In December fans from Yorkshire Carnegie and Leeds Rhinos gathered for a Fans Forum meeting held at Headingley Carnegie Stadium to discuss issues concerning both clubs. Here are the minutes from the meeting.

Fans Forum Meeting Wednesday 17th December

Attendees: Simon Whitehead, Rachel Barker, Alistair Senior, Barbara Senior, Danny Frank, Sue Millard, Mark Nelson, Julie Brimelow, Gerry Alleyn, Gary Marks, Sam Brightbart, Susie Woffinden, Malcolm Robinson, Jon Williams, Ian Waterhouse, Scott Johnson, Andrea Green.

Leeds Rugby Attendees: Sian Jones (Head of Customer Experience & Meeting Chair), Hollie Fisher (Customer Experience Sales Assistant/Minute Taker.

Guest for the Evening: Mark Foster (Head of Marketing – Super League)

Agenda for the evening:
7pm Arrival at Captain’s Lounge – Christmas Meal
7.15pm Fans Forum Meeting to begin

The overview of the meeting will be as follows:-
Welcoming Gary, Jon, Malcolm, Sam, Susie into the Fans Forum Family!

Feedback time

Mark Foster will be giving us an overview of his role at the RFL – if you have any questions for him please can you send these over ahead of the Forum so I provide them for him in advance.

Sian: Welcome everyone, thank you for coming along to this evening Christmas Fans Forum. Firstly can we toast, wishing everyone a Merry Christmas. Tonight we will start with our Pie and Peas, and then we will continue into formalities, our new members will introduce themselves. I will go over how the forum works, I will the introduce Mark Foster, who is our guest speaker for the evening.

Mark: Thank you everyone, thanks for having me, sorry I am not Blake, and he would have loved to have been here if he could. So my history, I first started out at Newcastle Falcons as the Head of Marketing, I then went over to Durham County Cricket and back to Newcastle before heading over to Rugby League for the World Cup. For the RFL my role is all about getting more spectators in, more viewers at home and more players playing the sport, my role with the Super League is all about raising the profile getting more fans in and helping the commercial side get more money in. This briefly sums up my role I will go into more detail when people ask questions.

Sian: Any initial questions for Mark?

Susie: What would you say is the main difference across the sports you have worked in?

Mark: To be honest, there isn’t that much difference. Many sports cross over and it’s all about best practice. Pretty much the same solutions are used across the sports. In sport players are great role models, which is a great marketing aspect. To get them out into the community is brilliant. Not every sport however has easy access to players, when you have to go through so many different people just to get a player to an appearance it can become a great task. Overall, there isn’t a lot of difference.

Gerry: There was a lot of criticism around the lack of PR for the International Tour

Mark: The biggest disappointment was that we didn’t have a home fixture in the year after the World Cup. Working in Rugby Union and Cricket England playing gathers more spectators and is a massive thing. My first experience of working in Rugby League was the World Cup. We now need to make International Rugby League here great, we need to make a real success and have Australia thinking they may get left behind, we want to show them how its done.

Gerry: Didn’t encourage any fans to go

Mark: It’s a tough ask for people to go to the other side of the world. It wasn’t great timing as the games were shown very early here. However having Rugby League live on BBC was great.

Malcolm: Can I ask if in Premiership was there a similar sort of attendance to when Leeds Tykes were in the Premiership? Where did they draw their supporters from?

Mark: We were until the Jonny Wilkinson days, we were always pretty local, however once he hit that drop goal we became everyone’s second favourite team. It brought new sponsors on board. It is hard for someone from Sunderland to support a Newcastle team; we broke down those barriers similar to what you will see with Yorkshire Carnegie. Everything tends to be local, if it’s more than an hour’s drive it’s hard, you will get the devoted fans that will travel. It’s all about making sure you cater for those fans, it’s all about getting people through the door.

Sam: Do you think we will get more at Magic now in Newcastle?

Mark: I do think we will. I know not all are in favour of the fixtures. However going on history the worst attended Magic Weekend was when the teams were picked out of a hat. We know that everyone loves a derby game, however most of our Super League clubs want to keep them in the club, they are attractive fixtures and do not want to over play them. The Leeds vs Wigan game is a great fixture which we are hoping will attractive a massive crowd. We felt that by moving the venue and doing a random pick on fixtures would not work.

