Q&A from LUST

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Q&A from LUST

Postby NottinghamWhite » 19 Oct 2013, 08:32

For our last public meeting held on Wednesday 28th August 2013 we invited our members to raise issues and questions they would like us to ask the club. We have now received answers to some of those questions which we are grateful to the club for providing. Please see below the full list of questions we sent the club in addition to the reply we have now received; we would appreciate your thoughts and comments by email to chairman@lufctrust.org.

1.Supporters Liaison

Q. Could the club give a little more detail about their short terms plans, for example the next 12 – 24 months, it is thought this would promote a little more confidence amongst supporters ?

Q. Many LUFC fans remain on banning orders issued by the previous regime; will the new owners look at an amnesty and allow back those previously banned often for very minor transgressions?


2. Supporters Groups

Q. Whilst communication with LUST and the LUSC seems much better some of the RMCs are feeling ignored and left out of the loop, are there plans to hold another RMC forum or improve communications with them?

Q. When will the previously postponed Fans Forum be held?


3. Media Relations

Q. What would be the possibility of launching an LUTV app for smart phones?


4. Local Business Relations

Q. Are the club looking to pursue Mr Bates former Court case against Admatch?



5. West Yorkshire Police / Stewarding Relations

Q. The stewarding at ER seems to have improved with the exception of the ‘purple bibs’ who are regarded as confrontational and aggressive, why do we need them and who do they answer to?



6. Club PR plans

Q. Many fans would like to see greater use of flags and banners in sections of the ground usually considered to be ‘singing’ areas, would the club welcome this to help improve the atmosphere and make ER a fortress again?

Q. Could the pre-match entertainment be improved or extended to attract greater ticket sales with say a DJ or local Bands being showcased before games?

Q. Billy’s statue is bronze, can it please be returned to a bronzed finish as many feel the painted look is tacky?

Q. Will the club work with LUST to promote better acknowledgement of our fans serving in the forces and help make them feel included whilst home from, or away on, active duty?



7. Other Ticket initiatives

Q. Long distance fans often have to pay premium travel costs, would the club be willing to work with transport providers to negotiate cost saving travel? (We know the FSF are already working on this very subject).



8. Ticketing/Pricing Policies

Q. Can the membership structure be looked at again to offer more affordable husband/wife/family packages that will allow tickets to be booked as groups?

Q. Match categorisation is still seen as prohibitive in terms of affordable tickets and thus bigger crowds, can this be looked at again?

Q. Away Supporters tickets at ER are quite prohibitive and we believe that this is causing other clubs to inflate prices for LUFC away fans, can the club look into this, and perhaps review the situation?



9. Football Investment

Q. With FFP not being enforced until 2014/15 should the club spend and bring in players who can push for promotion this season?

Q. What is the clubs strategy for attracting top class players to join LUFC?

Q. What was the thinking behind loaning Steve Morison to Millwall? Did it release funds to bring in another player?



10. Financials

Q. What is the gate needed for break-even with respect to the club’s financial running costs?

Q. What sort of debts and liabilities does the club have?

Q. Has the club had its financial/business plan fully accepted by the FL as required under existing FFI (not FFP) rules ?



11. Youth Development

Q. It is our intention to monitor the club’s actions regarding development as it is an area with a proud history at our club that fans hold dear to their hearts. We would like to get an understanding of the club’s future plans.



12. Non-Football Investment plans

Q. Are the hotel and casino plans now scrapped?

Q. Why could Yorkshire Radio not have been sold, off rather than just shut down?



13. Ownership

Q. The ownership structure still seems confusing, will GFHC clarify it please?

Q. Lots of questions about the possibility of a supporter based share purchase in the club, would the club be receptive to proposals?

Q. Who are the beneficial owners of the club?

Q. What sort of investment is being sought and from whom?

Q. Is there any truth in the Red Bull rumours?

Q. Many fans are still confused about the invest or sell position, it seems clear David and Salem feel they have a long term strategy whilst GFH policy seems to be a “sell at a Profit” one? What is the situation in laymen’s terms?



