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SSLG - September meeting notes
smurfomatic (IP Logged)
02 September, 2015 16:40
New stand – we were lucky enough to go into the development. It’s looking good, and also running to schedule. Hopefully there will be no issues before opening on November 7th. The first and second floor hospitality should be ready for the 9th January, but there’s a chance it’ll be done for the Exeter game the preceding week. While the development goes on, it will be going back to being a building site on non-matchdays. PRL asked for the Saracens game to be a Friday night –Saints said no chance!
There will be minimal parking in the VIP car park while the stand development goes on, with limited access for cars and pedestrians – there will be a marquee for hospitality for those in Barwell Stand boxes, who will have wristbands to gain access. Turnstiles will be in the same places, and will be manned rather than automatic.
With over 2,000 new people to accommodate, the Barwell stand users will be encouraged to go through the VIP car park rather than in front of the Tetley’s/Church’s stand to reduce congestion if they don’t want to go into the Village pre-match.
There will no doubt be some confusion at early games, with block letters changing to numbers!
The west stand bar will no longer be available, this is the Buckingham site office and will become a player’s meeting room / classroom. Saints are looking into a “click & collect” service for Church’s – a barcode on the seat in front is scanned on your phone, this registers where you are, allows you to place the order and then go to the bar to collect.
This is the most complained about bar in the ground – small, dark, unwelcoming – and when the Barwell stand is complete there will be much better facilities to use.
Saints want immediate feedback on the new arrangements – good and bad.
People will be encouraged to get to their seats earlier to avoid congestion, as there will be more spectators to get in. Stewards are going to be more proactive in getting those watching the teams warm up to find their seats. This will also help relieve congestion around the Burrda stand.

Milton Keynes – Saints originally wanted the stand ready for the start of the season, when this wasn’t feasible they asked PRL for three away games to start the season. This was refused as it meant Saints would have more home games later in the season.

Coaches will be returning at varying times – straight after the match, after the RWC semi and in between. There will also be shuttle buses from Central MK again, these will be better signposted. The roads around the stadium will not be closed as they were in April.
A point was raised that there were no “cheaper” tickets this time. STHs get a 20% discount on tickets bought for friends & family, and the usual concessions apply except in premium areas – the same as FG.
There are no refunds being offered this year. Previous times the Saints have moved league/European games to MK, it has been their choice. This time, it has been forced on them by the stand development and PRL.
Only the lower bowl will be on sale, making capacity 22,000. Village area will be in the same place as previous games and will be better advertised. There will also be better signage for coaches.
Anyone with ideas for promotional stuff – clappers, flags etc. – please get in touch with the club.
Saints are promoting the game, through schools, clubs, Destination MK etc. There will also be an U9 tournament held at the match.

Online ticketing – still major problems. If you need to set up a youtube video to tell you how to buy a ticket, it’s not working! It’s a good ticketing system but not a good membership system. Should be two separate systems. Tickethour keep promising new features, but are they still trying to impress? Saints are trying to make the system easier to use, and the details are now printed more clearly on the season ticket cards. Saints also have FAQs on the website, and are not assuming a level of competence.

Pre season games / thankyou packages - 31st August deadline a strange choice, Bank Holiday Monday and the end of school holidays. Original plan was that STs would be sent out this week – brought forward to get the thankyou packages out. Paper forms and email the easiest way to get the information back and processed in time.
Thousands of replies, mainly taking up tickets for Wasps & Saracens. Free buses not really a possibility with the MK game as well. Direct complaints a very small number in comparison. In terms of season ticket prices, all clubs have lost the LV and none have dropped their ST prices.

Communication – new website in the pipeline, should be ready for the start of the season. More flexible, taking feedback into account. New shop has already been launched, ties in with shop stock system so up to date. Mobile responsive as well.

Emails to club – unusual to have to wait more than 24 hours for a reply. Emails sent to Tony Hewitt may have gone unnoticed, as he only had a club email address set up recently. Andy Tresias had been emailed several times about an incident at a home game, but these had not been received. In most cases, it’s best to check the email addresses on the website or use the get in touch form.

Development of mini rugby – not much player interaction at some junior clubs compared to others. Compare this with the response from kids when Jason Leonard arrived at Rushden & Higham with the World Cup. They had been seen at end of season dinners, but not recently. If clubs get in touch with Sian Haynes she will try to arrange visits. Also, players can be seen at coaching sessions, sevens tournaments etc.
Sunday mornings are not a good time for players to come to clubs – recovery after games. Some clubs have more visits than others because of connections, contacting players directly rather than through the Saints.
Getting players involved improves the legacy of the club. Lots can be done to increase the links between junior clubs and Saints. Danny Greco offered to contact Sian and try to arrange things as a liaison.

