All posts by Debbie Coady

Membership survey – 2016

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust 2016 Membership Survey

About the Survey

This is the fourth annual Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Membership survey. The goal of the annual survey is to identify the issues that Chelsea supporters care about.

This survey was conducted from the end of the football season (16 May) to mid-June 2016. It was sent out to both the voting and non-voting membership. The overall response rate was 25%, with a 44% response rate from Voting Members.

A section about the potential temporary stadium move ahead of the new stadium development was included this year, to provide information about Supporter concerns regarding this issue. Some questions have been slightly reformulated to provide more consistent data and a question about Supporter Liaison has also been introduced.

SUMMARY

The results of the summary inevitably reflect the relatively unsuccessful 2015/16 season. For the first time, ticket prices and atmosphere, although still ranked highly, have been superseded by concerns about on-pitch success and related categories of youth player development, transfer policy and management stability.

Despite the on-pitch difficulties, satisfaction with Club administration is only slightly down on last year. It is disappointing to note that only 20% of respondents were aware of the Supporter Liaison Officer role at the Club and less than 5% knew his name or how to contact him.

CST members welcome the Away Ticket Cap agreed by the Premier League and over 60% said that they would now attend more away games. However concern was expressed that it would be even more difficult to obtain these tickets. Home ticket prices are still considered to be too high. Availability and location of juvenile tickets remain key concerns with regard to pricing, access and atmosphere and there continues to be a demand for a price category for young adults.

Although a move to a temporary stadium in any of the venues currently touted will not materially affect weekend attendance, most respondents consider that time and/or cost of travel will increase significantly. The primary opinion is that the Club should ensure that pricing takes account of this. There is a strong possibility that attendance of midweek games will be affected, particularly if the move is to Stratford.

About a quarter of respondents stated that the new European ticket collection arrangements were a factor in not attending away Champions League games. Although most agreed that the Club made the collection location convenient, the majority stated that the process ate into time for pre-match activities.

KEY ISSUES

Respondents were asked to rank in order of importance what they considered to be the five most important issues. The rest of the survey explores these key issues in greater depth.

The highest importance was given to On-pitch success, followed by some distance by Ticket prices, Stadium redevelopment and Atmosphere. Receiving the most votes overall were: Development of young players, followed by On-pitch success, Atmosphere and Stadium redevelopment.

Amongst Other issues raised by respondents, the most significant were:

  • Transfer Policy
  • Team Management Stability
  • Club Management
  • Touting & Ticketing

Ticket Prices have been the number one concern in the last three of the annual surveys but, although this is still important, this has been overtaken by On-pitch success. Stadium redevelopment replaced Stadium relocation from previous surveys and features in the top four for both highest importance and votes overall.

Download the full survey results as a PDF:

Chelsea Supporters Trust Membership Survey 2016

Special General Meeting 25th February 17.30 at The Lillie Langtry

The next CST Special General Meeting will be held at 17:30 at the Lillie Langtry, 19 Lillie Road, London SW6 1UE after the Swansea City game on Saturday 25th February. 

 

 

Uppermost in Chelsea Supporters minds at the moment is the issue of the Stamford Bridge redevelopment, a move to a temporary stadium and what role the Chelsea Pitch Owners will play in this. To that end, we have invited Charles Rose, Chairman, Chelsea Pitch Owners to hold a Q&A session on issues relating to the CPO, its future and role with the Club and redevelopment going forward. As the information below shows, this and other issues such as Atmosphere, Affiliations, Supporter Issues and Community will be covered in the meeting. You will also have the chance to ask questions on any pertinent matter and get your points across to the board. The formal notice of the meeting and the agenda can be found below.

 

 

Q & A on Chelsea Pitch Owners
The CST board are pleased to advise members that the SGM will feature a Question and Answer session with Charles Rose, Chairman Chelsea Pitch Owners. Charles will be covering issues relating to the future of the Chelsea Pitch Owners and their role in the Stamford Bridge redevelopment, temporary stadium and return to the Bridge. We would welcome questions in advance to membership@chelseasupporterstrust.com using “CPO” as the subject line.