14. Plans for Elland Road / Thorp Arch

Q. Who owns ER and TA and what are the plans to buy them back if any?

Q. What happened to the investment that was in the news before the Brighton game to buy back ER and invest in the team? Was this just a PR exercise to sell tickets?



This week we received the following reply from the club;



Hi Gary,

I hope you're well.

Please see attached questions that you sent through on behalf of LUST.

As you will note, the questions that have been answered are supporter related questions and will hopefully give your member’s insight into the club, as it stands.

On a separate note, please let me know when Martin next free and we will look to get a date in the diary.

Kind Regards

Laura Bland
Leeds United Football Club Limited



Attached;



Responses to LUST Initiatives/Questions



1. Supporters Liaison

Q. Many LUFC fans remain on banning orders issued by the previous regime; will the new owners look at an amnesty and allow back those previously banned often for very minor transgressions?

A. It is very difficult to give a 'blanket' response to this question and say that we will release all bans. All circumstances and situations surrounding the bans are all very different.

The disciplinary process was reviewed in advance of last season and we introduced a scaling system; Low, Medium and High. Minor offences were classed as low and did not receive a ban they just received a behaviour agreement. Each case is treated individually.



2. Supporters Groups

Q. Whilst communication with LUST and the LUSC seems much better some of the RMCs are feeling ignored and left out of the loop, are there plans to hold another RMC forum or improve communications with them?

A. We have a RMC conference planned for November 2013 and have a number of Leeds On The Road events planned for different locations around the country. These events will give members of our RMCs the opportunity to question key management figures – Brian McDermott has pledged to visit as many as possible – as well as our ambassadors.

The Club are planning to engage and communicate more effectively with all fans groups going forward.



3. Media Relations

Q. What would be the possibility of launching an LUTV app for smart phones?

A. We are hopeful that commentary will be available via smartphones and tablets within a matter of weeks.

Perform, our service providers, are also working on a solution regarding making paid-for video content available via smartphones/tablets. The issue they are facing is protecting the content from piracy.



5. West Yorkshire Police / Stewarding Relations

Q. The stewarding at ER seems to have improved with the exception of the ‘purple bibs’, why do we need them and who do they answer to?

A. The Response Team (purple bibs) are present to deal with more difficult and challenging situations. For example, for high profile fixtures where there is potential for disorder, they may be situated in the away section on the segregation line between home and away fans.

The Club employ the response team and they form part of the match day stewarding arrangements. A number of the response team are individuals employed by the Club and a number are recruited from agencies.

Their work can be challenging at times and we will guide them accordingly.



6. Club PR plans

Q. Many fans would like to see greater use of flags and banners in sections of the ground usually considered to be ‘singing’ areas, would the club welcome this to help improve the atmosphere and make ER a fortress again?

A. This is an area that the club will review, although checks would need to be made to ensure that the flags/banners are fire resistant and carry the appropriate certificate. No poles would be allowed.

We have previously allowed a giant shirt to be passed around the stands.

Q. Could the pre-match entertainment be improved or extended to attract greater ticket sales with say a DJ or local Bands being showcased before games?

A. We have recently launched the Family Zone in the East Stand as part of our initiative to reach out to the younger generation. As part of the Family Zone we have different acts perform every week. These includes, bands, dance acts, face painters and many more. Scream, a local band performed at the recent Bournemouth fixture.

Heineken, our official Beer Partner has also recently introduced ‘Fosters Live’ in the Centenary Pavilion. This consists of live acts and entertainment performing every match day and is arranged by Heineken.

Q. Billy’s statue is bronze, can it please be returned to a bronzed finish as many feel the painted look is tacky?

A. When the statue was originally sculptured it wasn’t completely bronzed, it had an off-white colour to it. In 2010 we were approached by the sculptor who repainted the statue in a brighter colour as she preferred this. We do not feel it would be suitable or possible to amend this. We will liaise with the sculptor.

Q. Will the club work with LUST to promote better acknowledgement of our fans serving in the forces and help make them feel included whilst home from or away on active duty?

