Arsenal Football Club Supporters Consultative Forum 2004/2005 Season
Meeting held at the Club Museum, Arsenal F.C, at 12 Noon on Saturday 2nd April 2005.

Attendees:
ALLEN, Terry - Season ticket holder
ANASTASIOU, Andrew - Ticket Registration Scheme Member
ARMITT, Lee - Season Ticket Holder
BOWLES Mick - Arsenal Supporters Club Branch,
BUDDLE, Rita - Over 60 year old Representative
CAMPBELL, Mika - Supporters Club Branch
COXHEAD, Stephen - Red Member
DALLENDER, Craig - 16-21 Yr Old Representative
EDELMAN, Keith - Managing Director, Arsenal F.C.
FORD, Adrian - Arsenal F.C
GOULDING, Peggy - Arsenal Supporters Club - St Thomas’s Road
HOLTER, Ole - Supporters Club Branch
MABERT, Allan - Disabled Supporter (Roger Salmon, Helper, was also in attendance)
MEARS, Stephen - Ticket Registration Scheme Member
MILES, David - Secretary, Arsenal F.C.
O’BRIEN, Michael - Administration, Arsenal F.C.
PATRICK, Martin - Executive Suite / Private Box Member
ROBERTS, Elliot - Electoral Reform Services (Independent Chair)
STONE, Graham - Arsenal Independent Supporters Association
WALKER, Sophia - Ticket Registration Scheme Member

Apologies:
Steve Pyman
Neil O’Brien

Prior to the formal business of the meeting, forum members were taken on a tour of the Emirates stadium. Members were shown around the club level and upper level tiers of the stadium. The development of the stadium is progressing on schedule and members thanked Arsenal for being shown around.

Minutes of the Last Meeting:
Approved.

Forum Structure
It was agreed that the current structure of the forum, including the recent addition of a red member representative onto the forum, is working well and doesn’t need to be changed at this stage.

Submitted Questions

In a recent survey of football clubs’ commercial activities, Arsenal were quite a way down in terms of revenue - Will this situation improve?

The first point we’ll make on this survey is that what constitutes commercial activity is open to question - it doesn’t necessarily compare like for like between clubs. However, it is true that some agreements in the past have not necessarily reflected the value of the club but over the last few years we have developed a more aggressive strategy. For example our new and more lucrative Nike sponsorship deal will feed through the figures over the next few years - the survey was based on our last Nike deal, which was signed in 1997.

Our O2 shirt sponsorship was signed soon after 9/11 happened, which wasn’t the best environment for signing such deals but again our new Emirates agreement rectifies this. For the future, our new stadium will be much more conducive to commercial and marketing activities. We are currently behind Manchester United in this area. One thing we don’t do is long overseas tours which are very lucrative but is something that is not very helpful in preparing the team for the start of a new season. Currently our focus is on the development of the new stadium which in due course will allow us to substantially increase our revenue streams.

We would like to welcome the pilot online booking scheme which Family Enclosure members have been lucky enough to be trialing in recent weeks. It is so much quicker and much more efficient than the previous telephone-based ticket ordering system. Please thank all those concerned for this huge step forward and I look forward to it continuing next season.

Thank you. It does seem to be working well.

With 80% of fans having to travel to the stadium, what will be the travel arrangements for fans to get to the stadium by minibus etc - will there be any access to local free travel?

We haven’t as yet finalised the travel arrangements for fans that travel by coach/minibus to Emirates Stadium but it will form part of the overall travel plan that is being developed. We are also planning to have discussions with Tfl to see whether they will be able to offer any discounted travel arrangements. We will let you know the outcome of these discussions..

A Mr. G Klass is listed as a major shareholder of the club - Can you tell us who he is?

Mr Klass is a private shareholder.. By way of background The Board & Granada combined own over 70% of all the shares. Since the Annual accounts were published, Mr Klass has sold half of his shareholding. He appeared in the last set of accounts as he is deemed to hold a “substantial interest” i.e. over 3%, but currently, because of his recent sales he will not appear in the next set of accounts as he is now below this threshold.

Why was a tour of Highbury, hosted by Bob Wilson - which was won in a competition, held on the same day as the F.A Cup Semi Final Replay with Sheffield United?

We apologise for this oversight. The original tour was scheduled for a week earlier, but as it wasn’t sold out at the time, it was put back a week. There will be other opportunities for the same tour in the future.

A.O.B.

We would like to put on record our displeasure of the Noon Kick-off time for the F.A Cup Semi-Final. It will be very difficult to get to for those fans who want to go.

We are also not very happy about the kick-off time. However we understand that the change was made due to safety concerns surrounding the congregation of four teams in Cardiff. The Forum should send a letter to the F.A expressing their displeasure. We’ve currently sold over 20,000 of our 32,000 allocation.

We have to dance to the T.V schedulers’ tune and also pay for the privilege of doing so! Isn’t there meant to be consultation with supporters? There is also the issue of whether the players can perform.

The F.A charter does state it will hold consultation with fans, as well as other interested bodies, but nothing specific is referred to in relation to kick-off times for F.A cup Semi-Finals.

On the Away ticket scheme, fans don’t seem to get good seats - Why is this?

Away ticket members are given the best tickets of the allocation provided by the opposition team. As part of the scheme, there is a ticket rotation system to ensure that the same members don’t get the best tickets for all the games. Away ticket pricing is currently under review by the FA Premier League.

As we have seen, the stadium is progressing well. When it does open, little touches here and there from us and our sponsors will hopefully make the stadium feel warmer. Delaware North will be the caterers at the new stadium. The Club is hoping to purchase a new lighting system to aid the growth of the pitch. It is hoped the new system will be operated during the last season at Highbury and it is believed that it will greatly improve the pitch during the winter period. Everyone will have a swipe card to gain access to Emirates Stadium. Once the card has been used to gain entrance to the ground this will be recorded by the system thereby ensuring that there can be no abuse of the ticketing system.. For Silver members who buy tickets - you will be informed where you are sitting for the game and your swipe card will be enabled for that game. There will be electronic advertising boards in the new stadium.

We have written to the FA Premier League requesting that our last competitive game at Highbury should be played on the final weekend of the 2005/2006 season. The last game of each season is now scheduled for Sundays so as not to affect other Home Union matches. However the FAPL will request a change to the preferred time on Saturday each season..

We have reviewed the possibility of producing a commemorative patch and at the moment we do not believe that the quality of the patch will be up to our required standards. There will we believe be many other commemorative items that fans can buy. The Forum indicated that it would not be an issue if the patch was not introduced.

How many of the Islington Residents Tickets have been taken up?

Just over 2,000 have been taken up. The cut off time for this process is May 2005. We are ensuring that as much publicity as possible is surrounding this process. About 1,500 of these are new people with the remainder already being on the waiting list. All the season tickets that aren’t allocated in this way then come back to Arsenal. In relation to Season Ticket seats there is some highly sophisticated software which will show where the seats are. Although the Club will try its best, there will be occasions where groups will not be able to sit together, as we also have to be fair to the individual season ticket holder. Bond Holders that aren’t season ticket holders don’t usually get allocated a membership number.

Seven Members of the current forum reached the end of their two year term and a presentation for these retiring members was held.

The seven members leaving the forum are:

Terry Allen
Andrew Anastasiou
Mika Campbell
Craig Dallender
Ole Holter
Stephen Mears
Neil O’Brien

Graham Stone will also be replaced by a new AISA representative for next season.

The meeting finished at 12.50pm.

Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 24 Jul 2008