-ups on the big screens throughout the match? We know the score. Many of us would like to see who’s playing for the opposition without constantly referring to the matchday magazine. This is something they do successfully at the Emirates.
Club response: The screens at the Emirates are significantly bigger than our screens. We will trial this at a match early next season, but visibility of small lettering may be a problem. We’ll also look at scrolling names at the foot of the screen.

Awareness: Points of Blue is supposed to bring all supporter groups together, yet there are many other forums/meetings going on who are more aware of changes planned i.e. City Street etc.
Club response: The club maintains various means of keeping in touch with supporters, including focus groups and specific interest groups. Where representatives of various supporter groups are invited, at least two regular PoB attenders are always included on the list.

Matchday Revenue: I can’t see how we will achieve financial self-sufficiency without, among other things, a significant revenue increase on matchdays. One way of doing that is by increasing numbers but also, pro-rata, United achieve an average ticket price of about £45 per person whereas we achieve half that. What’s the plan to close the gap (it was observed that this might not be the general view)?
Club response: Matchday revenue is not just about the ticket price. There are lots of opportunities to increase matchday revenue around improved catering, increasing high value hospitality product, better and faster retail, initiatives like our new fan experience, which is being developed for the north end of the stadium and offering other services that supporters and corporate partners want from the match day experience. Ticket price is one factor and one lever but not the only one by any means.

Policing: Policing of the four derby games – a total contrast between the two in Stretford and the two at Eastlands.
Club response: The club is not responsible for policing decisions; decisions on whether to keep fans inside the stadium are operational. For matches here, we would rather clear the stadium quickly. The visiting supporter car park is large enough to hold away spectators if required (as at the last derby game) and the police’s new cordon arrangements are very effective. The potential for trouble is real and some of our fans are part of that problem (comments that there was ineffective police action at Old Trafford when incidents did occur).

Where can we buy back issues of the match programme from?
Club response: Any unsold programmes from the 2009/10 season are available from the Clearance Store (between the CityCentre and the Stadium Box Office). Programmes from previous seasons are not available.

Criteria for entry into the Hall of Fame.
Club response: The Hall of Fame was initially launched in partnership with the Manchester Evening News under a four-year agreement. A panel of City experts chose the initial recipients of the honour. After that, it was felt that to add too many names would dilute the honour and new additions like Uwe Rösler would be rarely added. Individuals will continue to be added in the future, though not necessarily on an annual basis.

Possibility of naming a stand after Bert Trautmann.
Club response: If another stand was to be named after a player, no doubt other nominations would also be made. There are no current plans to do this. Bert’s fantastic contribution to the club was recently honoured at our match with Birmingham City where he was Guest of Honour.

The PA system before games. Can we have the music turned off before the players come out (or at least as soon as they come out) so that we can get some atmosphere going?
Club response: This will be done at the Tottenham match tomorrow night.

Season Tickets

The meeting then discussed the arrangements for season tickets, especially the forced movement of supporters without children (under 16) from North Stand Level One, and the prospective introduction of a “premium experience” from 2011/12 in Colin Bell and East Stand Level Two. In addition to well-known concerns made on websites and on an online petition, specific comments made to Points of Blue were: When the club consulted at some length with PoB and others about the possibility of moving the away fans to a less prominent position, we were impressed by the thoroughness of the investigation. The conclusion from both sides was that it wasn’t really practical because of the disruption to existing Seasoncard holders. The sincerity that went with those discussions now looks horribly hollow, given the ‘clearances’ in the North Stand.
Club response: The decision not to relocate the visiting supporters was not solely due to the need to relocate a considerable number of our supporters. Both the Police and the Safety Advisory Group had a number of objections including that in relation to the requirement for the free movement of supporters between Levels Two and Three of the Colin Bell and East Stands as specified in the Safety Certificate for the stadium. The location of the visiting supporters is a key consideration in the feasibility study which is currently being undertaken to explore opportunities for the future expansion of the stadium.