A. I understand you have spoken with Stix and Laura Bland regarding this and are in the process of arranging a meeting in early December.



7. Other Ticket initiatives

Q. Long distance fans often have to pay premium travel costs, would the club be willing to work with transport providers to negotiate cost saving travel (we know the FSF are already working on this very subject)?

A. I am sure we could assist on this to try and reduce travel costs. The Club could also link up supporters groups in the same areas to try and reduce costs. This topic is on the agenda for the RMC Conference in November.



8. Ticketing/Pricing Policies

Q. Can the membership structure be looked at again to offer more affordable husband/wife/family packages that will allow tickets to be booked as groups?

A. Ahead of the 2013/14 Season, following fans feedback, the Club reviewed the membership packages and introduced a tiered membership scheme. The new tiered scheme means a cheaper priced entry level for Membership.

The Membership packages cannot be changed part way through the season, but if LUST would like to send some ideas / suggestions through, I will keep their feedback on file and review at the end of the current season.

Q. Match categorisation is still seen as prohibitive in terms of affordable tickets and thus bigger crowds, can this be looked at again?

A. Match categories are in place for this season and cannot be changed part way through. The reason being is that they have to be submitted to the Football League at the start of the season. The season ticket prices are based on a certain number of Category As, Bs and Cs. Therefore, we cannot change the pricing structure as this will affect the value of the season tickets. The season ticket must always represent better value than purchasing tickets on a match by match basis.

As you will know, match categories are not announced at the start of the season and are usually announced 4 weeks before the game. This allows the Club the opportunity to review the circumstances of the game before releasing the category. Before a match category is announced, the Senior Management team take several factors into account. The Club consider the costs to stage the game including the police bill, the day that the match is to be played, the League position of the opposition team along with other contributing factors.

Q. Away Supporters tickets at ER are quite prohibitive and we believe that this is causing other clubs to inflate prices for LUFC away fans, can the club look into this and perhaps review the situation?

A. The Club's pricing structure is declared to the Football League in advance of the season and this cannot be changed part way through the season. As per League rules, you must charge the visiting fans the same prices as per home fans in comparable areas.

We don't feel that the visitors arrangements at Elland Road is the reason for other clubs to inflate prices for our fans when we travel away from home. Our Ticket Office mangers speaks to all Clubs on a regular basis. The main factor for high prices for our fans at away games is purely down to the volume of tickets that we sell and anticipated revenue for the host club.

*ENDS
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby 18longleeds » 19 Oct 2013, 08:42

just read the email myself, not sure what to make of it. Seem like pretty standard answers though and course they were only going to answer the supporter related questions. They were hardly going to talk money with the supporters trust.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby Deleted User 2 » 19 Oct 2013, 09:33

All the answers given to the questions seem very fair to me. I find it a bit naive to be asking about introducing more concessions, and the "prohibitive" match categorisation which is allegedly keeping fans away is verging on outrageous! The club needs to make money somewhere, for crying out loud, and pricing has been restructured so much for the better!
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby NottinghamWhite » 19 Oct 2013, 09:42

I note the club refer to a RMC conference in November, let's hope it's not quiet so one sided and the club react better than they did the last time. The general feeling was the the conference was only done as Shaun Harvey was hoping for a place on the FA and it was at the same time the FA were looking at clubs been more proactive with the fans.
Still think it's a huge gaff not inviting representatives of both the Supporters Club and LUST. The rift between the club and the SC needs addressing and this would have been the ideal chance to start building bridges.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby 1964white » 19 Oct 2013, 09:50

NottinghamWhite wrote:I note the club refer to a RMC conference in November, let's hope it's not quiet so one sided and the club react better than they did the last time. The general feeling was the the conference was only done as Shaun Harvey was hoping for a place on the FA and it was at the same time the FA were looking at clubs been more proactive with the fans.
Still think it's a huge gaff not inviting representatives of both the Supporters Club and LUST. The rift between the club and the SC needs addressing and this would have been the ideal chance to start building bridges.


