This week a number of issues with the maintenance and upkeep of Brunton Park have been highlighted on social media and other forums.
The club, in the form of Nigel Clibbens, has replied to one concerned fan, and we have been asked to respond on behalf of our board reps. We think every fan needs some reassurance about the state of the stadium and our role in ensuring that the issues affecting it are addressed.
About 12 months ago, the Club took the decision to allocate more funds to the stadium, in a move reflecting the concerns of CUOSC reps, and fully supported by the CUSG. The club had been very open about the cash issues involved in fixing the list of problems affecting the ground. Up until last season, the vast majority of the available cash was being swallowed up by the football budget. Success on the pitch was the obvious priority and this was where the bulk of the money was going. Steps were thus taken last season to apply more funds to the upkeep of the ground. The obvious example being the swift addressing and fixing of the EWM Stand roof.
Given the age of the stadium and its facilities, it has always been inevitable that maintenance needs would become more urgent. The club's financial performance in the past two seasons in particular, has left a large loss in the accounts. Thus funds have been at a premium. However, the new approach adopted will ensure that as many of the issues as possible that need sorting for this season, will be. Work is also ongoing to improve the disabled facilities at the ground, and extend the number of places available. To this end, some funds are being sought via grant applications. The ageing scoreboard, installed in 2003, has finally given up the ghost and the club is in the process of securing a newer, bigger and better replacement that should be in place during the course of the coming season.
We expect fans attending the Northampton game on August 11 will see a cleaner and tidier stadium. Work is going on to address the existing issues with the ground, and will continue throughout the season as necessary. It should be stressed of course that the stadium has obtained a safety certificate and is a safe environment to watch football. Hopefully, it will soon become a more pleasant one with the problem areas cleaned up and mended.
CUOSC endorses what Nigel Clibbens has said in his email this week. Whilst everyone at the Club and our board reps would love to have seen these issues sorted out already, its a matter of fact that an ageing stadium will always have maintenance costs that outstrip that of a newer facility, and put a strain on resources. We have of course been active in terms of progressing the long-term goal of moving to a new stadium. Our reps pressed last year for the stadium to be put back on the agenda, and have attended all the ensuing meetings. The council reps present showed plenty of support for the idea. It should of course be stressed that any new stadium build is a long term target and Brunton Park will undoubtedly remain our home for the foreseeable future.
CUOSC have in the past provided volunteers to clear the stadium of bird muck and paint the main stand and concourses. We have volunteered to sell match day tickets, launched the Blues Lotto (back in 2004), run a meet and greet scheme, manned phones to assist the club in selling season tickets and carried out the annual task of stuffing season tickets into envelopes for the past five years or so. We have done our best with our rather limited resources to help the club where we can. The club has always done its best to accommodate us and we know they are open to outside help when it is needed. Our goal has always been to have a proper community club where everyone pitches in to help and there is a common goal at the heart of the project. We may still be some way off achieving this goal, but we do intend to push on to reach that target.
The Club has been a true community asset in the past. Times were quite challenging in the late 1940s with rationing and austerity in general. It was a lot more challenging than today. Then Bill Shankly arrived as manager and set about changing the way things were done. This is a small extract from the book 'Talking Shankly' that explains how he did this:
'Brunton Park stadium was in the same state of dilapidation as when Shankly left all those years ago. If the club was to become a focal point for Carlisle citizens, then a tidying-up operation was needed. From the terraces to the dressing rooms, players and volunteer supporters, led by the new 'gaffer', embarked upon a spring cleaning and refurbishment of the stadium.
Shankly led this industrious workforce as it set to with brooms, paint brushes, hammers, nails and saws. The door of the new manager's office was always open. Supporters were encouraged to come along and discuss club affairs. It was also at this juncture that Shankly's relationship with the media began to develop.'
In the Shankly era this was how things were done. Players, manager, staff, press and supporters all working together. Is it too much to expect that to happen today, in the modern world of football where money is king? We believe it is possible but everyone needs to buy into the idea. If people don't want to get involved, it simply can't happen.
In the meantime, our board reps are in regular communication with key club staff, bringing issues that affect our members and the wider fanbase to the boardroom. We are being listened to. The club does listen and though it may not always get things right, there is a willingness to engage with us.
All we can ask is for fans to have some patience, and when they see things that are wrong, or need fixing, to let us know. We did address a whole slew of issues last season. Not all this necessarily got highlighted on social media channels. However things were addressed and we fully expect more of this work to go on quietly behind the scenes this season, improving life for fans on match days. You can contact our board reps direct via firstname.lastname@example.org - Billy or Jim will respond.
26/06/18: Deadline approaches for new board candidates
Carlisle United Official Supporters Club is looking to increase the size of its board at next month’s annual general meeting.
They currently have eight elected representatives but have scope for 12. Anyone interested in standing can get more information by emailing email@example.com
The AGM is on Sunday July 22 and the deadline to apply for a place on the ballot for this year is midnight on Saturday (June 30).
CUOSC is always on the look-out for people with business, finance, IT, admin or legal qualifications. Even if you feel you do not have the time to make the necessary commitment there is the option of becoming an external director.
CUOSC hold a 25% shareholding in the football club and have 626 members. To join it costs £10 for adults and families and £5 for juniors and seniors. Benefits include discount at the club shop and priority for cup tickets.
CUOSC chairman John Kukuc said: “It is a voluntary role but would suit someone who has the interests of the club at heart.
“Our aim is to create a stronger bond between the club and the community which we believe can only be in the interests of all.
“To do that the board has to be as representative of our fan base as possible.
“While we have around 150 women members we only have one female director at present. It would be valuable to have more.
“It is essential, in my opinion, that the Board should include younger members. Young people can bring fresh and innovative ideas as well as challenging established viewpoints.
“Everyone accepts there has to be succession of ownership and we continue to work to try to find ways to achieve that. All businesses and organisations need to evolve and change if they are to be successful and CUOSC and Carlisle United are no different.
“We are the second biggest shareholders with two representatives on the club’s boards and that must be good news. We believe we are making progress but recognise not as quickly as some supporters would like.
“If we can increase the diversity within our board and boost membership it can only strengthen our position and help the club.”
20/05/18: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - May
There were no apologies.
Billy reported back from the ongoing process to select a new team manager. Billy was part of the selection panel who had been interviewing candidates. He had played a part in creating a short list from which the interviewees were drawn. Billy was impressed with the depth and range of candidates. A final decision was expected next week.
Alastair had drafted a four-part history of CUOSC for publication on the Supporters Direct website. It would be edited before being sent to SD.
Billy and Carol offered to liaise in the creation of a new-look website. They offered a software package that Upperby School had been using to provide a template that could be evaluated by Malcolm and Alastair.
The planned article on Jim and Billy's roles on the Club's boards had been delayed. Malcolm would liaise with both of them to put together an article that would be published online, before the end of the month.
There was support for continuing sponsorship of the club's academy. Frank and John had attended the end of year awards ceremony which they'd been impressed by.
Next meeting scheduled for June 20 at Upperby.
20/04/18: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary
Upperby CDC, 18.04.18
There were no apologies.
Our end of year accounts were now finalised and were with the auditor for inspection.
Progress with the corporate membership scheme had slackened off but we were still pursuing several firms.
Our board reps updated the meeting with the latest from inside the club. The situation was challenging and was expected to remain so for some time. Both were in a position to have a significant say in the changes being proposed, thanks to the re-structuring which had occurred over the past two years and our increased role which had developed as a result.
Feedback from the fans' forum was discussed. The event had been lively with some arguing amongst the audience. Malcolm had put together an article for the local paper that would re-state our position, to help counter more criticism that we were 'too close' to the club. It was clear there was still a significant divide between some sections of our support and the club's heirarchy which was a major hurdle to overcome, as our reps Billy and Jim had recognised during the forum.
The board had a broad discussion and debate about the football side of CUFC, given the team's performance this season, the financial circumstances of the club and the manager's contract situation, which had been the subject of much public debate. This discussion was long, lively and detailed and the input of our board reps was welcomed and very valuable. The result of the debate was to reach a consensual decision which would help inform our board reps in future meetings at Brunton Park.
Due to pressures of time and the need to address the most pressing issues, the rest of the agenda was adjourned. A catch-up meeting was organised for next week with the next full board meeting to be held on May 16.
18/01/18: CUSG Meeting Summary - January
CUSG Meeting Summary - January
East Stand offices, Brunton Park, 15.01.18
Attendance – Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Alastair Woodcock, John Kukuc, Mike Routledge (CUOSC), Kate Rowley, Keith Elliott (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans’ Group), Nigel Clibbens, Phil King, Nigel Dickinson (CUFC)
Apologies – Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC)
Minutes of the last meeting were accepted.
Items of action from last meeting
All included in the minutes.
A banner had appeared at the Sheffield Wednesday match. Later there was an altercation and a supporter was ejected. This individual was not banned for this incident, pending completion of the proper judicial process. He has since been at the Crewe match but is the subject of ongoing criminal court proceedings.
A bottle was thrown from the Crewe section in the East Stand during Saturday’s match. The club will pass CCTV footage to Crewe for them to address the issue with their supporters.
Improvements have been made to the luminosity of the floodlights and these have recently come into use.
Some remedial work is required in the Warwick Road End due to leaks in the roof.
Three stewards are now looking after disabled supporters. Kate & Barry put on record the excellent performance of these stewards.
Provision of a big screen at the Waterworks End was in hand but installation was unlikely before start of next season.
Issues arose during the Accrington game, but these have since been addressed and corrected, due to operational changes.
A meeting had been held with ABM personnel to address ongoing service. Alcoholic drinks for the time being were still being decanted from bottles into plastic cups to eliminate the risk of drinking in view of the pitch.
Acquisition of flags put on hold due to other more pressing issues.
The club’s website and social media outlets were performing well and a lot of content was being put online. Phil stated the club was looking at altering the mix of content on offer, with a view to providing more marketing and promotional information.
14,000+ fans were now being contacted regularly via email.
The club’s IT systems were not unified which meant some people appeared in different databases held by the club’s various departments. Phil said this would be addressed as part of ongoing improvements.
The club had a reciprocal arrangement with Cumbrian Newspapers allowing it one advert per week.
Attempts to put advertising on a big display adjacent to Hardwicke Circus had been unsuccessful due to the facility being fully booked until February.
Some fans had complained about the ticket office being closed on January 2. This had been notified in November and on other occasions but the club accepted they should have provided a reminder over the holiday period and on the day.
Ticket initiatives were at the planning stage for February/March.
The EFL had four meetings to be attended by the club coming up during January and February. Finance Meeting 18/1, then a Commercial Meeting, a League 1 and League 2 club meeting and finally an all club meeting in February. A change to the transfer window was being proposed for consideration at the meeting of all clubs to be held on Feb 22. This would potentially bring it into line with the Premier League window which will close before the start of the season in early August. The issue of 3G pitches will also be considered.
Unchanged with £2,280.21 in the CUSG bank account.
Supporters’ group projects
CUOSC had indicated support for the provision of a Fan Zone adjacent to the West Stand.
CUSAT said they would provide funds for the new lens to be purchased by the media department
CUSG would target further improvements to the Sunset Suite.
Items of interest
A council rep had enquired if the club had a disabled policy. The club does have a policy. This will allow the Disabled Group to apply for grants.
The raffle at the Forest Green match had raised £145. A £200 donation had helped take the amount in the bank account to £845.
The county council could be in a position to source a bus shelter for away disabled supporters.
West Cumbrian Travel
Reported reduced numbers travelling.
Involved with meetings regarding Keith Curle, ABM and ongoing stadium development plans. Council also involved with the latter.
Any Other Business
The club was progressing kit designs for 2018/19. A number of alternative designs and colour options for the next season’s away shirt where shared to get feedback from CUSG.
There was some support for a yellow away kit for next season. Overall, the favoured choice was purple, followed by yellow. There was little support for white.
The Club would seek samples for further consideration
There was no other business
Next meeting – 26.02.18
12/01/18: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - January
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - January
Apologies were received from Malcolm Nugent and Jim Mitchell.
Mike Routledge was formally co-opted as an external director until the date of this year's AGM.
Feedback about our food bank collection and toy collection for the CFM Christmas appeal on December 16 had been very favourable.
We received a report back from Billy about a meeting between club officials and ABM regarding the catering contract at Brunton Park. Issues had been identified which would be addressed as the season progressed.
An update was supplied about the new Blue Yonder initiative. This was necessarily long-term in nature but some progress was being made.
CUOSC reps had been fully involved in the meeting between club directors and manager Keith Curle last week, which had been reported in the media. This was an ongoing process and more meetings would be held, with our participation.
The corporate membership scheme was being launched with Frank and Norman overseeing it. We had a list of companies to approach and a new application form ready to go out.
A quiz night was being planned for March or April. The CUOSC board were keen for the proposed fans' forum to go ahead. Further discussons on this were planned.
Finances were reported as steady. CUOSC has committed to a significant sponsorship package this season with CUFC, which is progressing well.
We had contributed to the survey Supporters' Direct had circulated with regard to a planned merger with the Football Supporters Federation.
A new review of roles and responsibilities and CUOSC's ongoing five year plan will be held this month.
Next meeting is February 7.
23/09/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - September
Venue: Upperby Community Development Centre
Apologies were received from Norman Steel and Malcolm Nugent.
The plans announced to discuss future stadium development with the council were discussed. CUOSC will play an active part in any future discussions/ negotiations.
Our 'welcome pack' to members is in the process of being updated. Membership now stands at 583. New members are being signed up by various routes, including via our regular surgeries. Frank was working on detailed proposals for a revamped corporate membership scheme. Progress had been made and regular updates will be provided.
CUOSC had been sponsors of the match on Saturday thanks to external sponsor funding. Billy and Carol will meet CUFC officials to discuss the success of the venture. More sponsorship of match balls, associate match sponsorship and player sponsorship will occur during the season.
More surgeries are being arranged and there will be another food bank collection, likely to happen in November. Another quiz night was being planned and was pencilled in for November. Details to be confirmed later.
The board were receptive to the idea of a CUOSC flag to be used on match days as part of a drive by the club to obtain large flags and improve the match day atmosphere. This would have our logo and would not involve dipping into existing funds.
Nigel was tasked to re-assess the composition of the board and the roles currently in place as part of ongoing long term plan.
Next meeting is October 25.
15/09/17: CUSG Meeting Summary - September
11.09.17 – East Stand Offices, Brunton Park
Attendance – Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Alastair Woodcock, John Kukuc (CUOSC), Kate Rowley, Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Nigel Clibbens, Phil King, Nigel Dickinson, Andy Hall, Amy Nixon (CUFC)
Apologies – John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC)
Actions from last meeting
Stewards were now being assigned to the disabled car park.
CUOSC were progressing feedback about the new catering arrangements.
The 'bird' problem at Brunton Park was being tackled. Fewer seagulls and pigeons had been noticed in the ground. The hawk was making periodical visits. A contract cleaning firm will again visit pre-match on Friday.
The electronic scoreboard was now working consistently. Phil had discussed a 'funded proposal' with a potential sponsor for a new scoreboard, which would give a small percentage to the club. This would require further negotiation.
Matt Spooner had suggested the planned perspex roofs for upgrading disabled shelters may not be strong enough and recommended a wooden roof solution which would cost circa £1500 each. Following the meeting, Phil met with Matt Spooner who confirmed that Disabled Supporters Group had given the go ahead to fund one area initially.
The club was planning to make its 'Remembrance' game the match on November 11 v Yeovil Town.
The London Branch had not been supportive of the plan to purchase new camera equipment, and were only prepared to fund projects that benefit supporters, in particular younger supporters. The CUSG would consider projects put forward by any group of supporters including CUFC costing up to £500. After discussion it was agreed that any requests for financial support should be collated and discussed at the next meeting where all requests will be in categorised up to £100, up to £250, and over that amount. There may be several requests in each of the categories and the group (CUSG) would decide the merits of each request.
The catering situation was improving after initial problems surfaced. Most of the issues from the first game had now been resolved. London Branch members had given positive feedback about the upgraded Sunset Suite. Queues around the ground were reduced. Phil was having weekly meetings with ABM where fan feedback was discussed. Capacity had been doubled at the Paddock South and Warwick Road End facilities. New additional tills had been installed in the Pioneer Bar, improving service.
There was a question about the opening times for licensed premises in the ground. Some fans reported bars not opening before half-time. The club would seek to clarify this issue.
The club were planning to purchase two large fire retardant flags, costing £250 each, to be used on match days. Supporter groups were asked if they would like to purchase similar flags. CUSAT, CUOSC and CUSG as a group all indicated interest in purchasing further flags. Named staff would be allowed to wave them, including at times when goals were scored.
Supporters who had expressed an interest in setting this up were liaising with the club. Fans views would be taken into account when it came to finding a location within the ground.
Treasurer Michelle reported £2,280.21 in the bank account, an increase since last meeting. Raffle at last Legends evening had boosted the coffers.
The club had already seen designs from Umbro for next season's kit. There had been disquiet that the team had not yet worn the official away kit but this would soon change.
Items of Interest
CUOSC - are holding another supporters surgery between 1.30-2.30pm this Saturday before Barnet match.
CUSAT - Doors out of the East Stand concourse were still locked and stewards refusing to open them after games, requiring a long detour for some supporters. CUFC to sort out.
LB - There had been a perception that CUSG meetings were dominated by CUFC staff. This was challenged at the meeting. CUSG constituent groups invite club staff to meetings, they are not part of CUSG. CUSG reps felt the club staff were very important to the success of the whole venture. The rep from ABM would attend future meetings, as and when required, to talk about catering matters.
Details of the reward scheme for ST holders had not been posted to the club website. Media dept would put this right.
Any Other Business
An initiative had come from Andrew Jenkins who wanted the club to show appreciation for away fans at the Crawley game. CUSAT/CUFC to liaise over this.
The club were planning a 'shirt appeal' to request old CUFC shirts to display around the ground. The club's stock was lost in the floods. More details to come later.
Next CUFC 'Legends' evening was pencilled in for March 2, 2018. The club expressed an interest in hosting similar events at Brunton Park, but there was support too for guests from other sports such as cricket and athletics, as well as journalism.
Next meeting - October 23, 6pm.
23/07/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - July
Upperby CDC 19.07.17
Apologies were received from Nigel Davidson and Mike Denovellis.
Mike had confirmed his intention to resign due to his family commitments. The board agreed to put their thanks for his contribution into the public domain. It was hoped Mike would be able to return in the near future.
AGM preparations were in hand with a significant increase in online voting. Questions could be asked by email by those members who could not attend. Billy agreed to handle any questions about the facility provided by Edinburgh Woollen Mill, supported by Jim. Norman would liaise with Peter Harrington over details of the accounts.
Jim reported back from the recent 1921 Board meeting. The club's finances remained tight but had been eased by the EWM facility. New caterers ABM had been appointed. Malcolm was due to interview the manager of this firm and this would feature in a future weekly briefing.
Frank reported back from the Supporters' Summit held at St Georges Park at the start of the month. 190 people had attended, including representatives from PL clubs. CUOSC's position was regarded with envy by many fans that Frank met. Plans were afoot to introduce video technology into the PL for the 2018-19 season. EFL clubs would be expected to take more reciprocal action with regard to away ticket prices.
We had extended our ground board at Penrith FC for another season. We had received photos from the CUFC matches we had been sponsors at. The board discussed sponsorship packages for next season. Billy to liaise with Katie at CUFC on this matter.
The situation regarding the chair of the CUSG for next season was discussed. The board agreed to continue to support Simon Clarkson in this role.
Frank had been approached about possible promotion of a betting website aimed at supporting fans' organisations.
Alastair reported that there had been a steady flow of people renewing their annual membership of CUOSC.