The Venue

 

 

The venue for the SGM is the upstairs Bar of The Lillie Langtry, in Lillie Road, 15 minutes’ walk from Stamford Bridge and close to West Brompton underground station. Attendance at the meeting is open to voting members of the Trust only. Membership to the CST costs £5 per year and includes a free pin badge. You can sign up easily from our website and we accept payment by credit or debit card or via PayPal. We hope as many of you as possible will attend in person!

Unable to Attend?
With thanks to the Chelsea Football Fancast, overseas members or those unable to attend in person will be able to listen to the meeting live and interact online at www.mixlr.com/chelsea-fancast. Minutes and a podcast of the SGM will be available following the meeting.

 

Special General Meeting
Saturday 25th February at 17:30

Lillie Langtry, 19 Lillie Road, London SW6 1UE (map)
or online via  www.mixlr.com/chelsea-fancast.

AGENDA

  1. Introduction
  2. Chairman’s Report
  3. Updates on progress and actions regarding motions passed at AGM (Working Group Reports): –
    • Supporter Issues (Cliff Auger)
    • Stamford Bridge Redevelopment (David Johnstone)
    • Atmosphere (Richard Weekes)
    • Affiliations (Cliff Auger)
    • Community (Cliff Auger)
    • Overseas Membership (Dan Silver)
  4. Questions/Motions from CST members
  5. Any Other Business
  6. Question and Answer session with Charles Rose, Chairman, Chelsea Pitch Owners Charles will be covering issues relating to the future of the Chelsea Pitch Owners and their role in the Stamford Bridge redevelopment, temporary stadium and return to the Bridge. We would welcome questions in advance to membership@chelseasupporterstrust.com using “CPO” as the subject line, by Wednesday 22nd February to allow the panel to review and research your answers in advance
  7. Close
    It is anticipated that the formal meeting (including the Q&A) will end by 19.00 at the latest.

 

Overseas members or those unable to attend in person will be able to listen to the meeting and interact live online via www.mixlr.com/chelsea-fancast

 Chelsea Supporters’ Trust

Making your voice heard

Newsletter – February 2017

Welcome to our first Newsletter of the Year, and indeed our first one for far too long, for which I owe you a huge apology. As a result this might be a longer newsletter than usual as we have a lot to catch up on.  I promise to keep them a little briefer in the future!
~ Chairman

You can download and read it here:

Chelsea Supporters’ Trust Newsletter February 2017

Tribute to Frank Lampard

On the retirement of, for many, Chelsea’s greatest player, David Johnstone, Chelsea Supporters Trust board member and cfcuk fanzine impresario, has penned the following heart felt words that reflect the thoughts of many:

During my years supporting Chelsea, I’ve had many favourite players but, with no disrespect intended to any other who has worn the shirt for my club, Frank Lampard is my all-time favourite and, in my opinion at least, the greatest player the club has ever had.

I’ve known Frank Lampard since 2001 when he joined Chelsea FC from West Ham Utd. He’s always struck me a really nice guy with no illusions of grandeur although he had every right to hold some. Through Frank, I also met his father Frank and mother Pat and there is no doubt that ‘young’ Frank kept his sense of reality and his feet on the ground because of their influence.

His generosity toward the Chelsea supporters has known no bounds and, despite his always busy schedule, whilst at the club, he always tried to find time for those who wanted an autograph, a photo with him or just a few words.

His contribution to Chelsea has been immense. He won every honour that the domestic English game could offer and, of course, was team captain on what some describe as Chelsea’s greatest night when, due to the fact that John Terry was suspended, he lifted the European Cup in Munich.

That night, I was fortunate enough to have been invited to the celebratory party at the team’s hotel by Frank, one of the best moments I’ve experienced in all the years I’ve supported the club. I told him that and his reply was, “I wish I could take every Chelsea supporter for a drink!” He spoke from the heart and it was something I know he meant.

He also captained Chelsea to victory in the Europa League final (this time because john Terry was injured), the winners medals going in his trophy cabinet along with the 3 Premiership/Premier League, 4 FA Cup and 2 League Cup he’d already accumulated. As well as the 106 senior caps he won during his international career during which he scored 29 goals for England, in 2005 he was voted FWA Footballer of the Year and was runner-up in both the FIFA World Player of the Year and the Ballon d’Or. As well as many other individual honours he was awarded during his time at Stamford Bridge, in 2010 he received the FWA Tribute Award.

