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February meeting notes
smurfomatic (IP Logged)
23 February, 2015 22:08
Direction & aims of SSLG - originally envisaged as a "big things" group, where future planning for events, new ideas etc. would be discussed but we seem to talk more about minor issues that can be raised directly with the club and dealt with quicker. Supporters feel that some of these things are too small to complain about directly but feel free to contact Saints if you think they can help!

SSLG should be seen more as a steering/planning group but happy to discuss other items. Club willing to learn from their mistakes - such as the ST renewal packs arriving on the deadline day for the Barwell Stand. SSLG members willing to act as conduits for complaints/issues but don't need to hold onto them until the next meeting.

Season tickets for disabled carers - there is currently no restrictive policy in place for these, numbers have increased threefold in the last two years. Saints are looking into which disabled people need carers (based on disability living allowance categories) as it's possible some are using this as a way of getting a mate in for free. Policies are being thought about but won't be in place until the beginning of the 16/17 season as they need to be ready before season tickets are sold. Saints are checking into the impact this would have under the Disability Discrimination Act.

Terracing - currently there are 378 C block STHs, and capacity recently went from 380 to 375 so technically it's oversold and will take 3 STHs to move before other tickets are available. Stubhub tickets are numbered in single figures for C block every match so there will always be "strangers" (in addition to those who just lend a ST to their mates). Stewards try their best but can't spot everyone passing back a ticket, or sneaking in when the game has started. Fans are encouraged to ask a steward to check someone's ticket if they are suspicious. It was agreed that it has improved over the years but they can't be perfect.

The issue of "regular" terracing stewards was raised, but most stewards like to rotate around from different stands and therefore it's difficult to fix people in place. Praise was given to those around D block who help to "distribute" fans where there is congestion in one part but free space elsewhere.

Friday night matches - the club have no control over TV games, there may have been considerably more Fri games this season but no Sunday ones. The Saints prefer Saturday afternoons as it is both the traditional time for matches and also provides the most income through the bars, Fridays are a distant second but earn more than a Saturday lunchtime or evening would. There are pros and cons - for every fan that loves Fridays because they can't make a Saturday there is another who prefers the reverse. The club cannot predict how many Friday nights there will be - six out of eleven league games this season are Fridays, last season there were only two, who knows for next season?

PA - needs improvement. Since the work in the Burrda it's clearer in the stand but worse in the village - to be investigated. Work will be done over the summer while the Barwell Stand is built to improve it elsewhere.

Car parking - the "turn left" lane was proposed, the most straightforward way would be to use the side exit near Wrefords truck yard. However, Wrefords own the stretch of road between that exit and Edgar Mobbs Way - Saints will speak to them again about allowing cars to use this on matchdays to go through town rather than getting stuck in the "turn right" traffic.

The council are proposing more parking restrictions in the St James and Dallington areas which will push people more towards the car parks. The "Claret" car park (across the road from the Saints car parks) is owned by the council and can be used as an overflow on normal matchdays. However, when both Cobblers and Saints are at home it's opened up for free so more likely to be used!

First XV - lack of interest this season, the Saints are considering whether or not to continue it.

Player interaction - do the players need to throw balls into the crowd at every game? Players love it, fans do too (though some of the adults are a bit over enthusiastic about catching them!) so please continue.

Yearbook - possibly looking into resurrecting something similar in an online format with video highlights etc. but need to check into rights issues.

DVD - sold out, twice. Saints will look into the possibility of selling a downloadable version on iTunes/Amazon.

Bath away tickets - weren't announced they were on sale. They were available over Christmas but the message wasn't passed from ticket office to communications department.

Saracens MK tickets - on general sale now. Bus tickets will be on sale soon, match tickets will be sent out about 3-4 weeks before the game.

LV final - teams get 2,000 allocation each, Saints fans encouraged to buy those on general sale now!

Pint glass refunds - Rodber Suite is chaotic post match with people going to the bar, loo etc. Saints will look at the possibility of resiting the refund points but not many places to move them to in Rodber! Twickenham having automatic refund points soon, these aren't available for Saints yet.

15/16 season format - no league games until mid October. No idea yet as to the structure for when European games are, or what to do before October. Saints have requested first two games are away to allow extra time for stand development (this won't be completed until December but open to STH from October - hospitality the last bit to be finished). Contractors have week by week targets to keep the project on track.

Sturtridge demolition after "party on the pitch" on Bank Holiday weekend (1000 tickets sold for this already) - home playoff semi will be at FG not MK!

Ticket fraud letters - these were an invitation to discuss the issue, not meant as a threat. Hopefully the issues have now been resolved.

Associate membership - with most games selling out there is no way to offer the priority booking system.

Legends club has a good takeup so far.

Next meeting in June.

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Re: February meeting notes
Paul Flatt (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 07:17
Thank you, oh little blue boy!

Re: February meeting notes
shendy (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 08:47
Thanks Simon.
I'm not happy with the Associate Membership response though.
Are the club saying that most games are selling out to additional purchases from STH's, before being made available on general sale? I thought that had only happened on the Leicester game this season so far.

