The QPR Pledge – Andy Slaughter signs

Election candidates are starting to sign the pledge to support QPR staying in west London. Andy Slaughter, standing in Hammersmith and Fulham, and the area’s MP in the last parliament, signed up yesterday and confirmed this to us .

Frustratingly, details of the QPR board’s proposal to move to Old Oak, and issues such as the ownership of the stadium, remain under wraps.  QPR1st would like to see more information and also more involvement by supporters and the community in the proposals.

 QPR1st believes it is good to see support from local politicians for the principle of QPR remaining in west London.  After the election we expect to meet the incoming local MP to discuss the stadium plans.

 The club is encouraging supporters to contact candidates in west London to ask them to sign the pledge and has devised an on-line system to help supporters to do it.  Here is a link to further information bit.ly/1ErdsnE

Posted in Community, QPR1st

Story of QPR reaches Kilburn and Brentford

 More screenings of the new film about QPR and its supporters have been scheduled for Kilburn and Brentford.

 More information on the film, partly funded by QPR1st, is here www.storyofQPR.co.uk               

Tricycle Cinema, Kilburn – Book Tickets from the Tricycle website

Date: Tuesday 5th May 2015

Time: 7.30pm

Price: £8.50

Box office: 020 7328 1000

Venue info: 269 Kilburn High Road, London NW6 7JR, 020 7372 6611

 

Watermans, Brentford – Book Tickets from Watermans website

Date: Thursday 7th May 2015

Time: 7.30pm

Price: £9 (£8 Concession) 

Box Office: 020 8232 1010

Venue info: Watermans, 40 High Street Brentford TW8 0DS, 020 8232 1019

 Both screenings will include a short introduction followed by a Q&A with the film makers. Please arrive early to start promptly at 7.30pm. The film is 63 minutes long.

Posted in Community, QPR1st

Football – What the political parties say

With most General Election party manifestos now published, we can see what the parties say about football in England.
QPR1st supporters’ trust welcomes Labour’s manifesto commitment to increase the influence of supporters.

Labour’s manifesto says:
“Football clubs are an important part of many people’s identity and sense of belonging. They are more than just businesses. But despite their importance in the lives of their members and supporters, too often there are no effective means for fans to have a say in how their clubs are run.

“Labour will provide the means for supporters to be a genuine part of their clubs. We will introduce legislation to enable accredited supporters trusts to appoint and remove at least two of the directors of a football club and to purchase shares when the club changes hands. We will also review the role of fan participation in other sports.

“We will ensure the Premier League delivers on its promise to invest five per cent of its domestic and international television rights income into funding the grassroots.”

The Conservative Party manifesto mentions football with a commitment to improve community sports facilities including building artificial football pitches in 30 English cities.

The Conservatives, Labour and the Greens want to see more sport in schools.

The Liberal Democrat and UKIP manifestos are silent on the issue.

Posted in Community

Family Stand Survey

The club are running a Survey to provide feedback regarding the Family stand. The survey is set to run until 17th February. Everyone with an interest in the Family stand is encouraged to take part even if you don’t currently use this section of the ground

QPR news item regarding the Survey

Survey
https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/familystandsurvey

Posted in All News, Community

Matchday Operations Meeting Minutes

The club responds to matchday safety issues

A meeting took place recently between representatives of supporter groups and the club to talk about matchday safety issues.

We asked people for questions before the meeting and these, along with other questions, were put to the club.

The club and police representatives treated all the questions and comments seriously and seemed to be aware of many of the issues raised and to be doing their best to bring improvements.  It was a very useful meeting.

 These are the minutes of the meeting.

 Minutes of the Fan Group Meeting – Operations

 Attendees

  • Jenny Winstanley – Operations Manage
  • Jim McNeil – Saftey Officer
  • Jason Taff-Evans – Football Intelligence Officer
  • Andy Rees – Customer Services Manager / Supporter Liaison Officer
  • Jordan Hayes – Fan Engagement Assistant
  • Jeremy Gardner – QPR1st
  • Paul Moore – DSA
  • John Reid – LSA
  • Steve Sayce – IndyRs

 Stewarding

Someone was ejected from the Ellerslie at the Arsenal game and had his membership card taken from him.  I think he may have had a meeting with the club so may well have been “read his rights” but that has raised questions among other supporters. Do stewards have the right to take property from supporters?