Sam: What is the difference between having it at Manchester to Newcastle?

Mark: I think it’s very positive difference, having worked in the North East, it’s a sports mad area, and everyone appreciates good sport and entertainment. It’s the biggest show in that town that weekend. At Manchester there are lots of big events. The support from the local council and development agencies and Newcastle United Football Club is much more positive. Leeds will get their fans to the event, our job is to get people from the North East there for the weekend.

Sam: Have we sold a lot so far?

Mark: Yes definitely, so far fifteen thousand sold and 20% that has been sold in the North East.

Simon: To be honest with you I do think moving to Newcastle was a massive opportunity to re-jig

Mark: What would you do?

Simon: Change the games

Danny: Draw out of a hat

Mark: Referring back to what I previously said the worst ever attended Magic was when we drew the fixtures out of a hat. If you speak to the players and fans, they want the big games played in front of big crowds, the players love it. It felt too big of a risk to change the fixtures and the venue in the same year.

Jon: Could you do an all-star weekend, in America they have all-star break, they have one league vs another, could we do a Yorkshire vs Lancashire?

Mark: With Magic we have a great formula; we have more media coverage on Sky than anything else that weekend. To make any fundamental changes, they really need to be thought through; once we change things we can’t go back. The media coverage generates envy from other sports, for example we have the Hull derby, fans of both clubs leave through the same exit at the end of the game, what other sports have that? We need to push to the wider public, the North East will think the football way, we need to show them that isn’t our sport, we can all sit amongst each other and enjoy a pint in the stands.

Mark C: After the Four Nations, there was a real buzz around International Rugby League, then from that there has been no mention of the test series, was that a missed opportunity? Everyone was raring!

Mark: Our plan was always to announce dates and venues after the final, in terms of publicity around the England team, we are unfortunately still trying to secure the middle fixture venue. I am hoping that when we announce it we have done the right things and where we go for the game will be worth us hanging on. It’s not as simply as saying let’s just get Headingley.

Mark C: Was it rumoured to possibly be down under?

Mark: It’s not your standard Rugby League venue, there in the process of changing owners which means a little bit more complication, it’s the perfect location and size for the game.

Mark C: The England Rugby Union games are set out way in advance, we seem to be lagging

Mark: Having worked in both sports, it certainly helps that Union have their own stadium, we don’t so that means we have to find the right venue, get the right deal. This year we have had the fixtures out sooner, including Magic. It would be a key earner if we could get the fixtures out 18months in advance and start selling exactly 12 months before the game, it would give us the chance to promote properly. In our original plans we did want to go on sale after the final, and if England would have won, we knew we wanted to be on sale. I do think it’s the right decision, it will generate great publicity.

Alistair: Any plans for a national stadium?

Mark: Not serious ones no, the International Federation want a clear calendar first, once achieved we will raise the game to a higher level.

Mark C: People will look forward to it; there is a lack of atmosphere with people just watching on Sky.

Mark: Once the next 8 years have been planned we can work at it properly and it will be an awful lot easier. Going year by year is very difficult. I think it will definitely help having Nigel Wood as Chair of the International Federation, we need a calendar, make a big success and make the Australians come to the table.

Sian: Anymore questions before we go to direct questions sent it?

Alistair Feedback:

Oh dear, Oh dear, Oh dear!!
Have the RFL learned nothing from previous Magic Weekends.
This is only a personal opinion, but not only do I think the match ups are wrong, so too is the order of play. Castleford vs. Wakefield on the second day to be played as the last game, the stadium will empty apart from their supporters. More importantly, the RFL are promoting what a great weekend it will be for fans in Newcastle. The Leeds vs Wigan game will finish at approximately 8.35pmish on Saturday night, not allowing for the fact that the other two games may overrun, which they always do. How on earth can fans including ourselves get back to our hotels, showered & changed for a night out. I can’t understand the logic in this at all, all the RFL needed to do was start the day at the same time as Sunday at 1pm.

