QPR1st met with the club’s senior management on Monday along with other supporter groups including The LSA, IndyRs and QPR DSA.
The Trust felt the meeting was a positive start and look forward to regularly meeting with the club in the future. The club should be applauded for quickly responding to feedback at the recent fans forum and implementing a plan of action that they’ve promptly followed through with.
The Trust are also pleased that the club have set up a new Customer Services Assistant position that has been filled by Andy Rees to help with communication flow and all customer related enquiries. We would like to welcome Andy to the club and wish him well in the role.
The shared minutes from the meeting can be found below:
Supporters Group Meeting
Date: Monday 18th March 2013
Venue: Loftus Road Stadium
From the club: Philip Beard, Mark Donnelly & Andy Rees
From the supporter groups: Neil Dejyothin (QPR1st – www.qpr1st.com), John Reid & Joe Hylton (QPR LSA – www.qprlsa.co.uk), Paul Finney & Jonathan McKee (IndyR’s – www.indyrs.co.uk) & Paul Moore (QPR DSA – www.facebook.com/pages/QPR-disabled-fans-association/106265682815499?fref=ts).
Dave Thomas (AKUTRs – www.akutrs.co.uk)
- The club stressed the importance it placed on regular and constructive dialogue with supporters
- QPR1st, The LSA and IndyR’s thanked the club for providing the forum for fans’ views to be heard and to understand some of the reasoning behind key issues.
- QPR1st explained that the majority of QPR fans were passionate but supportive of the club and wanted their views to be listened to.
- IndyRs stressed the importance of the Club within the community and it was important the club continued to appreciate that.
- The Club reiterated that the short term goal was Premier League survival.
The Official Supporters Club (The OSC)
- The LSA expressed their concern around the OSC and the resignation of their committee.
- The Club reiterated that they had offered to meet the OSC to discuss any concerns or issues but the OSC had declined.
- The Club reiterated that the OSC was the fans’ group and therefore asked all the fan groups present their views on what they wanted from an Official Supporters Club.
- It was agreed that The LSA members present would meet with the OSC and try to find an acceptable resolution.
- There followed a discussion on how the OSC should communicate with the Club and how this should be communicated back to the wider supporter base.
Dedicated Customer Services Officer – Andy Rees
- Andy Rees is the new Customer Services Officer at the club and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
- Andy will act as a central hub for all lines of enquiries from supporters and supporters groups.
- The Club agreed that it was important for all queries and issues to be responded to and communicated back to those raising them.
- Andy offered to meet with supporter group representatives regularly to discuss any topics of interest or concern.
The Training Ground
- The Club updated on the plans for a new training ground at Warren Farm.
- Plans have been submitted for Planning Consent and the Club will provide an update as appropriate.
- QPR1st, The LSA and IndyR’s agreed with the importance of a new training ground for the long term success and sustainability of the Club.
- The Club confirmed that the new training ground was a clear priority and potential relegation was not expected to impact on the development or timing.
- The Club provided some design images of the plans (which are available on Ealing’s planning website).
- The DSA asked about the disabled access and facilities at the new training ground and the Club confirmed they would be DDA compliant.
- QPR1st asked if a Women’s Super League team could be based there and the Club confirmed the plans could be adapted to meet requirements if the need arose.
- The Club confirmed that all aspects of the Club, particularly all the football departments, were feeding into the requirements for the training ground and also project representatives had visited other prominent training facilities.
The New Stadium
- The Club stressed that any discussions around a new stadium were very sensitive and confidential.
- The Club confirmed they have looked at a large number of sites within the local area and are working on their preferred option.
- QPR1st asked what consideration and investigations had been made to improving and upgrading Loftus Road with the Club responding that a full feasibility study of options for Loftus Road had confirmed that there were no opportunities to expand or redevelop Loftus Road. All the Supporter Groups recognised that despite the affection for Loftus Road that there was a need to move to a new Stadium for the Club to progress.
- The Club confirmed that at the appropriate time Supporters would be consulted regarding plans for a new Stadium to ensure that the essence of Loftus Road was captured and preserved.
- The Club stressed that this was a long term project and there was no quick or easy solution.