A catch-up meeting was arranged for August 5.
25/06/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - June
June 21 - Upperby Community Development Centre
Apologies received from Jim Mitchell.
One e-member had already converted to full membership. Discount offer for e-members to be launched on July 1.
Billy and Jim had attended a meeting with Nigel Clibbens last week and reported back to the board.
Edinburgh Woollen Mill to be main shirt sponsors next season with World Group continuing to sponsor backs of shirts. Other sponsorship deals still being negotiated by club.
Frank Beattie agreed to represent CUOSC at the forthcoming Supporters Direct AGM and Supporters Summit at St George's Park.
A deal to live stream all of CUFC's league fixtures next season to supporters outside the UK has been agreed. However anyone signing up has to pay with an overseas bank account.
The EFL have plans to re-negotiate the TV deal with Sky and also to make significant changes including the adoption of 60-minute games with a game clock.
Alastair reminded potential candidates for places on the Board that the deadline falls on June 30. Two supporting members needed for each candidate. The AGM is to held this year on Sunday July 23.
The End of Year accounts are in advanced preparation.
We had been asked to help out with the Fun Day on July 9, where we have a presence. We have two of Jabo Ibehre's shirts from last season, as his kit sponsor.
We will have our name on an age-group academy team's shirts for next season, as sponsor. Billy to negotiate details with the club.
Next meeting will be held at Upperby on July 19.
10/05/17: CUSG Meeting Summary - May
CUSG Meeting Summary 04.05.17
East Stand Offices, Brunton Park
Attendance: Simon Clarkson (Chair, London Branch), Phil King (CUFC), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Kate Rowley (CUSAT), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Amy Nixon (CUFC), Andy Hall (CUFC)
Apologies - John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), John Kukuc (CUOSC)
Minutes of the last meeting were read and agreed.
A local electrician had serviced it and it now worked. Costs for a potential new scoreboard had been progressed by the club. A leading supplier had quoted a price of £140k for a large 25 square metre LED screen. A more advanced rotating LED screen at 30 square metres would cost £159k. They were both expected to last about 10 years. Leasing of the screens was not an option with the supplier the club had talked to.
Advertising on these boards would need to bring in approx £2000 - £2500 per game to cover their costs over a 3-year period or so. Pitchside electronic advertising was more lucrative and the boards were available second-hand.
Concern had been previously expressed by the London Branch at the proposal to include individuals as part of CUSG. It was felt that this went against the point of the committee, to bring together representatives of functioning supporter organisations. It was also felt that it could potentially lead to problems given that individuals, with their own agenda, might be disruptive or distract the organisations from their work and activities. Individuals, as with the current representative from over the border, should be made welcome at meetings but with observer status only. It would be hoped that CUSG would then work with an individual to help them create an organisation and extend the supporter base and involvement
EFL Rule 111 required clubs to have a supporter engagement policy. CUFC had prepared a formal document to lay out its supporter engagement policy and this was nearly ready. Feedback from the groups, in particular CUSAT and London Branch had been used to put the policy document together. When ready the document will be posted on the club's website. The plan is to review it periodically with the help of CUSG and constituent groups.
The club had completed a survey from the EFL that was mostly questions about the EFL itself and its overall direction.
A new media deal that would allow live streaming of games (with a small delay) to overseas supporters was due to start next season. Andy said this would be good for the club and he didn't expect it to have any impact on attendances.
The proposals for next season's format of the EFL Trophy (Checkatrade Trophy) were being circulated to clubs to vote on. It would be a one member, one vote option for all 48 clubs involved from Leagues 1 and 2. The three choices were essentially 1/ A modified version of this season's format 2/ As last season (without groups) and 3/ Scrap the competition. CUOSC stated they supported option 2, due to the overwhelming views of its members. The outcome of the vote would be known soon and the club would put out a statement at the appropriate time.
The new disabled supporters group was up and running with five committee members and a secretary. An access audit report from the city council was pending. Nigel D and Barry had walked around the ground with a council rep.
Barry said that the form for applying for funds from the Premier League fans fund required the club to agree the feasibility of any project and be willing to back it.
The long term plan to upgrade facilities in the East Stand was dependent on lift access. Nigel D stated there was an unused lift shaft in place that could be utilised. The lift that had been already installed could not be used for this purpose due to that lift shaft only accessing first floor from when the stand was originally built.
The work planned to improve the Paddock facility was on course for the summer. Exact timings had still to be agreed. Prices were awaited for erecting a 'bus shelter' at the away end. CUSAT and Geoff Thomlinson had both offered to support the project financially.
Michelle updated that the current balance of the account was £2,020.21 following payment for the East Stand disabled facilities upgrade and some minor start up costs for the disabled supporters group. A total of £255 had been raised through the sale of instant lotto tickets which had been donated to the Motor Neurone Disease charity.
Phil reported nearly double the sales in the early buy period compared to last season. The deadline for reserving seats was tomorrow (5th May). He was confident that the club could cope with the extra demand caused by potential play off matches. The club had several ticket offices around the ground which could be utilised. Simon offered the use of CUSG volunteers to help, if needed.
Kate asked why the club had introduced a May 5 cut-off for reserving of seats by existing ST holders. Phil said that the renewal window for this was actually the same as last season and that the club wanted to offer the widest range of seats to new ST holders. There had been complaints about the time taken to contact ST holders about the new offers and the quality of the photocopied material sent out. Nigel admitted the photocopied documents were not up to scratch and he would sort this out for next season. The envelopes had gone out alphabetically so people with surnames near the end of the alphabet had to wait longer. A question was asked about why there was a bigger discount for terraced STs over seats. The club's response was that they had a policy to make standing STs more attractive in order to increase the number of new ST holders.
A question was asked about upgrading a terraced ST to a seated one. This would be an option and prices for doing this would be set after May 26 - this had previously been communicated via a 'FAQ's' release on website, but that it would be pushed again.
The club were offering improved terms for disabled STs and had gone beyond the EFL rules for accomodation of disabled spectators.
The club would shortly be able to confirm if the Virgin Trains discount scheme for ST holders would be continuing next season. They were keen for it to continue.
Bar and catering survey
This survey was about to go out. It will assist with next season's plans. CUSG would help to circulate it. The new glass washer had been bought and installed in the Sunset. The Sunset Suite was on course for upgrading post the concerts in June.
TVs and associated wiring would be replaced. Plans for flooring, new furniture, air conditioning and lighting were all in hand. The brewers Heineken had listened to feedback and were receptive to plans to have real ale available in the bars.
London Branch and CUOSC had offered to help support the project to upgrade the bars (including the Sporting Inn) financially. Volunteer labour would be available in the summer to help with basic painting tasks.
A shortlist of three companies was due to present to the club on May 15 to compete for next season's catering contract, following a detailed tender process. The new contract would include provision for more non-match day uses of the bars.
The latest CUOSC quiz night had again been well attended and well received. CUOSC were hoping to do two of these events each season from now on.
The End of Season awards dinner was sold out. A CUSG rep would present the Goal of the Season award.
The date of the summer Fun Day was yet to be finalised depending on player availability.
Feedback from last month's Open Day was that tours of the ground and signing sessions by players were very popular.
It was hoped there would again be some financial support for the Fun Day from community businesses. Participants (community groups/ fun day attractions) wishing to attend would be most welcome.
For the Tony Hopper charity game at Brunton Park on May 21, tickets were only being sold for the West Stand initially.
Ticket sales for the Olly Murs concert in June were going particularly well. Catering for both concerts was being partly contracted out.
CUFC shortly to hold a golf day (14th July) and anybody was welcome to enter a team. CUFC website to be completely re-launched on June 6. It would include more options for content supplied by CUSG and constituent groups.
Club wished to use CUSG as a nominator for a EFL Supporter of the Year award, which was part of the Community Sports Trust Awards. Winner to be nominated for EFL award.
Nigel D made a plea for more volunteers for the Meeter and Greeter scheme for next season.
A police investigation was continuing into the break-in in the Family Zone.
Next meeting - planned for late June.
29/04/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - April
CUOSC Board Meeting - April
Upperby Community Development Centre
Apologies were received from Nigel Davidson and Malcolm Nugent.
The feedback from the members' meeting last week was discussed. Although attendance was relatively low, there had been a good, honest discussion about the club's position and a way forward for enhanced supporter involvement. The Board supported the idea to have two meetings of this sort each season, with potential start times of 7pm, due to some not being able to make 6.30
The Board briefly discussed a way to distribute the weekly email briefings on paper to those who have not got access to email. A plan was put together to hand out paper copies at the fans surgeries and via Billy Atkinson's shop.
The status of the local Pubwatch scheme and the football club's participation in it was discussed. It was agreed that CUOSC should recommend the club play a full part in the scheme, which prevented banned individuals from buying or consuming alcohol on licensed premises. Billy had good knowledge of this scheme as he was a member of it.
A plan was outlined by Jim and Billy to fund a potential overhaul of the Sporting Inn, with the help of the local business community. There are already plans to refurbish the Sunset Suite, and the Sporting Inn is also in urgent need of improvements. This would all tie-in with the ongoing proposals to re-start the CUOSC corporate membership scheme.
The club's new supporter engagement policy had been circulated amongst the board and we were broadly in agreement with its aims and objectives. CUOSC to liaise closely with the implementation of this policy.
The Checkatrade Trophy format for next season was discussed at length. There was unanimous agreement that supporters views have to be taken into account given their animosity towards the involvement of the Premier League. CUOSC to liaise with the club on this issue.
Preparations for Friday's Quiz Night were well advanced. 14 teams were confirmed, with a CUOSC team taking part. Prizes were in hand. Mike outlined an idea he had for the Fun Day in the summer. The date of the Fun Day was yet to be confirmed, but was expected to take place in July as usual.
Another food bank collection was being organised for Saturday's surgery. We had some young volunteers lined up to help.
10/04/17: Checkatrade Trophy Survey Results
CUOSC in conjunction with the football club recently ran a survey into the future of the Checkatrade Trophy.
Today we publish the results which include a summary and individual responses to questions. These results will be fed back to the Football League this month as part of their follow-up process. Links are all below:
CUSG Meeting 27.03.17 - East Stand Offices Brunton Park
Attendance - Simon Clarkson (Chair) (London Branch), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), John Ireland (West Cumbria Travel)
Two small changes were requested to the minutes of the February meeting - Ex-players had not taken part in the Keith Curle event prior to the Leyton Orient match, and only one London Branch member had raised questions about the composition of reps at recent meetings.
Sunset Suite - Nigel reported a budget was being put together by the club with the support of local firms and club sponsors, for the refurbishment. The funding gap was coming down, but collective fundraising by CUSG groups might still be needed. The London Branch would consider donating towards this. Nigel circulated a draft survey about the Sunset refurbishment for comments from the groups represented.
Scoreboard - The receiver inside the scoreboard had been identified as the main problem. A local engineer had attempted a fix but this had only worked temporarily. An engineer from Ireland was due to attend in early April to provide a permanent fix to the outstanding fault.
Nigel wanted to ensure non-affiliated supporters were represented within CUSG. The unofficial messageboard, cumbrians.net, had been invited to be represented but declined. Some within the London Branch had argued for the recently formed protest group to be properly represented within CUSG. It was discussed if CUSG should have an account on cumbrians.net, but felt best that reps who use it and social media should bring issues raised to CUSG meetings, rather than just issues raised by the various groups and their members.
There was a discussion about recent developments, including the rejection of the proposal from the Potential Overseas Investor (POI) and announcement of a new secured loan facility from Edinburgh Woollen Mill (EWM). A discussion was held over the Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) signed by the club's main shareholders, the majority shareholders. Nigel C said they had signed an NDA in February. CUOSC reps said they had signed a separate NDA that was open-ended (no expiry date). Keith asked if CUOSC, now they had been granted a seat on the Holdings board, might be asked to provide 25.4% of the club's financial shortfall. John Kukuc said CUOSC had discussed this very possibility. It was not a pre-requisite in any case for the seat on the board. Nigel C said he had given an extensive interview to John Colman which was being published over several days this week in the local paper covering the POI process.
Regarding previous negotiations with EWM - Nigel noted that there was no exclusivity granted to the POI. The facility from EWM was not provided to pay off the Pioneer loan. This had been listed in the latest Pioneer accounts as 'Due within one year' with a deadline of April this year, but this was merely an accounting requirement (FRS 102) for interest-free loans and the loan was being gradually repaid through writing down of sponsorship deals and regular monthly repayments, in the same way and unchanged from previous years.
The club had received over 600 responses to its survey. The next meeting to discuss this was on April 11 which Nigel would attend on behalf of CUFC. Initial feedback had already been provided to the EFL - fans had shown more solidarity with the idea of involving National League clubs and had shown little support for the idea that young players were gaining valuable development experience through the inclusion of so-called 'B' teams or that the additional prize money was balanced by the changes to the competition.
Barry reported that work to upgrade the existing East Stand disabled fans shelter would commence this week. He agreed to take on the application for funds from the Premier League fans' fund. There had been a further complaint about dangerous parking arrangements for disabled supporters at the Portsmouth game. The club agreed to sort this out with the help of a dedicated steward, and agreed that the Head Steward would liaise with Barry over the matter. Matt Spooner would provide a quote for a 'bus shelter' for disabled supporters in the away enclosure in the Waterworks End.
The disabled fans group had now been properly constituted with five initial committee members, a bank account being set up, and request for funds made to Level Playing Field. CUSG would provide additional start-up funds. Application forms to join would be made available via the CUSG groups and the club ticket office. Barry put on record his thanks for support from CUSG, CUFC and local media. The group also acknowledged Barry's efforts to date and pledged its continuing support. The club's latest access audit was due to take place in April.
Simon reported £2340 in the bank account. £240 would come out to cover East Stand disabled facility upgrade.
Season Tickets 17-18
The club was discussing various possible schemes, including one adopted by Rochdale FC, but no final decision had been reached. The Rochdale scheme provided a discount based on how many season tickets were sold in total.
The tendering process for next season was underway and was being led by Phil King. Various options were being looked at.
The plan for a special CUSG award had had to be cancelled for this year due to arrangements for the Awards Dinner being finalised already but CUSG had been invited to present an existing award at this year's event. CUOSC had a Quiz Night organised for April 28. Plans for the summer Fun Day would be progressing once the season finished.
There were plans for a fans' forum to take place in May. The West Cumbrian group were keen on a forum to be held in West Cumbria, possibly before the start of next season. The club had organised an 'Open Doors Day' for April 11, which would be aimed primarily at younger supporters, during the Easter holiday. Tours of the ground and a public training session were scheduled.
Meeters and Greeters
Nigel D reiterated the need for more volunteers for this scheme. A free match ticket was available for all helpers and the experience gained would be a valuable addition to their CV. CUSG groups to advertise for volunteers.
Any Other Business
West Cumbria Travel members had complained about use of plastic glasses in the Sunset Suite. This was due to a broken glass washer. It was agreed that a new glass washer would be installed asap by the club and WCT generously offer to make a donation to the cost.
The club's AGM would be held on May 31 at 7pm (provisionally). The club's audited accounts were expected to be filed later this week.
Next meeting - to be organised for the first week in May.
17/03/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - March
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - March
Apologies came from Jim Mitchell who was on holiday.
Malcolm Nugent attended this meeting alongside Mike Rome. Mike stayed a short while to introduce himself and offer his services to help with IT. Malcolm was unanimously co-opted on to the board as an external director until the AGM. Malcolm has expertise in dealing with the media and PR and was considered a very valuable addition to the team.
Carol reported positively about a much-improved experience for our guests at the Cambridge match, who had been offered another meal in Foxys after problems with the catering the first time they attended.
The latest investment developments and the recent appointment of Billy Atkinson to the Holdings board were discussed. Billy had attended his first Holdings board meeting yesterday and reported back.
Alastair had requested an update on the preparation of last season's CUFC accounts. These were in advanced preparation and were expected to be ready soon.
On fundraising, the next Quiz Night had been arranged for April 28. Posters had been prepared by Mike and were ready to go out.
A question had been asked about our contribution towards the first team squad's stayover before the Plymouth match. This had been donated by a member of the board.
The plan for a members meeting was discussed again with target dates in April identified. This would be progressed.
23/02/17: CUSG Meeting Summary - February
Attendance - Simon Clarkson (London Branch-Chair), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans' Rep), Keith Ward (Scottish Supporter), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Keith Elliott (CUSAT), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC)
Strong pledges of support from Club commercial partners and sponsors have been generously received. The furniture planned to upgrade the Sunset was not to be 'gifted' and so a cash requirement was identified. The possibility of another 'crowdfunding' project was discussed but with two recent efforts, it was thought this would struggle. The idea of donors having their names on wallpaper or plaques was discussed. The money in CUSG's account was earmarked for helping disabled supporters, so could not be used. CUSG to consider ways to help bridge the cash gap.
The scoreboard still had an intermittent fault. It works but then stops without warning. An electrician had been contacted to see if a permanent fix could be made, as the cost of hiring specialist help from Ireland was prohibitive. It could not be established definitively if the fault stemmed from last season's floods.
A query was raised about season ticket holders being moved for Saturday's match against Portsmouth. Nigel said he had no information that this was likely to happen, but a system was in place if required. There was a possibility of opening the Waterworks if demand from Portsmouth justified it although this currently appears unlikely based on sales forecasts from Portsmouth.
Routine maintenance and repair issues were discussed and the Club agreed to fix them.
2. Awards Dinner
A plan was discussed for a new award to be presented by CUSG. The idea that had the most support was for an 'unsung hero' award to be initiated, with nominations from supporter groups. An idea for a 'home grown' player award was also discussed.
3. Investment Update
John Kukuc for CUOSC stated that the group had been more involved in recent discussions/negotiations, which had been very challenging. Jim Mitchell echoed these thoughts.
"In my view, in the last two or three weeks we have finally made significant headway in getting answers to our outstanding questions. I think CUOSC and the other shareholders have been able to dig deeper into the detail and gain more insight into the ideas and plans the investor has in mind. That has been most welcome for everybody and has brought us very close to being able to decide whether to do a deal or draw a line and move on."
A lengthy discussion followed about the issues with investment and some of the reasons for the time it has taken to get to this point. Nigel explained he thought communicating to supporters via the CUSG group was important to the club.
The group formally recognised the new disabled fans' group that Barry had set up. There had been several meetings already, and progress had been made.
The club's disability access audit was due to be renewed soon. The new group would be able to help with it.
Three different projects had been identified, two of which could be completed before the end of the season. 1- Covering of away disabled section at the Waterworks End. 2- Improvement and altering of disabled facilities at front of East Stand. 3- Extension and cover for existing Paddock facility. The last of these would be more expensive and involve more disruption so would need to wait until close season. Matt Spooner at World Group had agreed to provide materials free, so only labour costs would need to be met. Thanks recorded to World Group
The meeting approved expenditure of up to £500 to complete the first two projects.
The longer term aspiration to install a lift and introduce raised wheelchair access in the East Stand was discussed. This could qualify for external funding. Several sources for this had already been identified. The club would look into the costs and complexities of such a facility, pending an application for funds.
£350 had been raised via a raffle from the Legends Evening at the Old Fire Station. The balance at the bank was £2,340. A few pin badges remained unsold.
The former players evening at the Old Fire Station had been successful. Good feedback had been received. Another event was already pencilled in for September. Date to be arranged when next season's fixtures come out.
CUOSC had had to postpone the Race Night scheduled for February 10 because of a lack of advanced ticket sales. This was unfortunate because all races and horses had been sponsored. Future events like these need to be promoted with the assistance of CUSG groups. CUOSC had made tentative plans for another Quiz Night.
The Keith Curle evening prior to the Leyton Orient game had been well supported and well received. Ex players had been in attendance and took part in a 'Legends' match the following day. £265 was raised for the Great North Air Ambulance.