Mark: So the logic behind it is that we work with Sky in regards to kick off times, again we are very conscious it is not a bank holiday, we did push hard for as early as possible for the Sunday, for those people wanting to get home for work on the Monday. In regards to order of the fixtures on the Saturday we have the Hull derby then the Leeds vs Wigan, this we predict to be the best atmosphere, and the best crowd to get on the TV, almost like in Boxing, they build up to the main show. This is an opportunity to showcase our sport, away from football, hopefully leading to more viewers. The Castleford and Wakefield game on the Sunday we may just be left with those fans and others will want to travel home, however we want to concentrate on the Saturday making the big game bigger.

Mark: From someone who is from the North East, I can guarantee you will still have a great night out after the game.

Although I would agree that the ticket prices are very reasonable, why don’t the RFL strike up a deal with which every stadium they use for the Magic Weekend to sell food & drink at a reasonable price instead of ripping fan’s off (the attendance would increase).

Also why can’t we take our own food & soft drinks into these stadiums. (you can if you don’t get caught). It’s supposed to be a family game how can families afford the ridiculous prices that are being charged.

Mark: With the food issue it’s a real frustration. We are selling this as a family day out, and it’s a full day, it’s the same with the test cricket, prices are hard for food. You do need to make this look affordable. It is the Etihad’s policy that no food or drink is to be taken in to the stadium, however how they police this I do not know. I heard stewards saying it was RFL policy, it is not. I have sat in meetings to try and work out a solution. We are working hard with Newcastle on this, as a club they are very accommodating. They will not be allowing a big carrier bag with twenty cans, but a packed lunch yes that may be something they will allow, we will get confirmation of this in the New Year.

Alistair: Do the RFL get a cut of the bar takings?

Mark: No we don’t, very few stadiums don’t have their own catering services, and we are paying a higher cost, however bringing in more, so charged with making a profit.

Alistair: Like Sodexo

Sian: Simon your point, around the Super 8’s

Simon: I work in an office full of Southerners who are sports mad, love all sports. I casually mentioned if they knew about the new structure, they had no idea at all, they didn’t know when it was happening, what it meant.

Mark: I was very conscious that I had inherited a new structure which was being negatively received. People didn’t understand what the point of it was, how it was set out. We need to bring back promotion and relegation, making more games matter. Plenty of games people could have stayed at home and watched them on the TV, bringing straight one team up, one team down, history shows us it’s difficult to be done, players move clubs, the whole point is to make more games matter and no clubs kill themselves doing so, it’s the most manageable way to do it. Now we have it we need to buy into the new structure and make it a success. People who tend not to understand it will say its rubbish, when you ask why it is because they don’t know how it works, we brought out the new animated film and graphics that went on club websites to help people understand.

Simon: I haven’t seen that at all

Mark: A point for next year, and the NFL do it now, they do based on league standards what the next stage of the season will look like. That will be something to help people understand. Those negative people who don’t like it, if you ask them how the structure we have now works, they couldn’t tell you. Most fans now think two or three games ahead, now they will be thinking as part of our education how it will look by the end of the season, people will be talking about the million pound game.

Simon: When will this all start?

Mark: It was very much started already. We will have a big season launch campaign, exciting parts with the animation and diagrams to go, things will really become real.

Ian: Slightly illustrated with Carnegie when they played in the B and I Cup against Rotherham, they needed one point to get a home game, got the bonus point and jumped up like they had won the game, when in fact they had lost.

Mark: That was an interesting conversation we had about bonus points in the lower league, every minute really matters. However there is the other side to the sport, if you win you get the points, if you lose you don’t.

Sue: You can’t plan holidays, apart from that I do think the structure is good

Andrea: It’s like that in most sports, we book something then a fixture gets changed

Mark: There are a number of answers to the change in structure, referring back to the point system, finishing bottom should go down is right. There are lots of things changing; we want to make this sport nationwide, away from just the M62. Sky have done a deal within grassroots support, they want to be seen as true partners. The programme is to be rolled out in every foundation to get more people involved. We have to build from the bottom, take the Challenge Cup or Magic Weekend, gives the community foundation the chance to go into schools, in a class of 30 children not all will be interested in sport, some will want to be a part of the dance, but everyone can get involved in some way, we really want to make this a showcase event, Broncos is not the right way to do this but through events such as the Challenge Cup we can.

Ian: It creates an interest and then we can develop

Mark: Absolutely down in London the majority of commercial partners based down there, we have to get Rugby League really recognised.