In the season ticket brochure, it states that Colin Bell and East Stand Level Two will become a premium seating area from 2011/12. What does this entail? Comfy seats and a range of fine wines? And how much extra are we expected to pay for this ‘exciting venture’?
Club response: A letter will be sent to all existing Seasoncard holders in the Colin Bell Stand and East Stand Level Two this week (wc 3 May). The letter will include indicative pricing for subsequent seasons. The price is likely to range between £625 and £775 phased over two seasons depending on which stand and how close to the halfway line the respective seat is. Concessions will still be available. We have clear ideas about the changes to be made to these areas but the full details have not been confirmed. We will seek feedback from supporters over the summer.

When will the results of the recent online season ticket questionnaire be published? Was this questionnaire only issued online? There are thousands of season ticket holders who aren’t online. Is the club in danger of taking note of only online message board posters and Internet-friendly fans?
Club response: The findings from the online questionnaire will not be published. Such information is commercially valuable and a source of competitive advantage. Other clubs may have an interest in the findings to help to shape their future strategy. We must stress that the changes were not made solely on the basis of the findings from the online questionnaire. Research has been ongoing for nearly 18 months, including meetings with supporters and focus groups. It has become clearly evident that there are different types of supporter who want different experiences on matchdays. Some like the atmosphere of the South Stand, others would like to enjoy an upgraded offering (not hospitality) whilst supporters with young children want something completely different. These changes are in response to the findings. There are many families with young children who want to sit in the existing family area (North Stand Level Two) but it has been oversubscribed since our opening season at CoMS. In reality, other than the access requirement for adults to be accompanied by a supporter under the age of 16, this area is no different to any other area in the stadium. For season 2010/11, this will change with significant investment in the Family Stand to include facilities, catering, entertainment and stewarding. Other than when relocating to a new stadium, there will never be a good time to introduce such changes as a number of supporters will need to be relocated.

POB: Why rush? Why not do it gradually?
Club response: As interest in the club grows, so too does demand for Seasoncards. If the decision had been delayed for a year, availability and choice of seats for affected supporters to relocate into would have reduced significantly.

POB: It should have been done in a different way, possibly using some type of incentive (or just people wanting to move as more children came into the stand). It was a big mistake and has alienated many loyal fans who feel they have not been well treated, paying 25% more for a worse experience. There was scepticism at what would happen at evening matches when children didn’t attend.
Club response: As has been the case since our opening season at CoMS, Seasoncards for supporters under the age of 16 in the Family Stand can be upgraded to adult tickets for an unlimited number of evening matches. We accept that we could have communicated the changes to those supporters directly impacted in advance of the main renewal pack mailing. Those supporters who relocate out of the North Stand between 37 May will have the opportunity to relocate again as the respective relocation windows open (update: in response to feedback from supporters at the meeting, the club agreed to allocate the opening relocation day in each window exclusively to those supporters in the North Stand). The club clarified that the 10% price increase would only apply after the last relocation window closes 25 June.

POB: Personalised letters would have been useful; as it was, one pack was sent to each household, some going only to a junior Seasoncard holder in a family.
Club response: Packs were sent on a one per household basis. Where more than one Seasoncard holder lives at the same address, the pack should have been addressed to the oldest person. We are aware of instances where this was not the case and we are investigating how this happened.

This section of the meeting lasted an hour. Amid the rancour at the way it had been handled, and whether it was really necessary, there was some sympathy for the club’s position that everything is getting better (on and off the field) and that the changes reflected the owners’ long-term thinking. Following the meeting, the club let it be known that there may be some flexibility in special circumstances for existing North Stand Seasoncard holders, e.g. consideration for those who have special requirements due to age or mobility, or for family groups who don’t quite meet the criteria (i.e. more than two adults per child).

The next meeting of Points of Blue will be early in the new season.