JM – A fan was ejected from X Block at the Arsenal game for winding up Arsenal fans. He was thrown out at half-time and then his son tried to intervene. Both were thrown out and given a 3 game ban. After a meeting with his son, the 3 match ban was lifted. This is a fine example of the club having to react if others react, and in X block there is always a reaction. Stewards are not in house, they are agency staff and work at other London venues, finding consistency is key. Previously the club did employ their own stewards who weren’t up to scratch.

 JW – Stewards are able to confiscate anything that contravenes Ground Regulations, for example alcohol. Tickets also remain the property of the club.

 Jason – The police have made fewer arrests at QPR this season than any other London club. In fact, the level of arrests is on par with most League 1 & League 2 teams. There have also been the least number of ejections than any other London club, and the most refusals at the turnstiles. Police have only been in the ground twice all season, at the Man Utd game and at the Crystal Palace game due to intelligence. Police will also be at the QPR v Chelsea match in April. There have also been less pyrotechnics thany any other London club with just two all season.

 Getting out of Loftus Road. Why aren’t stewards controlling the crowds as they leave at the end of the game? I have to wait to avoid the crush!

 Can I ask why it’s only the corner of X block that stewards come out along Ellerslie and the school end for a corner etc. I think I understand why they do but why not the whole ground? I’ve heard complaints that when asked to move (when a corner is taken) so a fan can see the game; the stewards literally stand their ground.

 JM – I stopped getting letters from the FA since the stewards running out from R block as linesman no longer get abused when the ball goes out for a throw in.

 JW – Stewards will be debriefed to listen to the fans more and sit down if in the way. Each steward has a number on them, so please inform us via the text number if this issue continues. The exit situation is controlled in an emergency, but not when it’s not an emergency. This will be looked at.

 JW – Any incidents fans can report to the text number which is displayed on the big screen and will be pushed out more publically. (07557435421).

 Away supporters in home areas

 The perception is that this is growing, is causing increasing agro, and increasing risk to safety.

 How did an Arsenal fan get into X block? The reason I know is he had an Arsenal top on! Some believe this is made easier through Viagogo.  Can a different system be used in future seasons?

 What is the current status with Viagogo? How long does the current relationship / agreement have to run? It doesn’t feel that the policing of away fans in home areas is being managed very well for big games. How does the club propose to address this given the arrangement with Viagogo?

 JW – Viagogo gives the club the ability to track the fans who have purchased tickets through them and then remove them from the ground should they be sitting in the wrong end. The issue is quite often overseas away fans, and therefore the club makes the best attempt possible to relocate these fans into the away end. Social media is monitored a lot on a matchday. The issue is also made worse by members who sit in the home end buying tickets for their mates. If these members are consistently doing it they will get banned. 20 were ejected at the Arsenal match.

 AR – Viagogo’s contract is up for renewal at the end of this season. The club is currently reviewing this commercial area.

 Away supporters’ area

Does this have to be where it is – why not at the School end of the Ellerslie?

 JW – The current position of the away end in the Upper School is ideal and you can’t get from one stand to another, therefore the Upper School has separate entrance and exits from the Lower School where QPR fans are situated. The club used to give both the Upper and the Lower (3000 tickets) but now gives just 1800 to away fans. Happy to have a separate meeting around terracing / safe standing in football if fans so wish.

 Loftus Road issues

What are the rules about going to the Blue and White bar after the game from other parts of the ground.

 JW –  The club will have conversations about the rules regarding the Blue & White Bar. If there are any issues please ask to speak to a supervisor and this will go through to the control room.

 We would like to bring to your attention how frustrating it is to get to our seats in the upper loft on match days. Last Saturday although in the queue at our gate by 2.50pm we didn’t get to our seats until 3.05pm. Unfortunately, this quite often happens and we would like to know WHY we can’t gain entrance though the Loftus Road turnstiles

In regards to the entrance/exits of the Upper Loft the club acknowledges how difficult this is, and the IN entrance is calculated through P&S factors systems. Each ticket is set for certain zones, and the system doesn’t allow fans to enter through the wrong turnstile.

 Exit from the Upper Loft at the end of a game is often queued and crowded. What provisions have been put in place in the event of an emergency?

JM – Looking into the possibility of doing a test evacuation in the Upper Loft. May leave flyers on seats for those it will affect. There is a camera which is monitored in the control room to ensure of no overcrowding. The club may conduct undercover operations in there to make sure stewards are directing fans better.

