Chansiri promises improvements at Forum

Chansiri promises improvements at Forum

For years it has been part of the match-day experience at Hillsborough – the dreaded calculator.

Anyone who’s been for a pre-match pie or a half time pint will have suffered at the hands of the thumping of the chunky buttons.

But now, the end is nigh.

It was revealed at Monday’s steering group meeting that a new EPoS system has been installed in all kiosks.

Basically this is where the prices are pre-programmed in, so the employee only needs to press the “Guinness” button to register a sale of Guinness.

Surely even our staff can manage this? Time will tell.

We’re told to expect a few teething issues on Saturday as it gets its maiden outing.

The state of catering facilities was one of the main subjects covered at the meeting, featuring a panel of the Chairman Dejphon Chansiri, along with Chief Operating Officer Joe Palmer, Director of Comms Trevor Braithwait and Ticket Office Manager Alastair Wilson.

I guess most people won’t have been to one of these meetings – indeed it was my first – so here’s quick outline of how it works:

It’s actually a simple system and a relatively smooth process. There were about 30 people, representing various fan groups, with the panel on the top table. Each person asks a question, with a chance to ask additional at the end. No subject is off-limits, and indeed there are no questions they refuse to answer.

 

Off-field improvements on the way

 

Now, on to some more of the interesting stuff to come out of the meeting.

 

All things catering

On catering, we’ll see new food options coming soon, and more “local” ale.

There are other improvements being considered. For example (although no promise this will happen) screens showing live information about what food options are available at that kiosk.

When they run out of Chicken Balti pies, the screen will show this. This is just an example of the ideas they’re looking at.

They never actually run out of Chicken Balti pies, of course, due to them being flipping disgusting.

Crusted curried goodness

Crusted curried goodness

They’re looking into contactless payments, and the ability to pre-order for half time. Some kiosks may stay open through the second half and after full time. Expect improvements from January, we’re told.

Mobile venders (think interval at the cinema in the old days) are something they’re looking to introduce so you can buy a bottle of pop without queuing with all the beer monsters.

The rules about flasks will soon be relaxed – good news for tea and Bovril fans alike!

 

All things finance

 

There was a very generic answer from the chairman regarding a new contract for Forestieri. He’s not giving anything away on this one.

Staying (fingers crossed)

Staying (fingers crossed)

The Chansiri seating on the North Stand is indeed a sponsorship deal to enable him to put money into the club.

We still have an advisory recruitment panel, as we have had since Chansiri took over.

Recruitment isn’t just down to Carlos, although he is on this panel. Chansiri quick to point out previous recruitment wasn’t all down to Glenn Roeder. Most people in the room struggle to remember who the hell Glenn Roeder is.

We sold over 20,000 season tickets. A very small number (about 25) didn’t get them in time for the Villa game. Lessons have been learned and it won’t happen again.

Just under thirty fans flew to Cardiff. They might do something similar again.

A new retail manager has been appointed. They’ve been in the job for a couple of weeks now. The range in the shop will improve. However, the club enjoyed record shirt sales this season, despite the stripe or no stripe and pricing controversies. Sales were up by around a third.

Beach towels have sold out. Yep, in November. There will be more in stock by the Barnsley game. Big news.

There won’t be any more shirt stock orders. It takes 24 weeks from order to delivery. Once the current stock is gone, that’s it.

The club is looking at several options for kit manufacturer for next season, including making our own (a-la-Southampton a couple of years ago).

There will be a special third kit to mark the 150th anniversary next season. Fans will be invited to send in their designs.

They are “talking” about a retail unit in the city centre and maybe a kiosk in Meadowhall. Again, neither imminent

 

All things match-day and tickets

Leppings Lane lower will be offered to home fans for games where we look like selling out, if they are allowed to by the SAG.

Around 900 seats are being lost in the North with the current safety improvements.

There are some big plans to mark the anniversary including some sort of special pre-season game. No clues given. Someone asks if it’s Real Madrid. Poker faces all round.

Some of the TVs on the Kop have been moved for safety reasons (people gathering to watch them etc).

Half season tickets will be announced soon. They’ll start from the Wolves game. That’s Wolves at home, not Wolves away (holla to Wednesday Week listeners).

Some “drawings” of Leppings Lane refurbishment have been done but Chansiri isn’t happy with them. Still planning some work here though. Farewell faded Presto roofing maybe?

The 10 game ticket bundle is still being explored but proving difficult to achieve with the current ticketing company’s systems.

We will take Sheffield Wednesday stewards to away games where possible, like Wolves away at the weekend (that’s two mentions), but it’s the host club who are responsible for stewarding ultimately.

The new fancy badge on the South Stand will be lit up with some floodlights. The less fancy badge on the Kop is ‘temporary’ says the chairman. He refers to it as ‘the sticker’.

No radical changes here - yet

No radical changes here – yet

Wifi around the stadium not imminent. Some systems have been tested. I got the impression that this this is a non-starter.

The club will investigate a singing area; likely to ask fans for feedback early next year and set up a test area next season if there is demand.

We were the only club so far to take up Derby on the multi-buy discount for tickets, all the others found it too complicated. Nice bit of a saving for away fans this, good work from Alastair.

No update on stadium sponsorship. This leads to a discussion about corporate pricing which lasts for 45 minutes. It was my question, unfortunately.

I stop writing at this point as my hand hurts but suffice to say Chansiri feels very passionately about the pricing for hospitality being correct considering the on-pitch improvements.

They’re looking to extend links with the universities. Students are offered discounted tickets through their uni. We sell more to uni students than United do, apparently.

The main website is getting an upgrade soon. Apparently it’s very good. Likely that improvements to the retail site will follow, which is good news as everyone agrees it’s pretty naff.

It’s “too early” to talk about a site for a new stadium, says Chansiri.

And the chairman also tells us he’s spending more time here than he is at home with his family this season.

 

 

As ever, Chansiri comes across as passionate, committed, and determined. He wants promotion, make no mistake.

This was my first experience of Joe Palmer. I like the cut of this guy’s jib. He speaks well and with a reassuring confidence. He seems to know his stuff and appears open and – well – professional.

Overall it was an enjoyable and interesting experience. There was probably nothing earth shattering to come from the meeting, but signs of progress across much of the business.

OWLS ALIVE circliar yeller SPACE

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James
Owls Alive
E-MAIL: admin@owlsalive.com
TWITTER: @OwlsAlive and @jamesmarriot

Images: SWFC


2 Comments

  1. i like the sound of what I have read ,improvment for footy fans has been lacking for years.My first experiance smelling cigars at a wolves home match in the late 1940s.A possible new ground at some time in the future would be great,I hope I live to see it.

  2. Please Mr Chansiri, I haven been a season ticket holder for many years since it became seated all a long time ago I’ve sat in the same seat on the cop could you please do something to protect the fans on the sides of the Cop from the elements every time it rains and blows a gale we get soaked so please Mr Chansiri help us out

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