Ian: We have top Rugby Union teams down there moving further away

Mark: I did a lot of work with Mark Evans down there for the Semi-Final and with the Broncos on where they should play, finding your area can be really difficult down South.

Malcolm: There is only one way, go down there and win the league and then sustain that, Rugby Union is just a bigger sport.

Mark: I can’t argue with that, to get a winning team down there would massively push the sport, however winning on the pitch, history shows that even Saracens still do not sell out stadiums.

Sian: Sounds very clear cut, however as I work dual code, even winning on the pitch does not mean memberships fly out.

Malcolm: Surely if successful regularly more would come

Sian: You have to look at both sides; winning doesn’t always put bums on seats

Mark: We do a lot of analysis into why people are not coming to the games, if your mates are being positive, it’s likely you will get involved. At the minute there is negativity around discipline, which we will look at in the questions you sent in

Rules & Regulations:

Can you please give an overview of the RFL disciplinary procedures & particularly the difference in offences pertaining to the grades.

I ask this because of the ambiguity from one ban to another for what look like the same offence.

Can you understand the fan’s growing frustrations at some of the decisions being made by the referees. There are far too many grey areas in the game, nothing seems to be clear cut.

We used to love the big screen decisions but now it seems that the referees go to the video referee for just about every decision which just gets boring.

The ironic & frustrating thing is the fact that the two video referees have got decisions wrong on a few occasions this season. If you are going to use the technology, you have to get it right.

We are not far from watching the first two hour game of Rugby League.

Why do we have this ridiculous on report rule, to me this is just a cop out & stops the referee making a tough decision there & then. If a player isn’t sent off for foul play, but put on report then the team that has been offended gains no advantage whatsoever.

Why doesn’t the RFL simply bring in a rule to dismiss an interchange player from the team that has committed the offence & the opposition captain picks that player. The team that committed the offence would then have a one man disadvantage for the remainder of the game.

Why do we no longer have 10, 20 metre etc markings on the pitch. Wrestling in the tackle is killing the game, it’s boring & brings nothing to the enjoyment of the game. Two referees would help in policing this & teams like Huddersfield & Wigan would have to change their tactics because they are the biggest culprits, the game in
Australia has got quicker because of the use of two referees.

Alistair: The consistency is a big thing for me

Mark: It’s a difficult thing to get round, consistency is recognised as one of the main issues, we have openly looked at it before, for example with Barrie McDermott on Sky, tell me another sport who have been that open, I appreciate it was a one off.

Simon: For me it’s the consistency of bans, two players can commit the same offence and receive completely different punishments

Danny: I agree and sometimes it will favour different teams

Malcolm: Are the same people on the disciplinary panel every time?

Mark: Usually the same people. Head of legal on the panel as it’s a massive decision to ban someone it can have a massive effect on a club.

Gerry: You say legally based, not legally evidence based, but still receive a ban, for example what happened with Zak

Mark: At the time the evidence presented for first incident was justifiable with a ban

Sam: And came back to win a Challenge Cup final

Danny; I work with a lot of football fans and they though for example the Hull derby made Rugby League look like a joke when it came to discipline

Mark: You could watch any football game and feel the same, I feel we get more right than we do wrong, it’s a personal decision. It all comes down to someone’s interpretation

Referees:
Why can’t referees be interviewed after a game to answer questions about the decisions they have made. Reporters always shove microphones in front of the noses of coaches & players immediately after a game, but neither can comment on the referees performance. Not only do I think this is wrong, but it would give the fans a better understanding of decisions made at that time if referees were held accountable for their actions.

Mark: Referees in any sport have a difficult job

Danny: Have we looked at any more about having two referees?
Mark: We have trialed and looked at having for the Super League, we spoke with the NFL, however they are not convinced it works.

Sue: Have we got enough referees for three per game?

Jon: Referring back to consistency, one referee may have a completely different view to another

Scott; In Rugby Union, we have up to 6 commentators, they banter each other and they get the fans watching at home hyped up, there are more people covering more angels making it worse.

Mark: Aspects such as slow motion and super zoom are being argued to be right or wrong. We are working hard with Sky, those are the ones who can change the perception and how they present sport on air. We currently have the best relationship we have ever had with them.