 Touting

 This is not a stadium thing, of course, but the number at White City is growing.  At the Spurs game they standing between the pillars at the station entrance, effectively reducing the crowd coming through to single files. That can’t be right!

Is the club of aware of the blatant ticket touting, sometimes very close to the box office, on big matchdays?

 Jason – To catch a ticket tout you have to catch the tout, the ticket, the cash and the buyer, and these are often spread out in different locations. You roughly have around a 5% chance of catching the tout, and therefore the operation to catch them would cost the club a lot of money. Most touts aren’t just QPR based, they will be at various grounds around London. Going forward, Transport police will try to disrupt them a lot more, and move them on if they don’t catch them. Jason assures there will be a presence of police for the Everton game on Sunday.

JW – Fans can report any incidents to the text number (07557435421). The club have enforced what is our property more, however touts often stand just off of camera.

 Other

 Drug taking at away games

 JM – The club can take action and stop them from getting tickets. Can also ban them from home games if this happens.

 Jason – My spotters will look at this and ban those who do.

Posted in Boardroom, Community, QPR1st

R’s Story further screenings

Please find details of further screening tour dates for the film R’Story:

 

Gate Cinema W11              Mon 30th                       7pm
Crown & Sceptre W12      Sun 12th APR                11am             Donation of £3 at door
Springbok W12                   Sun 12th APR                4 & 5.30pm   £3 – buy tickets at pub

Posted in Community

GLA says clubs building new stadiums should pay the living wage

Clubs planning to build new stadiums as part of regeneration projects should pay the London Living Wage to all stadium employees, according to a charter set to be agreed by the Greater London Authority tomorrow (Wednesday).

This comes three months after QPR1st and others called on the club to commit itself to paying the Living Wage to staff and contractors. The club rejected the call.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who takes over control of planning for the Old Oak regeneration next week, is a big supporter of the London Living Wage, and made the announcement of its increase to £9.15 an hour in November.

He said: “It is extremely encouraging to see companies both large and small recognising the benefits of fair remuneration. The London Living Wage rewards hard working Londoners for their valuable contribution to the productivity and growth of this city’s economy.

“It is a win-win scenario for the workforce and employers alike.”

But not at QPR, apparently. At a time when the club should be trying to win friends and influence people, it seems strange to be so obdurate on this issue, which has cross-party support.

The charter is part of a report prepared by Conservative and Labour members of the GLA’s Regeneration Committee.

It looks at the positive record of stadium-led developments in London and makes a number of recommendations.

The charter says football clubs and relevant local authorities seeking to develop a stadium- led regeneration scheme should commit to measures including:

  • a skills and employment strategy to prepare and upskill local communities in order that they can access the new jobs.
  • paying the London Living Wage to all stadium employees.
  • supporting the Mayor’s housing targets including having both family and social rented affordable housing.
  • consulting with a diverse range of local community and stakeholder groups to identify effective uses of the stadium scheme as a community asset.

The report, to be discussed by the GLA regeneration committee tomorrow is here:

https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/Regeneration%20Committee%20report%20-%20The%20Regeneration%20Game_0.pdf

Posted in All News, Boardroom, QPR1st

Is that a new stadium way out in the distance?

Any QPR supporter who looks at the Mayor of London’s current consultation on the Old Oak regeneration would be forgiven for thinking that not much progress has been made towards a new QPR stadium.

In December 2013 the club announced the new stadium proposal and that there was a letter of collaboration with the Greater London Authority on the project.

In 2013 the GLA issued a consultation document that included a map on which a stadium was clearly marked.

In 2015 the GLA have published a more detailed map and… there’s no stadium!  And no mention of New Queens Park either (the club’s name for the development).

Nothing is set in stone, but the planners have been busy and the documentation is very thorough in setting out what they want to see at Old Oak. This runs from how the electricity supply would get into the area, where roads and bridges might be, how many schools, and GP practices there need to be, down to how wide the streets should be, and the open spaces needed. The document they are consulting on is the guide to prospective developers on what the planners will want to see in proposals for the area – the planning framework. They brought their plans to three meetings in west London on 10, 11 and 14 March.

Within Old Oak there are two areas – one which will be developed before 2026, and one which will be after 2026.  The club claims it “has control” of 100 acres at Old Oak. It is not clear what that means, and it is not referred to in the GLA documents. What it makes clear is something we already know – that most of the pre-2026 development area is owned by Car Giant.