However, as far as the Chelsea supporters are concerned, it was the club honours and the 211 goals he scored whilst playing for the Blues that really count. He played a record 164 times consecutively in top flight matches for Chelsea, a run that came to an end due to a bout of flu with, coincidentally, the first game he missed being the Blues’ visit to the Etihad to play Manchester City. It was little wonder that he was voted Chelsea’s Player of the Year on no less than three occasions.
Lampard was a player that always gave 100% when playing for Chelsea and his rapport with those following the club made him a firm favourite. His parents once told me how proud they were when, after one of his first few Chelsea matches at Stamford Bridge, they walked away from the ground and down the Fulham Rd alongside supporters who were singing “Super Frank Lampard”.

Although he once said he didn’t want to play for another English side, the circumstances changed. Up until his retirement, Lampard was a professional footballer. It’s what he did for a living. Professionals don’t have a ‘one-club only’ clause like supporters. He’d told me plenty of times that he wanted to end his playing career at Stamford Bridge and, when it became clear that he and the club were poles apart as far as his Stamford Bridge future was concerned and his contract wasn’t renewed, he was broken hearted.

It was a great pity for Frank and the Chelsea supporters that both José Mourinho and the club allowed him to leave. Even though he left in 2014, I feel he still could have done a job for the team now although, in truth, if he was still with Chelsea, he would probably be a bit part player.

Nevertheless, his influence and experience would have been priceless and assets that current manager Antonio Conte would have used to their fullest extent. He was a role model for many of the young and up-and-coming players at Chelsea, his attitude and work ethic both on the pitch and at the training ground an example to all.

Although he’s often spoken about his desire to one day manage Chelsea, in a way, I hope he never realises that ambition. Although a part of me would like to see him become the ‘gaffer’, I’d always fear that any spell in charge would end in the ignominy of him being sacked. It’s a fear that I have expressed to him personally and something I have also said to two other of my Chelsea heroes in John Terry and Joe Cole.
However, in losing Lampard, the club let slip a player who was not only a credit to Chelsea Football Club, the England national team but also to football in general.

If it were down to me, I’d offer him a job for life at Chelsea, either as a coach or in an ambassadorial role, something he was made for and something in which he’d be simply fantastic. Anyway and to my mind, even leaving the football aside, Frank Lampard is simply just a fantastic human being.

Super Frank Lampard – Chelsea’s greatest!

Here is a link to Henry Winter’s piece in the Times with excerpts from DJ’s excellent tribute. A paywall applies.

Statement on the Planning Approval for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust is delighted to learn that Hammersmith & Fulham Council Planning Committee have approved the planning application for the redevelopment of Stamford Bridge.

The Club has been at the heart of the community for 112 years and we welcome both the decision made by Mr Abramovich to redevelop the football stadium rather than move to another part of London and the Council’s unanimous decision to approve these exciting and ambitious plans. Stamford Bridge and Chelsea FC can now remain part of the community for many years to come, playing football in one of the finest Stadiums in the country and one that reflects our rich history.

Mr Abramovich’s team should be congratulated for their sensitive handling of and full engagement with supporters and the wider community in putting the planning submission together.

As supporters we are mindful that there will be much change and perhaps some inconvenience during the rebuilding period with a temporary move to another stadium and then with the move back to the new stadium once the redevelopment has been completed.

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust will do our best to communicate the views and concerns of Chelsea supporters to the Club during the transition and are mandated by our membership to do so.

With regard to the move to a temporary stadium we will continue to seek dialogue with the club on matters such as ticket pricing to mitigate the additional expense and inconvenience of travelling to a temporary stadium; to encourage and increase the opportunity for younger supporters to gain access to reasonably priced tickets to games in the temporary stadium and to assist with plans to create the best possible atmosphere at matches through sensitive seating plans where like-minded supporters can congregate together.

During the redevelopment we will continue to talk to the appointed consultants, the club and other relevant stakeholders to help ensure supporter opinion is properly and openly taken into account with regard to issues such as facilities, ticket pricing, safe standing, seating plans and atmosphere as we look to move back to the redeveloped stadium.  

Whilst planning permission hopefully goes a long way to safeguarding the future of Stamford Bridge, the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust will continue to support the Chelsea Pitch Owners in their aims to keep Chelsea FC playing football in the stadium now and for generations to come.