Sian: Better relationship in relation to Thursday night fixtures

Mark: In an ideal world you would play Friday nights or Sundays. There is an awful lot of money lost if we do not have Sky, comes with advantages and disadvantages. We have a real opportunity with Thursday nights, no other live sport on, we have come to the mind-set, we are approaching the weekend, gets the weekend feeling without going out. We can put a great show on, and get more fans in, yes we are overall a family game, however on a Thursday night it may attract a different audience. We will go for the group offers, a group of mates going; you are not going to want to miss out. We have worked hard with Sky to make sure there will be very little moving, we have to go hard at promotions.

Alistair: It will not be bums on seats, its bad enough on a Friday night going on the M62 let alone on a Thursday

Mark: We will support those clubs playing on a Thursday. It is important our sport looks vibrant when on TV.

Mark C: Sky do ticket offers, will RFL do something similar? Big appeal to fans

Mark: They do have their own ticket system, which will be doing such offers for the Thursday night games. Sky work really hard on data, with our season launch campaign we can pretty much pin point who will see the advert, you may be watching the same thing as your neighbour but watching different adverts.

Sian: I think we will come to an end from Mark, I hope you have all enjoyed Mark being with us, it has been a great insight. Many thanks to Mark.

Sian: We will now roll into some feedback, to let our new members know we usually do this at the beginning. We want your feedback; I want you to go out to your friends and people you know who are fans of the sport and get as much from them as you can. Nothing is ridiculous and where we can we want to try all your ideas, this is what it’s all about.

Sian: We will start with Sue…

Sue Millard

-Flexi Ticket – we managed to sell a couple of these last season and now there isn’t one for 2015. One of the people who took one last time would have taken one next year too – and is quite disappointed

Sian: They may potentially be one for next season alongside a supporters membership, our priority with the new structure was to focus on the full memberships. We are trying to make it easier rather than bombarding people with lots of different options. We do not know for definite how it’s going to work with the other types of membership, we wanted to focus on our biggest membership first.

-There was no “early bird” discount. Given that the South Stand price in 2015 is £216 it would have encouraged me to buy my family’s tickets early (as in previous years) if the cost would have fallen to £200 had I bought it by 1st Nov or 1st Dec.

Sian: Similar thing, with the new structure comes a new plan. Like we were saying before you get 11 games with a further 3 in the Super 8 guarantee, with another extra potential game. We don’t really know until we get to that stage of the competition. This also answers Julie’s question, you do get more games. Instead of the early bird pricing we offer the interest free direct debit. Doing this option comes with a lot, we have to take on a risk and is of a great cost. We have worked with the company we have since 2009 and decided to pay the charge for the fans. We pay a company to look after this as in some cases you need specialists to control it rather than someone else. We can hopefully look at spreading this across to the Carnegie ,memberships, we do not know if there is enough money which is the complicated bit.

Simon: How have season tickets gone this season?

Sian: We are now on a par, there is a fear of the unknown with some people with the fixtures and only having a two week turn around not knowing if we will be home or away.

Jon: Could be a positive if we are doing well

Sian: That’s a funny one, going back to before, the win win win aspect does not always bring people in. We have had fantastic seasons, but haven’t really seen a difference in memberships. People are doing more match by match.

Jon: Society is changing the loyalty isn’t there

Sian: There is a change and we will just have to see what happens

– No Supporter Group Season Ticket benefits – at our latest Ambassadors meeting the Rhinos were talking about creating supporter groups and giving them special benefits they wouldn’t otherwise have – player visits, etc., as a means of encouraging people to join those groups. Well – last season as a group we managed to get 20% discount on season tickets – which was fantastic and a good reason to join our group. For the 2015 season there’s no discount – at all. I feel we’ve been left out in the cold – 20% off was fantastic and much appreciated – if that was too pricey for the club to repeat … that’s fine but wouldn’t it have been nicer to offer a lower discount (10% or 5%) rather than none at all?

Sian: We got rid of the discounts because I didn’t see a real benefit, we have said this before. With the ambassador groups, overtime we have done staggered discounts, in many cases we are offering discounts to those who would pay full price anyway.
-I notice on the Catalans website that they have weekly public training sessions where folks can come along and watch the being team put through their paces. Why not do something like that at Kirkstall or Headingley (when the weather is warmer)?

