Fans Forum - 18 March 1999

Report from RFSC chairman Roger Titford:

The 3rd Supporters' Club Fans Forum of the season was held in Shooters on Thursday 19 March 1999. RFC were represented by Tommy Burns, Nigel Howe, Boyd Butler, Clive Doyle (Safety) and Ray Booth. About 120 fans were present. As the Forum lasted 2 hours this report is a precis of what new or interesting information came out of Martin Brailli's notes or my memory.

The first half was 'off the pitch'.
- John Madejski expected back early June

- RFC will be the first club to experiment with electronic season tickets, credit card style. Trials start Sat in North Stand only. The card can last for years, be programmed for specific games and monitors crowd arrival times.

- Gillingham away moved at Gills request. RFC did not have a strong counter argument to put to the FL. Inconveniencing 3000 Berkshire folk not sufficient apparently.

- There's no comeback against pitch supplier who advised against playing rugby on it for the first year. But the worst of the deteroriation is over, expect to start next season with a thicker growth. There will be less activity on it next season; no mini rugby, no football training.

- 'embarrassing to see people get wet in an all-seater' but the perspex shield in an earlier design had to be rejected or the pitch would have suffered even more. No obvious solution to this.

- Some seats now installed in East Concourse, also some shelving on a trial basis. No significant improvements planned short term as priority for money is players.

- East Stand unreserved seating. Awaiting results of RFSC and RFC surveys on this.

- Income derived from Richmond's tenancy is c £400k and considered to be worth it in the light of RFC's current profit and loss account. Cost of staging matches was very approx £2000 at EP, £10,000 at MS.

- Access to stadium still problematic. Road not ready til June. Club to take up other access/egress issues with Council soon.

- RFC will consider 'price promoting' home match v Northampton to boost crowd/atmosphere.

- Plans afoot for 'Grand Opening Match' in July. More news next week, possibly.

- fans sponsorship of kit items will be re-considered for next season, possibly with lower price items available

- general agreement from the Forum that we would like a band playing at matches. Volunteers please get in touch.

- Stewards should move away fans who have got in home sections and frequently have done so quietly. There was a problem not addressed at the PNE game which was wrong. In theory, stewards should be told about this, they tell the Control room and a plan of action is decided.

- After match problems v PNE. Clive Doyle said it was illegal for away fans to be kept in and also a breach of our safety something. At Man City they ASKED away fans to stay behind and we did so. Clive will look at doing this here. Otherwise the solution is down to good policing and different exits. One fan pointed out this could be mightily inconvenient.

- at the interval RFSC Chairman listed the numerous areas where progress had been made on suggestions since the last Forum, and the few where it hadn't.
But generally a good score.

- Tommy Burns said Mark McKeever was not for sale but the situation might change now Wednesday had bought another leftsided player. He would nag Danny Wilson to keep him til the end of the season.

- Adam Lockwood was beginning to get talked about so was signed up on a 4 year deal.

- Tommy admitted he had seen very little Div 1/2 football and was learning "from torture" (according to these notes!). He felt the standard was very good with a lot of decent players but some could look ordinary under pressure. If RFC played in Scotland he felt we might hold our own in the Premier League there.

- He felt Murty would be more suited to playing from deep rather than as an out and out winger. He believed in wide players but it doesn't matter exactly who puts the crosses in.

- He had tried to get fees for the players who left but nobody was making offers. He felt Neville Roach would make a career in the game but was not at the 'next level up' he was looking for. He wanted to sign other teams' best players, not their 3rd/4th choices but nobody wanted to sell. Hearts had inquired about McIntyre but, for similar reasons, Tommy said no. There followed 15 minutes of 'name the next striker' as fans shouted who they wanted and Tommy said 'no tried that.'

- players well aware that fans now sensed play off possibilities but he was going to 'take each game as it comes.'

Thanks to everyone who came along.
I hope you enjoyed it and that I've got the main points down.

Chairman, RFSC