7. Club Song
Was being played before each home game over the PA system. Copies were being sold in the club shop.
8. Meeters and Greeters
Nigel Dickinson was happy to administer this. A bigger pool of volunteers would be needed. It was suggested that younger people could be targeted. Any voluntary work like this would boost their CV. A free match ticket would be provided for each helper. Over 18s only. Groups to put out further appeal for help.
9. Any Other Business
CUSAT enquired about sponsoring another player now that Mark Ellis had gone out on loan.
Keith Elliott on behalf of CUSAT asked for help from the club after Wycombe charged them £40 for parking two coaches at the weekend.
There was another complaint about the supporters bar at Wycombe not allowing visiting fans in. Nigel to take up these issues with Wycombe.
Nigel reported on the recent EFL meeting in Walsall he had attended. Feedback on the Checkatrade Trophy would be sought from fans. CUOSC to help with this via their members' survey. Rules on 'home promotion' special offers had also been looked at and were due to be made fairer.
It was clarified that CUFC are invitees to CUSG meetings. There had been questions raised about the composition of meetings by London Branch members. Nigel was the sole CUFC rep at this meeting. There would be further invitations to supporters to attend as individuals, if they didn't want to join any of the constituent groups.
Keith Ward attended this meeting and would arrange a get-together with Nigel to help establish a proper Scottish supporters group.
Jim reiterated that the crowdfunding money was available to support Keith Curle.
A question was asked about the fans' rep role, which had been discontinued this season. Nigel said at present he could not see what additional benefit that would now bring given the role of CUOSC and the development of CUSG. If there was new evidence it would bring something extra then it could be looked at.
23/02/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - February
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - February
There was a discussion about the latest investment position, the details of which remain confidential.
Progession had been made with CUFC sponsorship, reported Billy. Another match ball sponsorship and associate match sponsorship had taken place since the last meeting. The feedback from our guests continued to be positive, though there had been a problem with the catering at last night's game which would be taken up by Carol.
Lack of numbers meant last week's Race Night had had to be cancelled. This despite all races being sponsored and most horses being bought. We would plan to re-arrange at a later date.
The lotto push had stalled and a decision was taken to re-launch for the start of next season. It would be promoted via the membership renewal drive and at the annual fun day.
The crowdsourced player fund now exceeded £12k. The monies were being held for now, pending a decision by the club to sign another player before the end of the season.
The next CUSG Meeting was scheduled for February 20, which Alastair and Jim were planning to attend.
Mike had made contact with Derek Mountfield about plans for a potential fund-raising match for Tony Hopper. A number of ex-players were already lined up to take part.
The club had requested feedback about plans for the Checkatrade Trophy. This to be the subject of our next fans' survey.
Jim had received a query about the CUFC Holdings board position and would reply on behalf of the board.
A problem with the website had been corrected and it was now up to date.
20/01/17: CUSG Meeting Summary - January
CUSG Meeting Jan 9 Brunton Park
Attendance: Simon Clarkson (London Branch), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Andy Hall (CUFC), Amy Nixon (CUFC), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Phil King (CUFC), Kate Rowley (CUSAT), John Ireland (West Cumbria), Billy Atkinson (CUOSC), Carol Wilson (CUOSC), Barry Carter (Disabled fans rep)
After discussion it was decided that apologies would be recorded on the minutes
1. Ground refurbishments - Sunset Suite
The plans were ongoing. The majority of the equipment had been earmarked for donation by local firms. A fundraising plan would be needed. West Cumbria Travel indicated they'd be able to pay for a new television. CUOSC would put together a survey to seek fans' opinions on the most popular ideas for refurbishment. Nigel said it would be a big 'statement' for CUSG to help fund the revamp.
2. Trading Name
Several ideas for a new trading name for the CUSG had been discussed. After a further discussion, it was decided to remain with Carlisle United Supporters Groups as the name. A twitter account would be set up by Simon.
3. Investment Update
Nigel indicated the club were awaiting a further visit by the overseas investor. Christmas/New Year had interrupted the process.
4. Disabled Supporters
The safety and advisory committee of the council were happy with the plans for an upgrade to the Paddock North facility. Formal approval was still awaited, however. World Group had agreed to provide most of the equipment. There was a funding gap to cover labour costs. The Football Foundation grant was likely to help cover this and other sources of funding such as Level Playing Field and the Wembley Stadium fund could be sought.
A further disabled supporters group meeting was planned for January 28 - this would happen at the same time as the next CUOSC surgery in the Study Centre. This meeting will be advertised via official club website and CUOSC weekly briefing.
Barry thanked the club for moving the PO Box on the East Stand as it hindered wheelchair access. He advised that bigger signage was ideally needed.
Kate complained that the side door exits on the East Stand were closed until after the game was over. She and other disabled supporters could not exit through them if they left early and faced a lengthy detour. This would be raised with stewards to correct.
Michelle's report showed £1,990 in the bank account. We had no current liabilities
Feedback from the Fans Zone marquee used before the Yeovil game was rather mixed. The marquee had been relatively busy but a smaller number of season ticket holders had taken advantage of the free drink offer than had been hoped. Barry and a colleague had helped out with distributing vouchers in the Study Centre. About 150 people had taken up the offer. Some fans apparently didn't know where the Study Centre was, causing a few problems. Despite these problems Phil indicated the club would be willing to do it again, but needed a big game with a big crowd to justify it.
The CUFC Legends event on Friday in The Old Fire Station was now a sell-out. Capacity was in the 200-250 range. CUSG would benefit from raffle ticket sales. There had been some reports of forged tickets being sold - due to high demand.
A former players' association was in the process of being set up. Fundraising would be needed to help get it off the ground.
CUOSC organising a Race Night for February 10. CUOSC were also sponsoring more match balls and doing an associate match sponsorship.
The London Branch were putting on a networking event the night before the Leyton Orient game, which Keith Curle had agreed to attend. The weekend would also include a match between a Legends XI and a London Branch team, and a walking football match.
7. Club Song
The song had been digitally re-mastered and was now ready. Discs were ready to burn and club had agreed to help sell it. The title of the song was 'The Cumbrians'. It would also be available for download. Radio Cumbria had agreed to play it.
8. Code of Practice
The club had submitted a code of best practice as recommended by Kick It Out and were awaiting a response. This would be shared with CUSG and would be fan-driven.
9. Any Other Business
The scoreboard and clock had been damaged in the floods. Its performance had become erratic. It was suggested that the club look to replace it. Costs were potentially high at £15k-£20k. Phil suggested there could be ways to finance via advertising. Engineers from Ireland would be needed to properly fix the existing scoreboard.
It was agreed that Phil would provide some costings for a new scoreboard and that this would be available for the next meeting. One revenue avenue would be for CUSG to make application to several funding streams available to supporters groups.
A complaint was received about the Paddock South toilets. There was no paper in the dispensers and the hand dryers were blowing cold air out.
Phil said he welcomed input about next season's kit design and colours.
Coca-Cola was being sold in 2 litre bottles in the bars with no draught system in place. Issues with draft soda system replacement due to cost versus volume sold, however the Club is speaking to an alternative supplier and are confident of having new system installed shortly.
The next meeting would take place in the East Stand offices at 6pm on February 20.
15/01/17: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - January
Apologies received from Nigel Davidson and Jim Mitchell.
The minutes of the last meeting were discussed and accepted.
On investment, Billy Atkinson brought board members up to date with latest developmeents. John Kukuc had put out a new year's message touching on the investment scenarios. He had had some feedback from London Branch members who were concerned about a 'fait accompli' for overseas investment. This was not the case and John had replied to explain the circumstances as best he could. There was a CUFC board meeting next week where progress towards a solution would be discussed.
On fund-raising, we had yet to acquire enough Lotto players to launch the gama, but we had a decent base to build on and would launch as soon as we could. Next fans' surgery is January 28, when potential players could sign up. Carol was making good progress with the Race Night, set for February 10. Race sponsors were being sought and Norman undertook to speak to some of his contacts. £25 per race. Horses would cost £5 each to buy.
Our guests at the match on Monday reported back positively about the hospitality they received. This was the second match ball sponsorship this season and the feedback from our guests had been very positive on both occasions.
Alastair would attend Monday's CUSG Meeting at Brunton Park. Billy or Mike were likely to attend, as John was unavailable.
The rest of this season's sponsorship was still to finalise. Billy and Carol were due to meet Phil King this month to discuss the arrangements.
Membership had reached approximately 560 with new members joining this week.
Next catch-up meeting due in three weeks.
09/12/16: CUSG Meeting Summary - December
CUSG Meeting Summary - December 1
Attendance: Nigel Clibbens, Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Phil King (CUFC), Jim Mitchell, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Simon Clarkson (Chair- London Branch), Barry Carter (Disabled Rep)
Apologies: John Kukuc (CUOSC)
Not represented: CUSAT, West Cumbria Travel
The bulk of staff had re-located to the first floor of the East Stand, which had been fitted out but was still lacking some furniture. It was considered a better working environment.
Plans to redecorate and refurbish the Sunset Suite had been discussed internally. The club's plan was to kit it out where possible using commercial partners who would provide the bulk of the work at no cost. Furniture would still require funding, however. Toilets and corridors would also be upgraded as part of the plan. An idea for supporters to operate a 'bottle bar' were discussed. Volunteer staff might be needed in any case. Groups would continue to be consulted over these plans. CUOSC offered to survey their members over potential refurbishment options. Survey questions/options to be agreed with club first.
The issue of home and away flags & banners was discussed. At the moment away flags/banners were only allowed to be draped in the Waterworks End. The club said they would enquire about the possibility of moving away flags/banners to the East Stand.
2. Trading Name
Due to the absence of two groups, a decision on this was deferred. The two groups represented gave their preferences from the shortlist.
3. Fun Day 2017
There were no specific new ideas for this. There was enthusiasm for live music in a beer tent, and for tours of the stadium. Access to the pitch would be unavailable. Any training session by the first team squad would need tighter management than last year. CUOSC again offered to seek ideas via its regular members survey.
4. Investment Update
Nigel updated the group briefly. The overseas investor option was still 'live'. There was no overall deadline for the proposals but each part of it was being managed to ensure progress was made. There had been two visits by the overseas individual and separate talks with his agent. CUOSC remained very closely involved with each stage.
Plans were advanced to provide a marquee for the Yeovil game on December 17. Heineken had agreed to install the bar and provide the drinks. Season ticket holders would qualify for a free pint (or soft drink) of their choice. Club's caterers will provide a food outlet. A couple of potential live bands were being negotiated with. Ex-players would be available, and some volunteers needed to hand out vouchers for free drinks. The tent would be open from 12-12.30 onwards. The capacity of the tent would be 250. The plan was to open pre-match only, but it was still possible to open up afterwards. Further advice to be sought on this.
The CUFC Legends event in January had now sold out. Further meetings would be needed to sort out the logistics and volunteers would be sought on the night.
6. Disabled facilities
The next meeting to discuss this project was to be held on Monday at 2pm. The council had now been consulted over potential planning issues, and safety regulations. Matt Spooner at World Group had offered ideas for modifications. Funding for labour only would be needed. The Fans' Fund grant of up to £10,000 was still in play, and could be used to fund the work. All available forms to apply for this were online. Funds from Level Playing Field were also potentially available.
A surgery for disabled fans this weekend would canvass views on a new disabled supporters group. The club had already changed its policy on tickets for carers after a complaint had been made. This would increase the eligibility for carer tickets.
A bank account in CUSG's name had now been opened with the Cumberland Building Society. A formal donation out of CUSG's funds had been made. This had allowed the club to purchase Go Pro cameras. These cameras had already been put to good use in producing content for the club's website. Nigel proposed that all content produced with the Go Pro equipment would have a 'Brought to you by the CUSG (or new trading name)' message included, in future.
8. Club Song
Junior Blues had helped Peter Scholes to record the chorus of the new club song. A CD of it would be available soon and would go on sale in the club shop. The price was estimated at £3 per CD.
An idea was put forward by Simon on behalf of the London Branch to transport an 'object' (possibly a cuddly 'Olga' toy?) from Carlisle to Exeter in time for the end of season fixture. This would be relayed from supporter to supporter via different modes of transport. Associated fund-raising would benefit the Great North Air Ambulance, who both the club and CUOSC were supporting as a partner charity.
09/12/16: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - November
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - November 30
Apologies were received from Nigel Davidson and John Kukuc.
In John's absence the meeting was chaired by Mike Denovellis.
There had been a positive response to The Quiz Night which had raised over £400 in total.
The various options for investment were discussed again at length. Progress had been made, with CUOSC reps fully involved and proactive. Progress had been relatively slow but its pace was now quickening somewhat with further meetings expected to take place over the next couple of weeks. CUSG reps would get a brief update tomorrow night at the next CUSG meeting.
A potential new board member had yet to be sounded out. There was a vacancy for a specific role which for the time being was covered by existing board members. The importance of attracting younger board members and female representation was raised by the secretary.
The bonus ball lotto would be launched asap, alongside the new e-members category. E-members would get free membership without the usual benefits or voting rights. They would receive regular weekly briefings and other updates via email, and would be consulted via the regular e-surveys. Lottery balls would be sold at £2 per ball per week, with a minimum of 10 weeks for each player. Minimum of 45 balls sold before first draw takes place and a 'rollover' if the bonus ball is not taken.
The next fans' surgery would take place on January 28.
Outstanding CUSG matters were discussed, including a trading name for the group and the issue of carers for disabled supporters and the club's policy on this.
The next catch-up meeting (not a full board meeting) was re-arranged for December 20 at Upperby.
Next full board meeting scheduled for Upperby on January 4.
05/11/16: Board Meeting Summary - October
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - October 2016
Apologies were received from Nigel Davidson.
The present state of investment negotiations was discussed at length. A further meeting had been organised for tomorrow (October 27) which Jim Mitchell, Billy Atkinson and John Kukuc would attend on our behalf. We would be meeting our legal advisor on Friday. Members would be updated as and when the situation changes.
Our sponsorship package with the club had been agreed in principle. We were sponsoring the match ball on Saturday. A draw being carried out on social media would give two places to members as part of the hospitality on the day. They could each bring a guest.
Ideas for e-membership and corporate members were discussed. E-members was a straightforward option for people to join for free and get access to electronic updates only, without voting rights or full member benefits. Mike and Alastair Woodcock would progress this, alongside planned re-design of the CUOSC website.
Norman Steel and Frank Beattie had made progress with the corporate membership plan and several ideas had been developed. Next meeting to provide a further update.
Plans for the Quiz Night in November were well advanced. A quizmaster had been sourced. Raffle prizes were in hand, including a football signed by the Liverpool team of the 1980s. Several teams had already signed up.
Alastair summarised the CUSG meeting which had taken place last week. A new trading name for the CUSG was discussed.
Frank reported on the Supporters Direct meeting in Manchester that he and Jim had attended last week. Frank had also been interviewed by Border TV earlier this week on behalf of us, as part of coverage of the club's record unbeaten start to the season.
Next meeting at Upperby on November 30.
05/11/16: CUSG Meeting Summary - October
October 20, 2016 - Sponsor's Lounge, Brunton Park
Attendance: Nigel Clibbens, Andy Hall, Amy Nixon, Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Jim Mitchell (CUOSC), Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC/Acting Secretary), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Simon Clarkson (London Branch/Chairman), John Ireland (Route 66), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Michelle Hall (Treasurer)
The handover of the East Stand offices was to take place this coming Tuesday. The ticket office would move to the East Stand on weekdays. Match day tickets would still be sold from existing location in West Stand. There were three meeting rooms in the East Stand. Plans to revamp the Sunset Suite were in progress. The group was asked to consult their members over potential upgrades, including the use of memorabilia, club shirts, etc. The Business Club would be approached to help with supply of new equipment. CUOSC to include this in a future survey of members. Simon and Nigel Clibbens to liaise on the co-ordination and funding of this project.
Fun Day 2017
Simon, Suzanne Kidd and Tarn Simmonds had already had a meeting about planning for this event. The group was to be consulted about the type of things they would like to see at this event. An initial idea from Jim was for live music to be laid on. Tours of the ground would again be possible, after restoration was complete. Groups were asked to come up with three ideas each in time for the next meeting.
Nigel reported on the latest situation. A meeting at short notice had been held with the potential investor from overseas. The club had requested more info from him and had been supplied with it. The club were keeping in touch and discussions were ongoing. The recently announced re-organisation of the club's boards was linked to the investment negotiations. Jim stated that CUOSC, as second largest shareholder, was attempting to be as constructive as possible.
Simon, Barry and Andy had met to discuss the position. A page had been created on the club's website for a proper disabled supporters' group. A meeting would be organised to take place before the next CUSG meeting. The study centre was identified as a suitable location for this meeting, to be held on a match day. Matt Spooner from World Group had been consulted about glass/perspex coverings for disabled shelters. Colin Carter had been asked to look into required upgrades to toilet facilities for disabled fans. The plan to provide audio commentary facilities had been scrapped for the time being after consultation.
The process of establishing a bank account for the group was ongoing. Michelle Hall had been appointed as treasurer. Simon reported about 100 PIN badges remained unsold. With the plan to finance the purchase of audio commentary equipment scrapped, the focus had moved on to Go Pro cameras for the media department. The media team already produced more video content for the website than almost any other English club. Go Pro produced small cameras that could go almost anywhere and be used to record content from the training ground and potentially inside the changing rooms. Two quotes had been acquired. CUSG would seek to make a donation to the club to enable them to purchase the cameras. Simon and Andy were liaising on this.
Plans to put a marquee in the car park for the Crawley game had had to be scrapped. However plans were afoot to provide a marquee for the last home game before Christmas versus Yeovil on December 17. Plans were advanced to mark the launch of this year's British Legion poppy appeal at the game with Crawley on October 29. John had organised a group of about 20 former King's Own Royal Border Regiment soldiers, who would attend the game as guests of the club. Plans were in place to form a guard of honour before the kick off and for one of them to bring the match ball out to the centre spot. The soldiers were organising a plaque for the club.
Plans for an event featuring ex players in the New Year had been announced. This had been set up as a result of co-operation between the club and Stephen Dunn of the Old Fire Station, which would act as venue. Derek Mountfield, Chris Lumsdon, Hughie McIlmoyle and John Halpin were all confirmed attendees. The group were told of Paul Simpson's attendance, which would be announced later through the media. The capacity for this event would be 160, which would be 'CUSG badged'. The ex-players would also be available for the following day's match v Morecambe.
The group were played the planned club song, that had been promoted to the club by Peter Scholes. A plan was discussed to get Junior Blues members to sing the chorus and record it. Simon would liaise with Peter over the setting up of this.
The group discussed ideas for a new trading name for CUSG. 'CUSG' was seen as another acronym and not very marketable. A short list was drawn up and the groups would be asked to select their preferred option in time for next meeting.
The Evening With Keith Curle organised by CUOSC was considered a success. £500 was raised, half of which would go to the Great North Air Ambulance. The London Branch were planning an event in London with Keith in February.
Simon raised concerns about communications with the club, some of which were going unanswered. Nigel asked to be copied in to any emails sent to club personnel so he could personally follow up.
CUOSC were holding a Quiz Night on November 18. The club planned to enter at least one team. Proceeds would again be split 50:50 with the GNAA.
It was agreed that CUSG should have a Facebook and Twitter presence to promote their work.
The 'happy hour' put on for the Hartlepool game had not been greatly supported, despite good promotion.
The incident in the East Stand at the Hartlepool game was discussed. A supporter had suffered an injury in an altercation with a member of the Response Team. The matter was being dealt with. Coverage of it was expected in the local media.
