Trust Chair Tim Hartley and Board member, Phil Nifield, have met with the club’s Chief Executive, Gethin Jenkins, and Wayne Nash to put your questions to them. The backroom team at the Cardiff City Stadium were obviously very excited with the signing of Craig Bellamy. As Gethin told us – last month we were struggling to fill a full squad of first team players. Now we have some superb loan signings and apparently Dave Jones is still holding out for more. What a great time to be a City fan!
Here are the main points from the meeting based on the questions you have asked.
We asked Gethin how the club, which has faced winding up orders for non payment of taxes, can now afford a player of the quality, and cost, of Craig Bellamy. He said they are confident the signing stacks up as a business case and that it is underwritten by the Malaysian investors. He reminded us that more than 10,000 shirts were sold immediately after we signed Robbie Fowler and that ticket sales have already increased since Bellamy signed for the Bluebirds.
Club support for the Trust
The club underlined its desire to use the Trust and the Supporters’ Club as important channels to communicate with fans. Gethin agreed to allow us to distribute Trust literature in the Premier Lounge and bars. Inserts into programmes could prove more difficult however and could create a litter problem. Still, we will continue to work together for the benefit of the club and the Trust.
Wayne told us that they are still waiting for the environmental certificate which will allow the club to start building the memorial garden. However, it may be that the garden could be located away from the retail park and main entrance and near the old gates opposite Ninian Park. This would mean we can press ahead with the scheme more quickly and for some of us older supporters it will be closer to our dear Ninian Park.
Pre match and half- time events
The club is considering introducing a new half- time event called ‘Stand and Deliver’ where each of the four stands at the Cardiff City Stadium compete with each other in various competitions. Lucky winners from the winning stand will receive a prize and we as a Trust have offered to help with recruiting contestants.
The Family Stand is already enjoying some pre-match events. There was a magician on hand before the Sheffield United game to entertain the children which was a great success and players are being brought down to that area too to sign autographs.
Fred Keenor Statue
Some £4,700 was raised from ticket sales at the Deportivo game towards the Keenor appeal and the small replica statues and pin badges have been selling well at the club shop. The club is also donating some of the money raised at the Dave Jones/Ricky Tomlinson evening in September to the appeal. It should be a great night. Many thanks to the club for their continued support of the Fred Keenor statue appeal. The total cost of the statue is between £85,000 and £100,000. It’s a long haul but we will get there!
There has been criticism about the lack of range of goods on sale at the club shop and especially those for children. Gethin said there are things available for pocket money like rulers and stencils but that it is difficult to offer a range of goods that will suit everyone. He said that stocking the shop with new and different things is a question of cash flow for the club but that they would like to improve what is on offer. On match days the club is hoping to open small booths to sell merchandise on the concourses.
Prices at the Stadium
People have complained about having to pay more than £3 for a pint on match days but we were told that the prices at the Cardiff City Stadium are in line with other clubs in the Championship. Beer at the recent game away at Derby was dearer than it is at Cardiff for example. The company which runs the outlets, Compass, sets the prices and the club is not in a position to subsidise beer and food. With regards healthy eating in the ground, the club says it does offer a fruit option to children in the Family Stand.
Many people miss the scoreboard which was part of the big screen at Ninian. The club are aware of this and are looking into the possibility of having a scoreboard at the stadium.
Fans have told the Trust that they would like to see more inventive ticketing schemes being tried. Gethin told us that there will be reduced prices for family tickets for some selected matches.
The idea of 5 or 7 ticket deals is appealing but the club is keen that people do not cherry pick the best matches. It also wants to be fair to season tickets holders who have already paid up front for all the games.
As for cup matches – the pricing for these will be reviewed by the club on a case by case basis. It is not always easy as the price of cup tickets has to be agreed with the opposition and then agreed by the league. There is a real desire though to add value for season tickets holders in cup ticket prices.
We know that the podcast which was available on the club’s official website was popular and it is missed by lots of people. The club are keen to look at this again but say it is simply a matter of prioritising work at this time.
Stadium Tours and Open Days
All of us would like a peep behind the scenes at the Cardiff City Stadium and would even pay for a tour. There are no plans for official tours at the moment but the Supporters Trust hopes to be able to announce a competition soon, the prize being a tour of the stadium one Sunday. Keep your eyes on the website!
The club hopes to organise a family fun day at the Derby County home game in April and also a ‘Bring your Partner’ Valentine’s Day at the Scunthorpe game in February.
Relations with the Echo
A lot of us get our information about the City from the Echo and many feel the club needs to improve relations with the paper. Gethin told us that there is dialogue with reporters, that the paper is not banned from the club but that they don’t attend Dave Jones’s press conferences. Pity really…
How green is the City?
One Trust member has asked what the club is doing in terms of reducing its, and our, carbon footprint. The stadium operates a park and ride scheme and had to give a waste management plan to the council as well as an environmental assessment as part of the stadium building project. The club recycles as much wastes as it can and is also looking at renewable sources of energy, perhaps through putting panels on the stadium itself.
Half- time cigarette break
The club raised a small but important issue with us. Cardiff is one of the few clubs to allow supporters to leave the stadium to have a cigarette at half time. However, some people have been abusing this scheme by dashing off to food outlets at half time or moving the car so as to avoid a parking ticket. Wayne wants to stress that they cannot have people leaving the turnstile area but that you are welcome to bring your own sandwiches with you into the ground. The Let Me Out To Smoke’ scheme seems to work well. Let’s keep it a success.
All in all I think we have now established a very good working relationship with the club. Gethin and his team understand the need to communicate to fans through the Trust. Thanks for your support, keep those questions coming and let’s look forward to another season of superb football at the Cardiff City Stadium.