AM's used to be able to book before the season started (same as STH's were presumably able to buy additional tickets) - ahead of general sale - and that's what I miss.

Re: February meeting notes
smurfomatic (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 13:59
Shendy - to be honest, I'd forgotten that AMs used to have priority booking over "normal" fans. Would be worth emailing Brian Facer to discuss it directly, as then you're not relying on my swiss cheese memory to pass on the finer details!

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Re: February meeting notes
SaintsDuncan (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 16:42
The Friday night games response is also rather lacking.

I think everyone appreciates the club don't know how many televised matches there will be but there is no indication as to whether they will continue with the policy of moving non-televised games. This policy seems somewhat contradictory to the line "The Saints prefer Saturday afternoons as it is both the traditional time for matches and also provides the most income through the bars".

Of cousre thanks Smurf for the update and all other representatives on the SSLG as ever

Re: February meeting notes
Houghton Saint (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 17:22

The 'friday night issue' was discussed at length night as Simon suggested in his minutes.

So far, we have played four home league games on a friday night with Quins and Wasps to come. Three have been played on a saturday and one is to be played at MK. That leaves the final home game against LW to be determined; as the game is not on TV, we are led to believe that it will be a saturday fixture. Thus the final tote may well be 6/11 Friday, 4/11 saturday and one just off M1 Junction 14 at the end of April. To my way of thinking this is a disproportionate total and whilst it will please some for various reasons, IMHO the majority still prefer the traditional slot of saturday at three.

We seem to get pretty much the same gate regardless of timings/days so no great advantage in either direction. Apparently the bar takings are at their optimum on a saturday afternoon. Brian Facer informed us that playing a home fixture on the same day as an England International affects both attendance and takings even if timings are co-ordinated to avoid a direct clash - not quite sure I buy that one myself but the Club have the statistics and I do not.

Twice this season the Club have moved league games at their own volition to a friday night. Both games, Exeter and London Irish, were turgid affairs, the latter having the dullest atmosphere I can remember for a long time.

It seems that the combination of TV demands and internal decision making have created, to many supporters, an unacceptable balance of fixtures this season. Saints are in some respects an easy target for BT Sport when it comes to scheduling selection. We do not ground share and we have no major confliction issues with the Cobblers unlike say Tigers and Leicester City - and yes, I do know about the traffic problems after the game !
We are Champions, BT subscribers like to watch us and BT themselves like our facilities compared to many of our rivals.

For many supporters who do not live within easy distance of FG, friday nights are almost impossible due to normal evening traffic at the end of the working week allied to inevitable delays on the motorways and the plethora of long term roadworks such as those in St Peters Way, Lumbertubs and Towcester to name just three.

The bottom line from the club is a twofold message. Firstly we are tied down by the TV deal ( ironically their best viewing figures are on a saturday afternoon ! ) and secondly, as a club we still have a strong preference to saturday at three. This year the balance has been wrong, hopefully it will be better in seasons to come.

Re: February meeting notes
SaintsDuncan (IP Logged)
24 February, 2015 19:48
I wasn't suggesting it hadn't been fully discussed Mobbs (mine was a quick post in a quiet moment at work).

I also accept that the TV do seem to have dictated more this year, and as you say this is partly due to our success. This is a "risk" one takes when purchasing a ST. It's the whole avoidance of a straight Yes or No on whether the club intends to continue moving extra games that sticks in the craw. Something I (well we as there's two of us) would like so that an informed decision can be made when being asked to part with a substantial amount of money. The moving of extra games also seems completely contrtradictory to the "we prefer Saturdays" comments.

The more I see this avoidance the more it seems that the club want to have my ST money, but will continue to move games - a win/win for them

Re: February meeting notes
Houghton Saint (IP Logged)
25 February, 2015 11:29

No consolation I am sure but I find myself in a very similar situation. Every season we buy our three season tickets and then spend the whole campaign trying to juggle days off and leave around the ever changing goalposts dictated to by the RFU, PRL, BT, SKY and now the club itself. We hear the same old excuses time and time again and assuredly it is not an even playing field amongst the twelve Premiership clubs. Personally I would like to see a firm fixture list published at the beginning of July for the entire league campaign but I am repeatedly told that I am being naive so I must get off my soapbox.

My consolation is that I will have retired by the beginning of the 16/17 season and can go to whatever matches catch my fancy which means in effect all home games and selected aways. My son, however, will continue to miss friday night games as he finds it almost impossible to get to FG by kick-off time.....................

Re: February meeting notes
SaintsDuncan (IP Logged)
25 February, 2015 19:38
Our drive is 70 miles which, on a Saturday, takes us about 90 mins at a steady 60ish. Last Friday game I left work at 17:00 on the dot (15 minutes early), drove east-west a mile or so to collect Mrs SD then headed north. After 30 mins I was still in the town centre. TRied to drive at 70ish when able to, parked in our usual spot and got to our seats with 20mins to spare. A bit too close for comfort really.

My consolation is that I will have retired by the beginning of the 16/17

Do you want to do a job swap in 16/17??? winking smiley

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