The documentation does refer briefly, in an appendix, to QPR having consulted on its proposal and that Car Giant is progressing proposals to develop its land. Both are expected to make planning applications next month.  We know Car Giant has spent a great deal of money bringing in big-hitters in the regeneration world to draw up their proposals.

The unique selling point for the QPR proposals is, of course, the stadium.  While no stadium appears in this year’s maps, the benefit of having something like this in the mix to give the regeneration a kick start is recognised.  Tucked away on page 120 of the planning framework document is the statement that the pre-2026 area “has the potential for early delivery of new homes, infrastructure and large-scale uses such as a new educational facility, football stadium, sports complex, health, arts leisure or cultural centre, which could act as a catalyst for the regeneration of the area”.

The Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, chaired by Boris Johnson, will be taking over planning control for the new development in April.

So what will Boris do?  Will he hand the whole massive scheme over to the football club that, by any sensible measure, is broke (but is owned by rich guys) or let the very profitable company that owns the land take the lead?

A Development Corporation officer at one of the meetings implied there might not be a knock-out blow.  Instead the corporation may encourage developers to work together.

Perhaps this is a reason why QPR chairman Tony Fernandes has been raising the issue of talking to Car Giant recently.  (Talking more a year ago might have made sense too.)

So, a new stadium at Old Oak is still possible, but it may need compromise from those QPR directors who would financially benefit from the wider New Queens Park regeneration.

And it looks like we will be in our home at Loftus Road for quite some years yet.

More information on the draft Opportunity Area Planning Framework is available on the Greater London Authority website at https://www.london.gov.uk/oldoakandparkroyal

Jeremy Gardner
QPR1st Trust Board

 

Posted in All News, Boardroom, QPR1st

Details of #ShareTVWealth demonstration announced

The Football Supporters’ Federation  #ShareTVWealth demonstration will be taking place at the Premier League shareholders meeting on 26th March.

 The FSF has now received confirmation of the venue – the Le Meridien Piccadilly hotel.

The demonstration will begin at midday. Supporters will congregate outside the main entrance to the hotel, and will be handing over demands calling for more affordable tickets and better distribution of football’s wealth throughout the football pyramid and grassroots. These will be presented to Premier League representatives at around 1pm. 

The shareholders attending the meeting are the representatives of each Premier League club. It is, in effect lobbying the clubs to use some of the newly-signed £5.14bn TV deal to reduce ticket prices.  A number of clubs have already announced a price freeze for next year’s season tickets. The increase alone over the last domestic TV deal equates to around £46 for every fan, at every PL game.

 The nearest tube for Le Meridien Piccadilly is Piccadilly Circus (Bakerloo and Piccadilly lines), while the nearest wheelchair accessible tube station is Westminster (District/Circle and Jubilee lines) around 1 mile away. 

 Full details can be found on the FSF website here.

Posted in Community, QPR1st

Vital questions

QPR’s latest financial statements raise a number of questions.  QPR1st Supporters’ Trust hopes the club will clarify these issues so that supporters can have an accurate picture of what it happening at the club they follow.

The financial statements show the club’s net debt grew to £179.6m for the year ending May last year,  £2.5m more than the previous year.

It shows shareholders wrote off £60m of debts owed to them, which reduced the debt for the year. But, without that, QPR as a business had an operating loss of £69 million, £4m worse than the previous year.

  • Is there a genuine plan to bring spending in line with income, or 
  • Will shareholders continue to write off their debts in the coming years?

The statement shows QPR Holdings Limited spent more than £4m on behalf of Rangers Developments Ltd. This was created in June 2013, with three shareholders; two of whom, including Tony Fernandes, are QPR directors. 

  • What is the role of Rangers Development Ltd? 
  • Will the new stadium will be owned by QPR Holdings – ie the club – or by Rangers Development Ltd?
  • How will the proposed New Queens Park, including the stadium be financed?
  • Will the owners agree to supporters being represented on the management board of the new stadium – to support the maintenance of the stadium’s central role as the home of QPR football club

 The next 12 months will be a momentous year for QPR both on the pitch but also off it as decisions are made over the Old Oak regeneration.  It is vital that supporters and the owners understand each other and work together for the success of the club.

 We will be contacting the club and asking them these questions.

Posted in Boardroom, Community, QPR1st

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