I couldn't agree with you more NW as I run the East Yorks branch of SC :thumbup:
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby Mellor » 19 Oct 2013, 12:22

NottinghamWhite wrote:I note the club refer to a RMC conference in November, let's hope it's not quiet so one sided and the club react better than they did the last time. The general feeling was the the conference was only done as Shaun Harvey was hoping for a place on the FA and it was at the same time the FA were looking at clubs been more proactive with the fans.
Still think it's a huge gaff not inviting representatives of both the Supporters Club and LUST. The rift between the club and the SC needs addressing and this would have been the ideal chance to start building bridges.


Interesting one this.

RMC
SC
Independant SCs
LUST

Tells its own tale. When these groups get together they can't agree amongst themselves according to my man on the inside.

Too many bureaucracies - and who speaks for those of us who prefer to avoid 'clubs' altogether? We should be surveyed regularly IMO.

Kissinger would struggle to bring the waring factions together.

RMCs being official undoubtedly warrant their own event? I believe some of them feel neglected.

Interesting.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby NottinghamWhite » 19 Oct 2013, 12:37

I think that the club should be renamed Leeds City because United we certainly aren't. Which other club has so many groups ? Let's not forget LUDO but I believe they come under the RMC's. Nottingham Whites were a RMC but are now an independent after a vote where 99% of the members wanted out of the RMC, despite the obvious perks they received namely a signed shirt, ball, chance of supplying match day mascots and the Leeds on the road events. As I said earlier to me GFH have missed an opportunity to build bridges and the longer they fail to do so then those bridges may never get built.

Despite the politics the SC's and RMC's do work together getting fans to games which at the end of the day is the main reason these clubs are formed.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby Deleted User 2 » 19 Oct 2013, 12:44

NottinghamWhite wrote:As I said earlier to me GFH have missed an opportunity to build bridges and the longer they fail to do so then those bridges may never get built.

Phil, what opportunity do you think they have missed exactly? I'm intrigued by yet another perceived failing through not inviting LUST to the RMCs event. A few months ago the most noise on the supporters landscape was LUST - its board, as well as common members - filling every online text box they could get their hands on to complain the club had not met with them in person. As soon as Bates was cut out, the club did just that, and several meetings between the top brass at LUFC & LUST have been held - all with very satisfied comments from Gary Cooper & co.

I agree with Mellor, it seems an incredibly divided front of supporters groups, but I don't see any problem in hosting the RMCs individually.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby NottinghamWhite » 19 Oct 2013, 12:53

I just feel that Bates created a huge divide amongst the fans and in particular the SC's. The RMC's were always seen as a Bates idea to get even more money out of the fans. Whatever the conference is about surely there would have been no harm involving all Leeds fans, I'm not too sure what percent of Leeds fans are members of RMC's but I would hazard a guess at no more than 15% which hardly represents Leeds fans as a whole. I feel that GFH have a chance to make us United once more something we haven't been for a long time.
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Re: Q&A from LUST

Postby Mellor » 19 Oct 2013, 13:15

I know this won't be popular but the divide exists only because fans prefer(red) it that way. I have never felt excluded. Never felt a need to march or protest. I was never called a moron etc.

For what it's worth I think running LUFC is one of the most difficult jobs in football. I think Bates found it far bigger than ever he expected. He made mistakes, poor managerial appointments, underestimating the amount of antagonism lurking under the surface just waiting to explode - East Stand being the catalyst for the explosion.

When we needed fans groups to stand up and lead, to encourage fans into the ground, at least one was heavily involved with the stay aways. The stay aways cost us, still cost us.

I always feared Bates' replacement(s). There are far worse owners. As it happens I don't think much has changed. Talking to fans groups is of no interest to me, they don't represent my views. The cheaper season ticket is great - providing it's working (revenue?). Beyond that we tick along hoping that seasons end brings the release of unused players and moves us beyond the East Stand debt - we will be grateful for the improved East Stand at some point I have no doubt.

My needs are few and extend no further than clarity (of purpose) - clearly articulated direction. Not sure we have that, perhaps others think we have.
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