20/10/16: Quiz Night Announced
Following the success of last weeks 'Evening with Keith Curle', which raised nearly £250 for our charity partner, the Great North Air Ambulance, CUOSC are pleased to announce we will be hosting a Quiz Night next month.
The event will be held on Friday 18th November in the Sunset Suite at Brunton Park (8pm to 10pm - doors open at 7:30pm).
Fans will be able to pit their wits against each other answering a range of general knowledge questions, including picture and music rounds, with some fantastic prizes on offer.
Tickets are available now and are priced at £10 per team, with a maximum of 4 per team. There is a £1 discount per CUOSC member. All tickets must be purchased in advance.
There will be a bar open and a raffle taking place on the evening. 50% of all profits from the evening will be donated to CUOSC's charity partner, the Great North Air Ambulance.
To enter a team, please contact us via the following methods:
+ by email to firstname.lastname@example.org
+ by telephone to 07999 737390
05/10/16: Board Meeting Summary - September
Venue: Upperby Community Development Centre
Apologies were received from Jim Mitchell.
Billy reported from the recent 1921 Board Meeting which he had attended in Jim's absence. Billy was made to feel welcome and was impressed by the amount of information made available. Most of the matters discussed were of a highly confidential nature.
Discussions with the club about re-commencing talks about investment and our position on the Holdings board were at an exploratory stage only.
The possibility of CUOSC converting to charitable status was discussed at length with information collected by both Nigel and Alastair. Further advice from Supporters Direct would need to be sought.
The plans for fund-raising events this year were discussed, alongside the budget available for administering them. The evening with Keith Curle was on track and tickets were almost ready to go out. We had a football and two signed shirts for the raffle. Tickets would be sold at the next surgery on October 1. Comfortable capacity for the Sunset Suite was 85 but we would seek clarity on the safety limit. Plans to launch a members lotto game were in hand, with a license purchased from the local council. The scheme to re-introduce corporate membership was in its infancy but was being progressed by Norman and Frank.
Sponsorship of CUFC Ladies had been agreed in principle with Jamie Grubb. This would be publicised via the club as soon as possible.
New membership cards were in production. They would contain bar codes and would be permanent. Checking for elapsed memberships would not need to start until next year. SP Training were sponsoring the cards and had an advert on the reverse side. We had a plan to begin distributing them at the surgery on October 1.
The Whole Game Solution proposed by the Football League was discussed. It was believed to have little support within the game. Clubs could be as much against it as fans. Supporters Direct were more concerned about it as a long-term issue than the current issues with the EFL Trophy. Our members were currently being surveyed about it online.
The situation with Jacqui Forster of Supporters Direct was briefly explained. She had terminal cancer but was about to have her sick pay cut by her employer. A page had been set up on justgiving to support her and we would publicise this.
Norman was hoping to sell a stack of old programmes donated to CUOSC in order to raise funds.
Next meeting - October 26 (Upperby)
26/09/16: CUFC Ladies' Sponsorship Announced
Carlisle United Official Supporters Club are proud to announce their sponsorship of Carlisle United Ladies FC player Georgia Smethurst for the 2016/17 season
We will also be sponsoring the League Cup Round 1 game vs Academy Juniors on Sunday 23rd October (2pm kick off) at Creighton
We are looking forward to extending our player sponsorship into the Ladies Team and wish the ladies well for the season
CUOSC will also be sponsoring Jabo Ibehre again this season and wish him and the first team all the best for the 2016/17 season
26/09/16: An Evening With Keith Curle
CUOSC have announced 'An Evening With Keith Curle' which will take place on Thursday, October 13 in The Sunset Suite in Brunton Park.
Tickets are available now priced at £3 for members and £5 for non-members.
The event runs from 7pm to 9pm and doors will be open from 6.30pm. There will be a bar open and a raffle will be held. 50% of all funds raised go to our newly-announced charity partner, The Great North Air Ambulance.
To book tickets please contact CUOSC via the following:
At the Fans Surgery on Saturday 1st October, prior to the Colchester game. Venue : Study Centre (next to club shop)
Alternatively, to pay for your tickets online, please contact email@example.com or 07999 737390 and we will explain how to pay and make arrangements to get the tickets to you
Supporters wishing to table questions in advance can do so via email to firstname.lastname@example.org - please title your email 'Questions for Keith Curle'
16/09/16: CUOSC announce charity partner
CUOSC are proud to announce our charity partner for the coming season will be The Great North Air Ambulance.
The charity runs three helicopters from its two bases in the North of England, including one near Langwathby in Cumbria. The Cumbria-based helicopter, is called 'The Pride of Cumbria' and has been in service since 2010. The GNAA requires £4.5m of funding every year to stay in service.
CUOSC will seek to split revenues from all its main activities this season 50:50 with this great local charity. To find out more about the vital work they carry out, and how you can offer help, visit their website - GreatNorthAirAmbulance.co.uk
16/09/16: CUSG Meeting Summary - September
Venue - Sponsor's Lounge, Brunton Park
In attendance - Nigel Clibbens, Andy Hall, Amy Nixon (CUFC), John Kukuc, Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Simon Clarkson (London Branch), John Ireland, Steven (West Cumbria Travel), Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep)
Apologies - Norman Steel (CUOSC), Nigel Dickinson, Suzanne Kidd, Phil King (CUFC), Kate Rowley, Ali Ross (CUSAT)
As per the arrangements agreed at the last meeting, Simon from the London Branch chaired the meeting. He would undertake this role for the first third of the season, before handing over to a representative of one of the other groups that make up CUSG.
CUSG required a separate bank account to be set up in our own name. This required us to produce a formal constitution. Simon had drafted a document based on template provided by the bank that had various edits suggested. This was discussed at length, with the aim of producing a final version within a week or so, to be published online.
ACTION: Simon to amend and circulate, and produce final version.
Final version of the CUSG Constitution can be downloaded from HERE
Brunton Park restoration
Nigel reported that the restoration was now into its final stages. The Neil Centre had been fully functional for six weeks. The Study Centre had re-opened four days ago. The West Stand was 95% restored. The new offices in the East Stand would take another 3-4 weeks to fully kit out. There was a snag with the Media centre and Press box as they still needed connection to ISDN/BT lines which were reliant on work by BTOpenreach. The club had been waiting for 3 weeks for this work to be completed and had no completion date.
Three food kiosks were almost ready but were unlikely to be open in time for Saturday's match against Leyton Orient. The portakabins had not been used in 3-4 weeks but were still to be removed.
Nigel indicated a priority for the club was the refurbishment of the undamaged Sunset Suite, (plan made before the flood). Ideas for the placement of memorabilia were discussed, as were ideas for CUSG's constituent groups to promote themselves.
ACTION: Refurbishment of Sunset to be discussed at length in next meeting with Phil's return.
Fun Day 2017
Advance planning for next year's event was discussed. CUSG wished to offer any support it could to build on its success. It was agreed a working group should be formed to plan and work with external parties. Suzanne was lead for this at CUFC last year. CUSG to offer any help they could in the planning stages.
ACTION: Creation of working group in time for next meeting and report back on progress.
Investment/ Blue Yonder
Nigel said a forthcoming board meeting on September 15 would discuss this. An annoucement concerning investment was expected soon after that meeting.
There was nothing further to report on Blue Yonder. The 'lock-in' agreement the club had with a developer was soon to expire.
ACTION: Club to announce any updates to supporters in due course.
Disabled Supporters Group/ Disabled Facilities
Barry had been promised 'back up' in his role as disabled fans rep on the CUSG. The idea was to identify various groups he could consult with on matters relating to disabled supporters. A group of deaf supporters and a power wheelchair group had been identified and Barry would be put in touch with them both. A general appeal would also be made for any disabled supporter or group to contact Barry. This would help Barry to be more representative. Nigel Dickinson was identified as main Disabled Liaison Officer for the club. Tarn Simmonds was backing him up from the ticket office. The Community Sports Trust had more potential contacts.
Barry had carried out a comprehensive survey on the state of the ground as it stands for access to disabled supporters. He summarised this for the benefit of the group. A discussion on the facilities and issues and options was held.
ACTION: Barry to liaise with Nigel Dickinson over options to improve the matchday experience and facilities and priority of upgrades. Specific plans needed to progress Fans Fund application.
A £500 donation to the Flood Appeal had been handed over at the Plymouth match. There was £3,000 in the bank at present. 50 or so pin badges remained unsold. The group required a treasurer.
ACTION: Groups to advertise for the position of treasurer.
Commentary equipment for visually impaired supporters
Andy suggested that external funding could now be sought for this project. He was progressing this option with Simon and the help of the Community Sports Trust. Paperwork was under way. He expected to have an update by the end of the week.
Questions were asked about the next forum. Nigel said it was club policy to hold them. CUOSC were organising an event for next month.
Fans' Zone Marquee
Nigel was hoping to lay on another marquee for a forthcoming game. The group discussed the possibility of targetting the Crawley match on October 29. The King's Own Border Regiment would be available for that day. The idea to make the game into a form of 'military day' was expanded upon. This idea would require further discussion and planning. John was identified as a key contact for progressing this within CUSG.
Any Other Business
The following issues were raised:
Club rep to pop into away fans coach to acknowledge travelling support.
PA system - still not ideal and needs improvement. Suggestion that it was too loud in the East Stand. Club to work on this.
Drinks prices - Nigel had sourced an explanation from caterers. Basic price of £3.20 a pint held for three years. Prices in Beehive - £2.90 (Fosters) and Rugby Club - £2.70 undercut CUFC's.
Scoreboard - had not been working in second half of Accrington match. Club said anyone close by could operate it. Volunteer(s) to be sought.
TVs - Complaints about lack of live TV games being shown in bars. Club's policy is to show live matches and this will be sorted.
A shirt sponsor for the CUFC Ladies Team was being sought, and progress had been made.
Complaints that first people to buy away tickets were being sat at back of stands. Club said it had no control the order, it was given tickets. General policy of many clubs was to sell from the back first.
An idea for a CUFC club song had been put forward by a supporter. Andy to contact him about progressing it.
Xbox controllers in the Family Zone had gone missing. Club were sorting this out.
London Branch were in the process of commissioning a flag for the Waterworks End. There were still occasionly more away flags than CUFC ones in that part of ground.
Nigel requested on behalf of the club that the groups promote the match programme and Golden Gamble.
Club requested more supporters with First Aid at Work certificates to make themselves known, due to a shortage of first aiders on match days. People volunteering for this would get paid.
A 'trading name' for CUSG was to be considered. 'CUSG' was not considered 'marketable'. To further discuss at next meeting.
Next meeting - in week commencing October 10.
06/09/16: Match Day Issues
Supporter queries raised with Carlisle United’s Chief Executive
Following Saturday’s home game versus Accrington Stanley, CUOSC received a number of concerns from supporters regarding issues experienced prior to, and during the game itself. Billy Atkinson, CUOSC’s alternate representative on the CUFC 1921 Ltd Board, raised the issues with Carlisle United Chief Executive, Nigel Clibbens. CUOSC would like to thank Nigel Clibbens for the speed with which he responded to the queries raised, and hope the feedback provided from supporters can help the club to improve the level of service provided on a match day.
Concern Raised: Supporters were in the Sunset Suite early on Saturday afternoon to watch the Peterborough v Swindon game live on Sky Sports. The TV’s were on a different channel, and despite asking the bar staff to do so, they advised they were unable to change the channel without the authority from the Football Club.
Club Response: The Sky channel should have been set to show the lunchtime kick-off game on Sky Sports and then been switched to Sky Sports News after it finished. The original setting was wrong. On being alerted to the mistake in the bar, the message should have simply been passed through from the bar staff to relevant people to the get it changed over, rather than you describe it. Advice will be issued to ensure these mistakes don’t reoccur.
Concern Raised: The toilet facilities upstairs between the Sporting Inn and Sunset Suite were flooded pre-game. The issue was reported to bar staff, and stewards and whilst it was appreciated that it was not their responsibility, nobody was able or willing to report it to the responsible member of staff.
Club Response: Normal pre-match checks on Friday showed no faults; however, we suffered two plumbing issues in the Sunset Suite on Saturday. These issues can occur periodically. On Saturday morning early, we were alerted to one fault which could not be repaired and so water had to be turned off. The second issue which you refer to was not reported to us to deal with. This is disappointing. On being alerted to the fault, the message should have simply been passed through from the bar staff/steward to the get it changed over rather than you describe it. We have instructed repairs so the issues are rectified for the next home game.
Concern Raised: The price of refreshments in the club bars was questioned, and despite previous suggestions of drinks promotions and happy hours, there appeared to be no progress on this.
Club Response: The prices are set by No10 Catering. We have asked them to provide an explanation of the pricing.
Concern Raised: Supporters not getting served at half time in the Paddock bar until 3:55/4:00pm, and suggestions that there either needs to be additional members of staff or drinks poured in advance to help ease the initial surge at half-time.
Club Response: The expectation we operate with is that supporters will be able to purchase when they want. At half time it is busy but this is not a surprise. Your comments on lack of staff will be passed to No10 so they can ensure the staffing fits the needs of the bar. We have talked to No10 about pre-pouring but it appears this may not be acceptable to supporters. It is an area we will consult on with our Supporters Groups.
Concern Raised: The scoreboard stopped working again at half-time. Comments on whether it has actually worked for a full game so far this season.
Club Response: The Scoreboard is fully working and has been apart from the first game. On Saturday it operated fully in the first half. An operator mistake occurred in the second half which meant it didn’t work as it should. The circumstances of the mistake were unusual and I would not expect them to be repeated.
Additional Comments from Nigel Clibbens: I understand these items each undermine the match day experience but to suffer them all together is disappointing to us. We are taking steps constantly to try and do things right first time and on the occasions we do suffer problems, we then deal with them appropriately. Clearly on Saturday, in a number of areas we fell well short of our own standards. I apologise for the problems you have suffered and we will do our best to ensure we learn and do better in future.
228 completed the survey. Of these 129 were members and 99 non-members. 111 of the 129 members said they were planning to renew.
These responses came from the 111 who were members and said they were planning to renew.
Main Themes: More Communication - Get on radio more - Need to influence board/ hold them to account
Response from CUOSC:
"We need to start by laying the myth that the loan made by our former chair and board rep Norman Steel was in some way a pre-requisite for his holding of those positions. Norman was appointed as Chair of the then United Trust in March 2006 and became our club board rep in May of that year as part of a legal agreement with CUFC Holdings and then owner Fred Story. The loan was provided at the end of 2006. There was no connection and no agreement of any kind entered into regarding the loan and the allocation of these roles.
Some members feel we need to communicate more. We've touched on this issue in our previous responses. We have in the past couple of years added a regular News and Star article and weekly email updates to our members. We have become more active on social media and have recently hit 1,000 followers on Twitter. We have access to the matchday programme but for this season, we are having to rotate our regular article with others, so will not be in every programme. We would very much like to feature in every programme and will push for this to happen in future. We have a good relationship with Radio Cumbria and have been represented on their sports programmes more regularly in the past few years. The introduction this season of regular CUOSC surgeries on match days should provide an outlet for supporters to meet key board personnel such as the Chair John Kukuc and Board Rep Jim Mitchell. We will also be looking into holding forums and more meetings for members.
The need to influence the club's board and hold them to account is highlighted in this section. We believe with the introduction of more board members and our new board rep, the situation within the CUFC boardroom is changing and our role will necessarily change with it. We have developed a good working relationship with new Chief Executive Nigel Clibbens and this we feel will prove beneficial. Our board rep Jim Mitchell has a lot of experience in working with the Community Sports Trust and has a sound relationship with long-time club chairman Andrew Jenkins. We believe there is reason to hope we can exert positive influence in future. We recognise we do not (yet) have a guaranteed position on the soon-to-be revamped CUFC Holdings board. This issue is now very much a priority for us and we are currently in dialogue with the club over it.
It must be noted that some completing this survey intended to remain members as they were planning on renewing their season ticket. Our decision this summer was to discontinue free membership for season ticket holders. Time will tell how this will work out. It will mean a smaller membership but every member will be contributing financially. Already we have more members than we had last year before a significant boost in numbers brought out by the Liverpool League Cup draw. We are committed to increasing the size of our paid membership and will ensure their contributions go towards supporting the club and ensuring CUOSC is run in an efficient manner."
228 completed the survey. Of these 129 were members and 99 non-members. 111 of the 129 members said they were planning to renew.
These responses came from the 99 who are non-members
"I don't join because I live abroad", "Don't really know who CUOSC are", "Unrepresentative", "Self interest/ feathering their own nest etc"
Response from CUOSC :
"Online forms of paying - We've accepted PayPal since 2004. More people are using it now than ever before. More details on our website : How Do I Join?
People living abroad are not barred from joining and we have had, and continue to have, overseas members. You can join (and renew) via PayPal or bank transfer if other methods of payment are difficult for you. If you live overseas and are interested in joining, drop us a line and we can advise.
References to the London Branch. Some see the LB as serving their needs. The LB has been a stalwart supporter of the club since 1974. It has done a lot of good things for fans based in London and the South East and lays on a lot of social activities. However it is not a supporters' trust, does not own any shares and does not have a representative on the Board of directors. In a nutshell, the two organisations are not equivalent. There are many members of the London Branch who are also members of CUOSC and we work closely with the LB through our shared membership of CUSG. We do believe we could work even closer together and we could perhaps do more to utilise the London Branch in terms of recruiting and maintaining members from that part of the country. In short, membership of the London Branch should not be seen as a reason not to become a member of CUOSC at the same time.
If people are unsure/unaware of what CUOSC is all about, perhaps the best way is to come and talk to us. We'll be holding regular surgeries before home games this season, so come along and have a chat. Past experience shows that once you sit people down and explain things to them, they begin to see the purpose of what we do. We need to do more of this, and of course, we aim to do that this season.
We've had to live with claims about us being 'unrepresentative' since 2001, when we were formed. We are trying to be as representative as we can. The challenge we have is to attract and retain as many members as possible - this is very difficult when you are a part-time volunteer body. Being representative though, does not necessarily mean having thousands of members. A smaller body can be just as representative. We are striving to attract younger supporters, supporters living outside of the Carlisle area, as well as those who may not usually attend every game due to personal circumstances. Our aim is to be as inclusive as possible, and to be gender neutral.. We believe we have a healthy percentage of female members but we are not complacent about any of these issues. The more we can do to reach out to all areas of our supporter base, the better.
Disquiet about 'silence' or lack of updates about the potential overseas investor - Here we can only pass on any information we have and as we have made clear already, very little hard information has been made available to us. We were given very small amounts of information about his identity early on, and from then until earlier this month - virtually nothing else. Our new board rep has now been given the names of both the would-be investor and his agent, but demonstrable progress has still to be made and we are continuing to press the club to bring the matter to a swift conclusion, something they now appear keener to do than they have since the whole affair began. We remain committed to 'local' investment solutions, while also recognising that overseas investment, when available and appropriate, can also bring much-needed stability. We are convinced this will, in time, deliver a sounder financial platform for the club to operate from.
The claims that CUOSC Board members are in it for themselves are heard now and again and we can't do much to counter that view other than reiterate that there is no financial gain for any board member. Indeed most board members have contributed greatly towards CUOSC and the football club over the years, as have hundreds of our very generous members. There is no glory in being involved, but there is a different kind of reward for people who are prepared to give up considerable amounts of time and effort to volunteer. Ask any board member past or present, or volunteer. Nobody is in this for personal gain. The more people who are prepared to give up their time and help us, the better. We are always on the lookout for more people to help - so if you think you have the skills, and the experience, and want to help - come and talk to us."
Next up - 'Members Staying' Survey Results
24/08/16: August Board Meeting Summary
The new board gathered for the first meeting of the new season.
Carol Wilson was unanimously co-opted on to the board until the next AGM.
