Below are approved minutes from a meeting as chaired by Cardiff City Football Club Chairman Mehmet Dalman on Tuesday 10th February 2015. Attending the meeting were members of the Club management team and Official Supporter Group representatives, as listed below.
(MD), ChairmanMehmet Dalman
Ken Choo (KC), CEO
Wayne Nash (WN), Head of Operations
Nic Heslop (NH), Head of Commercial
Barrie McAuliffe (BM), Head of Communications
Adam Gilliatt (AG), Supporters Liaison Officer
Charlotte Latham (CL), Financial Controller
Philip Jenkins (PJ), Finance Consultant
(SE), Legal AssistantSimon Evans
(TH), Supporters Trust ChairmanTim Hartley
David Craig (DC), Supporters Trust Board Member
Keith Morgan (KM), Supporters Trust Board Member
Clive Francis (CF), Supporters Club Chairman
Vince Alm (VA), Supporters Club Member
Allyson Rees (AR), Supporters Club Treasurer
(PC), Disabled Supporters MemberPaul Corkrey
Chairman’s Welcome: The Chairman declared the meeting open, thanking supporter group representatives for attending. The Chairman also expressed his thanks to those who played a part in the return to traditional colours in January 2015.
September 2014 Meeting Minutes: Previous meeting minutes were distributed and unanimously approved by all members present.
Langston: MD responded to questions regarding Langston, confirming that agreements were confirmed before he arrived as Chairman. MD stated the reasoning behind the reopening of the Langston settlement stemmed from the desire to discover who the Club is paying their debt to on ethical grounds. All agreed this was a positive step, as paying debt to an unknown entity carries an extremely high risk.
Update of Club Finances: MD confirmed the aim of the wage bill reduction during the January transfer window was work towards making the Club more self-sustainable, with less reliance on the owner.
CL reiterated the desire to create a self-supporting Club, and confirmed that there is an intention to file the May 2014 accounts to Companies House in the coming weeks. CL responded to queries regarding the comparison between Premier League and Championship accounts, stating that they are difficult to compare, but commented that the overall cash flow is encouraging following the January transfer window. KC confirmed this by commenting that the Club has seen a sizeable reduction in cash flow over the last few months.
VA raised questions regarding the Club’s strategy for upcoming seasons. MD confirmed that the strategy is to build upon this season’s developments, with the intention to push towards promotion at the earliest opportunity. MD stated the importance of retaining senior, experienced players.
Supporter group representatives confirmed their agreement with the Club’s plans to reduce the cash flow and to strive for self-sustainability without TSVT’s continued cash input. PC asked why some players were allowed to leave without recouping fees. MD and KC replied, stating the need to find the best solution for the Club and individual players. KC confirmed that all players left on good terms, with the Club finances benefiting in the long term.
Debt to Equity: MD responded to KM’s question regarding the intentions of TSVT to convert debt to equity. MD stated that he has advised TSVT to delay the conversion of debt to equity whilst the ongoing issues with Langston exist. MD questioned the merits of converting debt to equity, stating that he did not see the benefits of conversion as the debt is to one party.
KM left the meeting to keep prior commitments
Season Tickets and Match-Day Experience: KC gave an update to the supporter group representatives regarding the season ticket sales for the upcoming 2015/16 season. KC and NH stated the current season tickets including hospitality seats stands at approximately 16,000. The supporter groups were all in agreement that the pricing structure for 2015/16 was positive. VA asked for more fan engagement to make the whole match-day experience more enjoyable, using Borussia Dortmund and Wigan Athletic as examples of positive match-day experiences.
KC confirmed the Club are looking into improving match-day experience by creating a match day committee, which will collaborate with the Foundation. BM and NH reiterated the Club’s ongoing plans to create a better match-day experience, confirming that the Club will be sending a survey to season ticket holders, targeting potential improvements via fan engagement. TH said the Trust was happy to assist in creating focus groups and ask supporters to complete questionnaires.
It was agreed to meet before the Wolves game on the 28th February to present findings and potential improvements the Club can make as a result of the initial survey. Supporter group representatives agreed that this was a good idea, and stated that it is important to target younger supporters for feedback to maximise the survey’s impact.
Supporter’s Director: TH reiterated his desire for Cardiff City to appoint a supporter to the Board of Directors, referencing a recent Supporters Trust survey. TH used Notts County, Swansea City and Portsmouth as recent examples of success with a supporter on the Board.
MD explained the implications of being on the board, outlining the responsibility as a Director to be liable for any financial issues the Club faces. MD also explained the fiduciary obligations a Director is bound by. MD discussed the potential issues of disclosing information of a sensitive nature, suggesting the possibility of a place on the strategy committee. This would allow fans to have their input without giving an individual supporter access to the Club’s sensitive information. MD responded to a request from DC, confirming the Supporters Trust are welcome to prepare a dossier regarding examples of supporter Board Members.
Supporter Events: PC spoke regarding the most recent Disabled Supporters Fans forum. PC said he thought it was a positive and enjoyable meeting with Russell Slade. PC asked if other players, or board members, would be willing to come to future events to improve fan engagement, as he believed this would be beneficial to all. MD confirmed that he would be able to attend future events if invited. All parties agreed on the merits of fans forums at appropriate times.
Club crest update: BM gave an update on the updated Club crest. BM confirmed the crest is in its final stages with the Football League and the kit supplier. Visuals will be released at the end of February.
Any Other Business
The Living Wage Issue: TH revisited the issue of Cardiff City becoming a ‘Living Wage’ supporting Club, arguing the positive impact on the Club’s reputation. MD stated that TH is welcome to address the board in the next strategy meeting to explain the merits to Board Members. TH confirmed he would be happy to do this.
Current Football Situation: Supporter group representatives replied to questions from MD regarding the current situation on the field, airing their views on the improvements they’d like to see.
Cardiff City Club Charter: PC asked for an update on the Cardiff City FC charter. BM confirmed he is charged with the task of finalising with AG and WN the 2015 club charter and agreed to allow the supporters groups to view the revised charter prior to launch.
PC emphasised the importance of the charter and asked that the charter be compiled with these six main sections prioritised: Accessibility, Timeliness, Quality, clarity of its complaints and appeals procedures, and contacts for the relevant league and Independent football ombudsman. PC asked for the charter to be advertised more and brought to the attention of the supporters who may be unaware. All agreed.
Close: MD thanked all for their attendance and the meeting was declared closed.
(answered prior to the meeting via email)Questions from Supporters Group Representatives
Where are the programme sellers? It is very difficult to get hold of a programme
Programmes are available from the following places on a match day: The Club Superstore, merchandise booths located in the concourse at Gate 3, Grange/Family Stand, Ninian Stand & Level 5. In addition the Supporters Club sell some from their office located between gates 3 & 4. Additional signage has been put up in the concourse as a result of feedback from supporters and the media team will be listing the available locations in their pre-match media releases.
Does the Club have an e-cigarettes policy for the concourse and in the stands?
The current policy on e-cigarettes at the stadium is that they are allowed to be used. If the club receives a complaint it will make the user aware and ask them to refrain from using the e-cigarette. This will continue to be the policy until a statement is made by the Welsh Government. A statement is due in March this year and will provide guidelines to employers on e-cigarettes.
What plans are there to complete the Memorial Garden?
It is finished to concept design but will be constantly evolving as more trees, perhaps benches etc are added by fans and or their organisations. There is still no plan to enclose with a fence if this is what the question alludes to indirectly.
Will the club subsidise an away game travel or ticket?
We can expect a proposal for subsidised travel or tickets for a fixture this season.