- The LSA raised the £20 price cap for away tickets campaign by the Football Supporters Federation and whether the club would commit to doing it. The Club explained that it was the home team who set prices for away teams and the only requirement was that away tickets had to be priced comparatively as home tickets therefore The Club had no say over prices charged to QPR away fans.
- A discussion followed about Membership fees and booking fees and The Club explained the commercial requirements, the cost of administration and the fact that all charges and fees were benchmarked regularly against other clubs.
- The LSA feel that supporters are being priced out of the game and that there are many die hard Queens Park Rangers supporters who can no longer afford to attend. QPR1st also cited knowing of many supporters who can no longer afford to come to Loftus Road.
- QPR1st asked about the ticket prices for next year and the Club confirmed that they would be communicated in due course. QPR1st asked whether the club could consider an Early Bird discount scheme and whether there would be any incentive schemes in the event of relegation.
- The supporters’ representatives expressed the importance of keeping the supporters on side in the event of relegation and the ground filled to capacity and requested the Club consider lowering ticket pricing if they were in the Championship.
Lower Loft Family Stand
- The issue of moving non family season ticket members out of the Lower Loft was discussed again.
- The Club reiterated the process and the difficulties but were prepared to discuss ideas on how to solve this problem and that if representatives came up with proposals they would be reviewed and considered. However it was clear from the discussion around the table that the solutions were not easy as any alternative would impact on other supporters in other areas of the Ground. The number of supporters affected and moved out of the Lower Loft was around 280 of which only 40 did not renew their season tickets.
- The Club confirmed that the free upgrade for those season ticket holders who had to move to gold tickets would not apply for next season.
- The issue of ticket touting was raised and is an on-going concern for supporters. IndyR’s, The LSA and QPR1st expressed concern about the use of Viagogo and the potential issue of opposition supporters buying tickets for QPR fans. The club explained that Viagogo was essentially a service to season ticket holders who were unable to attend particular games and offered them a secure market place to sell their tickets.
- The Club committed to investigating any instances of tickets being touted that could be traced back to the club or season ticket holders.
- The Club also confirmed that the presence of away supporters in home sections should be stewarded and offenders removed from the ground. The club would pursue this with the stewarding companies.
- IndyR’s said the club need to do more to tackle this issue
Club Finances and Expenditure
- IndyR’s asked about the fees paid to agents and the Club explained that the high total was due to the activity and number of transfers that had occurred over the last 18 months.
- QPR1st asked for the restoration of the annual general meeting (AGM) or a platform to discuss the Club’s financial information to ensure supporters understood the strategy rather than reading views from the media.
Branding & Advertising
- IndyR’s gave several examples of clubs who have posters or signs around different areas of the city – including in our areas – advertising and promoting their football clubs. The Club explained that there was little commercial value in paid for advertising given our capacity and ticket sales
- IndyR’s asked whether the club could do more to promote itself and its players in and around the stadium via banners.
- The Club confirmed that the players were committed to community activity and would all be making appearances before the end of the season and some good progress had been made since the fans forum. The Club would work to ensure that they would publicise more of the good work being done.
- The LSA stated they felt it important that player’s turn up for the LSA children’s Christmas Party.
Treatment of ex-players
- IndyR’s raised that there was a lack of appreciation shown towards former players and that the club should do more to recognise their achievements.
- There were suggestions made about bringing back the teams at special occasions, such as anniversaries for the likes of the 1967 and 1982 teams.
- The Club replied that they receive a lot of applications for the high profile matches and it was not possible to fulfil all requests. Consideration would be given to marking particular anniversaries and to use players as ambassadors on certain match days.
- The DSA asked about the requirement of showing your proof of disability every season and the Club responded that it was following DWP guidelines and practice. Consideration would be given for individual cases if there were special circumstances.
- The club agreed to schedule a follow up meeting.
- Ian Taylor (Head of Media & Comms) will follow up with Paul Finney of IndyR’s regarding Philip Beard potentially appearing on the Open All Rs Podcast.
- The LSA raised the question of why there is a protective cage / fencing between the Q Block in the Upper Loft and the R Block in Ellerslie Road and the fact that the views from that area of the stadium are already quite poor and hindered further by this cage / fence – the Club agreed to look into this.