The board then unanimously appointed John Kukuc as chair, Mike Denovellis as vice-chair, Jim Mitchell as 1921 Board representative and Billy Atkinson as alternate director, a position that allows Billy to represent CUOSC at CUFC board meetings when Jim is unavailable.
John was invited to chair the meeting and described it as an honour. He praised the board for their contributions over the past 12 months.
Membership renewals and new memberships were coming in steadily. Mike, who had taken on responsibility for membership, circulated a paper with ideas for membership fees, structure and potential events. Jim laid out his plans to communicate with members and take up issues as high as board level, if necessary.
The possibility of CUOSC converting to a charitable trust was discussed. There were advantages to taking this step but it would need further discussion and advice.
John and Jim agreed to liaise on the issue of getting a permanent base at Brunton Park. The club had agreed in principle but we needed to provide specific detail on our requirements, such as Wi-Fi, telephone point and public access. Jim to advise Nigel Clibbens at their next meeting this week.
The plan to appoint a charity partner was discussed at length. It was agreed to go out to members to see who they would like to see as a charity partner for CUOSC.
The recent online supporters survey results would be released after the announcement of the new board positions.
Jim reported on his first board meeting. Evidence had been supplied of the existence of a potential overseas investor and an agent acting on his behalf. The club had subsequently written to the agent asking for demonstrable progress to be made and received a reasonably positive response. Jim undertook to request further information on this and to write to Nigel Clibbens suggesting strongly that CUOSC be represented at any meeting that takes place with the potential investor.
A plan was agreed to sponsor a match this season. Billy would negotiate with the club on our behalf. Board members contributions would fund this.
The board agreed that sponsorship of the CUFC Ladies Team was a positive idea. Billy was asked to discuss this further with Jamie Grubb.
We had acquired a sponsor for our new membership cards and Mike was progressing them. It would be now be more cost-effective, with a smaller membership to use an outside printing firm rather than acquire a new printer to do the job.
The survey results are being split into three parts to cover members who said they aren't planning to renew, members who are planning to renew, and non-members. Our thanks go to former board member Jason Hettrick who conducted the survey on our behalf earlier this year. Many thanks too to all those supporters who took the time to complete the survey. Your feedback is always most welcome.
Main themes - too secretive? Better communication - be more visible.
Response from CUOSC :
"We are naturally unhappy when people say they are not planning to renew their membership. Some of the comments in this batch of results from the survey suggest we are not communicating effectively enough and we take that on board. We can say we are communicating through more channels and more regularly than we have done. We have striven to get as many members on to our email list as communicating electronically is obviously less expensive and less time-consuming than through the post. We have made progress in that regard and we will continue to get more people signed up to that list.
We monitor traffic to our website and this has significantly increased since we completely revamped it in 2013. There is interest from a broad range of people from many parts of the world and via a mixture of devices. Mobile/ tablet access now exceeds traditional PC/laptop access, for instance. We made the site simpler to navigate and easier to use. We use our social media to drive people to the site to read updates and we also drive traffic to the site from our regular email updates. This strategy seems to be slowly bearing fruit, but we are open to any suggestions as to improvements. We have been looking into revamping the website again to make it easier to update and this will be something that will be a priority in the coming year. We are also hoping to produce a printed newsletter more regularly but the distribution costs means we are considering making it available to collect on match days rather than posting it out to individual members.
As to the visibility of board members, people will doubtless be aware we had a rather temporary 'match day presence' a couple of seasons ago when we made ourselves available to chat to supporters, answer questions, renew or sign up members, etc. That was outside the entrance to Legends and The Sporting Inn. We are currently in negotiations with the club and via our colleagues on the other supporter groups for a more permanent venue for match days. We have plans to sell memorabilia including old programmes as a money spinner and such a venue would also allow us to distribute flyers, newsletters and other material as well as provide a point for signing up and renewing memberships. The club have been receptive to the idea of us having a match day base and this is being looked into at present.
Obviously we are at the mercy of the restoration process at Brunton Park which is still ongoing. We do hope to maintain some form of match day presence throughout next season, as well as maintaining the Meeter and Greeter scheme which we launched last year."
Next up - Non-Members Survey Results
05/08/16: Board Meeting Summary - July
Apologies were received from Nigel Davidson, Lynda Johnston and Jason Hettrick.
Tommy Earl had indicated he would be stepping down from the board for at least a year. As this would potentially leave the Board one short of the required minimum numbers, Carol Wilson indicated she would be willing to be co-opted until next year's AGM. A final decision on this would be made after tomorrow's AGM. Don Beacock, Lynda and Jason had already said they intended to stand down from the date of the AGM.
Alastair reported on preparations for the AGM. 69 ballots had come in so far. An independent count had been made of the bulk of these at Dodd & Co. Those that had arrived after this count and those handed in at the AGM would be counted up and added to the tallies received from Dodd & Co to give a final total.
Norman confirmed to the Board his decision to stand down as Chair and 1921 Board Rep. He was given the OK to go ahead and chair the AGM.
There was discussion about possible questions to be asked during the AGM. There was a general agreement that communications had improved thanks to regular email briefings, social media updates, weekly newspaper column, progamme articles and the newsletter sent last year to all members. Don and Norman had gone through the financial statements so they could answer any queries about them.
The potential replacement for Norman as 1921 Board Rep was discussed. It was agreed to hold a separate meeting on August 3 or 4 before the next full board meeting to discuss a range of vacant roles - including the Board Rep, Chair, Vice-Chair and other roles and responsibilities. These could then be formally rubber-stamped at the first meeting after the AGM, as per the constitution. In the meantime, we had selected Jim Mitchell to attend the next 1921 Board meeting on August 1, as CUOSC representative.
The membership year was soon to end and the policy on season ticket holders was thrashed out. While some backed a continuation of the 'Opt Out' option with ST holders receiving free membership as a 'perk' (the club had indicated no opposition to this continuing) a consensus formed around switching to 'Opt In' with each member having to pay a fee to renew. It was agreed to put a renewal form in each season ticket pack, which would be going out in next 10 days or so. CUOSC volunteers would again help with this task.
New membership cards could be printed outside by a printing firm or we would acquire a specialist printer to do the job 'in house'. A majority backed the acquisition of a printer to print double-sided cards, complete with bar codes. This would be more cost-effective in the long run. Sponsorship would be sought to cover the costs and a sponsor's logo could appear on the back of the cards.
Jabo Ibehre would once again be our sponsored player for the coming season. There was enthusiasm about re-joining Business Club for this season. This could be a route to re-starting a corporate membership option. Jim would be representing CUOSC at the upcoming fans' forum on August 2. The fresh application to the Fans' Fund was in hand and was being progressed.
Next board meeting was provisionally booked for August 13 at Upperby.
22/07/16: CUSG July Meeting Summary
CUSG Meeting Mon Jul 11 2016 Foxys
Attendance - Alastair Woodcock (CUOSC), Phil King (CUFC), Norman Steel (CUOSC), Simon Clarkson (LB), Ian Jardine (LB), Joanne Merrie (CUSAT), Ali Ross (CUSAT), Nigel Clibbens (CUFC), Nigel Dickinson (CUFC), Andy Hall (CUFC), John Kukuc (CUOSC), John Ireland (Route 66)
Apologies - Barry Carter (Disabled Fans Rep), Suzanne Kidd (CUFC), Kate Rowley (CUSAT)
Introduction of Nigel Clibbens
Nigel introduced himself to the group and talked about his involvement with a similar group at Huddersfield Town. He felt that group had worked well with their club. He said he planned to attend all the CUSG meetings.
Chairing of CUSG Meetings/ Attendance
It was suggested that it would demonstrate independence in the working of the CUSG if the club didn’t solely Chair the meeting. Phil had no objections to others chairing meetings. Nigel said he favoured an independent Chairman. It was agreed that each group would chair it for a rolling period, roughly quarterly. Nigel said he favoured a wide body of attendees to broaden the input with individual perspectives. Phil agreed to approach former candidates for the fans rep position to see if they would like to attend, as individuals rather than representatives of groups. The groups to decide among themselves who would chair future meetings and to provide agendas.
Nigel said he had no immediate plans to reinstate this position but would keep it under review. He felt that CUSG could fill the gap and that these meetings would provide a path way to the club's board. Nigel also recognised that going forward the Official Supporters Club retained a director on the 1921 board.
Update on progress towards restoring Brunton Park
Phil provided an update. He expected the portakabins in front of the West Stand would remain in place until late September. Admin staff were being moved to the East Stand which provided twice as much more floor space. Whilst the current changing rooms will stay put, the media room and press box will switch to the East Stand. The old media room will become the new sponsor's lounge. The boardroom will remain in its current location. Legends will remain as a hospitality area. All bars around the ground had now been renewed and restored with alchohol on draught again.
A location for supporters groups to operate from was discussed. The East Stand would not be an ideal location due to lack of foot fall on match days. There was more enthusiasm from supporter representatives for the use of the Study Centre which was free on match days. John for the West Cumbria/Route 66 group said he planned to house himself inside the Sunset Suite. Nigel asked for clarity of purpose and timescale with regard to these facilities, and pledged that the club would co-operate as much as possible. The club would also help to provide poster space for advertising CUSG and member group activities. Groups to continue to liaise with the club over match day outlet.
Barry's name had been added to the club's 'Level Playing Field' return in regard to providing better access for disabled supporters. The funds were now largely in place for acquiring the audio equipment for blind/partially sighted fans and several sources identified for procurement. Andy and Simon liaising over this. A contact was identified to progress the application for more funds from the Football Foundation. Fans' not club need to lead on this.
Enthusiasm for use of a marquee on match days was again expressed. The club would look into the feasibility of providing this, together with refreshments and a live band for home games, and report back. Provision of alcohol including real ale would be limited by the club's contract wih Heineken. There was a plan to look at a facility for the Plymouth Argyle match, with Argyle fans invited if it was viable.
Events and fundraising
Simon offered to lead on this item. Approximately 100 pin badges remained. £500 had been raised to go to the Cumbria flood appeal. Further donations had been raised by Route 66 and the London Branch. Norman was asked to arrange a cheque presentation at the Plymouth game with a rep from the Cumbria Community Foundation.
Questions were once again raised about investment, as well as the club's plans for its future home. Nigel said that the damage done by Storm Desmond was 'catastrophic' and with two major floods in a little over 10 years, this was a major challenge to the club. They were doing all they could to ensure any potential future damage would be minimised. With regard to where the club might end up, re Blue Yonder, were no easy answers long-term.
On investment he said that he believed that the club's majority shareholders wanted investment. CUOSC had clear legal rights as a 25.4% shareholder which must be respected. The Club and CUOSC were at the moment trying to agree a route forward but solicitors were now involved. Norman said that the other shareholders had yet to agree 'in entirety' that the SGM vote on the Lapping deal was a 'one off'. Nigel said the overseas investor had registered interest 7 months ago and was credible to him, based on information seen. There was also interest from local business people. The club's finances had been improved by player sales and cup windfalls, which had been used to boost the wage bill.
Any Other Business
Simon raised the issue of the £3 extra people had to pay when they paid on the day to attend a match. Nigel said there is a £3 discount on the match day price for advance purchase. At Huddersfield this discount had been tried and then changed. Other clubs have the same arrangement. Removing it could reduce income and would need to be funded, this may be needed from an owner. Each club is different.
Andy said he thought some negative opinions about the new team shirts would change when they were seen in the club shop.
The club saw the introduction of B Teams into the EFL Trophy (former Johnstones Paint Trophy) as a one year trial. They would see how it went before any further decisions would be made about it. Some present at the meeting said they intended to boycott these matches, others said they would still attend.
A question was asked about the previous day's Family Fun Day as it was thought the organisation may have been a bit 'last minute'. The club would hold a normal review of the event, as they did on many other matters, including the recent Rod Stewart concert. Any feedback from attenders would be welcome, if provided to Phil.
The date of the fans' forum was confirmed for August 2. This would be publicised through Radio Cumbria. The venue had not yet been finalised - either Sunset or Foxys.
Date of next meeting to be decided in due course.
08/07/16: June Board Meeting Summary
Apologies came from Nigel Davidson, Billy Atkinson, Jason Hettrick and Tommy Earl.
A meeting with Nigel Clibbens, new CEO of Carlisle United, preceded the main meeting. Nigel and the board had a frank and very honest discussion about the situation at the club and our future role in it. He was very enthusiastic about our role and we felt a decent start had been made on developing a constructive working relationship. Nigel has a lot of experience from his days at Huddersfield Town and nothing he had encountered to date at Brunton Park seemed to have surprised him.
The board then discussed the forthcoming AGM as there were some board members who wished to stand down and others who wanted to stand again. The deadline for deciding who was standing would be July 3. Potential new candidates to stand for the board were also discussed. Norman undertook to contact some names to see if they'd be interested. Alastair as secretary would advise on the main AGM procedure and would produce documentation and mailing labels.
The matchday presence for next season was discussed with a preference for being housed in the East Stand. The club had still to make any progress on replacing the damaged Football in Community trailer which had been earmarked for our use.
We had paid over the £10,000 from the Premier League Fans' fund to the club and were due to start the process of applying for a further £20,000 after consultation with the club.
The investment negotiations were at an impasse over a small issue which had yet to be resolved, but which didn't involve us directly. A joint statement had been drafted but could not go out until the outstanding matter had been settled.
The process for electing a new board rep to the 1921 Board was discussed at length. This would be actioned at a suitable time after the new board convened following the AGM. Alastair proposed that from now on, all season ticket holders be given membership free of charge on a permanent basis. They had been members for the past season, with an option to opt-out. This arrangement would require further discussion.
The Family Fun Day was due to be held on July 10 between 12.30pm and 4.30pm - we would have a presence as usual. Norman to arrange and seek volunteers.
Next board meeting due to be held on July 23.
18/05/16: Board Meeting Summary - May
Apologies were received from Jason Hettrick, Tommy Earl and Jim Mitchell.
Frank Beattie had been the one CUOSC representative at the End of Season Awards Night. Attendance was estimated to be down 100 or so on the usual numbers.
John Wilson at Baines Wilson had been consulted about the Holding Company's plan to issue 1m new shares. He had drafted a letter which the board read and discussed. A statement was being prepared by Frank which would be finalised over the next day or so and sent out to members and then the media and general public. It was agreed that there was a lack of detail and clarity in what the Holdings directors had told us to date, and on that basis, there was no way we could consider their offer or consult our membership, without taking further legal advice.
Alastair's recommendations as secretary concerning membership and the AGM had been circulated prior to the meeting. The plan to extend the membership year to July 31 was adopted unanimously. The process of electing the chair/vice-chair and the board representative was also discussed. Five board members were due to stand down this year and some people had already committed to standing again. Don offered to stand down. Carol and Billy needed more time to make their minds up. The membership would be approached to see who may want to stand for election to the Board at the AGM.
The April 21 CUFC 1921 board meeting was discussed. Fans rep Claire Winder had been criticised for allegedly breaching confidentiality in a programme article. It was noted that this was not minuted as it had been claimed this was not a formal part of the meeting. Claire subsequently resigned.
Other issues discussed included the caravan that would need replacing via the insurance for the December floods, our plan to introduce bar coded membership cards, which would now be put back until the new end of the membership year in July and Nigel's idea to introduce a monthly newsletter which would be deliverable via email to those members with that facility.
Next meeting was arranged for Wednesday June 22, 6pm at Upperby CDC.
13/04/16: Board Meeting Summary - April
Apologies were received from Don Beacock and Tommy Earl.
A meeting was held before the main board meeting with fans' representative Claire Winder.
The main item of business was investment and the 2006 shareholders' agreement. This agreement provides protection for CUOSC against dilution. As there had been no reply to our letter to Andrew Jenkins dated March 23, we planned to send a follow-up this week. A further update would be provided to members.
Details of season ticket prices had been published this week. These were discussed at length.
A Supporters Direct event about fund-raising at Bradford City FC had been cancelled. Plans to raise funds for the purchase of shares were to be put on hold for the time being. Other ideas for fund-raising were discussed, incluing a match featuring 'legends' at Brunton Park.
Regular reports to the board from those with defined roles and responsibilities would start with the next meeting. Nigel Davidson reported the next newsletter was almost ready. He was still seeking to interview a couple of players.
Jason Hettrick provided the board with a detailed analysis of the recent online supporter survey. 228 replies had been received, with the majority from CUOSC members but almost 100 non-members had also responded. The board would be given the chance to look at the results in more detail before we published the findings. Anyone leaving questions would get answers as soon as possible after that point.
A final decision on who would be standing again at this year's AGM would be taken at the next meeting. Five members were due to stand down this year.
Several board members expressed an interest in attending the End of Season Awards Dinner on May 8. Three board members were expected to attend the conference entitled 'Whose Club Is It ?' at Newcastle United on April 29. Nigel was preparing a presentation. Frank would also be attending.
29/03/16: CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - March 2016
CUOSC Board Meeting Summary - March 2016
Apologies were received from Jason Hettrick, Tommy Earl and Don Beacock.
The meeting began with tributes being paid to Dick Young, who had sadly passed away the day before.
A meeting had been arranged with Phil King and Suzanne Kidd on Wednesday where a number of matters would be raised.
The next scheduled CUFC board meeting had been postponed due to issues with the insurance claim. Norman undertook to put the current investment proposals on the agenda.
Norman had been interviewed on Radio Cumbria the previous week. The board felt he had made good, relevant points and was constructive. There had been further dialogue with Andrew Jenkins. A letter was being prepared to suggest a route forward. Plans for a major fundraising effort would be put into action this month - several board reps planned to attend a Supporters Direct event which will focus on fundraising at Bradford City on March 24.
Norman, Billy, Carol, Don and Jim were all due to stand down at this year's AGM as part of the 3-year cycle. Alastair as secretary proposed a fixed time period for the board rep position in future, with a qualifying period of one year on the board before a candidate could stand for the role. He would consult SD and report back at next meeting. Potential new board members would be sounded out in the meantime.
The funds applied for from the Football Fans' Fund would soon be in our bank account. A further £20,000 would be applied for.
Mike had progressed the plan for permanent membership cards with barcodes. These could be read by barcode scanners and checked against a cloud-based database of members and expiry dates. There was an extra cost involved but the board agreed to look at the available options and give their views accordingly. Mike to provide the details asap.
It was agreed to go with midweek meetings in future - the next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday April 6.
05/03/16: February 2016 CUSG Summary
Last month's CUSG meeting summary was quite long, so we have provided a document of it for you to download below:
It is with deep shock and regret that we learnt this morning of the passing of Dick Young. Dick was a founder of CUOSC back in 2001. As a director of CUFC Dick played an important role on the commercial side for many years. Deepest condolences to his family.
01/03/16: Members' Meeting Report - 26.02.16
Many thanks to all those who attended our Members' Meeting on Friday night in Foxy's. Members gathered to hear the latest news about the planned £2m investment into CUFC, and to ask questions of the CUOSC Board and business consortium leaders Robin Brown and Graham Mossop. As things stand, the proposal has not been successful but the offer remains on the table and further negotiations are expected.
Apologies were received from Tommy Earl, Don Beacock, Nigel Davidson and Jason Hettrick. Billy Atkinson took part in the latter stages of the meeting via Skype.
The latest position re: investment into CUFC was discussed at length. The detailed proposal document had been distributed to all board members last week. A meeting later this week with consortium partners and Jon Colman at Cumbrian Newspapers was scheduled, after which we were planning to issue a statement to our members.
Billy had covered the cost of the 500 pin badges being sold by CUSG and had also agreed to cover the cost of the next batch of 500 which were in production. Many badges had been sold before the York City and Everton matches. Only a few remained in the club shop. Billy and Carol had a lot of success selling them in the Sporting Inn. Lynda was willing to sell them in the Beehive when it re-opened. 50% of the proceeds were going to the Cumbria Flood Appeal with the other 50% towards audio equipment for commentaries for blind and partially sighted supporters.