The above statement can be downloaded as a PDF here

Fans Forum – 7 December 2016

The second Fans’ Forum meeting took place at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday 7 December 2016.

The main topics of discussion were ticketing and policing, where members of the Metropolitan Police, local and football unit, were invited to take part.

The minutes can be downloaded as a PDF here.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

The Chair and board of the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust would like to wish our members, affiliates, friends and all Chelsea supporters, wherever you may be, our best wishes and compliments of this festive season. However you choose to celebrate, we hope you enjoy every moment.

May your new year be healthy and  prosperous but, most of all, let it be BLUE!

cfc-xmas-tree-2016

Using Twitter to help supporters get home from away games

The Chelsea Supporters’ Trust is appreciative of the fact that Chelsea FC has for some time subsidised travel for those supporters based in the South East who attend away games. However we are also aware that many supporters still have significant journeys home when club transport arrives back in the south east, whether this be at the main train stations or for coaches at Stamford Bridge. This can lead to expensive journeys home for many supporters, particularly when returning from evening fixtures where access to public transport is limited.

CST would like to help to facilitate contact between supporters who would be interested in connecting with others in the same situation through social media. Therefore we suggest that supporters who wish to share cost of travel back, or offer / receive lifts, use the following Twitter hashtags to connect:

Those on the club train:  #cfctrain then add their preferred destination

Those travelling on club coaches:  #cfccoach then add coach number and preferred destination

For example someone on the club train looking to share transport towards Sutton after the Sunderland game could use Tweet #cfctrain Sutton. People travelling towards nearby locations can then connect via the Direct Message feature to arrange to meet up. Please note it is necessary for both people to follow each other on Twitter to be able to DM each other.

Hopefully use of these hashtags will help facilitate communication and will make supporters journeys home from the point club transport ends less costly and inconvenient.

 

This is a new idea, with thanks to CST board member Chris Rayburn. Tell us what you think, and how the initiative might be improved and developed.

West Ham EFL Cup Game – Follow Up Meeting

Following on from our EFL Cup game against West Ham at the London Stadium, Amanda Jacks, Caseworker at the Football Supporters Federation facilitated a meeting between parties involved with game management; stadium operators LS185, Met Police Football Unit and British Transport Police plus representatives from the Chelsea Supporters’ Trust and West Ham supporter organisations.

The meeting took place on 9 November 2016 and with the agreement of all present, the following notes have been drawn up by Amanda and address many of the issues and concerns raised by our supporters who attended the game.

We would like to thank Amanda for her involvement and work in getting all parties together, and we look forward to a safer and more enjoyable experience when we return for our Premier League game in March 2017 (assuming we aren’t drawn there in the FA Cup beforehand).

We would also like to thank the many Chelsea supporters who sent us  reports of their experiences at the London Stadium on 26 October 2016. Significantly, the reports were consistent in their accounts of the evening’s events and were used to form the basis of our complaints to the relevant authorities.

Amanda Jack’s notes:

“Following the recent West Ham Utd FC v Chelsea FC EFL Cup Game, I asked the Met Police if they would facilitate a meeting to discuss the fixture.  They agreed to this and together with the interim Chair of the newly reformed WHU Independent Supporter Association, two Board members of the Chelsea Supporters Trust, a representative of the WHU fansite Claret & Hugh and an individual WHU supporter invited by the clubs dedicated football officer, we all met on Wednesday, 9 November the earliest day after the game all parties were available.  Also in attendance were the Heads of Safety & Security and Commercial from LS185 the London Stadium operators, the clubs (very new) Supporter Services Manager and a Sergeant from BTPs Football Unit.

After introductions, I opened the meeting by stating the obvious; that all supporter representatives in no way condoned the behaviour of those whose actions were well publicised and that we were all there to raise genuine concerns raised by many of our members. The common themes in communications from both home and away supporters included policing and stewarding and whether or not it could have been more effective in reducing anti-social behaviour and possible criminality.  The concerns were balanced by a recognition that individuals must take responsibility for their own behaviour but equally the legitimate question was asked – could more effective policing and stewarding and overall match day operation reduced the likelihood of disorder and anti social behaviour.  A candid discussion by all parties followed.