Sian: It is possible and something we can put to the table.

Ian Waterhouse

Are Yorkshire Carnegie on target (latest version) for an announcement about the ownership/funding of the club as we go forward into the second half of the season? Some positive and definitive news would be much appreciated by the fans who have been put through the mill, with some of the on field performances to date!

Sian: Board meeting next Tuesday afternoon whereby further discussions will take place. This was originally how it was communicated in terms of timeframes.

Simon: It a nutshell what do you think has gone wrong?

Andrea: We have lost players and had to start from scratch.

Sian: Its tricky we want to sit at the top in Yorkshire. We have obviously had lots of changes.

Susie: I feel it has got better to watch

Malcolm: Worcester will be a massive game. I feel we have lost touch going to clubs like Scarborough and Hull, we should give the fans of those clubs a free ticket and get them to Headingley.

Susie: I like going to other clubs, no I wouldn’t want to do it every week

Malcolm: We want more support here, get those supporters here, maybe play at Wharfdale or Otley

Andrea: No, I don’t want us to play at those grounds

Sian: For this season we went to other clubs and said host me a game. Will you put this game on, you’re paying for everything. We were getting from some clubs a slow response, we wanted a real showcase, we want them to pull people in. We had five clubs come forward and the three we had really blew it out of the water.

Malcolm: They will have got revenue

Sian: We wanted to give that back to them, we want people to look at the bigger picture and breed through.
Malcolm: If the team is progressing that will attract young good players in the county. We should be getting big players if we are a top team. In terms of the change of name, only time will tell if it is successful, some people saying the change of name may not work. I hope it works out.

Sian: I want you to revert back to previous minutes when we had Sir Ian come along and he went through a lot of what you are saying.

Scott: Who would have known that Jimmy Lowes would have been so good

Malcolm: He had the enthusiasm; he wasn’t from Rugby Union but learnt and developed through time
Andrea: It wasn’t a bad move appointing Gary either, we seemed to have moved on now and turned a corner.

Malcolm: As a thing where did Diccon and Mercer go?

Sian: We have come to you and said that they are no longer with the club, we don’t really have to say much more than that.

Malcolm: Tommy McGee would surely like to step up

Simon: Probably can’t just give him the job

Sian: How do we know that Gary didn’t want to leave

Susie: We will never know

Sian: A story on the website is all that is needed.

Malcolm: We have to move on now

Ian: On a positive element we are now sponsored by a national brand which wouldn’t have been possible if we were still Leeds.

Sian: That is a great thing, and on the other aspects we will have more clarity in the new year

Andrea: I do think change of name has meant we have lost fans but what can you do

Simon Whitehead

-Positive feedback on new away jersey and training kit from ISC – looks good this year.
-People undecided on Boxing Day game – going to make late decisions but will probably go.
-People very positive around JP’s game v Bulls and will support

Sian: Have we seen the team for Boxing Day, it’s a strong side, showcasing Mr Cuthbertson. Positive response for JP game, sold out hospitality, biggest we have ever had for a testimonial. We will also be doing things for Kylie throughout the year.

Julie Brimelow
Question from a potential ST purchaser – With the change in structure this year, (reduction of 2 teams) do you still get the same number of games as last year with your ST?

Sian: Answered previously

I know the new kits are out (love the away kit and love seeing it before xmas!) but I was quite surprised when I went in the store last week to find that carnegie apparel had been reduced to half a rail. Is this the norm or is it just as the new kits have come out?

Sian: Due to spacing in the shop we just have the one of each size of each item for Carnegie. We then restock when sold

A couple of friends with smaller children have said that they would love to see a toy Ronnie in a santa outfit – maybe an idea for next xmas.

Sian: Will look into this
When we went into the store, none of the polo shirts were made from cotton, do you know if there will be a cotton one released?

Sian: Cotton polo released last week

One other thing I wanted to mention, I’ve had a message from a guy called Richard, his niece was a patient and was recently visited by the team. He said she hasn’t shut up about it since and he and and her parents are immensely grateful to the guys for taking the time to do that.