The issue of the sale of Everton tickets by telephone had been discussed at the last club board meeting. CUFC staff were praised for working well under pressure, selling 13,000+ tickets in 10 days. We would be looking to work with the club to overcome the problems experienced with the premium rate phone number. The club would ony get a small fraction of the revenue from this number. John Kukuc agreed to liaise with Claire Winder to help with communication and joint strategy.
The next meeting of CUSG was scheduled for this Wednesday at 6pm. Upperby or Foxys would be the venue.
Norman Steel reported that all outstanding bills had now been paid. There was over £5,000 in the bank. Peter had requested a current list of members to help prepare the end of year accounts. Alastair to supply this.
In any other business, Nigel, Frank Beattie and Norman would all be attending an event organised by the Newcastle United Trust on April 29, when they would be giving a mini-presentation. The position re: the flooded caravan was still to be sorted out. It had been planned to use it for our match day presence. The postponed members' meeting would be re-scheduled to fit into the strategy for investment.
Next meeting - March 5 at Upperby.
20/01/16: CUSG Meeting Summary - January
CUOSC, CUSAT, London Branch and the West Cumbrian Group were represented. The Gretna Group and Cumbrians.net set their apologies. Carlisle United representatives were Phil King, Andy Hall and Amy Nixon. Upperby School kindly offered the venue for the meeting. If you have anything you'd like your representative to bring to the meetings please contact them. Your representatives will make themselves known through communication to you directly about the group.
Brunton Park Update
Phil King updated the meeting on the current state of the restoration work at Brunton Park. The club were 100% confident that their insurance covered everything lost or damaged. Club staff were based at Pioneer, Cumberland Building Society and in portakabins at Brunton Park while work was ongoing.
The work was being divided into two phases: Phase 1 is aimed at getting football played in the stadium again by 23rd January 2016. This includes restoration of the dressing rooms, electrics, running water and catering. Phase 2 is non-football areas such as the admin offices and the Family Zone. Esh Border Construction had been appointed as contractors for phase 1, work for phase 2 will go out to tender. The club's insurers who had been working closely with senior staff to sort out a restoration timetable were Bluefin Insurance.
The pitch was going to be taken up and completely re-laid following damage from silt and other debris. This was estimated to take two weeks to turn around and work was about to start.
The 3G pitch at the flooded Neil Centre was being replaced. This was expected to be done by February 2016.
The club shop was hoping to be back in operation by the end of the month.
Later in the restoration process, there could be opportunities for volunteer labour to carry out tasks such as painting work.
WIFI access for fans is being looked at and how to provide this.
Feedback from groups
CUSAT have made a donation from members to the Cumbria Flood Appeal and the London Branch have donated £1500. The West Cumbria Travel have collected £660. It is planned for a donation to go to the Cumbrian Flood Appeal and a Sponsorship deal for the Carlisle United Ladies Team.
There was generally positive feedback from the 'home' games played at Deepdale and Ewood Park. The stewarding at these games was praised. Plymouth fans attending the match at Ewood Park had given positive feedback, too. (The meeting took place before using Blackpool.)
The donations organised by Welling United and Oxford United were recognised.
Premier League Fan Fund
Money has been made available for Carlisle United. A further sum of money can be applied for, which could be used for additional projects such as improvements to facilities for disabled supporters. CUOSC to lead on the project.
Season Ticket Holders
Issue of compensating season ticket holders discussed. The club are committed and already planning how this can be done.
Fundraising for CUSG
Designs for 500 CUSG branded pin badges; 350 of the white design and 150 of the blue design. Billy Atkinson kindly agreed to cover the cost of production.
They would go on sale at £2 each. 50% of profit would go to the Cumbrian Flood Appeal and 50% to funding commentary equipment for supporters with visual impairments.
CUSG representatives would sell them, predominantly on match days.
Communication about this will be released.
Any Other Business
Criticism was voiced about the late postponement on Boxing Day of the Accrington Stanley match, given the ongoing problems with their pitch, which was badly waterlogged. The Football League encouraged clubs to leave games on until the last minute and no real fault could be attributed to Accrington themselves.
The Junior Blues will either have a party around Easter or their own end of season awards celebration.
Prizes at Foxy's were discussed. Some are more popular than others. Agreement that the quality of the food, atmosphere and experience was overall positive.
Andy Hall put on record the thanks of the club for the 70-80 volunteers who had helped in the initial clean up.
Next meeting : 10th February 2016.
13/01/16: CUOSC Board Restructure announced
As CUOSC members in particular will be aware, the Board of CUOSC has been undergoing a re-branding and restructure over the past number of months. With the rebrand completed at the end of 2015, the restructure of the board has also now been completed. As a result the former general board with Chair & Vice-Chair positions has now been structured in such a way as to allocate accountability for specific required areas of responsibility. The allocation of roles was decided by the board based on past experience & abilities of the current board members
We also have a range of non-board positions which we would like to fill in order to support the board positions and assist with a number of projects. We will be publicising these shortly and hope that CUOSC members will volunteer for these roles
CUOSC Board Director Positions
Chair (Norman Steel)
Figurehead of CUOSC, responsible for the strategic direction and overall aims, direction, success/failure of the organisation. Currently the CUOSC representative on the CUFC 1921 Board (backed up by the Alternate Director Jim Mitchell)
Vice Chair (Frank Beattie)
To take the place of the Chair when not available – could be used in future for succession planning for future potential Chair/Directors. Chair needs to work closely with the Vice Chair to impart knowledge; VC should chair meetings on a regular basis in addition to the Chair
Project Lead (Frank Beattie/Jim Mitchell)
To research and produce information on specific projects (e.g. ‘CUOSC 5YP’) to be presented at board level, liaise with officials at CUFC as necessary and external agencies such as SD, FSF, Legal and financial institutions. General Project Planning; managing deadlines, ensuring project plans for all areas are kept up to date & deadlines are met
Communications & Media (Nigel Davidson)
To direct the Communications and Media strategy and policy for CUOSC in line with the CUOSC 5 Year Plan and CUFC aims and objectives. Main contact for Comms & Media areas with specific responsibility for the production of the CUOSC Newsletter (quarterly), Programme Pages, Social Media, Press Liaison and Web Content
Commercial & Marketing (Billy Atkinson supported by Carol Wilson)
Responsibility for the development of CUOSC Commercial & Marketing strategy in order to build the brand and maximise revenue opportunities. Oversee and direct all Commercial and Marketing activity for CUOSC
Social and Events (Mike Denovellis)
Develop & implement an array of sporting and social activities across the season/closed season in order to increase revenue for CUOSC, build and retain membership, expand reach of CUOSC and work with the wider community to raise funds via social activity for other worthy causes along with CUSG events & activities; coordinate and operate the Match Day Volunteer Scheme
Liaison (inc CUSG) (John Kukuc)
As primary contact for CUOSC/CUSG activity, to be responsible for all CUSG Committee related activity, ensuring CUOSC retains a leading role in the development of the committee and the activities it is involved in. Coordinate the relationship with CUSG & other partners. Work closely with Comms and Media. Primary contact for CUSG
Finance (Don Beacock)
Responsible for the development of CUOSC finances, planning & forecasting, fundraising options (With Commercial & Marketing), financial governance. Taking a lead advisory and/or negotiating role in any & all potential and actual investment discussions related to CUFC/CUOSC. Work to maximise the general financial position (in conjunction with Treasurer & Commercial & Marketing)
Membership (Jason Hettrick)
Working with other area, this role has the sole focus of developing recruitment and retention of CUOSC members from year to year including adult, family, youth and corporate members
Board member x 2/3 (Carol Wilson, Lynda Johnson & Tommy Earl)
General board member positions to support other personnel and take on Ad-hoc tasks when they arise. This also would allow scope for new areas of focus to be created in the future and allow the board to downsize as/when required
Secretary - Adjacent to the Board(Alastair Woodcock)
Oversee the management and support of all aspects of CUOSC Board activity in line with the constitution, Supporters Direct guidelines and other legal & constitutional requirements
Treasurer - Adjacent to the Board (Peter Harrington)
Maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records for CUOSC; maintain bank/building society account and banking arrangements; implement and adhere to a financial protocol; produce and monitor annual budget; report financial position to CUOSC Board by way of monthly management accounts; advise the Trust Board of financial constraints, obligations and opportunities
27/11/15: CUSG Briefing - November
The Carlisle United Supporters’ Groups met on 18 November 2015 for their second meeting.
Apologies were given from the A66 travel group who were attending the funeral of life-long Carlisle United supporter Les Robertson. Andy Hall and Nigel Dickinson represented Carlisle United.
The Sunset Suite and Sporting Inn drawings were shared. Phil King is project lead, no dates have been set for when this work will start. The Sunset Suite will be renamed – more details to follow.
There was a meeting last month at Brunton Park attended by CUSG reps and disabled supporter reps, to discuss the proposed improvements. Phil King is leading on this from the club and Carlisle Ambassadors are offering their time to do the short-term work.
• Disabled toilets have been painted so they meet standards
• Perspex covers for the existing East Stand facility to be provided
• Facilities for away fans
• Facilities for home fans in the Paddock area.
No.10 catering staff have begun bringing refreshments to supporters at half-time.
Stewards were now supervising disabled parking facilities to ensure sufficient space (6 feet) was left behind each parked car.
Audio commentary facilities for blind / partially sighted supporters will be funded by CUSG fundraising.
Discussions around what fundraising activities are most successful. The London Branch has had successfully produced merchandise available as fundraisers. Ideas will be collated and finalised at the next meeting.
Any Other Business
Carlisle United did not have a Remembrance Day service at a match this year because the dates of home games were outside of the official Remembrance period and so The Royal British Legion were not available to attend.
Concerns were raised about cars not being held back after the match at the Paddock ticket office/ club shop.
Away Travel representatives gave positive feedback about the welcome Carlisle United fans had received at Plymouth for the FA Cup match. There was a £5 entry to the supporters’ bar, which included a pie, pint and entertainment. Queried whether this could be possible at Brunton Park.
Claire will take a summary of this meeting to the 1921 operational board meetings. However it is vital all groups communicate with their members to encourage engagement in the activities of the group. Agreed that CUSG groups would release briefing to their members before it appears on the CUFC website.
An acknowledgement was made of the efforts of club staff this week to clear Brunton Park of flood waters following heavy weekend rain.
Apologies were received from Jason Hettrick and Tommy Earl.
We had agreed in principle to have use of the Football in the Community caravan parked near the entrance to the East Stand. Some work would need to be done on it - Carol had sourced a joiner who could help us get it ready for regular match day use.
Progress towards re-structuring of CUFC at board level had stalled. No immediate changes were now expected.
A meeting with Andrew Jenkins and John Nixon had been arranged for October 1 where issues of investment and re-structuring would be discussed in full.
We had now received the club's database of season ticket holders and these were being integrated with our existing membership database. We had identified 115 existing ST holders on our membership list. The new membership figure would come to just under 1,600.
Carol Wilson had 2,000 folders and 3,000 letterheads available for the Welcome Packs which were now being prepared. Nigel Davidson was working on the newsletter. Membership cards were being printed by Ava Print. We had been given use of CUFC's card printer until further notice, for printing more cards as needed. £3,100 in sponsorship had been procured from local business and both local councils.
Lynda put forward a suggestion to house disabled supporters inside Foxys on wet days - we would be liaising with the club and the CUSG over plans to upgrade facilities for disabled fans.
The first CUSG meeeting would be on October 7 in Foxys. Nigel Davidson, Alastair Woodcock (who had agreed to minute the meeting), Jim Mitchell, Norman Steel and Mike Denovellis would all be attending.
October 31 Summary
Apologies were received from Tommy Earl. Nicola Hudson from Supporters' Direct and Claire Winder, Fans' Rep both attended the meeting.
The last Welcome Packs had gone in the post this week. Norman had covered the postage for the remaining CA postcodes and the club had agreed to put the non-CA postcodes through their franking machine. Carol Wilson, Billy Atkinson and Mike Denovellis were thanked for their efforts. Frank Beattie, Mike, John Kukuc, Lynda Johnston and Jim Mitchell had delivered a lot of the packs by hand.
The next CUFC board meeting was to be held on November 5.
Finances were much improved with nearly £5,600 in the bank account. October had seen a surplus of £1,400. We were still awaiting work to be done on the caravan near the East Stand.
Nigel Davidson and Jim Mitchell had been in a meeting at Brunton Park this week with disabled fans reps to discuss ways to upgrade facilities. Moving fans into Foxys on wet days had been ruled out due to lack of space.
The first meeting of CUSG had discussed this issue amongst others and Nigel had circulated a summary for board members.
On new investment, there was little progress to report. Nicola discussed with us various options on that front. Among the services SD could provide was a free half-hour legal consultation.
It was noted that a proper list of CUFC board members was missing from the match programme. Claire Winder and Norman would raise this at the coming board meeting.
The board considered the vote on extending the lock-out agreement for project 'Blue Yonder'. A vote was held with 6 for and 4 against and 1 abstention, in favour of extending it by 6 months. There were some serious misgivings about the chance of real progress. The lockout agreement only applied to one site in Carlisle and one developer.
It was agreed to look at putting a membership form online and use of e-members for the next meeting.
Next meeting to be held on November 28.
12/10/15: CUSG Report
The first meeting of the Carlisle United Supporter Groups (CUSG) was held on Wednesday October 7th 2015 at Brunton Park attended by representatives from Carlisle United, Carlisle United Official Supporters Club (CUOSC), Carlisle United Supporters Away Travel (CUSAT), Carlisle United Supporters Club London Branch (CUSCLB), Carlisle United Supporters Club Gretna Branch, TheCumbrians.net & the Fans Rep. Route 66 Blues Travel were not at this first meeting but will be at subsequent meetings as will a representative for disabled Blues Supporters
The intention is that the group will officially meet every 6 weeks however we will also meet as and when required regarding specific projects once these get under way. The Fan Rep will chair the 6 weekly meetings whilst CUOSC will administer the group and the processes including producing minutes.
We discussed a number of ideas in relation to fundraising, but most specifically the disabled facilities at Brunton Park for both home and away supporters; a working group is to be set up to look into ideas for improvement; we are looking at making use of links with local businesses to support the project along with other funding options which are currently being investigated through contact with other clubs and Supporters Direct.
The option of adding a Disabled Supporters Rep to the group and Barry Carter was proposed by CUSAT. Other ideas related to disability were tabled such as in-ground Audio Commentary for blind supporters, which is currently being investigated by a couple of members of the group along with providing half time refreshments to disabled supporters in their seats which looks like it could get underway very quickly.
The idea of asking supporters to add flags to the Waterworks end of the ground on match days to build atmosphere was also raised and this will be going forward as soon as possible.
The state of the ground and particularly the toilets were raised and we will be looking into any remedial works that can be carried out to upgrade these facilities for supporters – any offers of assistance from supporters with skills in painting, decorating, plastering etc. would be greatly appreciated – see below for contact details.
Deliberations were also had regarding the upgrade of the bars, particularly the sunset suite and the possibility of making this into a ‘Supporters Bar’ with memorabilia on the walls supplied by supporters – this is an on-going idea that has been discussed with CUOSC and the club as a well as being raised at the Road Shows. Further ideas such as supporter collages/murals were put forward with a view to making the ground more appealing to the eye as well as making supporters feel a greater sense of belonging. The possibility of producing supporter memories of previous games to go into the programme and asking supporters for their ideas regarding re-naming the Sunset Suite to something more akin to the football club were also discussed.
The group is looking at a range of different social events to cover smaller supporter-based, regular events such as quiz nights and pre and post-match events with ex-players attending as well as larger fundraising events such as a Sporting Dinner to be held at the Shepherds Inn with a view to raising funds to go to specific projects at Brunton Park.
CUOSC has been sourcing volunteers to act as ‘Meeters and Greeters’ on match days. For the home game against Morecambe, Claire Winder and Mike Denovellis volunteered, however, we do need more people to come forward for both the Match Day ‘Meeters and Greeters’ and for general remedial works around the ground – anyone interested in coming forward please contact CUOSC via : email@example.com or by telephone 07999 73 73 90
It is vital that we keep the momentum going on the CUSG initiative and as such we have sent out this initial communication today. The actual minutes of the meeting will be available once agreed at the next meeting, which is due to take place provisionally at 6.30pm on Wednesday, November 18, 2015.
If you have any ideas which you would like to put forward regarding social events, ground works etc then please email both firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
This meeting was the first to take place since the AGM. New board members Mike Denovellis and Jason Hettrick were welcomed for the first time. Apologies received from Tommy Earl. Norman Steel was formally re-appointed as chair with Alastair Woodock as secretary and Peter Harrington as treasurer. These positions to be reviewed as part of the ongoing process of re-structuring, with Nigel currently working on roles and responsibilities for members of the Board and non-members alike.
Norman reported £3,223 in the bank account with £445 to pay in this week. Business club membership for 2015-16 will cost £1,000. We are considering re-joining when we have the chance to assess our finances. Norman had been asked to speak to the Business Club before the AFC Wimbledon game.
Norman thanked Nigel for his match programme articles.
Phil King and Suzanne Kidd were in the process of joining the CUFC (1921) Board - they were going through the fit and proper person test for directors. Norman was set to attend a directors' meeting at Brunton Park where the re-vamp of the operations board would be discussed. Norman reported no significant new progess with the planned new investor.
Alastair was asked to reply to Andrew Jenkins' letter dated July 28 to progess the situation regarding share issues.
Nigel was due to attend a meeting with Phil King tomorrow where the subject of the fans' representative on the 1921 Board would be discussed.
The cuosc.org.uk domain name was available at £3.49 a year.
The CUOSC/CUFC roadshows had been well received, even though numbers attending had been quite low. There were a lot of dedicated people at these events. Mike summarised costs for signage around Brunton Park. The caravan parked outside the entrance to the East Stand had been identified as a potential match day outlet for CUOSC, but its state of repair could be an issue. It was hoped to have it inspected this week to see how viable it would be to move it to a location outside the Main Stand.
The club would supply us with season ticket holders database to combine with our existing membership database. Opt-out period due to end on August 28.
We were sponsoring a Penrith home match on September 9 - Norman, Carol and Billy committed to attend the game. Others would be sought out including CUFC personnel.
The next meeting was arranged for Saturday September 26 at 10.30am at Upperby.
10/09/15: CUOSC sponsor Penrith FC fixture
On Wednesday September 9, CUOSC sponsored Penrith FC's home Northern League fixture against Jarrow Roofing.
CUOSC board members were present, alongside new supporters' representative Claire Winder, who is also a CUOSC member. From Carlisle United, Colin Nixon, Steven Rigg and Lee Fearn all attended, along with board members Suzanne Kidd and Phil King. The evening saw a significant boost to Penrith's coffers. It was a good night for the Northern League side who won the match 3-1.
CUOSC also have a pitchside board at Frenchfield Park Stadium, to further enhance their support for local football in the area. We will be hoping to support another fixture at Penrith later in the season.
02/08/15: Board meeting summary 08.07.15
Apologies were received from Tommy Earl, David Steele, Jim Mitchell and Billy Atkinson.
AGM preparations were in hand. Documents were being uploaded to our website - members with email addresses would be getting these documents online, with those with no email receiving the documents through the post this week. Billy had kindly agreed to cover the postage for this.
The latest position re: investment in CUFC was discussed at length. We had sent a letter to the Holding company on June 19. Although in the meantime there had been a further meeting with Holdings representatives, we had yet to receive a formal reply. We had been invited to a further meeting tomorrow and Norman Steel and Frank Beattie would attend on our behalf. Representatives from all supporter groups had been promised an update on progress with the would-be investor and we would seek to progress this too.
