Canaries Trust meeting with Ben Kensell and Lynette Hannant
Present: – Ben Kensell (BK), Lynette Hannant (LH), Robin Sainty (RS), Mandie Thorpe (MT), Kathy Blake (KB), Gary Field (GF), Andy Polley (AP).
After the Trust representatives introduced themselves BK said he was pleased to have what he thought would be the first of many meetings and he thought formalising things was the way forward. RS agreed and said it was good for the club to meet other people from the Trust.
GF said he was disappointed that the NCFC board had not supported this initiative. BK said that in fact this was not the case and that it had been welcomed. The vote to not give support was not taken lightly and there was good debate for both sides. Eventually the board simply felt that the memorandum of understanding meant that the club would consult anyway. GF pointed out that although that is the case now, it may not be in the future. BK invited the Trust to come back again and also noted that the Board are aware that the support of the NCFC board was not needed for the Trust to proceed.
Marketing the Trust through the football club/programme opportunities
AP outlined some ideas about how the club could help promote the Trust i.e. in the matchday programme, via mailing lists, social media etc. BK said the way forward was the programme. Next season it is going to be bigger and better with more pages and he couldn’t see a problem with including Trust material like committee photos and profiles, forthcoming events, competitions etc. He felt that the club couldn’t be accused of favouring the Trust as it wasn’t essentially a ‘fans’ group’ like most of the others. He suggested AP talk to Dan Brigham who is the programme editor.
Prizes for Canary Trust competitions
MT said that any help NCFC could provide with this would be very welcome as every penny raised was needed to buy shares rather than be used as prizes. BK said he couldn’t see a problem with this. KB said the club could provide ‘prizes that money can’t buy’ as opposed to giving us merchandise or money. BK said this was a possibility and said that there might be an opportunity with the SkyBox. He would get back to us on this.
AP said that for most of the time Yellows was unused and suggested some activities that could make use of the facility. He suggested that the Trust could be the lead body on this if necessary but first asked if there were any plans for it. BK said maybe but asked what the proposals were. AP suggested community based used. Fans groups and other associations could hire the facility for their functions. Another idea was part time use for the Norwich Foodbank. BK said Yellows had been closed for financial reasons but we would love to get a greater level of use out of it on a non matchday. There was direct access to the stadium from the bar and therefore it had to be sufficiently staffed for any use. BK said he would have a look at costings and respond later.
Club support for Trust events
RS said he regretted having to say that he was unhappy with NCFSC being given access to Daniel Farke just days after being told he was not available for the Trust AGM. BK said he understood the Trusts unhappiness but pointed out that both the football club and DF himself wanted to limit these type of appearances and that he felt the NCFSC as fundamentally a social group for all supporters had more of a case as everyone could attend regardless of whether they are part of a group. MT pointed out that this was also true of the Trust once the official business of the AGM had been conducted. RS said he understood the reasons but would have preferred to have been told up front. BK said this sort of thing could be avoided in the future by us coming up with a timetable of events well in advance and letting the football club know.
On the baw
MT gave BK some brief background on the project and asked if it was on the NCFC radar. BK said some work had already been done and it was being rolled out in the corporate areas. Baskets of sanitary products and Sani bins were being provided. Progress after that depended largely on which league we are in next season but the long-term plan is to have these in all female toilets in the ground. MT suggested that the club should announce this as they deserve credit. AP said it would be good if this was completed by International Women’s Day 2020.
TUFSO initiative/reciprocal ticket pricing
MT had attended the TUFSO meeting. Reciprocal pricing had been discussed but she pointed out that at the time the discussion was about Championship prices. In the Premier league the prices were fixed at £30 for away supporters. BK said grading has not been decided to date but will come back with more information once we know where we are.
Memorandum of Understanding
Much of this had already been discussed but both parties agreed that quarterly meetings between the Trust and the football club with structured dialogue was the way forward.
KB said that she was part of this group. The whole thing had been a huge success but communication between the participants and the football club had been a problem Often emails hadn’t arrived or very short notice of meetings was given. BK acknowledged this and said he would ensure that moving forward a smooth process would be implemented. He also applauded the brilliant atmosphere at Carrow Road get better and better as the season has continued.
Royal Norfolk Show
RS enquired if Trust members could have passes for the day in the same way NCFC staff did. BK said he would look into this. He said he was embarrassed by the football club stand last year and he intended to make the thing much more professional. The Trust was welcome to share the club tent and they would happily supply competition prizes. More of a presence and investment will be placed into the show so it represents our club in the best way possible within its county.
RS said he had been contacted by Hong Kong Canaries who had told him that they had problems getting match tickets when they visit the UK. One suggestion was ‘Overseas membership. BK said at Arsenal they had ‘Territory Champions’ – one person who acted as a lead for the group and a contact point for the football club. 1,500 tickets were always ringfenced so if the club were given plenty of notice some of these could be put on one side for them. RS said the Trust was happy to organise this and act as a channel. BK said he would discuss this with the Global group in the up coming meeting but couldn’t commit to numbers.
Canary Challenge Pitch Presentation
KB told BK briefly the history of the competition and said that historically it had never been straight forward organising this as the personnel seemed to be constantly changing. RS told BK about the poor organisation of last year’s presentation when nobody knew where the giant cheques were. BK said again, this would be sorted and apologised for the issues experienced. LH would be the point of contact now. The football club were appointing ‘Ambassadors’ – former players or well-known figures. One of these would present the cheques at this year’s ceremony.
Although this had been a success there were still lessons to be learned. From the club’s point of view BK said it hadn’t been well publicised enough. The message had been lost and communication could improve in the future. There had been no obvious signage. AP commented that the Food Bank themselves were not used to such a big venue. BK said he wanted to do it well or not at all. Next time it would be bigger and better with a more co-ordinated approach.
GF said communication re NCFC board meetings and details on emails could be improved. He said often we were dealing with bereaved people and sensitivity was an issue. BK said Vanessa Sewell had left. Emma Bradshaw, head of finance was dealing with shares at the moment but this wasn’t really her area. It was more financial director’s territory and a fully appointed individual to give it the time it deserves. BK said he would email GF once things were clearer.
BK closed the meeting saying he thought it had been worthwhile and formal meetings were the way forward.
LH said she was happy to attend a Trust meeting and would bring Rebecca Shearer (Supporter Services Manager) with her.