Prior to Brentford's Sky Bet Championship match against Middlesbrough last month, senior Club officials held another meeting with a fans consultation group as part of the process to plan for the final games at Griffin Park and the move to the Brentford Community Stadium. Last year the Club pledged to put together a consultation group to discuss the stadium move. This group will meet regularly to ensure fan opinions are considered when the Club makes the switch to the new ground.
The minutes from the meeting can be seen below:
Final season at Griffin Park/Looking ahead to the new stadium
Fan Consultation Group Meeting 5 – key discussion points
Saturday 17th March 2018
Mark Devlin (MD) Cliff Crown (CC)
Kurt Pittman (KP) David Hayes (DH)
Sally Stephens (SS) Ryan Murrant (RM)
Alan Walsh Chris Wickham
Jon Bishop (JB) Nick Bruzon
Ron Cooper (RC) Steven Cowan
Mark Czerwonka Sean Cudmore
David Frewer Darrell Goddard
Trevor Inns Dave Lane
John Love Ollie Love
Phil Marchant Richard Merritt
Lisa O’Brien Bob Owen
Mark Ristic Gemma Teale
Bob Winstanley Rose Winstanley
Graham Ball Billy Grant
Paul Mackley Greville Waterman
Minutes of last meeting and action points/update
SS welcomed new members to the group.
SS reviewed the action points from the last meeting.
RC provided a brief update on his trip to West Bromwich Albion to see how they’ve displayed memorabilia from the Club. His notes will be circulated to the group. Key ideas included: having a separate pot of money to pay for memorabilia; asking fans to loan memorabilia so we can refresh cabinets regularly; cabinets on wheels; recording video memories from older fans. It was also noted that we should recognise the role played by ABeeC, BIAS and STAG in some way at the new stadium.
SS confirmed that we are not able to review the 3D model of the stadium as planned at this meeting due to some technical difficulties and ongoing updates.
KP thanked everyone that has provided feedback to date on both the Farewell to Griffin Park survey and the draft Expression of Interest survey and encouraged any further comments.
New stadium update
DH provided an update on the legal, planning and construction elements of the project. The six week statutory judicial review period for the planning amendments has now passed. We have also received approval for the revised S106 agreement for the Griffin Park site as well as approval from London Borough of Hounslow to extend the timeline before we need to start work at Griffin Park. Site clearance and soil remediation work on the main site has been continuing as planned.
Plans for the stadium ground-breaking are progressing well. SS confirmed that those attending are encouraged to wear Brentford colours! We will have an event more focused on fans in the summer to which we can invite a wider audience group, including ex-players.
SS noted that RIBA Stage 4 design work on the stadium is continuing, including work to outline the look and feel of concourses and lounges.
Ticketing system changeover
KP clarified some of the reasons behind the data cleansing process we are currently undertaking as there have been some queries on this. Primarily, this is an important first step in the Club aligning with the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, it also assists the Club in providing a more personalised experience with emails and offers and in getting a better understanding of fans’ relationship with the Club and how to enhance this. Importantly, KP confirmed that fans can still buy tickets on behalf of other supporters (through the ‘friends and family’ functionality) and that Ticket Access Points will still be allocated in a fair way to the right fans. KP will investigate and report back on whether fans will need to reset their ‘friends and family’ arrangements for the new system. Note following the meeting: KP confirmed that existing ‘friends and family’ settings will be migrated across from the current system to the new one.
Preview of 18/19 Season Ticket prices
KP provided attendees with a preview on the 18/19 Season Ticket prices news to be communicated on Thursday 22 March – including the reduction in price of Junior tickets in the Family Area to £49 and the freezing of Season Ticket prices. We will also maintain the Young Persons ticket range for those aged 18-under 25.
KP provided a brief review of the ForeverBrentford campaign which was tested out for the campaign to choose the Brentford family for the stadium ground-breaking event. This is an overarching campaign designed to appeal both to long term supporters and those who will be new to the Club as we plan the move to the stadium. Feedback on #ForeverBrentford has been positive to date.
Migration access update
KP recapped on the latest thinking with regard to Season Ticket access at the new stadium, gathered feedback from the group and confirmed that work will continue to develop the communications around that announcement (something that we will review with this group in advance of public circulation).
Premium Season Tickets
KP shared with the group that we are now treating the area currently known as The Dugout Lounge slightly differently to the other premium seat areas. It will be aligned with the Season Ticket prices and migration rules rather than treated as a Premium Seating product.
Stadium locations – where to sit
KP reviewed the different types of atmosphere in each stand:
- West stand – where the provision has been made for safe standing (when legislation allows). Most likely to appeal to the Ealing Roaders. We want to create a ‘wall of sound and colour’ in this stand.
- North stand – will include the Family Area to the west end and the Away supporters’ corner to the east end, with some slightly more premium seats around the half-way line. It will include some outside catering units along the northern concourse road.
- East stand – will include the Away supporters ‘corner’ to the northern end of this stand. (This area will be used by Brentford FC Community Sports Trust on non-matchdays).
- South stand – we will make more use of digital and temporary signage to brand this area to make it adaptable for football, rugby or potentially for events on non-matchdays.
We discussed the importance of making the different areas/destinations clear to supporters to help them when they come to choosing a relevant location to sit in at the new stadium. What we really want is for fans to guide us on what they want those locations to be like and how best to communicate this.
MD confirmed that the Club has suggested that the west stand in the new stadium is used as a trial for safe standing (soon to be rebranded) and that the Sports Safety Grounds Authority (SGSA) is considering this. It was reiterated that Billy Grant and other fans have offered to help progress this through the Football Supporters Federation (as mentioned at the last meeting).
JB suggested that the fans (possibly led by BIAS) could help to put together plans for how to encourage the best possible atmosphere and ‘wall of noise’ in the west stand (where the provision for standing will be when legislation allows).
CC stated that in addition to lobbying for a safe standing trial at the new stadium, the Club would welcome any support from fans to encourage a change in legislation to allow the consumption of alcohol in sight of the pitch.
Communications/marketing - it’s important that we have an overall communications/marketing plan focusing on key milestones along the way – we can share the latest plan at the next meeting.
Cycle parking – there will be around 340 cycle spaces at the new stadium. It was felt that it would be ideal for these to be caged/secure spaces – we need to check this against latest plans and report back.
Summary of action points
- RC/SS – circulate RC’s report and photos showing how West Bromwich Albion has displayed memorabilia inside their stadium.
- AW – show this group the 3D model of the new stadium when the next stage designs are frozen.
- KP – report back on whether fans will need to reset ‘friends and family’ links when we move to the new ticketing system/new stadium or whether these can carry across.
- BFC – take forward the proposal on how BIAS and/or the Fan Consultation Group can work on the proposals for atmosphere in the west stand.
- All – write/email the SGA to support Brentford’s desire to take forward a detailed test of safe standing at the new stadium to influence future legislation in this area.
- All – consider ways to lobby for changes in legislation to allow the consumption of alcohol within sight of the pitch.
- SS – share latest communications/marketing plan at the next meeting.
- SS/AW – report back on cycle parking.
- All – continue to feedback thoughts and suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org
- All - if other fans would like to join this group, please also email at the address above.
Next meeting: Saturday 21 April 10:30am-12pm in the Hive.
Find out more about our new home at newstadium.brentfordfc.com