Broadly speaking the Met Police were happy with their operation but acknowledged, as did LS185 that the stadium and the vast surrounding areas present unique challenges. The design of the London Stadium does not afford natural segregation meaning there is freedom of movement inside that is relatively unusual.  Unfortunately, while the vast majority of fans stayed in their designated seats a small number took advantage of the freedom and came together for no other reason than to take advantage of closer proximity to the away fans.

Supporters around the table said that they’d observed behaviour in the first half of the game (goading, gestures etc) and questioned why those responsible weren’t spoken to or even ejected at half time which is more or less common practice elsewhere.  Many of those who’d contacted their respective fans reps had said they’d also witnessed stewards not taking swift action to deal with ASB.  There was a admission from LS185 that in some instances the stewarding was not as proactive as it could have been and this is being addressed. Fans could expect to see more stewards in the future although it was suggested it wasn’t the number of stewards that mattered, it was their quality and competence that was important.  This wasn’t disagreed with by LS185 but the reality is there isn’t a limitless pool of stewards to recruit from. 

LS185 said it should also be taken into account that they have a duty of care towards stewards and they will not send stewards in to remove supporters whilst the game was ongoing to prevent them (stewards) becoming a target and consideration also needs to be given as to whether or not intervention could cause an escalation of behaviour.  

Externally, numerous supporters raised concerns as to the lack of sufficient signage a lighting.  While this was acknowledged as being an issue, the reality is given the land around the stadium straddles three different Boroughs and with many organisations (such as Thames Water) having lawful access and rights over the land, identifying one party responsible practically and financially for the provisions isn’t easy.   This is frustrating to say the least and I committed to write to the Mayor of London to ask him if he can assist in cutting through “red tape” and work towards ensuring facilities that assist towards health, safety and security are provided. 

One specific issue raised by the Chelsea Supporters Trust was to ask about a number of their supporters who had been escorted from Highbury & Islington to Hackney Wick station and thereafter the stadium by the police.  Some had been issued with dispersal notices whereas others had been allowed access into the stadium but not in time for the first half of the game. 

The Met went into some detail about this aspect of their operation and explained that the group were all known to them, that they were ‘risk’ supporters and the intention was to ensure they did not cause disorder before, during or after the game.  CST explained that while this may well have been the case, within the group were fans caught up in this operation who had no intentions of doing anything other than supporting their team and were targeted unfairly.

With regard to the holdbacks that fans from both sides were subjected to pre and post match, these were imposed by the police as part of the ‘risk’ group/fan management and it was acknowledged by the police that their communication (with loudhailers, perhaps) to those innocent fans caught up could have been better and that they resolved to improve this for future such incidents, where appropriate.

The Met acknowledged that sometimes innocent fans may well be inadvertently caught up in such escorts and were sorry if that was the case on this occasion.  However, they explained that the officers managing the escort are able to exercise discretion and will always make a case by case decision if fans ask them if they can make their own way free from an escort.  Equally, the police will proactively pick fans out of the escort if they’re not known to them – for example pensioners or those with young children with them – and let them leave of their own accord.

The meeting drew to a close after a discussion lasting over two hours.  All questions and points raised by supporter representatives were addressed with total transparency and there was no shying away from difficult subjects.    Ultimately, the stadium operators have to work with the stadium as it stands and likewise the police have a vast area to manage externally.   Each game presents different challenges and while there may have been healthy debate on some aspects and some questions raised more issues than answers, we were all broadly reassured that while solutions may not be immediately found, both LS185 and the Met are in no doubt as to fans legitimate concerns and are working hard to address those, so as far as is reasonably possible the ‘match day experience’ for all is a positive and safe one.”

 

Next Fans’ Forum meeting on 7 December 2016

The next Fans’ Forum meeting to be held with Chelsea FC is set to take place on Wednesday 7 December 2016.

The main topic of discussion is scheduled to be about ticketing. However, we are also due to be joined at the meeting  by senior representatives from Hammersmith &Fulham Police and the  Central Football Unit. 

If you have any questions or comments for the police or on ticketing please submit them to us by Friday 25th November to ensure that your issue can be raised. (For your information, the police can’t discuss the West Ham away match in detail.)

Please send your questions and issues to us at enquiries@chelseasupporterstrust.com or direct to our Fans’ Forum rep Debs Coady at debscoady@chelseasupporterstrust.com