Sian: Brilliant, its great the players can do this

Geoffrey Joseph – Forum Feedback Received via email
Why can’t Rhinos fans who buy seats in advance be allocated seats at the side of the pitch instead of always behind the posts? I am thinking of venues such as Huddersfield and Widnes who always have lots of spare seats at the side but visiting supporters have to sit at the end and there is no means of transfering. I have brought up this with our ticket office in the past and have been told we have to accept what we are given by the home club.

Sian: Basically as a club we earn 10% on behalf of an away club. Our priority is to sell for our home games and we do not want to compromise the buying experience by having lots of different options for the away games.

Jon: Can’t you just turn up on the day and buy for that area of the ground?

Sian: Yes you can that’s an option, we will always recommend purchasing in advance.

Feedback-Danny Frank

From Gavin Pritchard – Can we get 10% discount in shop at all times for been a member instead of £10 voucher like a few other clubs?

Sian: No because we find added value benefit, some will use more than others. We may look at more of a loyalty scheme which we have spoken about.

From Edwin Hughes – Why are the sizes of the replica shirts not representative. e.g. a 3XL can be just a large or even smaller

Sian: Response from Head of Retail Lee Jenkinson; I believe the replica shirts are accurately sized. We’ve had some issues with the polo shirt sizing this year but replica shirts are fine in my opinion. They are slightly more tailored than previous years but if you look across sporting jerseys in general, this is common now.

Merchandise Pricing – The range of merchandise in the club shop is pleasing but the pricing is high. The Christmas jumper for example is a great addition to the stock family but just shy of £30 seems high when you can get them in Next for £20 (and that’s expensive!- Primarni are coming in at £9!!). Wouldn’t the club sell lots more if these were priced more realistically?

Mark C: I find with the Christmas jumpers you pay for what you get

Sian: It’s a volumes game, in Primark they have so many different Christmas Jumpers choose from. Lee’s response; the ones in next are priced between £24 and £28 for one of a similar quality to ours. Appreciate the Primark ones are ridiculously cheap but with both primark and next, you’ve got to consider the huge volumes they are purchasing these jumpers in ( to put in perspective we bought 125) If you look at some of the premier league football clubs who are buying in much higher volume than us, they are also retailing them at £30, with one club actually charging £40. Obviously I would love to be able to retail them cheaper and we are currently looking at ways with suppliers to be able to do this next year but the reality of it unfortunately is that it probably wouldn’t come down under £25.

New Season ticket pricing – It was cheaper for us to buy two junior season tickets and 2 adult tickets than it was to just have 2 adult and 1 junior meaning we have taken an extra seat with no intention of ever using it – just to make it cheaper. Surely this can’t be right that a seat is going to be left empty all season. Wouldn’t it have made more sense to pass on a saving of £20 in form of a gift voucher and just have the three tickets that we needed?
Sian; I haven’t looked at this to be honest

Danny: Wanted to keep their three seats, it was cheaper to buy an extra junior somewhere else in the stand then to just get the three, doesn’t seem to make sense.

Sian: To be honest I haven’t noticed it, I will look into it.

Sue: For family ticket next year the price will be different as one of my juniors will move up a price bracket.

Sian: Its just a standard Junior so no age limit on it for the Family Packs. Next year we may not do U21, which may have been the answer to Danny’s feedback.

Sian: That’s the feedback done, is there anything else.
Andrea: I do try and ask fir feedback and only get negative, I have told them I want some positive as well. On a good note, thank goodness for the Carnegie Times, given at Rotherham it was £18 in and£2.50 for a programme.

Sian: The times is great it was a football club that came to me with the idea, I gave it to Phil and he went with it

Ian: My special thanks to Phil Daly for my personal mention in the post-match Tweet re supporters at the Aberavon game. It was most appreciated, especially coming from an individual who has not always had the best from Carnegie fans. Please pass on my thanks and best regards as I have not seen him since that Welsh outing.
Susie: Acknowledgement from players much better

Sian: Great I am glad

Gary: Free junior memberships, how is that going?

Sian: Really well, one school in particular. It’s hard to know how may adult are coming with them, but one adult to every four kids is still great. This will be something we will look at in the New Year.

Sian: So that brings us to an end, thank you everyone for coming. Those new members please stay behind for photos and signing of contracts. Everyone else Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.