WHUISA attended the recent SAB meeting that was held at the London stadium, in attendance were various club employees from ticketing to media to marketing and also a member of LS185 the stadium controllers. The meeting was basically a review of the season performance and broken up into different Subjects. SAB moving forward. Disabled SAB Update, Stewarding, Stadium & IAAF Meeting
SAB MOVING FORWARD.
The format will change next season in that instead of fans representing specific age groups and areas they sit in the stadium they want it to be broader fan representative groups, I.E Supporter groups like WHUISA, Pride of Irons, Social media site runners including website and those with large Facebook pages, and other supporter groups that can represent a body of West Ham fans, Corporate rep and possibly a family group representative. The main body of the SAB will meet a minimum of 3 times per season, and there may be separate smaller meetings that concentrate on dedicated subjects, for example Disability, LGBT. The club will announce the new format on their website and then look to take nominations, WHUISA will be asked to participate, so we look forward to continuing to work with the club in representing fans views in this forum.
DISABILITY SAB UPDATE
15 members met in the first DSAB, they highlighted difficulties in getting from Stratford Station to the stadium, Jake the West Ham supporter liaison officer recently accompanied one person with difficulty in walking the route, and it took 40 minutes. The club with the other land stakeholders have managed to put in further rest points on that route to allow those that need to, seats to rest on. A request was put in to Westfield to perhaps allow those with difficulty walking to go the shorter route through their property but we await their response. The club are recruiting 2 further DLO’s (Disability liaison officers) to expand the current department. In discussions after the meeting with one of the DSAB representative’s attending who said the club were improving their service to them. Hopefully that will continue. Shuttle bus will run from Pudding Mill lane station to the ground, can be picked up from car park opposite the station. The club have 18 shuttle buses now running from the pick-up point below the club shop. They will look at running to Stratford International as well. Generally the road to allow the buses to leave is now open no more than 20 minutes after final whistle. A ticket system for the buses operates to enable those using the buses to not have to stand in line outside if they don’t want to.
All Stewards should have an identifying number which if you feel you need to complain about an individual steward, just make note of their number so they can easily be identified. There now should be a steward at each exit gate when they are opened to allow exiting of the stadium. Apparently they are trialling a “different way of stewarding” over the summer events so hopefully the success or failure will be apparent come September when we start our home games. Some of those banned through the season have had their bans ended and will be allowed to renew their season tickets, No person has been banned for swearing alone, the club understand that at times language can be choice, those banned have been caught consistently and with other factors taken in. The do issue Acceptable Behaviour Contracts now known as ABC’s, which can stop any ban from happening as long as the offender agrees to the contents and signs it. Everyone will receive new Season ticket cards for the coming season, they should specify which turnstile to use and will only work on that turnstile, this hopefully will reduce pressure on some of the more congested turnstiles. Exit routes from stadium are designated by the stadium safety officer, and he can change routes on a game by game basis taking in consideration high profile opposition. These are highlighted in the Match day guide that is emailed to fans and on the website before every home game. The club are still in the process of installing shelving but have to abide by Health & Safety rules in conjunction with etc stadium operators, they have a say in whether the shelving being proposed is not dangerous such as can children hit their head on the shelving. More SLO’s for match days will be hired; apparently these have been welcomed by fans that have used them. Flags will still be able to be sited next to the big screens, due to the stadium sponsor difficulties, but around the middle tier ledge this will not be possible as it will obstruct the LED display that will be in place. Sky sports news or even the game on TV screens around the concourse is under consideration but no promise. This is because the want fans to watch the game live rather than drinking in the concourse. Though the seating does not retract in the way the club expected to do, all seats are in exactly the correct position they were designed to be in. The fact the seats don’t retract as was hoped that is a problem for the stadium managers not for WHUFC. One club senior staff member claimed the seating in the stadium was excellent for football, i pointed out that is their personal opinion and many wouldn’t agree, and perhaps the club should of pointed this out to the fans better than they did.
60,000 is still a hope for next season, but no application has been made yet for the extra seating. Relocations will take place between 1/6 to 16/6, all requests subject to availability, also club confident of hitting 80% renewal rate which is industry level, 20% though would be 10,000 fans not renewing, would be good to know how many of those that don’t renew were long time Season ticket holders from the Boleyn. Age bands may be looked at, currently U16, 16-21 then adult. Another member of SAB pointed out that his son is 21 so has to pay more this season but is still at Uni for another year. club acknowledged this could be looked at. I then pointed out that if they did this then they need to change the U16 to U 18 as you have to stay on at school until you are 18 now. In the T&Cs now is anyone attending 7 games or less faces the possibility of losing their season ticket. This will not though be done without the club speaking to the affected ticket holder for their reasons, they expect this to be minimal. Confirmed no game at home until probably after the September international break, but should be this year only. No Boxing day game this season, the club are adamant this is not permanent and they can request a home Boxing day game, final decision is with the Premier league.
Due to time constraints it wasn’t really a Q&A meeting but more advisory, time was taken to highlight some of the info gained from the Survey and on the stewarding where it was pointed out that many comments were critical of the stewarding but agreed that it had improved from the start of the season and ticketing with a brief overview of comments.
Nigel Kahn – WHUISA Interim Committee.