Minutes of the Stevenage Football Club Supporters Association Committee held at the Lamex Stadium on Wednesday July 28th 2010.
The meeting commenced at 19.30hrs

In attendance:
Lloyd Briscoe – Chairman
Keith Berners
Paul Lyme – Social Secretary
Jenny Dowden – Treasurer
Peter Keen – Communications Secretary
John Carroll – Travel Co-ordinator
Mervyn Stokes-Geddes – Administration

Apologies for absence:
Jackie Berners
Geoff Gibbs
Stephen Pattison
Mark Hollis
Officer’s Reports

Lloyd gave an overview of the agenda, citing that it is traditional to have three SA Committee meetings in relatively quick succession at this time of the year, i.e. one just before the AGM, – the AGM itself, and this follow-up meeting, in order to establish the direction of the Association for the coming season.

Mervyn touched upon a number of subjects:

Membership:- Our membership had virtually achieved the same level as last year already, without our season having kicked-off yet. He suggested that this could be attributed to a number of factors including our promotion to the Football League, additional benefits available to members, and our enhanced website.
It was noted that 148 members last season had yet to renew, and that our revised membership target for this coming season was now 600.
Name-change:-  All the new membership forms have been amended to accommodate the name change of the Club. Thanks to Peter Keen for his assistance in this.

On-Line payments: It was suggested that members be able and allowed to pay their subscriptions on-line via our web-site through the medium of PayPal. Mark Hollis would be able to oversee this activity, dependant on consent from the Committee. Members would be charged an administration cost of just 0.75p and would be able to send in a J-peg photograph of themselves. After debate, the consensus of the committee was to proceed with this initiative.

Badges:- These have been well received by the membership and has been considered a good investment.

Baby Boro:-  The SA are currently receiving about six applications a week for membership of Baby Boro

Fixture List Cards:- The SA has part-funded the Club’s Fixture List Cards, along with Friss & Radstone (Bob Sage). These are considered to be a valuable source of advertising for the SA, heightening the Association’s profile.

Electronic Newsletter:- Mark Hollis hopes to have this circulated on or before Friday August 6th, and would want contributions from the Committee by Tuesday August 3rd.

E-Mail Addresses:-  79% of the SA members have now provided their e-mail addresses

SA Flag:- A member from Welwyn Garden City has asked the SA if it will fund a supporters flag, denoting the SA. The committee were reluctant to commit to this suggestion.
The same member asked if the supporters bus to away games could implement a quiz. The committee had no problem with this suggestion.
Jenny brought the following issues to the attention of the committee:

50/50 tickets:-  The match day draw now has three prizes, based up a 3rd prize valued at £25, a 2nd prize valued at £50, and a 1st prize is valued at the rest of the monies raised up to 50% of the net proceeds.
Consensus has shown that most supporters are strongly in favour of this initiative.
Sadly, our 50/50 sellers are no longer allowed to ply their trade in the Board Room, in order to subscribe to Football League standards. However, it is anticipated that any shortfall from this avenue might be made up via increased attendances through the turnstiles.

Pitch-side cheque presentations:-  Last year we undertook two pitch-side cheque presentations, one in October and the other in April. The Committee discussed the efficacy of this initiative and considered the publicity value. After some discussion, it was agreed to commit to the same procedural format as last season, but to better script the event, effectively prompting Andy Green with the necessary prose.
Stocking Fillers:-  The Committee discussed whether marketing SA membership as a Christmas stocking-filler was an appropriate idea, and how to go about doing it. Expanding on this thinking, the Committee went on to consider a discounted membership subscription after half the season had been completed.

Paul raised a number of potential initiatives, including:

Quiz:- Current thinking indicates that the next quiz may well be held at the Crooked Billet, supervised by the Club’s No.1 goal-keeper. Chris Day.

Race Night:-  Highly successful last season, raising well over £800 for the SA. Plans are afoot to conduct another one soon, with a view to have a prominent member of the East Terrace compare the event..!

Fishing Day:-  Cancelled, sadly, – due to lack of interest.

Golf Day:- Considered, but not yet implemented. Worthy of further consideration.

Stevenage Day:- The SA plan to have a stall at the next Stevenage Day in 2011 (June)

Academy Open Day:-  Over 2,500 people turned up for this event, with over 100 SA membership forms being taken away by interested individuals. New members from the event included the new MP for Stevenage.

Mr & Mrs Paul Lyme:-  The Committee offered their congratulations on the recent marriage of our Social Secretary
John afforded the Committee a brief review of the events of last season, and touched on the following points:

Prices:-  The Committee were advised about the increase in prices from the SA’s preferred supplier, Chambers. However, it was reassuring to learn that the increase was negligible.
Bradford:-  It was noted that the prices quoted for the away travel to Bradford in the recent programme, and the SA website, was incorrect. The website was updated immediately, and future programmes (v. Macclesfield & Portsmouth) would be corrected.

Bus Costs:- John stated that it was his intent to ensure that each bus to away venues paid its way for this forthcoming season. To this extent, he reserved the right to charge more from travelling supporters if insufficient funds were generated by the passengers. Conversely, if a bus was full, then he would also consider a partial rebate to those same passengers. The essential point was that the bus(es) must pay its way.

On-Line Booking:- The Committee considered the facility of allowing members to book away travel on the supporters bus, on-line, – via PayPal.

Stadium Booking Points:-  Supporters will now be able to register their interest in away travel at two points within the Lamex Stadium on match-days. The new location will take into account supporters on the East Terrace.

Bus Banner:-  It was suggested that the Supporters bus should have a formal sign in the front window, depicting our organisation. Peter Keen offered to progress this suggestion.
Peter elaborated in the following:

Suppliers List:- The number of suppliers offering either discounted services or products to SA members was now approaching 50. Peter had high expectations of exceeding this figure and was most enthusiastic about the initiative. So much so, that it was further suggested that some people might consider joining the SA, simply in order to access the benefits available.

Approved Supplier Designation:- Each business that recognises the benefits of engaging with the SA and its members will now be offered a sign to promote this understanding in their window.

The SA Hut:- Refreshed signage has been printed and is now being displayed about the SA hut in the corner of the Lamex.

Community:-  The SA has agreed to promote the initiatives devised by Alex Tunbridge with regard to Stevenage FC in the Community. Alex has agreed to reciprocate by promoting the SA in the ventures which he is involved in.

Match-day programme:-  Anything relevant of appropriate commentary for the SA’s page in the match-day programme from Committee members, would be appreciated.

Match-day P.A.:- Keith would welcome suggestions for music that is played on match-days.

Any other business

• The Stevenage Museum is celebrating the promotion of the Club into the Football League during October. The SA (via Lloyd) has been invited to contribute its involvement.

• A presentation about the history of football in Stevenage will take place at the Stevenage Museum on February 14th 2011. The event will be conducted by Lloyd Briscoe, sponsored by the Stevenage Society for Local History
The meeting concluded at 21.00hrs

Date and time of the next meeting:- to be advised.