Steve Parish <bloovee(at)ntlworld.com>

REQUEST: STIRLING ALBION

As you may know the fans at Stirling Albion have been working over the past year to save the club for the local community. We have football fans from around the world helping us try to be the first 100% fans owned league club in the UK.

Can we ask you, please, to help us reach our goals by sending this mail to as many football fans around the world as you know? By playing our classic Spot the Ball game on line you can help us achieve our objectives and you or your friends could win up to £100,000 for just £1.00 entry fee. Just visit http://www.spot-the-ball.net/

Thanks and good luck!

Yours in football, Dick King <dking(at)buystirlingalbion.org.uk> – http://www.buystirlingalbion.org.uk/

MCIVTA FAQ [v0910.01]

[1] MCIVTA Addresses

Articles (Heidi Pickup)          : editor@mcivta.city-fan.org
News/rumour (Alex Rowen)         : news@mcivta.city-fan.org
Subscriptions (Madeleine Hawkins): subscriptions@mcivta.city-fan.org
Technical problems (Paul)        : paul@city-fan.org
FAQ (David Warburton)            : faq@mcivta.city-fan.org

[2] What are MCIVTA’s publishing deadlines?

Deadlines for issues are nominally 6pm, Monday and Thursday evenings by email. Unfortunately we cannot accept email attachments.

[3] MCIVTA Back Issues and Manchester City Supporters’ home page

http://www.mcivta.com/ is the unofficial Manchester City Supporters’ home page. Created in 1994, it is the longest running of the Manchester City related web sites. Back issues of MCIVTA are also hosted on the site. You can also follow on www.twitter.com/mcivta to get the latest updates.

[4] What is the club’s official web site?

The official club web site can be found at http://www.mcfc.co.uk/ and the official club Twitter page at www.twitter.com/mcfc. The club also has a facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/mcfcofficial

[5] What supporters’ clubs are there?

Manchester City FC recognises three supporters’ clubs: The “Official Supporters Club” (http://www.mcfcosc.com/); the “Centenary Supporters’ Association” (http://www.mancitycsa.com/) and “The International Supporters’ Club”.

[6] Where can I find out about Points of Blue (formerly the Fans’ Committee)?

The committee operates as an interface between supporters and the club. Points of Blue appears on the club website as a minor entry under “Fans Zone”.

[7] What match day broadcasts are available on the web?

The Radio Manchester (née GMR) pre and post match phone-in is available on the web at http://www.bbc.co.uk/manchester/sport/manchester_city/index.shtml.

Live match commentaries and archives of games, reports and interviews can be found at http://mcfc.videoloungetv.com/do/preLogin?clubSiteCode=MCFC&CMP=AFC-003.

[8] Where can I find out if City are live on satellite TV?

http://www.satfootball.com/pl.html provides a listing of Premiership games being shown on UK domestic and foreign satellite channels. Useful sites for North American viewers are http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer, http://www.soccertv.com/, and http://www.livesoccertv.com/.

[9] Do we have a Usenet newsgroup?

Yes we do: uk.sport.football.clubs.man-city is our home on usenet. If you are not familiar with usenet, a basic explanation is available here: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/0,289893,sid9_gci213262,00.html

[10] Do any squad members have their own web pages?

There are a number available and direct links can be found at http://www.mcivta.com/players/

[11] Where can I find match statistics?

Statistics for the current season are available from the club site, but for a more in-depth analysis try http://www.mcfcstats.com/.


DISCLAIMER
The views expressed in MCIVTA are entirely those of the subscribersand there is no intention to represent these opinions as being thoseof Manchester City Football Club, nor of any of the companies anduniversities by whom the subscribers are employed. It is not inany way whatsoever connected to the club or any other relatedorganisation and is simply a group of supporters using this mediumas a means of disseminating news and exchanging opinions.


[Valid3.2]Heidi Pickup, editor@mcivta.city-fan.org

Newsletter #1638

2010/05/31

Editor:


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