The club was insisting it was committed to a large part of the planned re-structure that had been put forward by Andrew Lapping and his consortium. John Nixon was due to stand down as managing director on August 1. We'd already had contact with Phil King who had recently started in his role as Sales and Marketing Director at the club, and Norman undertook to arrange a meeting with him. There was still some negotiating to do over the plan we had to put a representative on the club's 1921 Board, with our existing board rep expected, as part of the re-structure, to sit on the newly enlarged Holdings board. The club had agreed in principle to a fans' rep or reps sitting on the 1921 Board.
Volunteers from the Trust board had helped to pack and seal season tickets at Brunton Park earlier in the day. A flyer advertising the deal for season ticket holders to join the re-branded CUOSC was inserted into each envelope. The deadline for people to 'opt out' of this scheme had been set at August 28.
Nigel Davidson outlined the plan for a series of roadshows which would be jointly hosted by ourselves in our new guise as CUOSC alongside the football club. A further meeting with the club would be required to firm up the details. Nigel was continuing to work on a re-structure plan for the Trust/CUOSC with specific roles for each board member alongside new roles to be filled by non-board members.
We would have a stand at the club's family fun day on Sunday. This would be shared with other fans' groups such as CUSAT, London Branch and Cumbrians.net - Lynda was hoping to supply a 'gazebo' given the forecast for showery weather. Promotional flyers, application forms, and free sweets for visitors were all being organised for the day. Volunteers were asked to gather at the event from 10.30am, which had a start time of 11am.
David Steele had informed us of his intention to stand down after this year's AGM. Alastair Woodcock as secretary was asked to write to him thanking him for all his efforts over six years.
26/07/15: 2015 AGM Report
Results of the Fourteenth Annual General Meeting of The United Trust, held Sunday July 26, 2015 in Foxys
1. To receive the reports of the Society’s board and the audited financial statements for the period ending 31st January 2015.
FOR: 68 AGAINST:1 ABSTAINED:3
2. To elect to the Board of the Society
Mike Denovellis (Membership No. 1906)
FOR:63 AGAINST:5 ABSTAINED:4
Jason Hettrick (Membership No. 1979)
FOR:60 AGAINST:7 ABSTAINED:5
Frank Beattie (Membership No. 84)
FOR:65 AGAINST:5 ABSTAINED:2
3. It is hereby resolved that subject to the provisions of section 4A of the 1968 Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act, the members of the Society shall not require an audit for the accounts covering the current financial year ending on 31 January, 2016 when they are presented to the next AGM held in 2016. NOTE: An independent financial examination shall be undertaken in its place.
FOR:67 AGAINST:1 ABSTAINED:4
4. To authorise the Society Board to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
FOR:68 AGAINST:1 ABSTAINED:3
02/04/15: Board meeting summaries
Board Meeting at Upperby - 21.02.15
The meeting was brought up to date by Norman Steel about the signed letter from England manager Roy Hodgson that had been produced to mark Ivor Broadis's 92nd birthday, making him the oldest living England international. It was now framed and ready to present to Ivor. We would contact the local press to publicise this. We had received a thank-you letter from CUFC Commercial Dept. for our contribution towards the cost of medical equipment at the ground.
The final stages of the Five Year Plan preparation were underway. Several meetings had already been held and one more was to come to finalise and amalgamate the plans being put together by the various sub-groups.
A shortfall in finances had been identified during the previous meeting. More members would be encouraged to make regular donations. Recent board member Nigel Davidson had commenced regular contributions.
A meeting with Andrew Lapping had been arranged for the coming Wednesday at Brunton Park. We had now received some updated proposals from him and would be able to discuss these at the meeting, which would be a chance for board members to quiz him about the overall plan for investment and re-structuring. Negotiations over the proposals were still ongoing, and were progressing steadily, despite the odd hitch here and there.
The Board were heartened to hear Andrew was onside with the Trust concept and wanted us to play a leading role in supporter involvement and liaison.
Various issues to discuss with Andrew were identified during the meeting, including the issue of supporter liaison and the Trust's role in that, and the issue of how shareholdings would be handled in the long-term.
Board Meeting at Upperby - 21.03.15
Norman reported 140 people had attended CUFC's business club dinner the previous evening, which was considered a big success. The Soul Night planned by CUSAT for April 18 was corrected to £12 a ticket, not £10 a table as previously reported.
Norman and Frank Beattie reported back from the meeting with London-based members on Thursday evening. Biggest sticking point for them was lack of names of investors in the new share issue. Though we knew most of the names, the investors were still wanting anonymity, although we expected one investor (Robin Brown) to be named and to appear in public at the members' meeting on Sunday in Foxy's, alongside Andrew Lapping. All investors were locally-based with one exception. 18 people had attended the meeting in London.
It had been a very positive meeting and we had managed to 'convert' a couple of individuals who had been rather negative towards the Trust in the past.
Progress on the proposals was being made, although there were still occasional issues to sort out in the background. We agreed to seek clarity on a few issues contained within the proposals, which were still considered 'fluid'.
A large turnout was expected tomorrow in Foxy's. We would check members in at the door, using an updated list of current members, of which 316 were eligible to vote. Some ballots had already come in, but we were expecting the vast majority to arrive later in the week, after the meeting. John Kukuc identified likely opposition to the proposals from some quarters, and we expected to have to win a few people over before they might vote in favour. After advice from a PR expert retained by the new investors, we had been requested to withdraw access to the media.
In any other business, Norman reported a lack of available reps from PK Electrical meant the planned pitch presentation of the cheque for floodlight improvements raised by CUSG had been postponed. Next board meeting would be held on April 18 - venue to be decided but Brunton Park was preferred.
29/03/15: SGM result
Trust members today voted overwhelmingly in favour of the proposed re-structuring and re-financing of Carlisle United.
At the conclusion of the SGM in Foxy's Restaurant, the result was announced by Chair Norman Steel as follows:
In favour: 180, Against: 14, Spoilt ballots: 3
The resolution gives the Trust's board the backing of the membership as they seek to dilute their shareholding from 25.4% to a minimum of 10% as part of lead investor Andrew Lapping's planned re-structuring and re-financing proposals.
25/03/15: Detailed proposals revealed
The Trust have uploaded the detailed proposal document from would-be investor Andrew Lapping onto their website this week.
The proposals split control of the club across two boards - an operational board as part of the football club itself and a new 'TopCo' board of six as part of CUFC Holdings, which will consist of Andrew Lapping, Robin Brown, Andrew Jenkins, John Nixon, The Trust rep Norman Steel and an as yet undecided chairman. No-one will be able to sit on this board for more than 5 years without a review by the rest of the board. Existing director Steve Pattison will be standing down.
The asset of Brunton Park and surrounding land transfers into the Holding company, who will protect it and ensure it is not used as security for loans, unless the club needs this function in the future.
The shareholdings will be broadly split 45:45:10 with the existing controlling group of Jenkins/Nixon/Pattison and the new investor group taking the lion's share and the Trust on 10%, which will be protected in perpetuity. The Trust has the right to purchase more shares to potentially increase its stake. Jenkins will remain as largest shareholder on 37% but will be capped at 24.9% voting rights, to ensure no single shareholder can enjoy so-called 'negative control' of the equity.
Lapping's plan hopes to raise up to £1,260,000 in total, via the release of 2,800,000 new shares. Up to now, just 134 shares are issued in Holdings, with the Trust sitting on 25.4% and the other three shareholders enjoying a controlling stake of 74.6%
The Trust has announced a Special General Meeting (SGM) to be held in Foxys on Sunday, March 29.
Notices, ballot forms and supporting information started going out today to the Trust's 312-strong membership. The resolution to be considered on March 29 is to give approval to the Trust Board to enable dilution of the 25.4% shareholding in CUFC Holdings, the club's parent company. This would allow a £1m+ injection of share capital by a group of mostly local investors led by Andrew Lapping, a long time supporter of the Cumbrians.
In return, the Trust is to get more support from the football club in a bid to significantly increase membership numbers and a place on the newly constituted Holding Co. board. They are in negotiations to have a further representative who will be able to attend the meetings of operations board of the football club itself. The Trust will be able to acquire more shares in future by more fund-raising.
Two Q&A sessions for members have been arranged before the date of the SGM. The first one will be in London on Thursday, March 19 in the Civil Service Club on Great Scotland Yard. The second one will be in Foxys on Sunday March 22. Andrew Lapping is expected to attend at least one of these events and address Trust members.
25/02/15: Trust release statement to members about investment in CUFC
Members of the board of the Carlisle United Supporters Trust met with Andrew Lapping this evening to discuss the potential new investment in Carlisle United Football Club.
The talks went well and can only be described as extremely positive. Board members were able to submit their own questions for the first time to Andrew and they were answered in an open and honest way. Further documentation will now be exchanged between the parties so as to allow the Trust to organise meetings for its membership and then it is hoped a ballot procedure can be set up with a recommendation so that members can vote on the issues.
It became clear from tonight`s meeting that there was a shared vision for the protection and well-being of Carlisle United which can only augur well for the club.
The United Trust Board
02/02/15: CUSG Grand Draw Winners announced
The draw was made in Carlisle Rugby Club after the game on Saturday v Mansfield Town. All monies raised go towards the cost of floodlight refurbishments at Brunton Park. Winning ticket numbers, prizes and winners are as follows:
11166, Hospitality Box for 8 persons at CUFC, DONOR: Andy Bell Scores.co.uk, WINNER: Porter
17/01/15: Board meeting summaries from 15.11.14 and 20.12.14
Meeting of Nov 15 2014 at Upperby
In the absence of Norman Steel, Frank Beattie chaired this meeting. An update on CUSG Grand Draw ticket sales was provided - Tesco was proving a handy outlet for selling. We had been helped out by Brad Potts on the most recent occasion.
Frank gave a summary of recent meetings with potential investor Andrew Lapping and club officials. Various scenarios for new investment were outlined, and the board agreed to give Norman, Frank and Jim Mitchell the authority to carry on with negotiations.
Frank had produced an updated summary document for the Five Year Plan, which required some tweaking, and input from board members. Alastair agreed to take it on and finalise it - a further meeting would be required in the new year to finalise roles and responsibilities and allocate personnel to each key element of the plan.
Frank, who had been very busy in recent weeks, had also produced a lot of content for the forthcoming re-launch of the newsletter. More items would be needed, and a design worked out, but progress was underway.
Payments outstanding including player sponsorship (Billy Paynter) and business club membership.
Meeting of Dec 20 2014 at Brunton Park
This meeting was held in the Sunset Suite in Brunton Park - it was later agreed that this was not an ideal venue for such meetings.
The London Branch had been in touch to praise our ongoing email updates to members, via a revamped Mailchimp database.
A meeting had taken place this morning between John Nixon and our three representatives Norman, Frank and Jim. No significant new developments to report. The Story Construction loan had been written off and the debenture on the ground was in the process of being removed. More detail was provided over the proposed investment in the club via a share issue. Legal advice had been taken to ascertain the Trust's position. The planned re-structuring of the club's debts was revealed along with changes in the holding company organisation which would involve an increased role for the Trust, should the planned investment go ahead.
Work on the five year plan documents was practically complete - awaiting a follow-up meeting in January to finalise roles and responsibilities.
We'd had support from players Josh Gillies, Steven Rigg and Dave Symington in selling more Grand Draw tickets in Tesco. Sales were ticking along nicely and were expected to exceed the £5,000 mark in the new year. We would be operating two tables before today's match to sell more outside the ground.
Billy Paynter sponsorship now fully paid. We'd sent a card to Ivor Broadis on the occasion of his 92nd birthday - he is the oldest known living England international. Tommy Earl was progressing plans to purchase a set of promotional pens.
29/11/14: Board meeting summaries from 06.09.14 and 11.10.14
06.09.14 at Upperby CDC
Apologies were received from David Steele, Nigel Davidson, Don Beacock, Jim Mitchell and Tommy Earl.
Frank and Norman reported on a productive and useful fact-finding visit to Cambridge United last week. Cambridge had up to 60 volunteer fans working at the ground and were considered a 'model' community club. They had met Dave Doggett, the club chairman and Trust official, Dave Matthews-Jones. The Cambridge Fans United trust had a stake of close to 10%.
Norman advised the meeting of the process whereby manager Graham Kavanagh had been sacked. The process to find a replacement was well underway. Interviews were expected to begin within a few days. Close to 70 applications had been received for the position. The football club board had already met to discuss favoured candidates. It was expected up to six would be asked for interview.
Norman, Frank, Don and Jim had attended a meeting at Brunton Park on August 11 with an investor. The talks had been purely exploratory but had been cordial with some progress made. However there had been no further news regarding the potential investment.
Work was nearing completion on the initial documents for the five year plan. Some statements of objectives remained to be finalised. Supporters Direct would continue to be consulted on the work to be done. There had been no further progress made on plans by the Trust to take on McConnells Bar on match days.
Norman reported sufficient funds in place to cover this season's membership of the CUFC Business Club.
Sales of grand draw tickets were progressing slowly. Lynda requested 10 more books to sell. The Beehive had offered their services to host the draw itself in January. Ideas for reviving the Trust's newsletter were discussed, including interviews with new board members, players and trust members.
11.10.14 at Upperby CDC
There were no apologies for this meeting.
No further progress was reported on planned new investment in the football club, but the next board meeting due in two weeks would enable further updates to be received.
A poster promoting the CUSG grand draw had been produced. The floodlights were now in the process of being upgraded at a cost of £25,000, with the money being paid to contractors in stages. Norman's estimate was about £2,500 so far raised by sale of tickets. Plans were advanced to sell them at Tesco in Rosehill, but more volunteers would be needed. Tommy Earl had offered to sell tickets at other supermarkets while selling his poppies for the British Legion.
After consultation with Daniel Rose at Supporters' Direct, Nigel Davidson had produced an updated document outlining ways to present and implement the five-year plan.
Billy Atkinson and Carol Wilson had attended a meeting in Manchester, chaired by the Manchester United Supporters' Trust (MUST) at which Labour MP Clive Efford had been in attendance. Labour were expected to announce proposals shortly for stronger governance of football clubs, including support for trusts owning shares. They reported a positive meeting in which Efford was keen to listen rather than impose his own views. The main issue aired was a lack of openness at clubs.
Nigel had been to a meeting in Newcastle chaired by the NUFC Trust. It was hoped as a result of this meeting some pressure would be applied to MPs so as to ensure all parties included specific manifesto pledges concerning football governance.
Norman reported £2,900 in the bank.
Norman to miss the next meeting scheduled for November 15. Frank will chair in his absence.
12/09/14: Board Meeting Summary from 09.08.14
Apologies were received from Billy Atkinson, Carol Wilson, David Steele and Nigel Davidson. Chair Norman Steel and vice-chair Frank Beattie were unanimously appointed for the coming year. New board member John Kukuc was introduced.
Norman, Jim Mitchell, Don Beacock and Frank Beattie were due to meet CUFC officials and a potential investor on Monday, due to the postponement of a planned meeting on Thursday.
The Five Year Plan was discussed. With draft documents on our website, the plans had now been made public. The board would seek to measure the success of the plan every quarter. John Kukuc had made some progress in signing up new members and was confident of adding more. We would all seek to persuade more members to sign up, and use our existing membership to find new members. Various board members were asked to put together statements of objectives regarding the main categories in the plan.
Norman reported a donation of over £100 from the CUFC/Virgin Trains challenge at the club's family fun day. We had received an anonymous donation of £100 at the AGM and made about £30 from the sale of items donated by Tesco at the fun day. Recent outgoings included £40 for new membership cards and £120 for the independent financial examination.
Volunteers were once again being sought to help with the CUFC/Virgin Trains challenge on August 18 & 19 in the city centre. Norman was planning to take part again in The Cumbrian Run and would seek to sell CUSG raffle tickets rather than accept normal sponsorship pledges. Frank, Norman, Nigel, Tommy Earl and John were identified as potential visitors to Cambridge United for a fact-finding mission.
14/08/14: Board Meeting Summary from 28.06.14
Board members discussed matters arising from the previous meeting. John Kukuc had come forward to stand at the AGM for a place on the board. Virgin Trains had agreed to donate all funds from the CUFC Challenge inflatable on the Family Fun Day (July 12) to the Trust. We would be sharing a stall with other organisations that make up Carlisle United Supporter Groups (CUSG) - the grand draw would be launched that day. The production and printing of flyers to promote the Trust was discussed. Cost could be an issue - we had agreement from the club to put them into season ticket envelopes.
The situation re potential investors in CUFC was unchanged from the previous meeting, with no developments to report.
The Five Year Plan had come together thanks to the work of Frank, Jim, Don, Nigel and Alastair, supported by Norman. Alastair was asked to put together a presentation for the AGM, laying out the draft proposals.
The final accounts were presented to the board and accepted. They were signed by Lynda, Alastair and Norman. Alastair would be able to post links to all AGM documents on our website via our members mailing list, as soon as we had final clearance from the independent examiner. Lynda, Tommy, Nigel and John Kukuc would be standing for election with Alastair and Damien standing down. Keith Elliott had offered to resign, to free up a place. Alastair would seek to continue as secretary.
Frank, Norman and Nigel were due to meet Jon Colman from the News & Star at Brunton Park this week for a question and answer session. A fact-finding mission to Cambridge United on August 29-30 was being planned. We were due to attend the next meeting of CUSG on Monday - sponsors were still being sought to provide prizes for the Grand Draw, the aim of which was to raise £20,000 towards the refurbishment of floodlights.
Ideas for the revived newsletter were passed around. It was agreed to feature members and the first person to feature would be John Myron who had done a lot of voluntary work around Brunton Park this year. Our large banner would be placed in the Waterworks End for the coming season. Frank was due to attend this week's London Branch AGM to update their membership on latest Trust news. We had agreed to sponsor Billy Paynter for the coming season - cost expected to be £400.
22/07/14: 2014 AGM Report
Results of the Thirteenth Annual General Meeting of The United Trust, held Sunday July 20, 2014 in Foxys
1. To receive the reports of the Society’s board and the audited financial statements for the period ending 31st January 2014.
FOR: 45 AGAINST:0 ABSTAINED:2
3. It is hereby resolved that subject to the provisions of section 4A of the 1968 Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act, the members of the Society shall not require an audit for the accounts covering the current financial year ending on 31 January, 2015 when they are presented to the next AGM held in 2015. NOTE: An independent financial examination shall be undertaken in its place.
FOR:44 AGAINST:0 ABSTAINED:3
4. To authorise the Society Board to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
FOR:43 AGAINST:0 ABSTAINED:4
14/07/14: Family Fun Day Report
The second annual Family Fun Day organised by CUFC at Brunton Park saw the Trust share a stall with other supporters' groups, under the new CUSG (Carlisle United Supporters Groups) banner.
Representatives from the Trust, London Branch, Away Travel and Cumbrians.net were on hand to sell raffle tickets for the CUSG Grand Draw, which aims to raise up to £20,000 for floodlight improvements. The Fun Day saw £425 raised through sales of tickets, a great launchpad for the raffle, which includes prizes from many local companies and individuals.
Trust personnel were on hand to sell tickets to the large crowds present - in particular Claire Winder, Gary Wylie and Daniel Clark who were helping out for the first time. Board members on hand to sell merchandise donated by Tesco included chairman Norman Steel, secretary Alastair Woodcock, media officer Frank Beattie, club historian David Steele, as well as Don Beacock, Lynda Johnston, Billy Atkinson and Carol Wilson. A number of photographs were taken on the day by Nigel Davidson.