Buses from outside Northampton – not feasible for Saints to organise, expensive for the SSC to run. With the size of car parks compared to some clubs, do supporters see public transport as a priority? Saints will contact the company that runs the University bus service to see if they can offer anything. It’s more likely to be a tie-in with existing services rather than specialist buses.

STH seat moves – this was only a handful of people, but Ella apologised on behalf of the Saints and said they should have been contacted. This would be made easier if they put emails and mobile numbers on ST forms.

Real ale bar – a specialty bar will be available on the decking in the village.

Sauls – pie van not financially viable, but are continuing with pork rolls etc.

Brass band – there have been a few games with them in the stands which worked well. Difficult to get them on the pitch at half time, with presentations etc. to negotiate. Finding bands who want to get involved on a regular basis is difficult. Pre match on the pitch worked 20 years ago with 3 – 4,000 fans, would they be heard now?

Salary cap breaches – David spoke to Tony Hewitt and was told he would let him know all the details. When he finally had a reply he was told it was confidential. Are Saints helping to sweep it all under the carpet? PRL discussions are not supposed to leave the room. The investigation is tied in with Long From agreement negotiations – if the clubs start arguing, the RFU have a stronger negotiating position. This is all perceived as a stain on professional rugby.

New signings – lots of looking around, Saints unable to approach players before certain dates. Jim won’t be making a rash signing just to fill up the salary cap, he’s taking time to find the right player. There was a player lined up but he was injured and wanted more money than Saints were prepared to pay him.

England players – will be available immediately after the RWC ends.

RWC big screen games – is there any interest? Saints still working through ST forms but England games seem more popular than QFs.

Shop makeover – its needed! It’s gloomy, but can’t do much to redevelop as there’s no space in the building.

New away shirt – had to be returned to Burrda due to faults. This is the last year of the Burrda deal…

80s party on the pitch – brilliant, will they do it again? Watch this space, especially after the end of Alive at Delapre.

Programmes – previous debate regarding smaller versions not possible due to commercial obligations. However, Saints are looking into a matchday app – not just news but specifically designed for matches.

First XV – discontinued. Events could be continued as paid entry.

Testimonial this year? Has to be applied for, but there are potential candidates.

Supporters club will be organising a dinner in January / February at a reasonable cost.

Club trip to Paris – with the single person supplement it’s expensive! Can travel on same Eurostar and stay in King George V hotel cheaper.

STH badge – new one is being produced at the moment.

Will Dylan continue as captain? Jim will be announcing this in next couple of weeks.

TMO communication – PA relaying what the video replay is looking for. Still being planned.

Harvey Reeves Road exit to car park – all working well.

Next meeting in New Year, but if you have anything before then get in touch!

Photo Gallery

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/09/2015 18:36 by St Marlowe.

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
02 September, 2015 17:45
Thanks Smurf

Church's Stand, Block R, at the back noisily making lots of noise

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
tedge (IP Logged)
02 September, 2015 17:46
A lot of ground covered and mostly positive which is great. My only grouse is the old chestnut of the online ticketing system. I don't know who said "It’s a good ticketing system but not a good membership system" but I hope they were challenged. It is most definitely NOT a good ticketing system. I don't actually know what is meant by "a good membership system". It's either a ticket system or it's not. It's very obvious the Club doesn't want to put any effort into replacing it with one that actually works

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
SlimJimmie (IP Logged)
02 September, 2015 22:11
Many thanks for update.

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
desbralass (IP Logged)
03 September, 2015 06:14
Thanks Smurf..very easy to read through.

Bridesmaids no more.

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
Lloydie (IP Logged)
03 September, 2015 09:28
As ever an interesting read and thanks for the summary mate.
Nice to see the Stewarding of the Terrace was not on the agenda for once, hopefully the up weighted presence and new coloured cards will reduce the issues this season.

Re: SSLG - September meeting notes
Stockers (IP Logged)
03 September, 2015 12:26
As a consumer of Saul's excellent pasties, I'm surprised and disappointed that their pie van is not continuing. It was always busy and the profit margin, at their prices, must have been significant. Too much rent for the space?

Thanks Smurf, good summary.

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