Trust Chair Tim Hartley and Board members Tracey Marsh and David Craig met Gethin Jenkins, Julian Jenkins, Wayne Nash and Barry McAuliffe at the club on Tuesday 5 April. Members sent us their questions and here is a report of what was discussed.
We congratulated the club on being named Football League Family Club of the Year. The change in the perception of the City over the last few years has been amazing. With a whole range of activities arranged for them, families are now given a full afternoon of entertainment (playstations, magicians and meeting the players) as well as watching the ‘Greatest team in football’. In fact many families from Derby wrote to thank the club for its efforts to make them welcome, and that despite their 4 – 1 drubbing! The club says it has advertised the Football League award widely and Julian Jenkins will represent the club at the World Stadium summit at the Nou Camp in Barcelona in June to share his experience at Cardiff. Congratulations!
Restrictions for away games have been a constant issue for travelling fans with early starts, bubble matches and voucher exchanges meaning that following Cardiff can be a hassle. We wanted to know when things will improve. The club said they are making things easier for fans little by little but it all depends on behaviour at away matches. They said the rendezvous in South London before Millwall was requested by the police who will always have the final say in these things. Buses were allowed to go straight back to the heads of the valleys after the Swansea game rather than back to Cardiff this time. Also, 8 coaches at a time were allowed to go to the Liberty from the rendezvous this time which speeded things up a bit. The Trust hopes to be represented at the club’s Travel Group meetings to make sure these issues continue to be addressed.
The club is helping the Trust and the Supporters Club to welcome supporters from Chasetown to the stadium for the Middlesbrough match. Our relationship with them dates back to the FA Cup match some years ago. We will help them with parking and with tickets for the game. It’s great to see us all pull together to give our friends from Staffordshire a good day out and we hope to have a whole busload of ‘Scholars’ here in May.
Some Trust members have asked how the club can fill the empty seats on levels 3 and 4 of the Grandstand. The club said it had stopped selling one-off tickets for Level 4 to all comers as it did last season. These seats had originally been sold as premium hospitality seats and it would be unfair to those who had signed up for the whole season to allow others to cherry pick the best games. However, Premier club members are allowed to buy additional tickets for Level 4. As a footnote to this, the club is keen that season ticket holders renew their ST’s before the deadline of 18 April. So get down the Ticket Office pronto and don’t forget to give a donation to the FK Statue Appeal with your application!
We all want the club to be on a firm financial footing and are glad that our Malaysian backers seem to be sorting our finances out. However, there was no more detail on the debt situation forthcoming from the club. Gethin simply told us that work is continuing with historical creditors. But we can tell you that there will be an annual general meeting of the club, depending on the fixtures, probably in September. We as a Trust will of course be represented at the AGM.
The Trust event with Tg and Dave Jones in November was a real success and we are keen to hold regular Fans Forums with the manager and players. The club said it will arrange other nights like the Tg and the Ricky Tomlinson events next season where fans can put their questions to the manager.
An eagle eyed Trust member has noted that the match day programme lists Paul Wilkinson as Reserve Team manager and was wondering, as we don’t have a formal reserve team, what he does. Gethin told us that Wilko had been with the club since Lennie Lawrence’s time and is actually the 1st team coach. Although we are not in a formal reserves league he also takes reserve team games when they are arranged.
We asked the club what was the cost of the half time mini-football games. The games are organised by the Community Trust for local teams. For £35 per person each player gets a coaching session, meal, match ticket and of course a chance to play on the stadium pitch. (If there were no age restriction I might get a team in there myself!) The club told us that its policy on these mini games is being reviewed.
Some members wanted to know what the club’s policy is on communication and feedback to general inquiries. Julian Jenkins told us that the club’s Customer Charter states that they aim to answer queries and complaints within 5 working days. Julian tries to answer them by telephone as soon as possible but Barrie McAuliffe said that the club is looking at a web based inquiry system so that issues can be immediately addressed to the correct person within the club. The current Customer Charter can be found at – https://www.cardiffcityfc.co.uk/page/CustomerCharter/0,,10335,00.html
There has been concern that we have been signing players who appear to be injured (and I am not naming names here.) The club assured us that a comprehensive medical examination is carried out on every player prior to their being signed on a permanent contract. The club pointed out that when a player is signed not only is his current fitness considered but also the length that he could is being contracted for as well.
The Fred Keenor statue appeal has received a donation of £500 from Marstons brewery who own the new Sand Martin pub/restaurant on Ffordd Fred Keenor near the stadium. Many thanks to Marstons for this. The Trust is also keeping in touch with them and their Local Heroes charity scheme. We asked the club whether they had made contact with the new pub. Gethin said they had met them informally and had discussed sharing some staff parking. It’s worth noting that the Sand Martin is more of a restaurant than a pub and that they will only sell alcohol with full sit down meals on match days.
Finally, I would like to draw your attention to the Huw Thatcher Trust which the club is supporting. City fan Huw died after being injured playing for Hepworth United under 15s in Yorkshire in March. Huw had a brain haemorrhage as a result of a pre existing condition that no one knew about, or could have known about. His family want to support the Disabilities Trust charity – in particular the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Trust part of this charity. Please contribute via the Just Giving page: www.justgiving.com/nicholas-thatcher
Just a few matches to go this season and I am getting nervous. Keep the faith fellow Bluebirds and I will see you all at the Trust Annual General Meeting on Thursday 19 May at 7:30pm!