11/07/14: Board Meeting Summary 28.05.14
Board Meeting - May 28 at Upperby Community Development Centre, Carlisle
The meeting heard that Norman and Frank had assisted the club in the operation of ringing up season ticket holders to encourage them to renew. The Youth project was planning to publicly launch at the Family Fun Day on July 12. The Trust in the shape of Norman and Nigel had attended the meeting at Brunton Park between representatives of various supporters groups and the football club. There was a plan to revive the supporters' club, which we were backing. A new association of supporter groups was to be formed out of this meeting, which had outlined plans to launch a raffle to raise funds for floodlight improvements.
Alastair, Jim and Frank had attended another meeting with CUFC representatives, the outcome of which was discussed at length. The club's financial position was understood to have become a little more precarious, although the coming season saw no immediate threat of administration. Norman was asked to contact Supporters Direct to discuss the current position.
The sub-committee drawing up our five-year plan had now met twice and a draft document was passed around. Board members were asked by Don Beacock to read it through and email through any suggestions for improvements.
Renewals of membership were slowly coming in but there were still about 170 to renew. The membership year ended on May 31. Alastair, Lynda, Damien and Tommy were due to stand down by rotation this year. Lynda and Tommy indicated they would stand again at the AGM. Alastair confirmed his decision to stand down but continue as secretary. Damien would stand down due to the difficulty of getting to meetings, being based in Manchester. Nigel would seek election for the first time.
Norman told the meeting that he had booked two tables for the 40th anniversary dinner in June. The Trust would have two stalls at the Family Fun Day on July 12. We had been asked to assist with stuffing envelopes for the season ticket mail-out later in the summer. We would be able to include a flyer in this mail-out.
Next meeting was set for June 28 at Brunton Park.
01/06/14: Board Meeting Summary 30.04.14
Board Meeting - April 30 at Upperby Community Development Centre, Carlisle
For this meeting Frank Beattie took the chair, as Norman Steel had just come back from Crawley and had little time to prepare.
The board were informed that David Amoo and Brad Potts had tied for first place in the Player of the Season vote. Although the vote had been opened up to all members via email, the response had been poor. With relegation almost inevitable and so many short-term loan players featuring in the side, it was thought the membership were not keen to take part. The board's relationship with the football club was again the subject of lively discussion and debate. Firm progress was being made and a follow-up meeting was to be sought after the initial get-together on April 3. The club had asked us to provide volunteers to phone up season ticket holders to encourage them to renew. This task was obviously going to be tougher with relegation on the cards. Norman and Frank were both able to commit to help the club out for this job. Relegation was likely to cost the club £300,000 according to Norman's estimate.
Alastair Woodcock had circulated an outline document for our five-year plan. This was briefly discussed and debated. Some of the ideas contained within it had sprung from the meeting with Kevin Rye from Supporters' Direct held on April 16. To progress the five year plan, a sub-committee would be needed. Norman, Don Beacock, Nigel Davidson and Jim Mitchell all put their names forward to fill positions on this committee. Alastair would organise and attend the first meeting.
Nigel reported a positive first meeting of the youth board. Matthew Spooner made a very favourable impression and like Gary Wylie on his first meeting with the board, he impressed with his enthusiasm and ideas. Jamie Grubb had attended via Skype from London. He had volunteered to represent the Trust on the London Branch committee. Nigel would solicit votes for the positions of chair and secretary via email.
We had been invited to attend a meeting to be held on May 12 at Brunton Park to try and resurrect the long-dormant supporters' club. This meeting would also progress plans to unite all main CUFC supporter groups under one 'umbrella' association, via regular meetings. Norman and Don were volunteered to attend on our behalf.
With the membership year ending on May 31, Alastair reported numbers approaching 360 but a significant number had to renew this year. We had been very successful at getting renewals in during the previous couple of years.
A potential fact-finding visit to Cambridge United, whose trust had been instrumental in creating a proper community football club, was under discussion, with the help of Kevin Rye.
Next meeting set for May 28 at Upperby.
31/05/14: AGM 2014 - places available on Trust Board
Due to board members standing down as part of their 3-year cycle, there will be up to two spare places to fill on the Trust Board for 2014. The Board has a maximum of 12 people and a minimum of eight.
If you want to stand for election this year, please download and complete the candidate application form - return to us by June 27.
This year's AGM takes place in Foxys on Sunday July 20.
07/05/14: Board Meeting Summaries 15 March and 9 April
Summary of March 15 Board Meeting - Legends Bar, Brunton Park
There was a short meeting with new youth ambassador Gary Wylie before the formal business began. We were all impressed by Gary's enthusiasm and some ideas were kicked around. The key one adopted was the plan to form a Youth Board, reporting to the main board and taking responsibility for youth liaison and establishing a method for attracting younger members.
With our new banner acquired by Nigel Davidson, we were going ahead today with our first match day presence near the entrance to Legends and The Sporting Inn. Frank Beattie, Alastair Woodcock and Carol Wilson offered their services to get the ball rolling.
Tommy had been making arrangements for the next planned Race Night in May, to be held at the usual venue, Denton Holme Conservative Club. The football club wanted to acquire heart monitors to aid fitness and recuperation and we would be seeking to raise funds towards this goal. A further fundraising event, A 'Soul Night' at the Sands was being arranged by CUFC Away Travel which would jointly benefit our two bodies - the date was pencilled in for October.
Press officer Frank Beattie, our regular match day programme contributor, had written a two-page article for the current issue of the London Branch's 'Hit the Bar' newsletter.
Next meeting - date was set for April 30 at Brunton Park. Subject to change - Alastair to advise.
Summary of April 9 Board Meeting - Upperby Community Development Centre
This was an extra meeting arranged at short notice. Representatives of the board had recently met CUFC officials and another planned meeting with them was discussed. In the meantime, the Trust had been asked to help out the club's planned 'Easter Eggs - travaganza'. We had agreed to provide volunteers for this event, to be held on Good Friday on the club's training ground at Brunton Park. We would have a stall of our own and would need people to man it.
On the same day as the Easter event, for the Walsall home game, we had invited Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the Labour party, Lee Sherriff, to be our matchday guest.
The meeting planned for the following week with Kevin Rye of Supporters Direct was confirmed for Brunton Park. This would be a chance to kick around ideas for the five-year plan which we would be working on over the summer.
Norman Steel had held a positive meeting with Matthew Spooner from World Group Ltd who had already volunteered to be involved with our Youth Board. The first meeting of the Youth Board was to be organised by Alastair Woodcock, as secretary. We had still to appoint a chair of the Youth Board - the first meeting would be able to address this. We had five interested names, including youth ambassador, Gary Wylie. Nigel Davidson and Carol Wilson would be acting as co-ordinators for the youth project.
Tommy Earl had unfortunately been forced to postpone the planned Race Night at Denton Holme, due to his main contact being unavailable to lay on the races, but another date near the start of the coming season would now be sought.
We had been given the opportunity to invite a business to be our guest at the final CUFC Business Club event of the season on April 26. Several local businesses, including World Group, would be contacted to check on their availability.
Next meeting date confirmed as Wednesday April 30 at Upperby. Upperby was considered a good alternative venue to Brunton Park due to the facilities available. The plan was to split meetings between the two venues.
06/05/14: Youth Board appointments
The Trust are delighted to announce that Matthew Spooner and Jamie Grubb have been appointed as chair and secretary respectively of the new Youth Board.
The Youth Board met recently for the first time to discuss plans to achieve better engagement and involvement with younger supporters. The board consists of Matthew, Jamie, Gary Wylie and Michael Robinson, assisted by two co-ordinators from the main board.
21/04/14: Trust Support CUFC's Easter Eggs-travaganza
Trust volunteers helped support the clubs' 'Easter Eggs-travaganza' on the Brunton Park training pitch on Good Friday, April 18.
Dozens of willing young fans turned up to have a go at the Carlisle United Challenge, which rewards sharp-shooted footballers who can hit one of five special targets. For the Eggs-travaganza, an Easter egg supplied by Tesco was the prize on offer.
However the challenge is fiendishly difficult to crack. Even manager Graham Kavanagh, who gave half an hour of his valuable time on a crucial match-day, was unable to slot the ball through the targets!
Volunteers from the Trust helped organise the Challenge and others handed out entry forms for the Easter Egg hunt around Brunton Park. Bright sunny weather ensured a very healthy turnout and we hope to support similar events in future.
13/04/14: Player of the Season 2013-14
Voting in our Player of the Season award for 2013-14 is now open. Any member of the Trust is eligible to vote.
Include your own name and your Trust membership number, if known.
18/03/14: Trust announces new youth initiative
Aged 18-25? Keen to learn more about the Trust, and get involved?
Whether you're a member already, or know someone who isn't yet but might be thinking of joining - we are recruiting younger Carlisle United supporters in the above age range to join our new 'Youth Board' which will report directly to the Trust's main Board and represent the interests of the younger supporter!
We already have a Youth Ambassador on board in the shape of Gary Wylie, who will act as the head of the new, emerging youth division of the Trust. Thanks to Gary's initial input, we already have some positive ideas for getting younger people more involved with the Trust and the football club itself, but if you want to add your own voice, this is your chance.
Remember, the younger fans are the future of our football club. CUFC needs as many youngsters onside as it can muster, in these challenging times. The Trust has a permanent stake in the club and needs to act as the voice of the youngest, as well as the oldest, in the community!
Let us know your name and email address in the first instance, and we'll take it from there. Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org
(Note: We can have those aged under 18 on the Youth Board, but we'll need permission from your parent or guardian before accepting you. We will have suitably qualified personnel present at any meetings where under-18s are in attendance).
05/12/13: Trust reps attend hearing in House of Commons
Trust representatives Norman Steel (chairman) and Frank Beattie (vice-chair and media officer) attended the special hearing held in the House of Commons on November 25 organised by the All Parliamentary Group for Mutuals.
The event was held to discuss the issue of supporter ownership of football and other sports' clubs and the associated issue of football club governance. Guest speakers included the outgoing Supporters' Direct chief executive David Lampitt and Bill Bush, of the Premier League.
The event highlighted the distance there is still to travel to convince the powers that be in the football world that supporter involvement and ownership is the way forward. At the conclusion of the event, SD launched their latest briefing paper on Supporters Ownership of football clubs. This documents sets out the pros and cons of owning shares in football clubs and looked at some case studies. It also set out some proposed changes to legislation that could make things easier for fans wishing to invest in their clubs and buy shares.
Long-serving board member Frank Beattie, the Trust's media officer, has been appointed to the position of vice-chair.
Frank will back up Norman Steel, bringing his many years of experience to the role. Frank originally joined the board in 2006.
28/07/13: 2013 AGM Report
Results of the Twelfth Annual General Meeting of The United Trust, held Sunday July 28, 2013 in The Sunset Suite
1. To receive the reports of the Society’s board and the audited financial statements for the period ending 31st January 2013.
FOR: 94 AGAINST:1
2. To elect to the Board of the Society
Norman Steel (Membership No. 12)
William Atkinson (Membership No. 114)
Carol Wilson (Membership No. 1633)
Keith Elliott (Membership No. 67)
FOR: 92 AGAINST:2
David Steele (Membership No. 624)
Don Beacock (Membership No. 632)
Jim Mitchell (Membership No. 280)
3. To abolish rule 5.8.2 in the Trust's Board Membership and Conduct Policy, which reads as follows: “No person can be a member of the Board: who has been a member of the Board for 12 consecutive years”
4. It is hereby resolved that subject to the provisions of section 4A of the 1968 Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act, the members of the Society shall not require an audit for the accounts covering the current financial year ending on 31 January, 2014 when they are presented to the next AGM held in 2014. NOTE: An independent financial examination shall be undertaken in its place.
5. To authorise the Society Board to fix the remuneration of the auditors.
16/07/13: CUFC Family Fun Day Report
The tremendous hard work of the ladies in the office at Brunton Park coupled with some very nice weather helped to bring about a day where The Club and its fans were very much closer to each other with the players mixing with the fans, signing autographs and having photos taken. It was a very successful day and one which we hope can be repeated.
The Trust was among many organisations who had taken stalls for the day and during the day Trust representatives were helping to sign up new members and answering questions. With the help of a promotion offering a 2013/14 season signed home shirt as the prize, the Trust signed up dozens of new members on the day. The winner of the shirt was Stuart Gardhouse.
05/07/13: Next Open Meeting to be combined with 2013 AGM
This year's AGM on July 28 will be followed by our third open meeting of the year. The AGM is due to start at 11am and we anticipate we will have completed our formal business by 11.30am when the open meeting will begin. Both meetings are being held in The Sunset Suite this year.
Note you must be a paid-up member to attend the AGM, but you will be able to sign up on the day (for just £5). Anybody can attend the open meeting that follows, and we do hope to have representatives of CUFC present alongside London Branch personnel.
This meeting will bring everyone up to speed with progess made since the second open meeting on April 28.
21/06/13: Volunteers sought by CUFC
The club are seeking volunteers to help with painting jobs around Brunton Park this summer.
The work is being co-ordinated by long-time supporter Harold Bowron and Trust board rep Norman Steel.
Anyone with some time to spare to lend a hand is being asked to contact Harold on 07806 485 377 or 01228 575 010.
Alternatively, you can register your interest by contacting Norman via the Brunton Park switchboard or on 07796 260 522.
The work is ongoing and will take place every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday until late July.
15/05/13: Membership Reminder
Our membership year ends on May 31 so we are asking all existing members to check their records to ensure they remain as paid-up members of the Trust for another 12 months.
The Board has been working hard behind the scenes recently to increase membership levels, with some early success - it's vital we keep membership levels up as we enter into an important period both for the club and its supporters.
If you have yet to renew, our membership application form can be downloaded from here: appform.pdf
Or alternatively, just put your payment (cheque please, if possible) into an envelope together with a note stating your name and membership no. (and email address if you have yet to give it to us) and drop off at Brunton Park main reception for the attention of Norman Steel. You can catch Norman at Brunton Park most Wednesdays and Thursdays if you want to see him about anything or just want to chat about CUFC.
If you are in any doubt about the status of your membership, please contact us via email on email@example.com
29/04/13: Report on Open Meeting of 28 April
The Trust held their second open meeting on Sunday, April 28 in Foxy's Restaurant.
The purpose of the meeting was to bring supporters up to date with progress made since the first open meeting held in February, and address any outstanding issues.
Chairman and board representative Norman Steel opened the meeting with a presentation explaining the role of Supporters Direct and the Trust itself, and re-stating the plan from Supporters Direct to get clubs communicating better with supporters and becoming more open and accountable.
The presentation outlined some areas of progress. The Trust's website had been redesigned and relaunched, along with a more active social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. There was basic agreement with the club to help the Trust promote itself, and one meeting had already been held with club officials, along with the first meeting of the revived fans feedback group.
Supporters Liaison Officer Nigel Dickinson and club director Dick Young both attended. Dick made it clear he is committed to closer ties between club and supporters. Already some progress was being made in this area, with positive feedback from Saturday's sponsorship of the Colchester match by the London Branch.
Some ideas from the floor included:
A potential new name for the Trust, such as 'Carlisle United Supporters' Trust'
To utilise the diverse talents amongst the CUFC fanbase to volunteer their time to help the football club
A new £2 a month membership fee for the Trust, with a monthly prize draw
Video conferencing technology to enable meetings between Trust and London Branch
To get the local news media to promote the Trust during the summer
An online competition organised by the Trust with the winner getting an official CUFC squad number and a spot on the official team photograph
There were still areas of concern, however. Some people present thought the club weren't properly listening to its supporters - sometimes imposing their own ideas without properly consulting first.
Another area of concern was the lack of proper backing from the local council, particularly in regard to the proposed new stadium. Trust board member Billy Atkinson expressed the belief that if the club truly became a community asset, they would be more likely to act supportively.
The Trust made it clear they were committed to better communication with fans, and in facilitating better engagement between the club and its supporters. There was also a need for disparate fan groups to unite to push this message.
There was a very positive feel to the event, and Norman promised another meeting in June, with invitations extended to the club's other directors and major shareholders.
06/04/13: Trust Announce Next Open Meeting
The Trust will be holding another Open Meeting on Sunday April 28th in Foxy's Restaurant, Brunton Park, starting at 11.30am
The meeting is open to members and non-members alike. The purpose of the meeting is to bring fans up to date with progress made since the last open meeting held on February 22nd. This will be another chance for any fan of the club to put questions to Trust representative Norman Steel and other members of the Trust Board. There will also be an opportunity to join the Trust and/or renew membership on the day.
25/02/13: Open Meeting Report 22.02.13
The Trust held an open meeting on Friday February 22nd in The Sunset Suite at Brunton Park.
The purpose of this event was to spread the news about the recent Supporters' Direct initiatives, explain where the Trust is in respect of its position at the club and attract new members.
Chairman and fans' representative Norman Steel made a brief presentation explaining the Trust's shareholding and talked about moves to make clubs more accountable and encourage fans groups to acquire shareholdings in their clubs - moves backed by a powerful parliamentary committee and MPs from all parties.
Questions were invited from the floor which members of the Trust Board answered.
Norman again re-iterated that the Trust would not seek to stand in the way of any potential owner who wanted to run the club in the proper, accountable way. He explained that a 25.4% stake would act as a powerful brake against figures in football keen to run clubs in an autocratic, non-democratic manner.
The Trust would endeavour to hold more meetings of this type, whilst undertaking to increase membership from the current level of under 300. Norman admitted membership had dropped in recent times but efforts were being made to attract new faces and there had been an increase in membership over the past year.
Fundraising efforts from race nights, Cumbrian Run sponsorship and other social events are ongoing, adding to the revenue raised each year from regular donations.
Norman stressed the relationship between Trust and Club Board had improved a lot during his seven years as chairman. The Trust now sponsored a player each season and had a regular spot in the match programme for the first time in many years.
There was still work to be done, however. Several attendees voiced disquiet at the lack of 'connection' between club and fans, something the Trust would seek to improve on. The recent appointment of an official Supporters Liaison Officer at Brunton Park was noted as a positive first step in this regard.
It was noted a lack of young people present and the Trust is keen to improve its numbers of younger members. Initiatives to encourage more young fans to attend games could be led by the Trust.
Application forms were circulated at the meeting in an attempt to boost membership.
Both the Select Committee of MPs and the Government's response have recommended the introduction of a structured supporter relationship by means of League regulation. It is hoped to have this in place in time for the 2013/2014 season.
13/02/13: Open Meeting 22.02.13
YOU ARE INVITED TO ATTEND AN OPEN MEETING
TO BE HELD
22 FEBRUARY 2013
6:30 – 8:30pm
IN THE SUNSET SUITE
Do you know why there is a Supporters Trust?
Do you know what the trust does?
Do you know who the trust Board members are?
To have these questions and many more answered, come along on the evening
30/07/12: AGM Results 2012
Results of this year's Annual General Meeting, held in Foxys Restaurant, Brunton Park on Sunday July 29, 2012:
1. To receive the reports of the Society’s board and the audited financial statements for the period ending 31st January 2012.
FOR: 76 AGAINST: 0
2. To elect to the Board of the Society:
Frank Beattie (Membership No. 84)
3. To adopt the new set of Model Rules and related side policies as recommended by Supporters’ Direct. These rules replace the existing rules adopted by the Trust at its inception in 2001. NOTE: A copy of the rules and side policies can be downloaded from the Trust’s website.
FOR: 76 AGAINST:0
4. It is hereby resolved that subject to the provisions of section 4A of the 1968 Friendly and Industrial and Provident Societies Act, the members of the Society shall not require an audit for the accounts covering the current financial year ending on 31 January, 2013 when they are presented to the next AGM held in 2012. NOTE: An independent financial examination shall be undertaken in its place.
5. To authorise the Society Board to fix the remuneration of the auditors
FOR: 75 AGAINST: 1
Carlisle United Official Supporters' Club (CUOSC)
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